The Roksan K3 has some big shoes to fill. Up until a few years ago, its Kandy K2 stablemate was one of our favourites at the price.
The K3 is hoping to score a similar success, but at a new price, jumping from just under £1000 to £1250.
Build and design
It does have a few new tricks up its sleeve. For a start, while it resembles its little brother visually, the audio path has been completely redesigned in a desire to offer a clearer stereo performance, while the power supply section has also been enhanced to increase efficiency.
As with the K2 BT, Roksan has also squeezed in aptX Bluetooth to the K3, opening it up to use with streaming services and portable devices - as well as your entire analogue sources. On the back of the K3, you’ll find five line-level ins and a moving-magnet phono stage.
There’s also a single set of pre-outs and a bypass input, allowing you to route the left and right channels of a home cinema set-up through the K3 by bypassing the pre-amp.
On the front is a Bluetooth button for switching the amp into pairing mode, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s more elegance to the K3’s look compared with its cheaper sibling, its brushed aluminium available in ‘charcoal’, ‘anthracite’ or ‘opium’.
It’s a slick, clean design but we would like a little more solidity to the controls – the volume control wobbled on our sample. The front panel is taken up by a handful of pretty, self-explanatory controls.
You can select your input by using the buttons that allow you to scroll left and right through the various indicators that light up when selected.
Roksan has managed to get even more output from the K3 compared with the K2 BT, with 150W into eight ohms - making it the perfect companion for blowing away some cobwebs. It delivers a really big and confident sound – probably the largest we’ve heard at this price – with a wide soundstage that reaches to the very edges of the room.
If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere you can really push the volume up high, this amp will take it without ever losing control. It’s punchy too, the bassline in Drake’s Under Ground Kings sounding solid and controlled, and there’s texture and detail on offer too, delivering extra depth and insight.
The melody and bassline weave together with agility and drive in a very cohesive and fluid presentation. There’s real energy to it as well, filling the intro to Of Monsters and Men’s Mountain Sound with bounce and verve.
The wide soundstage allows instruments and vocals plenty of space to breathe, and detail retrieval is excellent as well. Dynamically it’s superb too. This might be a powerhouse of an amp, but it also knows how to convey the softer, more fragile moments in music.
India Arie’s sultry Ready For Love has an emotional depth that is not lost on this amp. Arie’s voice is filled with texture and expression (there’s both strength and softness here) and the Roksan’s able to deliver it all so you feel every last word.
Feed it Kanye West’s Send it Up, and it’ll deliver it with all the grit and vigour that the track needs. It’s probably in these big energy moments that the K3 shines the best, but it has the ability to do it all, and do it well.
Switch to Bluetooth and the Roksan’s well-balanced character deals well with the drop in quality, never sounding hard or harsh. Of course there’s the expected drop in standard, but it’s a forgiving, perfectly listenable performance.
Roksan is back on its A-game with the K3, which is nothing short of a superb amp for the price. For a fun, lively amp that can’t fail to keep you entertained, the Roksan K3 is one to consider.