Earlier this year DAP maker Astell & Kern signaled that they would be extending each of the three new, refined player tiers beyond the launch products into deeper territory. The first addition was announced this week in the form of a slimmed-down version of the new flagship SP1000.
The SP1000M touts a slightly smaller 4.1 inch screen (vs. 5) and is significantly lighter. I have always been partial to the robust weight of audiophile flagship DAP, including Sony’s golden efforts, but the obvious implications to mobility definitely beckon for multiple options within the line. And perhaps the “M” here stands for just that. While color preferences are as varied as favorite ice cream flavors, the blue finish does drive a nice contrast against the sea of traditional black and silver options (at least from these initial images).
Digital duties are two AK4497EQ chips, one for each channel. The CPU is an Octa-Core for reduced lag in playback and connectivity now utilized via 3.0 USB-C. Expect retail pricing for this new mobility to set you back $2,399 USD, with shipping starting in October. The new SP1000M will be at the upcoming Rocky Mountain Audiofest show, so we will make sure to grab some initial impressions to let you know how things panned out.
Tucked into the last paragraph of the press release was also a very notable addition to the corporate messaging, an incoming firmware debut with the new player that promises Android APK support. Simply put, this would allow a much larger cross section of streaming options onto the player – including high resolution options not currently available on the device. All good things, more details below.
“Astell&Kern Adds to A&ultima Flagship Player Line with the SP1000M
The SP1000M Packs Flagship Player Features into a Smaller Size
Irvine, CA — Astell&Kern, a global leader in portable high-resolution audio players and accessories, announces a new player in their flagship player line, the A&ultima SP1000M. The SP1000M is a smaller-sized flagship player based on the 2018 CES Best Of Innovations Award-winning SP1000 player. The new SP1000M will retail for $2,399 and will be available in the US in October 2018.
The SP1000M features a 4.1-inch HD screen vs the 5-inch screen on the SP1000 and the weight of the new SP1000M player has been reduced by almost half of the full-sized SP1000. The A&ultima SP1000M will make its official US debut at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, October 5 – 8, 2018.
The A&ultima line of players by Astell&Kern feature the latest technology and high-end audio performance that is available in a portable player. The A&ultima SP1000M is equipped with two AK4497EQ DACs. A separate DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) is dedicated to each independent left and right audio channel, producing a wider soundstage and better stereo separation. With the addition of an Octa-Core CPU, the A&ultima SP1000M not only boots faster, but is able to process digital audio playback without lag or compromise in sound. This will provide the ultimate sound experience of any player currently on the market. Astell&Kern’s advanced audio design and signal management technologies used in the A&ultima SP1000M brings more power output with less noise and minimal distortion.
Equipped with a 4.1 inch, HD-resolution screen, the A&ultima SP1000M provides sharp images and vivid colors to display album art, music playback and player information. The redesigned, music-centric GUI that debuted on the full-sized SP1000 is also used on the SP1000M. USB Type-C 3.0 support allows data transfers that are twice as fast as other Astell&Kern players. The A&ultima SP1000 also provides 10 hours of music playback and includes support for fast charging.
The SP1000M is available in Lapis Blue and features an all-aluminum body. The SP1000M includes 128GB of internal memory with one microSD card slot supporting additional memory (largest microSD cards currently available in retail are 512GB, which are supported).
Additional features of the A&ultima SP1000M include support of native playback of 32-bit/384kHz high-resolution PCM audio and native playback of DSD audio, up to Quad-rate (DSD256), 4.2Vrms Balanced output, a Parametric EQ (PEQ), VCXO Reference Clock (Femto Clock) for minimal jitter, Wi-Fi connectivity, support for the AK Connect app, USB DAC function, DLNA networking support, OTA software updates, digital audio output via USB, apt X HD Bluetooth, and support for high-resolution music streaming services including TIDAL, MOOV and Groovers+ (support for streaming services varies by country).
New firmware will debut with the SP1000M that adds Android APK support, allowing users to install additional music streaming services to their player by simply copying and installing the corresponding APK file for the music service they wish to add.
Astell&Kern is a high-end luxury brand specializing in high-resolution audio products and accessories launched in October 2012 by IRIVER. Astell&Kern’s goal is to provide customers with the ultimate digital music source that delivers Mastering Quality Sound or MQS, supporting high-resolution digital audio up to 32-bit/384 kHz PCM and Quad-rate DSD. The brand mission is to provide natural and original sound without distortion or compression so that listeners can enjoy music the way the artist, producers and recording engineers intended it to be heard. Our products offer the exact presence with every detail you couldn’t have noticed from other music systems, The Way Music is Meant to be Heard!