Astell & Kern A&Ultima SP1000M Released – SP1000M vs SP1000: What’s the Difference?

Astell & Kern recently announced the new A&Ultima SP1000M portable digital audio player. The A&Ultima SP1000M is part of the company’s flagship player but comes in a smaller size and (slightly) trimmed down specs. The A&Ultima SP1000 remains as the highest model in their lineup. So what’s new with the SP1000M? What’s the difference between the SP1000M vs the SP1000 flagship DAP? Continue reading below and find out more about the new A&Ultima SP1000M DAP.

Astell & Kern Adds A&Ultima SP1000M Player To Its Lineup

The A&Ultima SP1000M is like a trimmed-down version of the flagship SP1000. The SP1000M is still part of the AK’s flagship lineup but with a more conservative specs and features compared to the SP1000. It uses the same OCTA core SoC and dual AK4497EQ DAC setup; but the SP1000M will feature a smaller display at 4.1-inches and half the internal storage at 128GB only. The body of the SP1000M is made of Aluminum, instead of stainless steel and copper on the SP1000. Notice that the body has a Lapis Blue finish as well, to easily differentiate it from its bigger brother – the SP1000.

There are changes to the output level, SNR, THD+N and clock jitter as well. You can check the table below for that comparison. I’m guessing that the amp section on the SP1000M will be different compared to the SP1000, despite having the same dual DAC setup. More or less this will result into a (slightly) different tone or sound signature.

The battery on the A&Ultima SP1000M is only a 3,300mAh battery; offering up to 10hrs of battery life. It’s also going to be a bit smaller and lighter compared to the SP1000. And finally, the SP1000M is cheaper compared to the SP1000.

Astell & Kern A&Ultima SP1000M Price and Availability

The new A&Ultima SP1000M comes with a retail price of $2,399 USD. Now that’s a thousand dollar plus cheaper compared to the SP1000, currently retailed at $3,499. But at $2,399 it’s still (very) expensive compared to most Hi-Fi portable DAPs in the market. The SP1000M will be available in the US starting October 2018.

Astell & Kern A&Ultima SP1000M vs SP1000: Specs Comparison

A&Ultima SP1000MA&Ultima SP1000
ProcessorOcta CoreOcta Core
DACAK4497EQ x2 (Dual DAC)AK4497EQ x2 (Dual DAC)
Internal Storage128GB256GB
Output LevelBalance - 4.2 Vrms
Unbalance - 2.1 Vrms
Balance - 3.9 Vrms
Unbalance - 2.2 Vrms
SNRBalance - 123dB
Unbalance - 120dB
Balance - 122dB
Unbalance - 120dB
THD+NBalance - 0.0006%
Unbalance - 0.0007%
Balance - 0.0008%
Unbalance - 0.0005%
Clock Jitter25ps(typ)30ps(typ)
Battery / Life3,300 mAh / up to 10 hours3,700mAh / up to 12 hours
BodyAluminumStainless Steel, Copper
Dimensions67.9mm x 117mm x 16.9mm75.8mm x 132mm x 16.2
Weight203 grams386 grams (SS)

Astell&Kern Adds to A&ultima Flagship Player Line with the SP1000M

Astell&Kern, a global leader in portable high-resolution audio players and accessories, announces a new player in their flagship player line, the A&ultima SP1000M. The SP1000M is a smaller-sized flagship player based on the 2018 CES Best Of Innovations Award-winning SP1000 player. The new SP1000M will retail for $2,399 and will be available in the US in October 2018.

The SP1000M features a 4.1-inch HD screen vs the 5-inch screen on the SP1000 and the weight of the new SP1000M player has been reduced by almost half of the full-sized SP1000. The A&ultima SP1000M will make its official US debut at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, October 5 – 8, 2018.

The A&ultima line of players by Astell&Kern feature the latest technology and high-end audio performance that is available in a portable player. The A&ultima SP1000M is equipped with two AK4497EQ DACs. A separate DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) is dedicated to each independent left and right audio channel, producing a wider soundstage and better stereo separation. With the addition of an Octa-Core CPU, the A&ultima SP1000M not only boots faster, but is able to process digital audio playback without lag or compromise in sound. This will provide the ultimate sound experience of any player currently on the market. Astell&Kern’s advanced audio design and signal management technologies used in the A&ultima SP1000M brings more power output with less noise and minimal distortion.

Equipped with a 4.1 inch, HD-resolution screen, the A&ultima SP1000M provides sharp images and vivid colors to display album art, music playback and player information. The redesigned, music-centric GUI that debuted on the full-sized SP1000 is also used on the SP1000M. USB Type-C 3.0 support allows data transfers that are twice as fast as other Astell&Kern players. The A&ultima SP1000 also provides 10 hours of music playback and includes support for fast charging.

The SP1000M is available in Lapis Blue and features an all-aluminum body. The SP1000M includes 128GB of internal memory with one microSD card slot supporting additional memory (largest microSD cards currently available in retail are 512GB, which are supported).

Additional features of the A&ultima SP1000M include support of native playback of 32-bit/384kHz high-resolution PCM audio and native playback of DSD audio, up to Quad-rate (DSD256), 4.2Vrms Balanced output, a Parametric EQ (PEQ), VCXO Reference Clock (Femto Clock) for minimal jitter, Wi-Fi connectivity, support for the AK Connect app, USB DAC function, DLNA networking support, OTA software updates, digital audio output via USB, apt X HD Bluetooth, and support for high-resolution music streaming services including TIDAL, MOOV and Groovers+ (support for streaming services varies by country).

New firmware will debut with the SP1000M that adds Android APK support, allowing users to install additional music streaming services to their player by simply copying and installing the corresponding APK file for the music service they wish to add.

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