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New TOL A&K DAP : the AK Ultima SP1000

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by Toolman, May 15, 2017.
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  1. olddude
    The Legend is very bass-y. The SP is fairly neutral, which is how AK tunes its devices. I wouldn't touch an iBasso of any type after having had three AK's (I did have an iBasso at one point). But if money is the object, you have to do what is best for your wallet. Oh, and people's opinions are just that. They might like more or less warmth or brightness, they might have musical tastes different than yours, they might hear things differently than do you. No one here is the last word. The best way is to try things at a CanJam or at a dealer's showroom, if possible. If you can't do that, then ask as many people as possible, figure out who makes the most sense to you, and then buy the thing knowing you might end up selling it.
  2. thedanadamsusa

    Hi Twister,

    No worries - wasn't calling you out in any negative way per se - was just concerned that the Legend X wouldn't play well with the SP1000M. I have been reading these forums for a good few years now, and really value the opinions of you guys in particular. I also mentioned Pinky Powers had highlighted a good synergy with the DX220 and Legend X. Could you expand on what you said about the Legend X with the DX220, and how it compares with the same IEMs and the SP1000M please?
  3. twister6 Contributor
    LX synergy with DX220 is as good, but I think you are looking more specifically for a detailed comparison between these two daps with LX. I only had SPKM on short term loan for review, thus can't compare it side by side. LX is L-shaped basshead iem, and unless you are going to apply the Eq, you're not going to drastically change that sound sig. BUT, and again I don't have it with me anymore since it was on loan, SP2k pair up with LX showed some improvement, bringing the sig closer to more balanced since the impact of the bass was less overwhelming.
  4. thedanadamsusa

    Thank you for your input - I respect your commitment to the A&K SP1000. You’ve never deviated from your satisfaction with it. While I agree that actually demoing these things beforehand is the best way to proceed, sadly it isn’t an option for me. Also, money isn’t really the main factor. The MAIN factor is: should I pay 2.5 times more for an SP1000M? They’re both good - apparently, but is the cost differential valid?
  5. thedanadamsusa

    I understand the L-shaped profile of the Legend X. To be fair though, I absolutely LOVE them on my Hiby R6 - best IEM I’ve had the pleasure of hearing - without EQ’ing, and I don’t consider myself a bass-head.

    I just want to improve my source component, and squeeze as much potential out of them as possible. I also understand the SP1000M is sonically most likely a little better overall, than the DX220. But I’ve read many reviews now, where people are saying it is a very impressive DAP sonically.

    My real concerns are; a) is the SP1000M WORTH 2.5 times more, and b) are the slow UI complaints valid? I don’t recall you saying it was ponderous to use in your review. Plus I have seen this DAP in operation, and it doesn’t appear to be as sluggish as some have suggested.

    I have an iPhone, so don’t need the quickest UI on the planet for my DAP. I want the best sounding unit for my Legend X’s, and the rest of it just needs to be useable.
  6. Luisonic
    I'd like to offer my 2c....

    I was in a similar hole last year, and tried a couple of daps, including the blazoned wm1a. I wanted a source that could help me enjoy my cans and my CA Atlas which I had recently gotten.

    In the end, strictly my opinion, you have to forget about price (if you can...) and get the specs that will satisfy what you're after. I finally stayed with the spkm because I noticed a tremendous quality upgrade in many areas of my listening, especially: balance through all frequencies, wonderful clarity and soundstage (extremely non-negotiable for me), superior to everything else I had heard. All this plays beautifully with my Atlas, which I think may be of a similar nature to your X.

    The thing was that I decided to forget thinking about the money and instead think of product quality/synergy matching, and my future satisfaction while enjoying a result that would satisfy me, to live better and to enjoy my music the way I want to, and thus avoiding jumping in the spending wagon with upgraditis fever.

    Now in fact, the more I burn my spkm, the more I smile on my daily commute (it gets better and better with time). My wallet doesn't itch at all, and all I'm thinking about now is a new pair of closed cans (about to be bought) to enjoy my spkm even more!

    Would be nice to go to a 6-month can-jam and try everything for a while. We can't. Instead we come to these forums and go a lot by a mix of experience, faith, and decoding what others say they think-feel about similar experiences we cannot always access...
    I am glad I trusted my info collecting mixed with my instincts, and my jumping into the spkm wagon. I could not be happier with my investment.

