Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T

4 months ago 86

The Astell & Kern A&ultimata SP2000t portable euphony subordinate boasts a distinctive look, impeccable sound, and extended specifications - but with a hefty terms tag.


  • Deeply awesome across-the-board sound
  • Lavishly specified
  • Undeniable pridefulness of ownership


  • Large and dense by prevailing ‘portable’ standards
  • Easily considered expensive

The Astell & Kern A&ultimata SP2000t portable euphony subordinate boasts a distinctive look, impeccable sound, and extended specifications - but with a hefty terms tag.


  • +

    Deeply awesome across-the-board sound

  • +

    Lavishly specified

  • +

    Undeniable pridefulness of ownership


  • -

    Large and dense by prevailing ‘portable’ standards

  • -

    Easily considered expensive

  • -

One-minute review

Sometimes, concessions person to beryllium made. The Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T portable euphony player has an uninspired name, yes. It costs a batch of money, true. And it plays accelerated and escaped with the explanation of the connection ‘portable’. But if you privation a premium integer audio acquisition portion you’re retired and about, don’t look (or listen) immoderate further. The SP2000T sounds superb. 

Some of this is undoubtedly owed to the hair-raising level of specification that’s incorporated here. Two amplifier stages connection 7 chiseled options, portion nary less than 4 DACs are deployed to grip 2 channels of audio information. The SP2000T is unconcerned by integer audio record size oregon type, and it volition happily powerfulness immoderate (and I mean any) brace of headphones you attraction to mention.

What else? Well, the power interface is cleanable and responsive. The subordinate itself is not truthful overmuch built arsenic sculpted. Even the artillery beingness is half-decent. And (as mentioned once, and not for the past time) the audio prime it’s susceptible of delivering is genuinely outstanding. 

The SP2000T is simply a profoundly accomplished integer audio player, and it volition support you entertained and informed each time long. Just arsenic agelong arsenic you tin warrant the not-inconsiderable outlay to yourself.  

the backmost  of the astell & kern sp2000t portable euphony  player

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T terms and merchandise date

  • Available now
  • $2,399 / £1,999 / AU$3,599

The Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T is connected merchantability now. That’s each good and good, but overmuch much applicable is the asking price: successful the United Kingdom it sells for a lb abbreviated of £2K. American customers hoping to maximize their portable audio acquisition volition request to enactment $2,399 aside, portion successful Australia you’re looking astatine AU$3,599. 

So we tin safely presume the mainstream volition disregard this product. In fact, unless the SP2000T tin marque a watertight lawsuit for itself and its terms tag, the chances are the specialists volition disregard it too. No pressure, then.

a closeup of the astell & kern spt2000t mp3 player

(Image credit: TechRadar)


  • 309g
  • Angular, asymmetrical chassis
  • 141 x 78 x 18mm (H x W x D) 

 Astell & Kern established its plan vocabulary rather a portion ago, and it’s not astir to alteration present - surely not aft investing a batch of wealth connected fancy-pants metalworking machines. So the A&ultima SP2000T is edgy, pointy and somewhat unharmonious successful its shape; it could ne'er beryllium confused arsenic the merchandise of immoderate different brand. And arsenic seems lone sensible erstwhile asking this benignant of money, the SP2000T is constructed with the benignant of solidity much commonly associated with slope vaults - and it doesn’t measurement overmuch little than one, either.

Being a just spot bigger successful each absorption than adjacent the biggest smartphone does astatine slightest mean there’s plentifulness of space, some wrong and out, for each the specification Astell & Kern has decided to deploy. If the SP2000T doesn’t diagnostic it, it’s due to the fact that it’s not worthy featuring.

Perhaps it’s the tri-amp constituent of the specification that’s astir instantly attention-grabbing. In summation to its customary OP AMP amplification, Astell & Kern has besides fitted the SP2000T with dual-triode KORG Nutube amplification - which is fundamentally an highly compact vacuum tube, oregon valve, amplification stage. 

This is the benignant of expensive, analyzable and fragile amplification beloved of audiophiles, but not the benignant of happening that tends to amusement up successful a portable integer audio player. The idiosyncratic tin prime 1 method oregon the different to amplify their headphones, oregon tin take 1 of the 5 antithetic hybrid settings that harvester the two.  

the surface  connected  the astell & kern sp2000t portable euphony  player

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Oh yes, headphones. It should spell without saying that the SP2000T demands high-end (and high-priced) headphones for you to bask the implicit audio acquisition - but astatine slightest Astell & Kern has fitted 3 headphone sockets. So you’re capable to deploy 2.5mm oregon 4.4mm balanced  headphones arsenic good arsenic the (much) much communal 3.5mmm unbalanced alternative. 

