Astell & Kern’s newest moveable music participant is as high-tech as it’s extravagantly costly. The $2,399 A&ultima SP2000T releases in October, and it stands out from the model’s earlier fashions just like the Kann and Kann Dice with a brand new triple amp system. This stuff are by no means inexpensive, and the worth may appear particularly on the market for those who’re content material with listening to music from a streaming service in your telephone. However there’s some actual engineering swagger in impact right here.

Astell & Kern managed to suit a tiny tube amp inside this system. Particularly, it makes use of a Korg Nutube 6P1, which conceptually operates identical to bigger tube amps, solely it’s sufficiently small to slot in a tool that may go in your pocket. To keep away from any interference that the resonance of the tubes would possibly generate, Astell & Kern says it developed a modular construction on the PCB only for the tubes, fixing them with silicone to reduce vibrations. The very best a part of the press launch is that it says its design “uses magnetic forces to float the amp in the air to reduce internal noise.”

Audiophiles studying this have each proper to be skeptical that Astell & Kern can reproduce the impact of a tube amp with such minuscule {hardware}, but it surely at the very least deserves some credit score for attempting. Test it out in motion beneath.


Whenever you’re utilizing the A&ultima SP2000T, it’ll allow you to change between its OP-AMP setting for “ultra-clarity and a dynamic playback,” the tube amp mode for a “uniquely warm” sound, and a hybrid mode that blends the very best of each modes into one. Moreover, this mannequin has an ESS ES9068AS quad DAC for additional enhancing the way in which your music sounds. That is apparently Astell & Kern’s first participant to characteristic a quad DAC, in addition to the Replay Achieve utility, which adjusts the amount of all your music (as much as 24-bit / 192kHz) to the identical stage, so one track isn’t quieter than the opposite.

Astell & Kern A&Ultima SP2000T

Picture: Astell & Kern

Now, for some specs. The participant is suitable with 2.5mm, 3.5mm, and 44.mm plugs. It has a five-inch 1080p touchscreen, which is likely to be the least spectacular factor about it. You’ll be able to cost it and switch recordsdata through its USB-C port. It’s additionally Wi-Fi prepared, supporting the corporate’s AK File Drop utility that permits you to switch recordsdata wirelessly through PC, telephone, and even an FTP on the identical community. You’ll clearly get the very best sound high quality with a set of high-end, wired headphones or earphones, but it surely additionally helps Bluetooth 5.0 with 24-bit aptX HD and LDAC codec help. Lastly, it has 256GB of flash storage in-built, but it surely helps as much as 1TB through microSD. It has a 4,200mAh battery, which the corporate says will get you about 9 hours of FLAC playback.

For individuals with the kind of price range that permits this sort of buy, this looks like one thing you might need to attempt before you purchase. It’s potential that Astell & Kern created one thing nice that defies its pocket-sized stature, but it surely’s simply as seemingly that this has some overly formidable first-gen quirks to iron out. You’ll have the ability to discover out your self when it releases in October.

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