Story by Brendan Hesse, via our site partner, Digital Trends /
Astell&Kern has just unveiled its all-new line of hi-res portable audio players, the A&ultima line. And while the name may look strange on the page, the debut player, the SP1000, is kicking off the new series in style.
Like all of Astell&Kern’s hi-res players, the SP1000 touts impressive specs to go along with its stylish new design. The player has been outfitted with dual AK4497EQ DAC (digital-to-analog converter) chips, with an individual chip dedicated to the left and right channels for better stereo separation, a redesigned user interface aims to put music playback front and center, and an Octa-Core CPU. A&K claims the powerful new CPU not only allows for swift boot-up speeds, but also near lag-free playback for massive hi-res tracks at up to 384kHz/32-bit (if you can ever find anything at that resolution, that is). The player also offers native playback of DSD files up to 11.2MHz.
For connection, the SP1000 includes a USB 3.0 port for brisk data transfer to your computer (twice as fast as previous A&K players, according to the company), and boasts 256GB of internal memory, as well as support for up to 512GB of expansion storage with a microSD card. The SP1000 also features fast charging (two hours from empty), and an impressive 12 hours of playback time.
As for physical design, the player features a bezel-less, 5-inch LCD screen to maximize space, and a new multi-function wheel on the side to control both volume and power. The SP1000 will launch in both stainless steel (a cool $3,500) and luscious copper (pricing not yet disclosed). Even at the low end, that’s near the top of A&K’s portable lineup, but the technology powering the new SP1000 should hopefully make it worth the investment for the most discerning listeners with deep pockets.
Pre-orders for the SP1000 began on May 18, and the player is slated for full release in July. More A&ultimate players will be announced in the future.
Go to the A&K site for more information.