Astell & Kern – SP2000T Copper-Nickel Limited Edition
This version of the SP2000T is a limited run of just a few handful units. They are made of solid copper nickel. With the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T, Astell & Kern is once again expanding the already very well-stocked Astell & Kern A&ultima line with another outstanding portable hi-res audio player, a so-called DAP. This is clearly at the top of the product series.
standing above the previously available models Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000, Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000, and Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000M.
In principle, the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T is based on the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000, but it goes even further here because the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T has a tube-based output stage as a major innovation, whereby you can now choose between three operating modes can select during playback.
Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T – Based on the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000
The new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T is based on the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000. So it already has extremely exciting equipment, but should still raise the playback of audio data to a completely new level according to the manufacturer’s promise.
At its core, it is a portable hi-res audio player capable of playing content in a wide variety of formats. The spectrum ranges from MP3, Ogg Vorbis, APE, AAC, and WMA to ALAC, AIFF, WAV, FLAC, DFF, DSF, and MQA.
The signal processing allows resolutions in Linear PCM with up to 32-bit and 384 kHz. As well as native DSD signal processing up to DSD512.
Of course, the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T is also a DAP (digital audio player). That uses the Google Android operating system, but all solutions from Astell & Kern are designed in such a way that the user does not de facto use this operating system face. This is presented with a specially developed user interface.
The manufacturer does not reveal which processor the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T is based on. It only states that it is a quad-core CPU that is supported by 256 GB of NAND memory.
A slot for microSD cards is available for your own content. Storage media with a capacity of up to 1 TB are supported. More than enough space to always have your own media library with you when you travel.
In addition to a USB-C interface for data exchange or use as a portable D/A converter. The new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T naturally also offers Bluetooth, namely Bluetooth 5.0 from the specialist Qualcomm. So that LDAC is also supported in addition to aptX and aptX HD.
A special feature here is the Astell & Kern BT Sink, a function with which a smartphone can be connected to the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T via Bluetooth, for playback directly from the smartphone via the high-quality converter and the output stage of the portable Hi-res Audio players to enjoy.
A WiFi module according to IEEE 802.11ac is available for integration into the network. This not only allows direct access to various streaming offers but also allows streaming in the network.
The new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T is also equipped with Astell & Kern AK File Drop. Audio data can thus be transferred particularly easily to and from the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T.
Elegant design in Onyx Black
Of course, the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T also presents itself in the well-known design of the Astell & Kern A&ultima Series, with the case being made of stainless steel and shining in onyx black.
The Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T measures 141.1 mm in height, 78.1 mm in width, and only 17.5 mm in depth and thus weighs 309 g.
The front de facto occupies the entire display, which represents the central user interface. This is a 5-inch FHD touch display with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. A rotary encoder and a few buttons on the sides serve to support the intuitive operation.
There are three connection options for headphones. Namely a classic unbalanced version in the form of a 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack. But also a four-pole 2.5 mm jack and a 4.4 mm PENTACONN. Whereby the latter two are of course designed for the symmetrical connection of headphones.
It must be emphasized that the 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack can also be used as an optical S/PDIF interface.
A USB-C interface is available for data transfer via cable, which is also used to charge the integrated battery. This is designed as a 4,200 mAh 3.8 V lithium-polymer battery. It should allow a playing time of up to nine hours.
It is charged in 3.5 hours if you use a power supply with fast charging. But if you use the 5 V that is usual with USB, charging takes around five hours.
Quad DAC for ultimate perfection
The signal processing of the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T takes place via a so-called quad-DAC configuration. In fact, four DACs of the type ESS ES9068AS are used here.
So there are two D/A converters per channel, according to the manufacturer, that can achieve a particularly detailed, dynamic sound free of any artifacts and with minimal noise.
Astell & Kern TERATON ALPHA Sound Solution
Astell & Kern’s TERATON ALPHA Sound Solution was a key feature of the last models introduced. The manufacturer speaks of a Next-Generation Amp Technology.
This new Astell & Kern TERATON ALPHA Sound Solution should not only refer to special amplifier circuits. But also include the audio interface as an interface between the D/A converter and amplifier. As well as the power supply for the amplifier stage.
Astell & Kern TERATON ALPHA Sound Solution is the ultimate sound solution from Astell & Kern for creating faithful audio reproduction through effective noise reduction, and efficient power consumption. Uncompromising amplification via the audio output interface, according to the company about this new technology.
Triple AMP system
A very special feature of the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T is the triple AMP system used here, as the manufacturer emphasizes. An output stage built using the finest OP amps is available here in a tried and tested manner.
The new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T also has a tube output stage, based on the Korg Nutube 6P1. This represents the second option, and the third variant is a so-called hybrid model. Which is intended to combine the best of both worlds.
Astell & Kern speaks of an extremely clear and dynamic reproduction in the OP Amp Mode. Whereas the Tube Amp Mode delivers a unique, warm, and round sound. The Hybrid Amp Mode represents a fresh combination of retro vibes and high-resolution output, according to the company.
- By the way, just as Astell & Kern visualizes the different resolutions on the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T using different colors of an LED strip – 16 bit, 24 bit, and 32 bit. The respective amp mode is now also displayed, red for the OP amp mode. Orange for Tube Amp Mode, and Turquoise for Hybrid Amp Mode.
Finally, it should be mentioned that Astell & Kern speaks of a particularly high-quality structure for the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T. Special construction measures are used to prevent microphonic effects in the built-in tubes.
The tubes are installed on their own circuit board, which is fixed with a flexible silicone cover. The shielding inside has also been optimized once again, whereby the company speaks of Silver Plating Shield Can.
Last Thought about Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T
With the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T. The specialist for personal audio devices Astell & Kern wants to offer an outstanding solution in the field of portable hi-res audio players.
The new flagship of the Astell & Kern A&ultima Series shines above all with a new tube-based output stage. Whereby the user can choose between three modes – OP Amp, Tube Amp, or Hybrid Amp.
A structure with Quad-DAC and Astell & Kern TERATON ALPHA Sound Solution should also contribute to the fact that the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T is a true high-end solution. The T in the name stands for True-sound philosophy, Timeless value, Triple Amp System, and Tube Vintage Vacuum Tube Amplifier.