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Astell & Kern A&ultima
Foto © Astell & Kern (iRiver Ltd.)

Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000 and Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000 Roon Ready

With the help of the latest firmware, the two digital audio players Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000 and Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000 are considered Roon Ready and can thus be used as a so-called Roon Endpoint.

Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000 and Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000, these two solutions are at the top of the range of digital audio players offered by the specialist Astell & Kern of iRiver Ltd. These solutions are not only designed for use on the road, they can also be used as mobile systems in the home network, as is quite common in this class.

This means that one does not have to rely solely on being able to use the content stored in the player’s memory; content from a wide range of online services as well as from a central network storage solution, a so-called NAS, can also be accessed directly.

Firmware Update for Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000 and Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000

The latter scenario now comes with a particularly exciting option. With the help of the latest firmware for the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000 and Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000 solutions, which is now available, the two players are now considered Roon Ready. In cooperation with Roon Labs LLC., the necessary certification has been completed, according to Astell & Kern.

Roon as versatile music management

Roon is a versatile and engaging way to browse, organise and listen to music. Artist photos, credits, biographies, reviews, lyrics, tour dates and composers are automatically found and then linked together to create a neat digital magazine. Roon is also a networked audio platform for multiple rooms and users, offering features such as bit-perfect playback, DSD and PCM upsampling, multi-channel support and signal path representation.

Roon Ready means that Astell & Kern players transparently recognise and connect to Roon on the network without any configuration, and that bit-accurate audio is delivered from Roon to the player.

Together, Roon and Astell & Kern deliver the power, flexibility and performance of networked audio, with the easiest setup and highest reliability.

OTA Firmware Update

The corresponding firmware update is available as so-called OTA, i.e. the firmware is installed over the air, as long as the player is in the network. For the SP1000 this is called v1.57, for the SP2000 it is v1.31.

Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000

The Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000 is the current flagship portable player in the Astell & Kern A&ultima line, incorporating the latest Asahi Kasei DACs, the AKM AK4499EQ. The Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000 features two AK4499EQ DACs arranged in a dual-mono configuration to provide a wider soundstage and better stereo separation. The Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000 was the first Astell & Kern player to use separate, independent audio channels between the unbalanced and balanced outputs. This design offers much more power than ever before, with 6Vrms for the balanced output and 3Vrms for the unbalanced output, providing the ultimate audio experience as Astell&Kern’s current flagship.

The Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000 supports bit-to-bit playback of high-resolution PCM audio up to 32-bit and 768KHz, and native playback of DSD up to DSD512. It also features an octa-core CPU, a 5-inch touchscreen, 512GB of internal storage, MQA support, a microSD card slot that supports up to 1TB microSD cards, and dual-band WiFi with a “stereo antenna” for improved network performance when streaming music. The A&ultima SP2000 is available in stainless steel and copper housings with a unique crown pattern volume/power wheel.

Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000

The Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000 is the first player in the Astell & Kern A&ultima line to integrate the Asahi Kasei AKM AK4497EQ DACs. The Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000 features two AKM DACs arranged in a dual-mono configuration to provide a wider soundstage and better stereo separation.

The Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000 supports bit-to-bit playback of high-resolution PCM audio up to 32 bits and 384 KHz, and native playback of DSD up to DSD256. It also features an octa-core CPU, a 5-inch touchscreen, 256GB of internal storage, MQA support, a microSD card slot for up to 1TB microSD cards and WiFi.

More to come…

According to the manufacturer’s announcement, these two players will not be the only ones certified as Roon Ready. Details will only be announced at a later date.

Getting to the point

We have to disagree a little with the manufacturer, because they are by no means the only supplier, and certainly not the first in this field, to offer this kind of functionality for their players. But we will generously overlook this, it is good that this option is now also available here.

Manufacturer:iRiver Ltd.
Distribution:Audio Tuning Vertriebs GmbH

About Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.com, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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