Astell&Kern SP3000 Flagship DAP Comes Wrapped in 904L Stainless Steel
Astell & Kern's A&ultima SP3000 sports independent Dual Audio Circuitry, AK4499EX DACs, and a Snapdragon 6125 Octa-Core processor housed in luxurious Swiss watch-grade 904L stainless steel.
The A&ultima SP3000 is Astell&Kern's new portable music player and promises to be the intersection of luxury and innovation. As the SP3000 is the new flagship DAP from the South Korean class leader, we are told to expect all the latest tech to be able to play every digital audio codec, including MQA and Native DSD 512, as well as it being Roon Ready.
However, what adds a decadent dose of luxury is the unit's body, crafted from 904L stainless steel - a lustrous metal you generally see used for the cases of high-end Swiss watches such as those from Rolex, Omega, and Ball, to name but a few. We've already been hands-on, and it feels as good as you might expect! As well as being a bragging point to share with watch collectors, the steel has been chosen as it's incredibly durable and resistant to corrosion.
The A&ultima SP3000 sports a new user interface via its 5.46-inch HD touchscreen and apparently has bragging rights to being the world's first digital audio player with independent Dual Audio Circuitry. The result is complete separation of balanced and unbalanced output which is said to allow for the purest possible sonic reproduction and work as a hub for your main hi-fi system, too!
Another feather in its gorgeous metal cap is it's also the first to use the new flagship AK4499EX DAC chip from Asahi Kasei in its HEXA - Audio Structure. The SP3000's HEXA DAC structure comprises four AK4499EX chips (Dual DACx2) and a pair of AK4191EQ DAC chips. These, alongside the independent dual audio circuit, are paired with TERATON ALPHA's sound solution. The result is decoding up to 32bit/768kHz bit-to-bit playback and the promise of an “incredibly authentic sound”. Furthermore, you shouldn't need to keep altering the volume between tracks either, as ReplayGain technology keeps your listening at the volume level of your choice.
Thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 6125 Octa-Core processor, you get Bluetooth 5 and high-resolution aptX-HD and LDAC wireless streaming. Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz) is also onboard. For wired connections, the SP3000 has a 3.5mm unbalanced out (0.7ohm), Optical Out (3.5mm), as well as a 2.5mm 4-pole (1.7ohm) and 4.4mm 5-pole balanced output (1.6ohm). There's also a USB C port for charging or connecting to a PC or Mac.
The 139.4mm x 82.4mm x 18.3mm (HxWxD) player weighs a reassuringly solid 493g. It is topped off by a wonderfully tactile watch-style crown control, making it a much more refined and friendlier way to find your favourite tracks, whether stored on the 256GB built-in memory, 1TB micro SD card or via streaming services.
We're told to expect around 10 hours of play time from the 5,050mAh 3.8V Li-Po battery after 3.5hours of QC3.0 charging.
Not that the Astell&Kern A&ultima SP3000 needs protecting, but an extra layer of luxury is provided by the premium leather case made by ALRAN, who has been hand-crafting leather in Tarn, France, since 1903.
The Astell&Kern A&ultima SP3000 is now available to pre-order in black or silver from specialist retailers, with a suggested retail price of US$3,699.
StereoNET’s resident rock star, bass player, and gadget junkie. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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