A&K flagship DAP combines luxury design with high-end audio tech
Folks who are serious about their mobile music will already be familiar with South Korea's Astell&Kern, which consistently aims high and is always pushing audio-quality envelopes. And so it is for the launch of its newest flagship portable music player, the A&ultima SP3000.
A&K's digital audio players all share a similar boxy design rocking diamond shapes and sculpted angles, but the latest flagship is the first portable player in the world to boast a watch-grade 904L stainless steel body, resulting in "an object of beauty that made to last." It also matches the body material with a funky watch-style crown for volume control, with colored status lighting.
Other firsts include independent Dual Audio Circuitry, which separates the balanced and unbalanced output, and a debut for the new flagship AK4499EX digital-to-analog-conversion chip from Asahi Kasei, which is employed in a Hexa DAC structure that makes use of multiple converters to allow digital and analog processing to be handled separately.
The company has developed a new graphical user interface that's accessed via the 5.46-inch HD (1,080 x 1,920) touch display for ease of use, and the player makes use of Snapdragon 6125 octa-core brains supported by 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage plus up to 1 TB of microSD expansion.
Further refinements have been made to the company's Teraton Alpha technology, which marries noise removal, power management and amplification to deliver "audio playback that is as close as possible to the original sound." And A&K has included an option to generate a user-tunable loudspeaker listening feel to reduce fatigue, where the technology "mixes parts of the original signal from one channel and sends that signal to the opposite channel with a time difference to center the sound image."
Elsewhere, there's cooked-in dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 with support for high-resolution aptX HD and LDAC streaming, as well playback of MQA format, PCM files at up to 32-bit/768-kHz resolution and native DSD512. The 5,050-mAh Li-Po battery is reported good for around 10 hours of music playback.
A&K's SP3000 has all the hallmarks of an industry leading portable music player, and is reckoned to be such a good performer that it can also serve as a Roon Ready streaming hub for the living room hi-fi system when not grooving on the move.
Naturally, all of this high-end audio and luxury design goodness doesn't come cheap – it's up for pre-order now at an eye-watering US$3,699. Availability is pegged for October 17.
Product page: A&ultima SP3000