Review: Astell&Kern Diana – Sing for the moment

Astell&Kern Diana


Diana sports the typical JH Audio house sound with full body throughout and a high PRaT factor. It is a monitor that will give you many occasions to really enjoy your tunes. Overall the Diana is quite balanced and coherent, but it has a tendency to shift towards the lower frequencies, giving the sound a thicker and warmer sound.

Bass has big body, good air and a softer touch. It is not the fastest out there, but gives big pleasure in dynamics and weight. If you like an airier and dynamic driver like response, you’ll find the Diana performing on a very good level here. It reaches considerably deep, but doesn’t create a lot of rumble down low. It’s main focus lies on the mid and upper bass, and this is where the Diana shines. It possesses good punch and kick. Bass has good layering and resolution, and produces a nicely organic sound, which is especially well received with genres like Soul or Jazz.

Astell&Kern Diana

Astell&Kern Diana

Lower mids create a vibrant sound with superb body. It’s clear that the Diana likes deep vocals of the likes of Leonard Cohen. Here the real star of the show can be found. Just listen to the song ‘You Want it Darker’, it sounds fantastic on the Diana. After lower mids, the Diana’s response curve takes a slight hit and puts center-mids and upper mids slightly back. There is no deep cavity audible, but bass and lower mids certainly enjoy higher prominence in the signature.

The midrange has a natural sound, that comes with excellent body and weight in all instruments. Though I feel that there is a noticeable dip in the frequency response that gives female vocals and higher pitched tones a slightly off timbral accuracy. They don’t sound as perfect as the lower mid frequencies. There is a slight nasal sound in some vocals, that can definitely put me off. Mids are rich and far from dry sounding.

There is decent amounts of air around the instruments, which gives them good separation, however at times things can sound a little fuzzy due to the warmth the air sports. Personally, I prefer a blacker background. Diana has good resolution and layering and creates a well sized sound stage, with dimensions of a small concert hall instead of a wide open space. The stage could use some more air to give especially higher tuned instruments more space to breath.

Treble has a nice fatigue free sound to it. It’s not harsh, not sibilant and definitely not aggressive in it’s tuning. You will get a rich and slightly relaxed treble. It does not have the widest extension, as it seems to cut off earlier to my ears. High notes sometimes get overshadowed by the lower frequencies and have trouble shining through.

Diana is a forgiving monitor, so whatever file you throw at it, you’ll get a nicely enjoyable sound that lets you kick back and relax.

Astell&Kern Diana

Astell&Kern Diana


The Diana definitely isn’t a hard to drive monitor and it doesn’t benefit from additional amplification. I’m sure you could easily run it from your phone, but beware, the Diana is quite sensitive and might pick up some hissing from your source. It did produce some with my OnePlus 5t, just so you know. I’ll concentrate on more audiophile class sources though.

Astell&Kern – SP1000M

The SP1000M is one of my favourites from AK so far. Truth is, I pick it over the SP1000 pretty much any time when I’m on the go. It’s just so much more portable than their current flagship.

The combination of Diana and SP1000M works very well in my opinion. You get superbly layered and resolved sound of high quality. Bass is well controlled and dynamic with great body. Mids are emotion filled and enjoy good levels of transparency. The texture is on the softer side.

There is impressive richness in the sound of this combo, and it’s something to really enjoy your tracks with. There is good dynamics in the low ends with proper punch.

Male vocals sound really immersive while their female colleagues sound a bit off. The air around the instruments is particular warm with the SP1000M here. Instrumental separation does not perform at its best, but I know some people really like warmer pairings, and that’s what this here is.

Details are brought out well with good resolution. The sound stage stretches in almost even dimensions in width and depth, but it goes a tad wider than it goes deep.

Astell&Kern Diana

Astell&Kern Diana

Lotoo – PAW Gold Touch

The Lotoo is my personal reference unit, not just because I use it on a daily basis, but also because of its superb reference tuning. It tells me exactly how a product sounds, no matter if it’s an IEM or an amplifier. The signal it spits is very clean and there is no obvious preference of any frequency region.

The Lotoo does create a nicely balanced and warm sounding pairing with the Diana. There is excellent transparency coming through the Lotoo. You get a tighter sounding bass with good dynamics and punch. The body is excellent throughout, where every musician just gets the perfect weight. It doesn’t sound too thick nor too thin.

Lower mids are nicely vibrant, where deep vocals again shine the most. Mid and upper bass are particularly dynamic and make my feet bounce with the right rhythm. Depending on how much is going on in the lower segments the upper midrange can become slightly veiled.

There is good richness in the sound, where everything has the right amount of wetness. Again, the Diana is not a dry sounding monitor at all. Layering, resolution and texture are all top, where I find the Diana to perform on an outstanding level of layering especially. It seems to place the different segments of music neatly in front of each other, without covering any of them.

Treble does have good shimmer and energy, but does have the tendency to become veiled by the lower end instruments.

On the final page you’ll find more sources, comparisons and the conclusion.

4.5/5 - (218 votes)

A daytime code monkey with a passion for audio and his kids, Linus tends to look at gear with a technical approach, trying to understand why certain things sound the way they do. When there is no music around, Linus goes the extra mile and annoys the hell out of his colleagues with low level beatboxing.


  • Reply May 28, 2019

    Pablo Acevedo

    These iems look fantastic.Hope I can win one.

  • Reply February 13, 2020


    Fine review! Tell me how Diana will play with Opus # 1S ?

    • Reply February 13, 2020


      Hi Aleksandr,
      sorry, no access to the Opus #1S. So I can’t tell you.

  • Reply February 13, 2020


    Thank you that answered!

  • Reply October 12, 2020

    Sound nood

    How does it compare against sub 500 $ iems or below? Is it better than them outright? What would you recommend other than Diana under 700$ and 400$? Thank you

  • Reply February 5, 2021


    The Diana is now down to $180 here in Japan, which is what I paid for the Billie Jean just a few months ago. I don’t really need another pair of IEMs, but at this price I think I’d be a fool not to grab a pair!

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