Astell & Kern's flagship A&ultima SP2000 player boasts 512GB storage

Astell & Kern unveils flagship A&ultima SP2000 music player

Remember Astell & Kern's daftly-named A&ultima SP1000 portable music player that launched last autumn? Well, now it has a daftly-named sibling, as well as a dedicated amplifier module.

Hot on the heels of its Kann Cube player announcement last month, A&K has revealed an all-new flagship player.

The A&ultima SP2000 sits at the top of the brand’s flagship A&ultima line above the SP1000, and utilises two top-of-the-line Asahi Kasei DACs (AKM AK4499EQ) in a dual-mono configuration.

It’s the first A&K player to support 32-bit/768kHz PCM and native DSD512 files, and also the first to use separate audio channels between the unbalanced and balanced outputs, through which impressive levels of power - 3Vrms and 6Vrms respectively - are achievable.

Elsewhere is an octa-core CPU, a whopping 512GB of internal memory (the SP1000 'only' has 256GB), MQA support (pending final certification), and dual-band wi-fi with a stereo antenna for improved network stability during music streaming. 

The A&ultima SP2000 is very much cut from the same cloth as its siblings where aesthetics go, available in either stainless steel or copper chassis, with a 5in touchscreen and a uniquely patterned volume/power wheel. It will be available in July for £2999/$3500.

Those attending High End Munich this week will have the opportunity to listen to NativeDSD Music’s specially produced 'NativeDSD Presents: 5 Tracks in DSD 512' sampler through the SP2000. 

Then there's the SP1000 AMP (pictured above), a new amplifier module for the SP100, designed to provide more power to drive more demanding headphones.

The module, which acts as a dock for the SP1000 player to keep the form and control seamless and integrated, is capable of delivering high-gain balanced 10 Vrms and unbalanced 6.2 Vrms power output. Its 3,700mA battery supports 9 hours of music playback from a single charge, too. The SP1000 AMP is priced $800 (UK pricing tbc) and will be available in June.

Astell & Kern's new high-end in-ears (pictured above), meanwhile, see the company expand its partnership with Beyerdynamic. The AKT9iE IEMs - successors to the AKT8iEs - are optimised for use with the company's portable music players, and feature a newly developed acoustic vent port and filter designed to improve bass and treble performance, as well as a pure silver and OCC hybrid cable. 

The AKT9iEs are available in July for $1100 (again, UK pricing tbc).

MORE: Best portable music players 2019: from budget to hi-res


Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.