ConclusionWhat a beautiful device the AK SA700 is. The player operates well, sounds great and can do much more than just play music. Is 1399 euros expensive when you consider that this player plays at a very high level and can also act as a dac and can use online services? We do not think so. Alpha Approved!
Then the AK T9iE. The in-ears are comfortable, sound good and match well with the AK SA700. It takes some getting used to to get them in the ear the right way. And for some it will be tuned to the warm side; they are not completely neutral. We haven't been bothered by it in the sense that it's not exaggerated; it's noticeable. But the mid and high is so beautiful and silky soft that it makes up for a lot.
The in-ears we used with this great player – the AK T9iE – were developed by Beyerdynamic. But they’re made for Astell. The design consists of one driver with a special magnet technology that A&K calls “Tesla”. The cables are of a braided design and are made of copper with a silver layer. It looks very good and doesn’t get tangled up quickly, which is nice. The last piece of the cable is a kind of ‘memory cable’ that you can bend. Now that seems a bit fragile to us and we read online that there are more users who needed a new cable after bending it a few times. Be careful with that. We have been careful with it for that reason.
The fit is good, but the insertion takes some getting used to. Not so much the ‘behind the ear along’ principle, but more by the fact that they go easy ‘in the ear’ and then just stay put. The ‘plugs’ are barely noticeable, but close very well. Very comfortable, but it takes some getting used to inserting them.
With us the wire doesn’t really want to clench behind the ear, because they bend, but not very far. And so they didn’t go tight behind the ear. And we don’t like to push too hard with borrowed stuff that costs 1300 euro.
Then the sound: wow! This is a seriously good sounding in-ear. The reproduction is silky smooth, very detailed and never analytical. Partly because of those characteristics we get completely into the music and just listen to more tracks from an album. The bass is warm, but not exaggerated. No wooliness, but a tangible (!) tight and deep bass. We also measure that this in-ear can reproduce some seriously deep bass. So the specifications are no nonsense. This in-ear is really capable to deep bass. Impressive.
Vocals get a nice body, partly because of the completeness of the sound reproduction. Our measurements show a ‘light’ V-shape. Normally we hear that immediately, but with this in-ear it is less noticeable. Perhaps because of the subtlety with which Beyer tuned this. All in all a pleasant in-ear with a warm touch.
Measurements AK T9iE
The Astell&Kern AK T9iE measures excellent, although we see – as reported – a warm bass. This is recognizable in the listening sessions. Whether that’s your taste, is a different story of course. What’s nice is that the bass is ‘palpable’ with these in-ears. At various tracks we really feel a push in the bass. Very special.
The distortion is very evenly distributed: all around 0.2%. From 20 Hz – 100 Hz it drops from 1% to 0.2%. So that’s good. But that’s also logical, considering the price: 1299 euros.