Picture Sunday: A&Ultima SP1000

This week’s picture Sunday features the new A&Ultima SP1000 DAP. To check out recent Picture Sunday Posts click HERE.


The A&Ultima SP1000 is the newest Astell&Kern Digital Audio Player. The A&K 380 series was called “the evolution of a masterpiece” so AK’s marketing division decided to make the switch to A&Ultima for the AK380’s successor. The most important to keep in mind is that the new SP1000 will replace the AK380 as their flagship, the AK380 itself will be phased out. The SP1000 was redisigned from top to bottom.

The A&ultima SP1000: delivering the ultimate Astell&Kern                                                      technology.

The A&Ultima SP1000 is the first Astell&Kern player to feature an octa-core CPU for outstanding response and performance. I played with the DAP in Munich and it is incredibly fast to work with. AK also added a few new sliding options with shortcuts which are very handy. The new screen – a High Definition HD5 display – is larger than the one on the AK380 and the volume wheel now is a multi-function Wheel. The gorgeous SP1000 comes in a stainless steel or copper housing.

Design-wise I think AK nailed it, the look of the player is to die for. The finish of the volume wheel/button – as you can see in the picture – simply is perfect. Yes the A&Ultima SP1000 is heavier than the AK380 but it’s even easier to work with, has a newer and more elaborate UI and a bigger screen. The main differences with the AK380 are described on the AK website.

I personally preferred the copper look over the SS one. Sound-wise it was impossible to compare them to each other at the crowded and noisy booth. We’ll be getting the SP1000 for review soon though but after the 5 minute demo at the show the SP1000 sounded more clear, more detailed and more energetic.

The new A&Ultima SP1000 will be priced exactly the same as the AK380 and if I’m not mistaken it can be pre-ordered already at the known A&K dealers.



4.3/5 - (48 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 May 28, 2017


    Looking forward to the review.
    From your brief audition, this new flagship Dap doesn’t sound very musical at all.
    I hope you can do a comparison with WM1Z which I think sounds better 380cu.

    • Reply May 28, 2017


      I never said it didn’t sound musical at all. It’s very musical actually, just don’t expect warmth and smoothness. The WM1Z is going to Berkhan, sorry.

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