Living with Astell&Kern AK T9iE in-ear headphones

Disclaimer: Astell&Kern AK T9iE in-ear product and accompanying A&Norma media player loaned for the purpose of a review.

While most of us (including myself) have been in self-isolation, I spent the last month with Astell&Kern AK T9iE in-ear headphones to see how they fare in everyday life.

As someone who would never usually choose in-ear headphones (more of an over-ear gal), I was excited and eager to give these a chance.

In the audio world, much like any world, attention to detail is key and Astell&Kern are leaders of this. 

Although these headphones are certainly expensive, I’m a firm believer in the notion that you ‘get what you pay for’.

So how does the AK T9iE stack up with all things considers; does the above statement really ring true?

Design 

The AK T9iE are in-ear headphones that are made to wrap around the ear; designed by Astell&Kern and handmade by Beyerdynamic in Germany. The AK T9iE’s are the third in-ear headphone collaboration by Astell&Kern and Beyerdynamic.

The headphones are delicately packaged and cleanly presented in-the-box. 

The headphones themselves are luxurious, with detailing such as ‘jewel-like carved planes’ on the exterior housing cable.  

I wished that there was a shorter cable for the headphones, or a clip/hold to reduce the length as I felt I was swimming in the cable at points. I’m not the tallest person, but I guess the generous length is better than it being too short.

What’s in the Box

  • AK T9iE in-ear headphones x 1
  • Pure silver and OCC hybrid cable (2.5mm 4-pole balanced) x 1
  • 7 pairs of silicone eartrips (from XS to 3XL)
  • 3 pairs of ComplyTM eartips (S,M,L)
  • Luxury leather carrying case x 1
  • Warranty card x 1
  • Instruction book x 1 

Travel

I loved the inclusion of a leather carrying case.

As someone who always travels with a bag, it’s easy for things to get damaged somewhere in the bottom of it. Especially when I’ve got my work laptop, car keys, and a bunch of other (mostly oddly shaped) things rolling around.

For me the leather carrying case is beautiful, and convenient, however, I appreciate that this might not be the case for everyone.

On the plus side, due to the size of the case, you’ll be able to fit some spare eartips and even an airplane adapter if needed.

Finding the Right Fit

I was shocked when I opened the box to see so many eartips, but one I started trying them, it made sense. It’s almost like trying to find the glass slipper… Nonetheless, having the numerous options made life a lot easier and I was able to find the perfect fit for me.

Tech Features 

  • Includes Beyerdynamic’s patented ‘Tesla Technology’
  • Newly designed acoustic vent port for improved bass response
  • Enhanced treble response using a specially engineered acoustic filter with integral earwax protection
  • Pure silver and OCC hybrid cable (2.5mm 4-pole balanced)
  • Reference-grade audio performance, silver and copper lits cable with 2.5mm balanced connected and 3.5mm unbalanced adapter

With these tech features considered you’d expect high quality sound with high quality build. 

With these qualities considered Astell&Kern state that the design of these headphones aim to provide ‘extremely neutral sound signature with soft treble, linear midrange and slightly elevated bass’.

Plugged In

I used the AK T9iE predominately with Astell&Kern’s A&Norma SR15 media player. To get the most out of these headphones, you will want to pair it with a high-quality audio system, particularly Astell&Kern players, to which these headphones have been specifically tuned for. (I certainly noticed the difference in quality when switching between my iPhone XS and the SR15.) 

With the right player, the audio from the headphones was crisp and enjoyable, especially when you are wearing the right sized ear-plug, and wrapped around the ear correctly. It can take a bit of fiddling with at first, but they should sit comfortable and hold firm.
You could easily have these in for hours without worrying of movement – provided you nail this.

Listening to music with these is a pleasure. You’re in your own little bubble. There is a lot of enjoyment to be had.

Depending on the audio player you are using, you can adjust the sound to your liking.

Final Thoughts

If you love music, why would you settle for anything less? With so many options on the market, it’s easy to rule these out, but don’t let the price deter you. Invest in a high-quality pair of headphones and know that what you are getting is the real deal.

Reminder that it comes with 10 different eartip sizes, so you’re sure to find the right fit – just make sure to make a note of it when you do.

The Astell&Kern AT K9iE in-ear headphones are priced at RRP AU$1699 and is available from Busisoft AV dealer locations across Australia and New Zealand.

If you value high quality audio, make sure to check out Busisoft AV and their dealer locations to learn more, and even check out the products in person.