Astelle&Kern’s $1,299 AK T9iE in-ear-monitor headphones are as stunning as they’re costly. They’re tuned particularly for pairing with the corporate’s stellar high-res digital audio players. If you personal one—otherwise you simply worth excessive efficiency and beautifull craftsmanship—you’ll need to give these gems a severe look and an extended hear.
Designed and handmade in Germany
A&Okay’s T9iE headphones are collectively designed and voiced by Astell&Kern and legendary German headphone producer, Beyerdynamic. Each headphone is handmade in Germany. The AK T9iE succeed the AK T8iE, which had been additionally made by Beyerdynamic for Astell&Kern and are bought by Beyerdynamic because the Xelento.
The AK T9iE comply with Astell&Kern’s hallmark industrial design that performs with shapes, angles, and lighting. The headphones have a PVD coating that can mirror mild in another way and reveal completely different shapes relying in your viewing angle.
Under the hood, the T9iE characteristic Beyerdynamic’s Tesla driver know-how. Tesla know-how refers to a sequence of measurements, design, and supplies that Beyerdynamic says enhance the headphone’s sound and effectivity. Beyerdynamic reserves its Tesla know-how for its reference headphones.
Styling is all Astell&Kern
The T9iE’s audiophile-grade cable is its most prominant characteristic. It’s eye catching. The braided litz design reduces sign loss from the pores and skin impact (the tendency for alternating present to move primarily on the floor of the conductor wire) and the proximity impact, each of which improve resistance at larger frequencies. The cable is made with 4N pure silver, silver plated 7N OCC, and 7N OCC. The cable terminates with a 4-pole balanced 2.5mm jack.
The T9iE’s 2.5mm jack is simply too giant for my style. It’s obtrusive and impractical. When I plugged within the cable to the Astell&Kern Kann or SR15, I ended up banging the jack inadvertently a number of occasions. Putting the participant into any pocket with the two.5mm jack turns into impractical. I can see shoppers simply bending the tip or breaking the enter—or each.
Astell&Kern features a 2.5mm-to-3.5mm right-angle adapter. I like to recommend utilizing this adapter anytime you need to take these headphones on the go, and reserve the two.5mm jack for stationary listening. I do want that Astell&Kern included a 2.5mm 90-degree connector like they did with the 3.5mm connector. Thankfully, the T9iE’s cable is detachable. It’s suitable with any commonplace MMCX cable.
The cable has a versatile plastic-rubber sheath that allows you to form the cable round your outer ear. The sheath saved its form effectively round my ears and even after hours of listening—together with falling asleep to the music—I by no means felt fatigued nor did the headphones ever develop into painful to put on.
Lots of ear suggestions and an heirloom case included
The T9iE include seven pairs of ear suggestions. Yes, seven—and I wanted each final considered one of them. There are 5 silicone-based suggestions and two pairs of Comply memory-foam suggestions. Getting a stable seal is crucial to an IEM’s efficiency. Unfortunately, I discovered that the included silicone ear suggestions didn’t give me the right seal, scaling down the sound. I subsequently turned to the included Comply memory-foam-based ear suggestions, which delivered the right match. Note that utilizing a memory-foam-based ear tip will improve a headphone’s bass response. My listening impressions on this overview had been with the foam-based suggestions.
The T9iE are available in a spherical case with a flip prime. The case is ideal for a dresser however impractical to hold on the go until you throw it in a backpack or suitcase. The case has sufficient room for the headphones plus an additional pair of ear suggestions or an airplane adapter within the small pocket positioned beneath the highest cowl.
I examined the T9iE with an Astell&Kern Kann and Astell&Kern SR15. I performed primarily high-res recordings and in addition some streaming from Tidal, with a give attention to Tidal Masters and Hi-Fi licensed music. I used the two.5mm balanced connector with the Kann and the 3.5mm adapter with the SR15.
I used to be fully unprepared—blown away—by the efficiency of those in ear displays. The headphones had been musically participating and by no means fatiguing. Time and once more I discovered myself closing my eyes, tapping my toes, or shifting my head to the music. Like a Siren, the T9iE referred to as me to expertise anew my musical assortment.
The first sensation you’ll discover when sporting the T9iE is the uncanny sense of soundstage house, depth, and top. If you’re a classical music lover (like me) who has been upset in the way in which in-ear displays render the majesty of orchestral works, then the T9iE will astound you. Playing the LSO’s DSD model of Mahler’s Symphony 6, I reveled within the grand expanse of the orchestral stage. The identical sensation held true with the LSO’s 24-bit/48kHz recording of “Mars Bringer of War” from Holst’s The Planets, carried out by Sir Colin Davis. Instruments had been clearly positioned and appropriately layered on a superbly constructed soundstage.
Put one other method, the headphones will ship the music with a direct three dimensionality that’s extra attribute of over-the-ear headphones. And that sensation isn’t confined to classical. I discovered that pop songs like Prince’s “Purple Rain” got here throughout with a new-found dimensionality.
The AK T9iE exhibit an excellent transparency letting you see deep into the music. The expertise is heightened by the truth that musical notes are tight.
The headphones realistically dropped at life musical nuances and particulars such because the echoing vocal decays on Rebecca Pidgeon’s “Spanish Harlem,” Led Zeppeliln’s “Ramble On,” or Lea Michele’s “Run to You.” Vocals sounded fully pure, tight, and detailed. I might comply with each final word into silence.
Bass by the T9iE is sweet and tight. There is ample punch within the higher bass, however I longed for a bit extra oomh within the decrease registers. If that’s how you are feeling, you would possibly need to experiment with turning your A&Okay participant’s Amp Mode from regular to excessive.
Astell&Kern’s higher-end gamers characteristic an Amp Mode that reinforces the ability output. Using the two.5mm balanced reference to the A&Okay Kann’s amp mode set to excessive, I famous that the T9iE’s midbass exhibited extra punch, deep bass notes had extra life, and the midrange warmed. Played on the SR15 or the Kann in Normal Amp mode, the headphones took on a extra impartial tone.
Worth the expense for those who worth your music
Over the previous a number of years, the headphone market has exploded. There’s a rising demand for high-performance, audiophile-grade headphones. The AK T9iE qualify on that mark. I fell in love with Astell&Kern’s T9iE. The T9iE fall into that uncommon overview product that made me need to expertise artists and music another time.
At $1,299, these in-ear-headphones are priced for a discerning client who can respect what these headphones are able to delivering—an exquisite, clear, engagning, musical expertise. If you’ll be able to afford the worth level, then don’t assume twice about giving the T9iE a severe audition.