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Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 – Luxury meets perfection

Luxury meets innovation, this is how Astell & Kern describes the latest DAP of the Astell & Kern A&ultima Series, the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000. According to the specialist for personal audio devices, this sets a new standard for perfect sound.

The new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 sets a standard in terms of sound quality, but also in terms of design, the specialist for personal audio devices Astell & Kern is convinced, which speaks of the fact that here luxury meets perfection and one presents a solution that can come up with many features that are so far unique on the market. Thus, the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 represents a worthy new flagship of the Astell & Kern A&ultima Series.

Astell & Kern A&ultima Series – setting standards

Astell & Kern has always been a manufacturer dedicated to premium segment solutions, especially in the field of DAP, i.e. digital audio players, whose task is to make music of the highest quality accessible anytime and anywhere, making Studio Master quality “mobile”.

In this context, Astell & Kern particularly emphasizes the Astell & Kern A&ultima Series, because with this product line, outstanding technical features have been combined with a particularly appealing design since its market launch.

This of course also applies to the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000, which once again sets the standard for perfect sound based on the latest technologies, but can also convince with an exquisite exterior and particularly high-quality materials.

Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 – The first DAP with Stainless Steel 904L Body

Astell & Kern states that the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 is the world’s first DAP to use Stainless Steel 904L for the body, a very special stainless steel alloy.

This is characterized by the fact that it is a particularly robust, corrosion-resistant material that retains its flawless surface over a long period of time. This material is therefore also used for watches in the luxury segment, as the manufacturer explicitly emphasizes.

Although this means that the production of the chassis is much more complex and costly than with other materials previously used for DAPs, it also means that the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 is a true luxury object with a special look and feel.

Of course, it fits perfectly that the designers at Astell & Kern designed the rotary encoder on the side in the form of a bezel, in order to emphasize a direct connection to fine timepieces here as well.

Foto © Astell & Kern | Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000
Foto © Astell & Kern | Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000

High-performance Qualcomm Snapdragon 6125 octa-core CPU

A very important feature of the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 is its processor, which is supposed to provide sufficient performance. The developers rely on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 6125 octa-core CPU, and the underlying platform also provides other essential components, such as Wi-Fi according to IEEE 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0 with support for the Bluetooth profiles A2DP and AVRCP as well as the Bluetooth codecs SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD and LDAC.

Foto © Astell & Kern | Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000
Foto © Astell & Kern | Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000

As a further connection to the outside world, the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 naturally also has a USB-C port, which on the one hand serves for data exchange with a PC or Mac, but also allows the use of the DAP as a first-class D/A converter. In addition, the integrated battery of the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 is naturally charged via this, whereby it is a 3.8 V 5,050 mAh lithium polymer battery.

Foto © Astell & Kern | Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000
Foto © Astell & Kern | Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000

Of course, Google Android is used as the operating system, but the user, as usual with Astell & Kern, does not notice anything because he is only presented with a user interface developed by Astell & Kern, which is even further developed here and thus new for intuitive control and comfortable navigation.

The user interface of the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 is displayed on a Full H 5.46 inch touch display with 1,080 x 1,920 pixels.

The memory of the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 is equipped with 256 GByte NAND and can be expanded up to 1 TByte via microSD card.

Foto © Astell & Kern | Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000
Foto © Astell & Kern | Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000

Analog and digital – completely separated signal processing

According to the manufacturer, the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 is the first DAP to use signal processing that is completely separated between analog and digital. The board is therefore designed in such a way that the digital signal processing and the analog signal processing are completely separated.

The company has worked closely with Asahi Kasai Microdevices Corporation on this, and naturally also relies on their latest DAC, the AK4499EX DAC. The AK4499EX DAC is the flagship of the Japanese specialist, four of which are used in the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000. In addition, the so-called HEXA Audio Circuitry Structure and two AK4191EQ are used, so that the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 offers separate output stages for unbalanced and balanced outputs. This is supposed to allow an output stage with a particularly high signal-to-noise ratio of 130 dB and thus a signal quality at the very highest level, as the manufacturer explicitly states in this context.

Foto © Astell & Kern | Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000
Foto © Astell & Kern | Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000

Of course, Astell & Kern TERATON ALPHA Sound Solution is used here as well, a particularly innovative audio technology for achieving the best results according to Astell & Kern, and the circuits for audio signal processing are still specially protected on the circuit board with a silver-plated cover.

FLAC, DSD and MQA – Roon ready

The new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 is able to process signals in Linear PCM with up to 32 bit and 768 kHz. It supports DSD up to DSD512 natively and of course this DAP can also playback content encoded in lossy MQA.

Of course, it should not go unmentioned that the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 is also designated as Roon ready.

All relevant interfaces

Apart from the already mentioned USB-C interface, the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 of course also offers all relevant connections, first and foremost an unbalanced 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack, designed as a so-called combo port, so that an optical S/PDIF interface is also offered here. In addition, there is a balanced 4-pin 2.5 mm jack and a 5-pin 4.4 mm Pentaconn, also for the balanced connection of headphones.

Finally, it should be mentioned that the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 needs around 3.5 hours to charge, also supports QC 3.0 Charging here, and then allows a playing time of up to ten hours.

With dimensions of 82.4 mm in width, 139.4 mm in height and 18.3 mm in depth, this new DAP weighs 493 g.

Prices and availability

The new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 will be available in black and silver, Astell & Kern notes. You’ll probably find this new DAP in stores quite soon, as the manufacturer states, at a price of US$ 3.700,-.

Getting to the point

It is the next generation of a flagship DAP, a portable hi-res audio player that sets standards, that’s how Astell & Kern describes the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000 and thus the top model of the Astell & Kern A&ultima Series. Not only does it use a case made of the same material as fine wristwatches, but the design is also extremely luxurious in the proven manner. The technical features are not to be inferior to the noble appearance, whereby Astell & Kern speaks of a combination of luxury and innovation for the new Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000.

PRODUCTASTELL & KERN A&ULTIMA SP3000
PriceUS$ 3.700,-
BrandASTELL & KERN
ManufactureriRiver Ltd.
Distribution AustriaAudio Tuning Vertriebs GmbH
Distribution Germanyheadphone.shop GmbH
Distribution SwitzerlandPortacomp AG
More about this manufacturer at HiFi BLOG

Michael Holzinger

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

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