The latest digital music player A&Ultima SP3000 from Astell&Kern promises first-class sound thanks to a high-quality Quad DAC and flagship amplifier. If desired, Bluetooth headphones are also supported via aptX HD and LDAC. At least when it comes to the processor, Astell&Kern saves.
According to the manufacturer, the brand new Astell&Kern A&Ultima SP3000 is the first sound player in the world to use high-quality 904L stainless steel, which is also used for the housing of some Rolex watches. This steel is harder to process than general stainless steel. However, due to its excellent durability and corrosion resistance, it has a characteristic that does not lose its beauty.
The volume is controlled via a large rotary wheel on the side, which hides an LED ring that lights up in different colors depending on the quality of music being played, from purple for DSD512 to red for “only” 16-bit. The music is converted from digital to analog by an AKM4499EX quad DAC – Asahi Kasei’s new flagship DAC was only announced in April 2022, making the A&Ultima SP3000 one of the first players based on this chip.
Astell&Kern specifies a distortion factor of 0.0004% (THD+N @ 1 kHz) and a signal-to-noise ratio of 130 dB. The internal memory is 256 GB, the microSD card reader accepts memory cards up to 1 TB. The 5,050 mAh battery allows ten hours of music playback (FLAC, 16-bit, 44.1 kHz, 80 percent volume), charging via USB-C. The 5.46-inch touchscreen offers a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.
Wireless headphones can also be connected via Bluetooth 5.0, including support for Qualcomm aptX HD and Sony LDAC. The 18.3 millimeters thick, 493-gram music player saves on the processor – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 offers performance that can compete with most music players, but the mid-range chip from 2019 is no longer quite up-to-date.
A&Ultima SP3000 price and release date
The Astell&Kern A&Ultima SP3000 is priced at $3,699 on Bhphotovideo.com, and pre-order starts at 10 pm ET, September 15. Sales are scheduled to start on October 17, 2022.
Earlier this year, Astell&Kern introduced the KANN MAX portable music player with size and capacity of up to 15Vrms when listening through the balance port. It comes with aptX HD and LDAC Bluetooth codecs for high-quality wireless music transmission. In addition, the digital audio player also supports 3.5mm, balanced 2.5mm, and 4.4mm connectors. It is already listed on the Bhphotovideo.com store at $1,299.