Astell & Kern’s SP2000T hi-res music player was released this autumn. It sets itself apart from the brand’s earlier models like the Kann Cube with a new triple amp system. While the $2,399 (178,345 INR) price tag seems a little steep, the engineering achievements that made this device possible are something to behold. The resulting sound provides clarity while retaining the warmth that is usually associated with analog devices at the same time.
Here’s everything you need to know about the SP2000T:
Who it’s for
The SP2000T is for everybody who appreciates great sound quality. However, some audiophiles are extremely particular and hold the highest standards when it comes to achieving the best possible output. Astell & Kern’s SP2000T is designed precisely for picky audiophiles. It’s the first player from the brand to feature a Quad-DAC, a replay gain function, and the triple amp system. They allow the listener to switch between the operational amp to the hybrid amp, making it possible to mimic analog sound while still achieving the crispness that comes with digital sound. The player also offers a playback time of 30,000 hours and supports 2.5mm, 3.5mm, and 4.4mm headphone output jacks.
The engineering behind the sound
Integrating these features into the sound system entails a great degree of engineering prowess. Astell & Kern did this by developing a modular structure on a printed circuit board (PCB) for the tubes. To minimize vibrations and achieve a clearer sound, they added silicone. This is key to the player’s design because a solid PCB layout is essential when you’re dealing with multi-board assemblies and high-density routing. With smaller devices, the routing demands are more complicated. Apart from the circuitry, another great thing about the Astell & Kern player is that it uses magnetic forces to float the amp in the air to reduce internal noise.
Digital to analog components
Astell & Kern’s previous model released last year (the SE200) gave listeners a choice between two different digital-to-analog converters (DAC). Instead, the SP2000T uses four of the same DAC chips to convert digital file data into analog. DACs work by converting a limited number of digital codes to a corresponding number of discrete analog output values. The more digital bits represented by the DAC, the more accurate the analog output signal will be. That means that the DAC chip performance is determined by how many samples it can process and how many bits it uses during conversion. The SP2000T’s chips use Master Quality Authenticated 8x rendering that can support 32-bit files.
With such high-quality sound, it is essential to get the right pair of headphones for the best possible listening experience. For a fully immersive experience, professional-grade headphones are great options. This gives you the full spectrum of sound without any hitches, and they’re also comfortable to wait for long sessions. This way, you get to appreciate the richness and crispness of the sound the SP2000T has to offer.
If you have the budget for this type of luxury music player, we do recommend that you try it out before buying it. Due to its groundbreaking features, Astell & Kern are taking a huge leap with this technology. So it’s important you do your due diligence and see if the specs meet your expectations.
With that said, you can rest assured the sound quality on this device will blow away anything you’ve experienced on a mobile device in the past decade or so.