The lay-out is partially different from what we had on the SP1000. The MicroSD slot has moved to the bottom and gone are the amp connectors on the bottom and back.
On the top of the player you from left to right find the 3.5mm output and the 2.5mm output. The right side only features the beautiful crown which is the power button and volume control. On the bottom of the player you find the USB-C connector as well as the MicroSD slot. The left side features the play/pause, next and previous buttons. The front sports the large 5” touch screen. It’s all simple, yet elegant and one-handed operation is easy.
The SP2000 – Inside
The SP2000 is 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 6 Vrms for Balanced output and 3Vrms for Unbalanced output. You can find all the specs on the last page of this article or on the SP2000’s dedicated website.
The SP2000 sports dual Asahi Kasei AK4499EQ DAC chips, as well as an octa-core CPU. That means great sound and a lovely user experience. The AK4499EQ DAC chip uses the most advanced ‘Current Output Architecture’ technology. To take full advantage of this new architecture, Astell&Kern redesigned the Op Amp and analog amp block configuration completely. The new circuit design optimizes the current consumption and brings out the most from these new DAC chips.
According to Astell&Kern, the combination of the SP2000 and AK4499EQ chips provide mind-blowing audio quality. We’ll get to the sound later.
With the AK4499EQ chip, the SP2000 is the first Astell&Kern model to support 32 bit/768 kHz
and DSD512 (22.4MHz) playback natively without compression or loss. The SP2000 also has the MQA label which is no surprise as Astell&Kern is an MQA fan.
The streaming experience with the SP2000 has been optimized by implementing dual band Wi-Fi (2.4/5GHz) and with the 3,700mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer Battery you should easily get 8 h of playtime. I love the AK player’s battery life and if you don’t use the screen too much, it just keeps on going for 10 hours easily.
SP1000 vs SP2000
Besides the obvious difference in design, there also is a difference in weight. The old SP1000 with leather case weighs 418g, the new SP2000 weighs 458g. The difference might not seem much but in reality it feels a lot heavier for some reason.
The new SP2000 now also has 512Gb of internal memory. That’s twice the Amount of Internal Storage compared to the previous flagship models. On top of that there’s the MicroSD-slot which officially accepts SD-cards up to 1Tb.
As said before the SP1000 and SP2000 have completely different audio channel setups. The balanced outputs are now completely separated from the single ended ones. The pics below make it very easy to understand.
The SP1000 uses dual AK4497EQ DACs, where the SP2000 uses double and newer AK4499EQ DAC chips. Besides the differences in sound this leads to higher output levels and different THD and SNR levels. Here is the full comparison:
Specifications & Performance
The full specs of the Astell&Kern SP2000 can be found here.
Accessories & Price
The SP2000 as a flagship player isn’t cheap and it’s selling for $3,499 USD. It’s the same price as the SP1000 sold for when it was released. That SP1000 is still for sale and is now selling for $2,999USD.
When you buy a very high end portable player, it’s the full package that matter. The SP2000 comes in a gorgeous wooden box which has a good number of accessories inside, of which the nice leather case AK, which is famous for. I still have to get used to the green colour though. The full package holds:
- A&ultima SP2000 Device x 1
- Leather Case x 1 (Stainless Steel: Green Leather Case / Copper: Brown Leather Case / Onyx Black: Leather Case)
- USB Type-C Cable x 1
- Quick Start Guide x 1
- Warranty Card x 1
- microSD card slot cover x 2
- Protective Film (Front x 2, Back x 2)
All-in-all a very complete package, with all high quality components and materials.
The review continues on the third page, after the click here. You can also use the jumps below.