Today we look at Astell&Kern’s flagship portable player, the SP2000. It’s selling for $3,499 USD
Disclaimer: The sample of the AK SP2000 DAP was sent to us free of charge for this review on a long term loan. After the review the SP1000 and SP2000 be returned Astell & Kern. AK is not in any way related to Headfonia.
Astell & Kern
The Korean DAP manufacturer Astell&Kern has been around since 2014 and has been since then the driving force of reinventing the portable audio player market. Ever since their first product, the AK100, they have been on a mission to make the best possible DAPs, and if you ask me, they have succeeded.
A&K is a subsidiary of the famous iRiver brand, which is now called Dreamus. The company that rose to fame with their excellent and wildly popular MP3 players. With that extensive knowledge they have launched an über-high-end brand for the niche market that is headphone enthusiasts.
Astell&Kern not only brings us portable audio players alone, no, they have also been collaborating with other big industry players such as Crystal Cables, Beyerdynamic and Jerry Harvey Audio. They have released a number of cables, headphones and In Ear Monitors with these three brands, and continue to do so.
The SP2000 DAP shares a lot of common features with the original SP1000, so we suggest to read up on that portable player first. You can do so right here.
The “new” SP2000 DAP is part of the A&Ultima series together with the SP1000 and SP1000M. That means it’s the third player released in this series and it’s also the new flagship model. We have previewed the SP2000 already right after we received it. You can find that preview article here: https://www.headfonia.com/first-look-sunday-sp2000/. Now after a few months of intensive use, it’s time to give you the full review.
“A&ultima SP2000 features the latest technologies of Astell&Kern with a newly developed audio circuitry and amplifier design.”
The SP2000 as a flagship player isn’t cheap and it’s selling for $3,499 USD. There are four different versions of the SP2000: Copper, Stainless Steel (our version), Vegas Gold and Onyx Black.
As before the SP2000 comes with a 3.5mm single ended output which also serves as the 3.5mm optical out (3.5mm) and a 2.5mm (4-pole supported) balanced output. Astell&Kern is holding on to their choice of the 2.5mm connector for their balanced output. How much longer can they stay away from the 4.4mm plug, which seems to become the new standard?
Like the latest AK DAPs, the SP2000 also offers the use of the Open APP Service. It enables you to install specific APK music streaming apps to the device. You can copy the desired APK into the Open Service folder of the product and install the relevant App in the Menu. In this article AK explain how to use the Open App Service: Using Open APP Service
If you don’t feel like going there you can use Tidal, Deezer and V-Link, as they are installed upfront.
You can find out all about the SP2000 portable player on its dedicated web page here: https://www.astellnkern.com/eng/content/shop/features.asp?mcg=CG110000&mpos=0&scg=CG210180&spos=0&tcg=&tpos=0&dpos=1&gcode=SC35590
You either love or hate the typical edgy design by Astell&Kern, but to me this new SP2000 is another beautiful creation. At a first glance you don’t immediately see the differences between the “old” SP1000 and the new SP2000 but when you hold them both in your hands, the differences are easy to spot. Think buttons, back plate and missing amp connections. See the pictures in this article.
Like with the SP1000, the absolute eye-catcher of the SP2000 is the beautiful crown pattern of the power and volume button on the right side of the player. The player measures 3.00 ”(76.3 mm) [W] x 5.19 ”(132 mm) [H] x 0.61 ”(15.7 mm) [D] and sports a 5 inch (720 x 1,280) touch display.
The front is almost all screen except for the part at he bottom where the hidden “home” button is located. The back of the player features a stainless steel panel without screws, which makes the player look even more classy compared to the SP1000 which has a carbon-like back.
Where the SP1000 had a more square shape, the SP2000’s line look more extreme. This can easily be seen on the right side of the player, from the power button down. I like both the design of the SP1000 as well as that of the SP2000, but the latter one does stand out more when it’s not in its leather case.
The review continues on the second page, after the click here. You can also use the jumps below.