Astell & Kern's A&ultima SP1000M

General Information

From Astell & Kern's A&ultima SP1000M's product page:

Astell&Kern constantly strives to master the philosophy of delivering original sound.​
So far, we believe that the A&ultima SP1000 is the optimal product that produces the highest-quality audio.​
We were not sure whether it was possible to come up with a product that is different from the SP1000 while delivering the same sound quality, but we decided to take up the challenge so that more people could experience our products’ fidelity.​
There were many trials and tribulations in making the SP1000, our best product, smaller.​
We were determined to not compromise sound quality in the process, and we ultimately developed the second A&ultima product, the SP1000M.​
  • Octa-Core CPU for Next-Level Performance
  • AK4497EQ Dual DAC for Highest Sound Quality
  • 4.1 Inch HD Display
  • Highest Quality Audio of SP1000
  • Portable and Durable Aluminum Body
  • DNLA-Based AK Connect App
  • Open APP Service
The lightweight and portability of the SP1000M enables the user to enjoy original sound playback anytime and anywhere.​
The A&ultima SP1000M achieves greater portability, without sacrificing the level of performance found in the original SP1000.​

Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000M Stock product picture.png

Latest reviews


1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: How it sounds
How it looks
How it feels
Cons: How much it costs
From a personal price/sound ratio, the Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 is much better
Disclaimer: I have a preference for an open, lush/smooth/warm sound with some definition, texture and soundstage — none to excess. I am not into an analytical or clinical sound. Keep this in mind when reading this review.

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Curiosity and frustration got the better of me. This is a really, really, expensive DAP which easily costs 2-4 times the price of other DAPs. After re-selling your fifth DAP, however, you start to do the math and come to the conclusion that you better buy the one DAP which does everything you want — no concession.

You might have gathered from previous reviews that I was looking for a DAP which can stream, yet with a music-centric UI as I mainly listen to downloaded music and only use Spotify for discovery. This requirement pretty-much eliminates the majority of Android-powered DAPs out there. Adding the requirement of a pocketable form-factor (i.e. a DAP with a screen under 5-inch and a weight of under 250 grams), there's not a whole lot left and, after some thorough research, I chose the Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000M. As the saying goes, buy once, cry once… right? Let's see how that went…


Coming from the Sony NW-ZX300 and reading a lot about TOTL DAPs, I was afraid to end up with something analytical/clinical given my tastes. The bottom line is that the A&K SP1000M offers an upgrade very much akin to what I experienced with the Campfire Audio Andromeda Special Edition: Gold.

The SP1000M sounds engaging and musical. It is also detailed and transparant without being annoying. English being the third language I learned, what struck me above all else was how articulate and clear the lyrics sounded compared to any other DAPs I tested. Lows, mids, highs, soundstage, instrument separation is simply done right. The only caveat, price aside, is that poor recordings immediately stand out as such.


Battery life is good, with or without WiFi on, as well as when the DAP is turned-off for a few days. WiFi signal is good, nothing bad nor exceptional. One point of attention: when using specific APK music streaming apps with the device such as Spotify, make sure to use the 64-bit (arm64) build of the app in order to benefit from the DAP's Octa-Core CPU. While you can use 32-bit apps, they'll feel slow compared to the rest of the UI which provides an overall smooth experience.

The volume wheel on the right-end side is a nice touch and can easily be operated one-handed. The Previous - Play/Pause - Next buttons on the left-end side provide positive controls though not as much when the DAP is used with its leather case — yes, the SP1000M is one of the few A&K DAP which actually comes with a really nice leather case so, yay :) !

Last but not least, since the SP1000M is equipped with a USB type-C port, file transfers are a breeze (using MacOS, YMMV) and charging is quite fast (note that the DAP charges faster when it is turned on).


So, buy once, cry once? Yes, most definitely. However, I wouldn't recommend the SP1000M to anyone who is making a concession when choosing it — not in this price range. At this price, you should get something which is perfect according to your requirements.

May 29, 2020 edit: 1 star has been removed following the release and review of the Astell & Kern A&norma SR25


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Source: Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000M / Firmware: 1.41CM – EQ: none / Music app used: Stock & Spotify – Official site

  • Astell & Kern T5p 2nd Generation (Dekoni Audio Elite Sheepskin Replacement Ear Pads) with stock 2.5mm balanced cable and 3.5mm via stock adapter
  • Campfire Audio Andromeda Special Edition: Gold (silicone tips, medium) with stock Smoky Litz Cable, 3.5mm, Single-ended
  • Campfire Audio Comet (silicone tips, medium) with stock Litz Cable, 3.5mm, Single-ended
  • Dunu Titan 6 (balanced (blue) tips, medium) with stock cable, 3.5mm, Single-ended

  • Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, Never Going Back Again
    Quality: 24-Bit 96.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC
  • Iron Maiden, Fear Of The Dark, Fear Of The Dark
    Quality: 24-Bit 44.1 kHz – Stereo, FLAC
  • Joni Mitchell, Blue, California
    Quality: 24-Bit 192.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC
  • Nina Simone, Pastel Blues, Sinnerman (Live In New York/1965)
    Quality: 24-Bit 192.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC
  • Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here, Wish You Were Here
    Quality: DSD / SACD
  • Plüm, You're the one, You're the one
    Quality: 16 bit 44.1 kHz – Stereo, FLAC
  • Simon & Garfunkel, Sounds Of Silence, Anji
    Quality: 24-Bit 192.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC
  • Stevie Wonder, Talking Book, Superstition (Album Version)
    Quality: 24-Bit 192.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC
  • Various Artists, Atlantic Jazz: Soul, Comin' Home Baby (LP Version)
    Quality: 16 bit 44.1 kHz – Stereo, FLAC


48 hours balanced & 48 hours single-ended / Perhaps a more controlled lower end?

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Last edited:
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I'm hoping Jason from A&K is tracking this thread. I have just bought the SP1000M.

When I try to connect to my wifi, the network appears on the list of available networks. Then, when you click on it a window comes up to cancel, forget or connect. If you click on connect, the blue symbol that signifies a connection flashes up and then disappears and there is no connection made.

I also have the Kann Cube with exactly the same interface. I have had them side by side and the Kann Cube connects to the network, but the SP1000M doesn’t. I bought another SP1000M a few months ago and returned it because it had the same problem. The retailer could find no fault with it. This new one, which arrived today, has exactly the same issue. Can someone throw any light on what the problem could be and whether there is something I can do to solve the problem?


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