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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

    Written by John

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

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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