Two new products have swiftly entered the field for digital audio player company Astell & Kern. Of most recent note, a new flagship piece to sit atop the field of other high end players by the name of A&ultima SP1000 ($3,499). The external form factor is slimmed down a just bit from the previous king AK380, but several improvements under the hood make this year’s crop of players even more enticing.
We were invited to a private presentation by AK’s American Lead Owen Kwon where he laid out some of the recent updates to the two new players, including the new mid tier portable called KANN ($1k). While the changing tide of digital audio technologies hasn’t quite been able to keep up with AK’s fast-paced product cycle, the concentration on two products feels a bit more intentional this time around with the density growth of the company’s current offerings.
From the presentation it even appeared that AK has already put a hard squeeze from a digital audio tech standpoint into the players, opting for a renewed focus on amplification and analog improvements to further the possibility of improved sound quality. The new SP1000 does offer a few perks across the board however. Vs. the AK380 the new flagship offers an Octa-core CPU, updated AKM chipset (AK4497EQ dual DAC) larger screen and USB 3.0 with faster charging. Their will also be a frame material option of either stainless steel or copper.
The balanced output of the SP1000 has been upped to 3.9Vrms which is accessible from a 2.5mm 4-pole connection. Other output options include the standard 3.5mm headphone and optical jacks. As with the AK380, DSD is converted natively with resolutions available up to DSD256 as well as a full place of PCM options and file formats (no MQA yet).
You can read more about the KANN from our coverage of the press release. Check out the embed below for all the details about the new SP1000 flagship in full moving pictures from AK’s Jimmy Moon.