But earlier your integer audio accusation gets anyplace adjacent the amplification oregon the headphone output(s), it has to archetypal get connected board. Wireless connectivity is via Wi-Fi oregon Bluetooth - the second tin grip AAC, aptX-HD and LDAC codecs, truthful high-resolution wireless streaming is firmly connected the menu. 

Once the accusation is connected committee (the SP2000T is capable to grip immoderate record benignant you attraction to mention) it’s pored implicit by 4 ESS Sabre ES9068AS DACs, susceptible of handling record sizes from the poverty-spec Spotify free-tier assortment to immense DSD512 alternatives. And we deliberation it’s worthy saying that conscionable 1 much time: 4 DACs. Two for each channel. There’s ‘thoroughly specified’ and past there’s the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T.

Operating the SP2000T is done utilizing the large (5in), bright, afloat HD (1920 x 1080) capacitive touchscreen. If erstwhile Astell & Kern players person had a recurring anemic point, it’s been the prime (or otherwise) of their power interfaces - but present the surface is responsive. It’s besides cleanable and wide successful its typeface, and smooth-scrolling. Which is precisely however it should be.

Battery beingness is an adequate-we-suppose 9 hours (which is capable to spot you done each but the longest-haul flights), and the SP2000T needs 3 hours to spell from ‘flat’ to ‘full’ (which volition look a batch longer than it really is). You tin drain that artillery by listening to euphony stored connected the A&K’s 256GB of interior memory, which tin beryllium boosted by up to 1TB with a microSD card.

the astell & kern sp2000t portable euphony  player

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Audio performance

  • Wide unfastened soundstage
  • Assured rhythmic expression
  • Deep, controlled bass

So we tin each hold Astell & Kern has made an effort with the A&ultima SP2000T. And the bully quality is that if you squad this subordinate with appropriately talented headphones (the bulk of this trial was done utilizing Sennheiser’s splendid IE 900 in-ear monitors) you’ll perceive the results of each that hard enactment successful beauteous unequivocal fashion. The SP2000T is simply a profoundly capable, thrillingly philharmonic and endlessly listenable audio player. 

Naturally enough, the A&K does its champion enactment erstwhile fixed the champion worldly to woody with - it lone takes a little perceive to Stevie Wonder’s He’s Misstra Know-It-All in DSD32 signifier to show that. But dissimilar a batch of integer audio players with pretensions towards genuine hi-fi sound, the SP2000T isn’t picky oregon snobby. It’s conscionable arsenic blessed to marque the astir of a bog-standard Spotify watercourse of Car Seat Headrest’s Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales as it is the large high-resolution stuff. 

No substance what you extremity up listening to, the A&K show truly even, convincing tonality from the bottommost of the frequence scope to the top. Detail levels are sky-high (especially/inevitably with the much information-rich stuff) and there’s a wide-open, utterly believable soundstage established connected which musicians tin bash their thing. If it’s the afloat representation you’re after, well, present it is.

Low frequencies are deep, controlled, loaded with item and transportation plentifulness of momentum. The midrange is perfectly live with the finest details of method and timbre - which means a vocalist arsenic accomplished arsenic Stevie Wonder sounds astir arsenic intimate and contiguous arsenic you’ve ever heard him. And the apical extremity is assertive, important and conscionable arsenic fulsomely elaborate arsenic the remainder of the frequence range. 

Rhythmic look is assured, and the SP2000T is conscionable arsenic assured wherever some wide and insignificant dynamic variations are concerned. It’s utterly successful complaint of each signaling you springiness it, and yet manages to marque the amusive worldly dependable similar fun. Some players with this benignant of high-end accent tin dependable rather po-faced and analytical, but the Astell & Kern sounds enthusiastic without ever getting carried away.

Downsides are a) remarkably fewer and b) easy mitigated. Basically, the self-assurance the SP2000T demonstrates erstwhile reproducing the highest frequencies tin rather easy extremity into overconfidence if your prime of partnering headphones isn’t sympathetic. So marque definite you audition a fewer pairs earlier making a decision. And the fig of amplification options seems, successful each honesty, rather a spot much absorbing erstwhile written down than it proves successful practice. The variations successful dependable are highly subtle, and you’ll astir surely find 1 of the 7 options you similar champion and extremity up sticking with it.

In each different respect, though, the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T needs nary caveats. It’s arsenic bully a portable audio subordinate arsenic you tin buy.

Should I bargain the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000t?

the connectivity options connected  the astell & kern sp2000t portable euphony  player

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Simon Lucas

Simon Lucas is simply a Senior editorial nonrecreational with heavy acquisition of print/digital publishing and the user electronics landscape. 

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