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Astell&Kern talk A&Ultima SP1000, modularity, MQA

  • A&Ultima SP1000 is the new flagship player from Astell&Kern: Asahi Kasei AK4497EQ chipset; one DAC per channel for “wider soundstage and better stereo separation”; Octa-Core CPU for faster boot time, more responsive GUI (redesigned and now running on a 5″ ‘HD’ screen); greater output power; lower distortion; USB C connector for faster file transfer; 12 hour battery life. Stainless steel model (US$3499) available mid June. Copper version to come in July.

    That’s the news but what’s the story?

    As evidenced by their spaceship-like booth at Munich High-End 2017 – and every year larger than any other DAP manufacturer – Astell&Kern are leaders in their field: digital audio players. Like the KANN before it, the SP1000 reflects Astell&Kern’s greater responsiveness to community feedback. The people want less lag from their DAP’s GUI and more output power from its headphone socket.

    Here we see the camera-shy Owen Kwon talk us through the SP1000’s basics:

    Note: Kwon confirms that MQA support is “a matter of time” but, more interestingly, that Astell&Kern will open up the SP1000’s modular platform so that third party manufacturers may bring clip-on modules to market. For example, juicier external amplifiers or ADC/field recorders.

    Further information: Astell&Kern


    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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