Connecting A&K Kahn

Hi, would welcome advice on the best way to connect an A&K Kahn to my system for best sound quality.

  1. Digitally via my early model Uniti 1, which feeds into a 282/250DR or
  2. Direct to the 282, so using the DAC in the Kahn instead of the DAC in the Uniti.
    The first option results in two interconnects, but uses the Naim DAC, albeit an early version, and passes the signal through part of the Uniti preamp before going into the 282.
    The second uses only one interconnect, but uses the Kahn DAC, which is a much more recent one, and part of it’s analog preamp before going to the 282.
    Thoughts please.
    Best wishes Amer

iOS devices can connect to the USB port on Naim streamers, but I don’t think the A&K will work like this. So you would be better off connecting it directly to the 282.

I think I’d want to try it each way for a while and then settle on whichever one sounds best long term.

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The Uniti does have a line out, which is pre-volume control, so hopefully not too much of a compromise there. Still, I’m not sure that it will take a digital input from your A&K, though.

Thanks Richard, that would be the best, but by seeking advice, I was hoping to avoid the cost of buying a decent digital lead to connect the Kann to the Uniti 1, if I didn’t need to get one. The only reason I’m considering the simpler route of Kann direct to 282 option is because I hear so much about how much DACs have improved over the years, so could it be that the Kann’s well reviewed, more recent DAC be at least of a similar standard as the Uniti’s much older one. If it were comparing a current Uniti’s DAC with that of the Kann, I would expect the sound the Naim DAC to be way ahead of the Kann to the extent that it would not be compromised by the more complex signal path (e.g. two interconnects instead of one).
Best wishes Amer

Hi, thanks for your comments Chris, if I were to connect the Kann to the Uniti1 digitally, I would be using the other digital inputs at the back, not the USB one at the front. I agree that using the line out from the Uniti would not compromise the quality much. I currently only use the Uniti1 as a CD and radio source via its line out feeding into the 282 and it sounds great.
Best wishes

I was under the impression that your A&K only had a USB output, which will not work into a Uniti USB input. If so, you would need to use a USB to SPDIF converter to use one if the other Uniti digital inputs.

Thanks for this Chris, I hadn’t realised I would need a converter, in my ignorance, I just assumed a digital output via (USB or C) would feed into another digital input no matter what socket it used provided I had the right plugs on the leads! So as I don’t intend to spend money on such an adaptor, just to see if I do, or don’t prefer the sound, it seems I will have to just connect directly into the 282 as you suggested earlier. Decision made - thanks Chris!
Best wishes Amer

Hi Amer, I’m pretty sure I am right that only iOS devices will play into the Uniti USB port, but just in case I’m wrong, you can easily try it if you have a suitable cable. Either way, direct into the 282 should work well, so at least you have a solution.

Hi Chris, I just checked the manual about the USB front socket - mine is a first generation Uniti 1, while I have had all the firmware upgrades implemented, I have not altered the iPod interface and this remains on the back via a special cable. It says that the USB front socket is only for memory sticks that have music on them, but only in Windows/DOS formats, Apple formats are not supported.
I do know that later versions of the Uniti1 did away with the special iPod connection at the back - it may well have been moved to the USB front socket, but I don’t have any information on that.
Best wishes

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