Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 vs AK T9IE – Which Earphone is Better?

Are you in search of luxury earphones? Today, we will be discussing about two fantastic models. They are the Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 earphones vs Astell & Kern AK T9IE earphones. Astell & Kern has partnered with IEM manufacturers like Campfire Audio and JH Audio.

However, they never have completely released their own brand product. However, they have produced DAPs, including the PEE51 DAC adapter that was released last year in 2021. Currently, they have made the AK ZERO1 and the AK T9IE earphones.

It is their first true IEM. Music purists have the right to be excited about this phenomenal product. Astell & Kern have been in the market since 2014; they have been specializing in the portable audio player market.

They are a subsidiary of the iRiver brand, which is a popular brand. Now it is known as Dreamus. There is no surprise in this move because of their experience in producing mp3 players that were received nicely in the market.

They have now released these top-notch earphone models in the market using their extensive knowledge. They have also collaborated with other manufacturers, including Beyerdynamic and Jerry Harvey Audio, for headphones and cables.

In partnership with Beyerdynamic, some of the products include AK T8iE, AK T5P, AK T1P, and the AK T9IE. The Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 earphones come nicely designed. After all, it is an expensive purchase, and you would want to get your money’s worth.

The sound quality served from the earphones is more than average. They are quite opulent and immersive for earphones. It comes with 3 different types of drivers per earpiece. You can be assured of a hybrid sound.

It has a unique configuration comprising a specially developed micro rectangular planar dynamic driver. This feature is usually not noted among earphones. There is also a vibration panel that is infused with a high-polymer and thin metal in it.

You can also find dual balanced armature (BA) drivers that come with custom-designed coils. The single 5.6mm dynamic driver handles the low end effortlessly. Likewise, the Astell & Kern AK T9IE earphones are exceptional in design and build quality.

This aspect of it was quite unique in them. You can instantly notice it in them the moment you lay your eyes on them. The model has a rigid design found in several DAPs. The angular housing is quite large and, at times, feels unusually big inside your ears.

But it is extremely comfortable once you find the right ear tips and wear them for some time. The attention to detail given in the model was amazing. It is safe to say that Astell & Kern are masters at that.

Now, both the earphones are quite expensive, with the AK T9IE model costing more than $1000. Are they justified for a pair of earphones? Let us read and find out if the partnership with the German Beyerdynamic is a success or not. We have mentioned the winner at the end.

Astell & Kern AK ZERO1Astell & Kern AK T9IE
Astell & Kern AK ZERO1Astell & Kern AK T9IE
The design and build quality of the earphone is splendid.

The fitting of the model is fantastic.

It comes infused with a dynamic/planar driver.

It has a phenomenal cable that is durable.

The unit provides you with good sub-bass.
The model comes with Beyerdynamic’s patented Tesla technology.

The unit comes with a newly designed acoustic vent port.

It has enhanced treble response with a sublime engineered acoustic filter.

It comes with a silver and OCC hybrid cable.

The earphone reference-grade audio performance.
The earphone could have come with a better soundstage.The earphones are ridiculously expensive.

Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 vs AK T9IE: Design & Comfort

The design & comfort of any earphone model is most crucial. Let us see how they fare? The Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 earphones were produced from aluminum shells and have been crafted in Japan.

So, you can be sure about the design and reliability of the earphones. The feel and the looks are splendid. You instantly get hold of this when you see the earphone. You can also notice that the MMCX cable has an aluminum hardware blending with the IEM shell.

You can also see that the earphone is silver-plated oxygen-free copper. They have provided users with a selection of silicone ear tips. The fitting is just fine. That is because the nozzles are lengthy and offer ear tips with sublime comfort.

It takes some time for you to find the right kind of comfort. But once you are in, there is no looking back. Besides, it provides you with the right balance for a stable fit and good seal. There is a 5.6mm dynamic unit.

However, we may suggest that you be careful of the MMCX connectors when fitting them inside your ears. Similarly, the Astell & Kern AK T9IE earphones are nicely designed. They are quite decently packaged as well in a small black cardboard box.

For above $1000, you expect luxurious packaging and design. You can notice that there is an 8-wire cable. The maker has provided you with 7 different sized silicone ear-tips. There are also 3 sets of comply foam tips.

The silicone tips are unique in a way as they do not come in a bullet shape. They were produced to be quite ergonomic for your fitting needs. But they give you with excellent sealing on your ears.

The cable has a 2.5mm balanced plug and comes with a 2.5 to 3.5 pigtail adapter. Though they have done their best to pack it well, we were disappointed with the packaging. But the fitting is exceptional and does the trick, which is the main thing for us.

Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 vs AK T9IE: Build Quality

For earphones that are priced more than $500, it is only expected that their build quality is nothing short of outstanding. That is something that they are true. Astell & Kern have joined hands with the right kind of manufacturer to produce magnificently built earphones.

Typically, earphones cannot be described as sturdy. But these are different leagues altogether. The build quality of the Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 earphone is extremely well-built and comfortable.

Once the fitting is accustomed to your ears, you can feel the build quality of the earphones. The ear tips are ergonomic and comfortable too. They come in 3 separate parts. You can notice that they have the top shell, the bottom shell, and the faceplate.

It has a shiny body, and those of you concerned about the fingerprints affecting your model, then you may have to. Likewise, the Astell & Kern AK T9IE earphones come with remarkable build quality in them.

Like the AK ZERO1 earphones, they have a shiny body, and the smudges can be quite visible on them. It has an MMCX connection that helps you to roll the cable when you want. That is good because the AK T8IE did not have the socket, and they broke down easily.

Our tester found the design and build quality of the AK T9IE earphones stupendously done. Like they say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. The same be described in here. The logo can be found printed on the right side of the earphones and the new Beyerdynamic logo on the left.

Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 vs AK T9IE: Audio Performance

The audio performance of the Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 earphones is tremendous. You can find that the unit is composed of a micro rectangular planar dynamic driver, 2 BA drivers, and a 5.6mm dynamic driver.

It is able to provide the most natural sound to the ears. We noticed that the frequency response was designed based on each driver’s parameters. The driver comes carefully placed in the optimal 3D position.

They come enclosed in uniquely designed acoustic chambers. These chambers are produced using 3D printing technology. The makers say that the unit is a hybrid, but it is actually a tribrid. It comes infused with 3 driver types.

You can find 2 balanced armatures, the dynamic and a planar driver. The earphone makes use of the 3 driver types that come with a sound that is dynamic and highly eloquent. Its dynamic driver is small at 5.6mm and provides you with amazing music quality.

The speed and the accuracy of the sound performance are nicely captured. There is an amazing bass present on it, offering a good extension into the lower regions. Likewise, the Astell & Kern AK T9IE earphones sound performance is fabulous.

Its oomph factor is much better than most of the units you can find in the market. They are clean and unique in a way. The bass frequencies remain separated from the higher frequencies. When you love to listen to acoustic sounds, then the music is fantastic.

There is an amazing presence in the mids. Our tester liked what he had heard from it. However, when you are keen on listening to its dynamic aspect, prepare to be disappointed. When you want clean sound quality, this is just an awesome model.

There is no weight on the music, but it provides you with opulent sound quality. We listened to different kinds of genres. You can hear the difference in the notes and their tunes. There is a certain purified feeling towards it.

The sound was smooth and amazing. These are awesome for being IEMs. It came with proper noise isolation, and that was fantastic. It comes infused with Tesla technology, and you can find a designed acoustic vent port. Overall, we liked what we heard from these models.

Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 vs AK T9IE: Microphone Performance

The Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 earphones do not come with a microphone. They can be used only for music purposes. You can connect them to consoles but only hear the gaming sound. You won’t be able to communicate with other gamers using earphones.

The Astell & Kern AK T9IE earphones do not have a microphone. They are typical earphones that you can connect with your smartphone, laptop, PC, and gaming consoles. Consumers cannot make use of the communication feature in it.

Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 vs AK T9IE: Compatibility

The Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 earphones do not come with Bluetooth. You cannot connect them with other devices using this feature. However, you can make use of the plug and connect it with your smartphone, tablet, laptop, and PC.

You can also connect with gaming consoles if you want. The Astell & Kern AK T9IE earphones do not have the Bluetooth feature. It can be frustrating because you would expect a device that is priced above $1200 to have this common feature.

Sadly, that is the way it is. We were interested in the EQ of the earphone. We found it to be more powerful than other models in the market. They are better than over-ear units. The peak at 250hz, -2dB Q of 2, peak at 5500hz, -3.5dB Q of 3, and high Shelf at 9000hz, +2dB Q of 0.7.

Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 vs AK T9IE: Price

The Astell & Kern AK Zero1 earphones are priced under $700. They are quite expensive, about $600. However, they come with spectacular features that are mostly not found in models that are priced under $500.

It has a perfectly harmonized driver structure, powerful cross-over network management, and an acoustic chamber created using 3D printed technology. Users can also find that it is done with precise CNC machined metal housing and has Hi-Fi grade pure silver-coated OFC cable.

These high-end features are normally found on earphones priced above $1000. So, you know that you are getting a good deal with this unit. The Astell & Kern AK T9IE earphones are priced under $1300.

There is a price difference of almost $500. We understand that. Like the AK ZERO1 model, the AK T9IE model has phenomenal features. The model comes with the Beyerdynamic patented Tesla technology, a newly designed acoustic vent port for improved bass response.

It also comes with integral earwax protection, pure silver, and OCC hybrid cable (2.5mm 4-pole balanced), and reference-grade audio performance. There are also silver and copper lits cable with 2.5mm balanced connected, and 3.5mm unbalanced adapter.

Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 vs AK T9IE: Verdict

We have ended our comparison review on the Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 earphones vs Astell & Kern AK T9IE earphones. We hope that you liked what you read and were able to make up your mind.

If you haven’t, then we suggest that you read through the post again. You are bound to find something you like. The Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 earphones have a good design and build quality.

The sound performance was also quite convincing for earphones. If you have read our reviews, you would know that we do not say that often about earphones. But this model managed to convince us.

We felt that it was an admirable first attempt from the maker. They have done a phenomenal job with the earphones. Similarly, the Astell & Kern AK T9IE earphones were sublime. They have a stunning look and audio quality, offering a good balance and technical performance.

When you love listening to music, why would you want to settle for anything that is lesser? Yes, you do have a barrage of options in the market, but you can easily rule them out. A true lover of music knows what is best for him.

Of course, these come expensive but do not let the high price deter you from making your choice. When you invest in top-notch earphones, you know that you are getting the right kind of deal.

Just want to remind you that the AKT9IE earphones come in 10 different ear tips sizes. You can take your time and try them all to get the right fitting. Doing that ensures you are in optimum comfort listening to music.

Our winner in this comparison review between the Astell & Kern AK ZERO1 earphones vs Astell & Kern AK T9IE earphones is the AK T9IE unit. It offers you with a sound signature that most coming in the same price point may not be able to offer do give you.

James Smith has always been intrigued by electronic products since his childhood. After his post graduation in electronics from a popular university, he decided to pursue a career in the electronics sector. But his calling for writing about these marvellous pieces of work got the better of him. That is how UBG was started. With a writing career spanning more than 12 years, James has worked on several hundred product reviews. During his free time, he like to spend time with his pet dog and relax in the swimming pool.