First Look Sunday: Astell&Kern SP2000

Astell&Kern SP2000


Internal Design




The new flagship also has a newly engineered audio circuit. 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. With this design, the SP2000 offers the ultimate audio experience as Astell&Kern’s newest flagship player.

Astell&Kern SP2000

External design

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 have them both in your hands, the differences are easy to spot. Think buttons, back plates and missing amp connections.

The SP2000 also comes in a gorgeous wooden box which has a good number of accessories inside, of which the nice leather case AK is famous for. I still have to get used to the green colour though.

First Impressions

As said, I didn’t expect a huge improvement over the SP1000 as it already sounds exceptionally good, but AK’s engineers have managed to make it sound even better. The new AKM DAC chip really is doing magic.

Astell&Kern SP2000

A lot of people found the SP1000 to sound a bit too light, and this no longer is the case with the SP2000. You now get a more, fuller bodies sound from top to bottom, while even elevating the technical performance. At the same time I also feel the SP2000 sounds more musical compared to its little brother, so it’s an improvement on all possible fronts.

The SP2000 sound clear and überclean, and the dynamics are exemplary. The SP2000 is very precise and detailed, and delivers music with a fast pace. Bass is tight, fast and detailed with good layering. Body and impact are excellent, making the bass section both technically as well as musically strong.

The mids section again is very detailed, spacious and it has excellent separation. The mid depth and layering also are strong and they come with good body and impact, perfectly flowing from the bass. The treble section is extended, precise and very clear, but treble never gets harsh or sharp. Energy is one of the treble key characteristics.

Astell&Kern SP2000

I’ve mostly been using the SP2000 with the new Unique Melody Mason V3+ and the synergy is incredible.

In the upcoming full review we’ll go into detail on how the SP2000 sounds and how it performs with a whole series of IEMs.

Soon on Headfonia!

4.7/5 - (73 votes)

Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.


  • Reply January 5, 2020

    Steven Zore

    This thing is in my destiny…

  • Reply January 6, 2020

    Craig Sands

    The thing every reviewer fail to mention is the lack of software support and empty promises from Astell and Kern for software updates. While i agree Astell and Kern makes a great player there support is horrid and their track record for promising software for the likes of Roon support is well documented as totally lacking across the web. What good is a $3000 player with poor support.

    • Reply January 7, 2020


      Hi Craig,

      while I fully agree with you that the Roon Ready (I suppose that’s what they’re working on) implementation is long overdue, especially since they said it should have been done last year. I must say, it’s incredibly tricky to implement the RAAT protocol and everything that goes with it into your own firmware. I speak from experience as I worked on that myself in the past. The Roon team accepts only perfection for their partner program, which is absolutely great and just like it should be, but it can cause for delays. Although I’m surprised myself that AK’s coders haven’t made it possible just yet. To be fair, it would be the first Android DAP that would support it to my knowledge, so there might be some difficulties that don’t come up with other custom coded firmwares.

      I’m not trying to defend AK here, I’m waiting for the Roon implementation just like you, but it really is more complicated than just throwing some code-lines into your programming…

      Anyway, let’s hope it arrives sometime soon.

    • Reply January 17, 2020

      Al F

      There is nothing wrong with AK’s support of their players other than the slowness of Roon implementation. The AK players are always updated with new FW to fix issues or to introduce new features. I’m impressed with my SP2K and as a matter of fact a new FW was just released mid-January 2020.

  • Reply January 8, 2020


    Looking forward to comparisons with your favorite Sony WM1Z!

  • Reply April 3, 2020

    Joshua Chew

    Where the hell is the review?????? Its been 3 months *cryface*

    • Reply April 6, 2020


      We’ve been busy. It will come.

  • Reply June 30, 2020

    Panerai Straps

    Cant wait for that Roon addition as well….lifetime subscriber to them!

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