Consider portable music players, and the Astell & Kern Kann maintains a commanding place on the throne. I’m a fan myself of this larger than life device with its brilliant interface and audio sensibilities. A few iterations later, we come to the Astell&Kern A&ultima SP2000, a new star in player heaven, if you will.
A mere few months after launch, there’s great news for A&K fans, as the A&ultima SP2000 has been named a CES 2020 Innovation Awards Honoree in the Portable Media Player and Accessories Category. As a member of the judging panel as well, it was a honor to vote on this as well.
The SP2000 features two of the latest flagship Asahi Kasei DACs, the AKM AK4499EQ, arranged in a dual-mono configuration to provide a wider soundstage and better stereo separation.
So what’s special? The SP2000 is the first Astell&Kern player to use separate, independent audio channels between the Unbalanced and Balanced outputs. This means 6Vrms for Balanced output and 3Vrms for Unbalanced output, while two of Kasei AK4499EQ DACs, arranged in a dual-mono configuration provide a wider soundstage and better stereo separation.
The first A&K player to support 32-bit/768kHz PCM and native DSD512 files, it also features an Octa-Core CPU, a 5-inch touchscreen, 512GB of internal memory, MQA support, microSD card slot supporting up to 1TB microSD cards and dual-band Wi-Fi with a stereo antenna, for improved network performance when streaming music. Available in Stainless Steel and Copper bodies, the A&ultima SP2000 will retail at $3,499. In our part of the world, head to Dubai Audio, aficionados of hi-end sound and Astell&Kern’s distributor in the Middle East.