Astell & Kern has revealed its latest high-end portable audio player, the A&Ultima SP3000, with a striking design constructed of high-quality 904L stainless steel – the same grade used for Rolex watches.
The A&Ultima SP3000 is the first portable music player to use the new flagship AK4499EX DAC chip from AKM with a HEXA DAC structure that separates digital and analogue signal processing. There’s also independent dual audio circuitry with complete separation of balanced and unbalanced outputs. All of which Astell & Kern says helps the SP3000 produce an authentic, noise-free sound.
Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 6125 Octa-Core processor, the SP3000 runs an overhauled version of Astell & Kern’s Android user interface, now in its 4th generation, accessible by a generous 5.46-inch HD touch screen.
With wi-fi connectivity and Bluetooth 5 supporting aptX-HD and LDAC streaming, the SP3000 can handle a comprehensive inventory of audio formats, including FLAC, AIFF, MQA and Native DSD512. There’s also wide-ranging music streaming service compatibility, and it's Roon Ready, meaning the SP3000 can easily be used as a hub for a hi-fi system. But if you do want to take it out and about, there’s a claimed 10 hours of playback for standard content (FLAC, 16-bit, 44.1kHz).
The Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 is available for pre-order now, priced at £3800 / AU$5499 (around $4405) in a choice of black and silver finishes, which Astell & Kern say are highly durable and resistant to corrosion. A hand-finished leather case made by French brand Alran is included for a bit of extra protection.
Astell & Kern has also revealed a new collaboration with luxury in-ear monitors (IEMs) brand Empire Ears to produce a pair of wired in-ear headphones designed to partner with its portable players. Combining drivers and technology from Empire Ears with Astell & Kern’s component selection and tuning, the Odyssey IEMs feature a massive 10-driver Quadbrid system. Crammed inside are twin W9+ subwoofers, five balanced armatures, dual electrostatics and a W10 bone conductor for good measure.
Available in a hand-made multi-lamination design, the Odyssey will launch in the final quarter of 2022, priced at £3500 / AU$4999 (around $4057).
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