Astell & Kern

I am thinking about pulling the trigger on an A&K portable. A pal has loaned me his SR15 and, out of curiosity, I plugged it in to the front USB port on my Uniti Star. No tunes whatever I do.
Although this is not the reason why I am contemplating the A&K but it would be interes To know what I am doing wrong

What are you trying to do with it ?

The Star can’t function as a USB DAC for the A&K, but if you can put the A&K device into USB storage mode then the Star may be able to play files from the A&K’s internal storage.

Possibly, but I suspect you’d be just as well sticking the files on a memory stick and using that.

Thanks, I wasn’t really trying to do anything, just idle curiosity whilst I had the A&K on loan.
I’ve plugged a usb stick in both front and back, and they work perfectly well.
The settings info for the A&K reads like the flight deck manual for the Starship Enterprise and I’m loathe to fiddle with the settings my pal has already chosen.

Their stuff great reviews but it’s hard to keep up with their product range as it seems to change every 6 months or so.

Check the settings. On my AK Kann the USB would need to be set to ‘media device’ rather then ‘DAC input’.


Bruce, have you maybe tried your Kann into one of the newer Unitis via USB?
I’ve been trying my A&KSR15 which will not do as you suggest with a Nova.

Owner of an A&norma SR15 for a few years, for on the move use, which I find more to my liking than playing music via iPhone. I have always used mine simply as a portable, not with any of my Naim streamers. I know iPhone plays on SU but not Nova.

A web search of “naim uniti digital input via usb” revealed an interesting forum thread Connect iPhone via USB for Tidal - UNITI - post 19, @Alan33 details the issue, even if the original question related to USB via an iPhone.

Incidentally perhaps we are not looking at the same instruction book, imo it might be detailed, but easy to follow. It refers to the point @BruceW made - its just that Unitis USB input don’t interact in the way you may have been attempting.

Sorry no, it was just a suggestion.


I thought it should work, but having seen this thread, I was experimenting in the last hour, to see what could be achieved. Then did some digging. Time to go back to the windup gramophone!

I’ve had several A&K players over the years. 120II, Jr, 380. Great players for whoever wants audiophile quality (ie. not iPhone) on the go.

Their design, all in sharp angles, is an acquired taste, and the line up is confusing. They have so many models now, and they seem to release a new one every 6 months, as noted before.

I’ve since then moved on to Sony players. The WM-1AM is a beast, looks better than any AK model in my mind, and has a more polished interface.

I would echo this view I have the Sony 1Z and have to say I prefer them over the Astell Kern devices while they are very good for mobile audiophile enjoyment. At a certain pricepoint the Kann is a good choice if you want to go all out get the SP Ultimate 3000……., however try the Sony as well before spending so much.

I had a bad experience with an A&K Kann which, although very good in terms of sound quality, was completely bricked by a failed OTA firmware update.
Other users had the same experience at the time, and the support from the manufacturer was non-existent. I was lucky to be able to obtain a full refund from Amazon.


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