    Hope this helps!
  7. olddude
    Is the SP 2.5 times better? Subjective. Is it going to be better? After having AK's, and I was also one who questioned their worth, my answer is yes. This hobby is about incrementals. You will hear more, but will it be 2.5 times more? No. Will the UI be better? AK and Sony have the best UI's out there. Two point five better? No. Worth the money? To many of us, yes.
  8. thedanadamsusa
    Thank you for your insights, it really does help. I am glad you’re really enjoying the SP1000M - it has been my first choice upgrade for almost a year. I’m mostly trying to establish that still should be; as newer DAPs appearing all the time do muddy the waters. Your points and suggestions have definitely reaffirmed my desire to stick with my initial instincts though.
  9. thedanadamsusa

    I completely hear what you are saying. I’ve been faced with similar dilemmas with almost all of my main hi-fi components at home. Ultimately, most of the time you do get what you pay for in this game.

    My strongest ambition in raising this discussion is really based in this premise though. I had the SP1000M as my nailed-on upgrade DAP. But reading about how it may not be the greatest match for my Legend X, had me doubting this - esp as Twister was saying you can’t EQ this issue away.

    The plot thickened further, with may reviews suggesting the DX220 was a close competitor sonically for a lot less. I can reconcile spending what’s required on the AK unit, but at that price, it has to be good - no concessions.
  10. olddude
    There are people on Head-Fi that say that a phone is as good as any DAP. There are people who say that they hear no difference between a $500 DAP and a $3,000 DAP. I've read posts of people saying that they are just fine with a $300 DAP. The ONLY way you will know if a DAP is right for you is to buy one. I will note that you've got an expensive iem and you are looking to pair it with an inexpensive DAP.

    Luhar, thedanadamsusa and Luisonic like this.
  11. Luisonic
    The whole point about product matching: a weak link in the chain will make the whole chain weaker.
    Not so much about price, but quality.
    Filtering info and opinions, eventually you get a good idea of where you can most surely find it.
    thedanadamsusa likes this.
  12. thedanadamsusa
    Thanks again for all your advice Twister. I definitely don't want to EQ and re-calibrate the signature of my Legend Xs - I'm more than happy with them. What I'm most concerned about is you raised the point about the bass bloom when paired with the SPKM. If I go with the AK unit, it needs to perform well in all areas sound-wise - otherwise what is the point of the upgrade, right? To reiterate, this reservation is not specifically about the money - I can afford to spend more on an SPKM, but would it be worth it, if I'm making a concession on how the SPKM handles the base frequencies? If I upgrade, I want the whole gamut of the sound spectrum to be of a high level. Also, if it is going to provide a 20-30% sonic improvement on the iBasso unit, then I'm sold! But if the SQ of the SPKM is only 5-10% better, then I feel like I may be better off spending my money on the DX220. Does that make sense?
  13. Luisonic
    Makes lots of sense, and I remember the anguish... :wink:

    Though that is why I mentioned my combo spkm-Atlas, which are considered pretty strong bass wise.
    Never had the pleasure with the X, but if they’re anything similar (anyone?), then I’d say you’d get what I get: an elegant and precise treatment of all frequencies, with the strength of the Atlas bass and sub-bass.
    Never have touched the eq, no need.

    As a last thought, my experience is that the exceptionalities at the 10% are the ones worth going for.
    thedanadamsusa likes this.
  14. thedanadamsusa
    Great, thanks again for your insight on this. It really is invaluable to hear this from someone who has first-hand experience of the unit. Right now, my gut is leaning in the direction it had previously - which is the SPKM. I'm just waiting now to see if A&K have any Black Friday reduction on the DAP itself. Cheers!
  15. SP1000_WOW
    Went back to 5.1.9 and it worked again. In fact 5.1.10 also works flawlessly and in fact sounds "almost" as good as 5.3.0..... :)

    Am I the only one who has an issue with 5.3.0?

    After upgrading from 5.1.9 to 5.3.0 using apkpure.com on SP1000, Qobuz now plays some songs with unlistenable hissing. Is anyone else having the same or any other issues with 5.3.0?

    I think I found the pattern. It's either all the 24bit HiRes songs work and CDs fail or vice versa. For example, CD is working and all 24bit HiRes song hisses. Try to play each 24bit song until you find one that plays normally. Now, all CD won't work while 24bit HiRes songs work!!!

    Aaarg......I even reformatted SD card using AK and re-download playlist with NO luck.

    Can someone HELP??????????
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
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