The A&ultima line of players are some of my favourite Astell & Kern products available and the SP2000 is one of my favourite portable music players of all time.
I was fortune to hold and appreciate the incredible SP2000 at End Munich in Germany when it was released to the public and it is a simply incredible feat of engineering. The gorgeous sculpted chassis shouts prestige and flagship in both their stainless steel and copper guises.
The player itself offers best in class storage with an incredible 512GB of built-in space and expandable storage via a micro SD card of 1TB, meaning that you can store plenty of your favourite albums on board and is double the internal storage offered by the SP1000. The sheer power of the SP2000 produces enough juice to adequately replicate your music on a pair of full sized headphones and the 2.5mm balanced output means that you can squeeze out even more from it if your headphones or earphones have a balanced cable option available. The SP2000 provides an amazing amount of power that sees it as one of the most powerful portable music players on the market.
Those wanting to know if the SP2000 offers anything sonically over the SP1000 then the answer is yes. The twin AKM4499EQ DACs implemented into the new SP2000 provides the most incredible, immersive experience and I feel that the musicality has stepped up again from what the SP1000 provided. Is the SP2000 the player the SP1000 should have been?
The octo core processor on board the player means that browsing and selecting your favourite music is a delight. This is double the processor speed offered by the SP1000. Some players struggle to scroll through the music and quickly display artwork and information, however the SP2000 takes it in it’s stride. Searching and quickly flicking back and forth between screens is effortless and adds saves a great deal of time when all you want to do is listen to music.
The SP2000 has TIDAL streaming natively built into the player, meaning that with a subscription to their service you can stream CD quality audio directly to it via the internet, however it will not provide offline storage natively through the built in app.
For me the Stainless Steel version of the SP2000 produces slightly more revealing detail than it’s copper alternative, however to me my preference is the copper version due to its slightly warmer tonal quality. It shouldn’t make a difference what the enclosure is made of, however to my ears it does. I couldn’t tell you why the SS and Cu sound different, however the copper version has the warmer more musical sound to my ears and the Stainless version a little more tilted towards being more analytical and resolving.