In this Picture Sunday post we take a brief look at the Astell&Kern Diana. The latest IEM in collaboration with IEM pioneer JH Audio.
Disclaimer: This is part of our Picture Sunday series, where we take a first look at gear in the review queue. To check out the other Picture Sunday posts click here.
Those of you who read our reviews on a regular basis know that we all speak highly of JH Audio monitors here on Headfonia. They all have a very unique signature that’s really clicking with us. Lieven has just recently reviewed the JH 13V2, if you want to read a love story, go read his article. Berkhan calls his Angie irreplaceable, I myself enjoy my Layla on a regular review-break basis. The only one that doesn’t have a JH is Nano. Nano, you suck! Just kidding, you know I love you and your crazy hair.
When Astell&Kern approached us to review the Diana IEM, I couldn’t help myself but grin. Another JH collaboration monitor is always welcome here. It was harder than I thought to get this particular review unit. Fedex decided to screw around with me a little, but in the end we made it possible, and today we’re taking a first look at this beautiful IEM.
Let’s talk build first. The Diana is probably the nicest made universal IEM I have held to date. Aside from having a gorgeous colour match with the striking red and gun metal mix, it’s simply the damn finest and best finished IEM out there. Both logos, the JH flygirl and the AK A are perfectly CNC’d and slightly stand out on a face plate that impersonates a guitar’s pick. Makes sense, I mean, it’s a JH Audio IEM, a monitor from a brand that works with pretty much every good musician out there.
I can’t help myself, but when I look at the Diana, I think of an engine of a sports car. I really don’t know why, but it’s the first thing that comes to my mind. One thing is odd about the Diana though, the keen eye might have already spotted it in the pictures. The 2-pin sockets are twisted by 90°. The only reason I can think of for doing this, is to safe space. This virtually kills every possibility to cable-roll with the Diana.
Sound wise, the Diana sports the typical full bodied sound we know from the other JH Audio IEMs. It’s incredibly rich and lush. If you like good vocals, you should listen to the Diana. It sings beautifully, but there are downsides. Its main focus is on the lower frequencies, making it a little difficult for higher pitched notes to shine as much as they could. Its signature reminded me a lot of the Phantom’s by Empire Ears. Both are impressive performers for male vocals and lower pitched instruments. For the lovers of a warm tuning, something smooth and relaxed, this could well be the best option under 1,000$.
The full review of the Diana will come in a few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled and watch this place.