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  • Cheryl Tan

Astell & Kern Debuts New SP3000 Flagship DAP & 10-Driver Odyssey IEM

Updated: Mar 6, 2023

After three years, Astell & Kern has shown off the new A&ultima SP3000 digital audio player (DAP) and the specially-created Odyssey in-ear monitors (IEM) created in collaboration with Empire Ears to showcase the sound of the player.

Credit: Astell & Kern

With independent Dual Audio Circuitry, this makes the SP3000 the world's first DAP that has complete separation of the balanced and unbalanced outputs, as well as the first player in the world to use the new AK4499EX DAC chip. It's also been majorly upgraded from the previous flagship, the SP2000, with a new 5.46-inch FHD touchscreen display as opposed to the 5-inch 720p touchscreen from before.

Upon picking it up, the increased 493g weight is also very noticeable, but that's thanks in part to the use of stainless steel 904L for the body. It's certainly big, bulky and heavy, but it retains the iconic angular Astell & Kern design.

Credit: Astell & Kern

Additionally, Astell & Kern has kept user convenience at the top of mind here, with an upgrade to Bluetooth 5.0 as well as the added ability to update streaming services through over-the-air firmware updates instead of having to sideload APKs as was the norm back with the SP2000.

The user interface has also been redesigned and the player comes with 8GB of DDR4 RAM for even smoother operation. Support for the LDAC codec has also been added, which is definitely nice for people who are planning on using true wireless earbuds or headphones with the SP3000. BT Sink will allow users to connect the SP3000 to devices via Bluetooth and operate as a Bluetooth DAC, so music from phones can be played back in high quality.

Credit: Astell & Kern

As for the Odyssey IEMs, these are the first collaboration between Astell & Kern and Empire Ears. They utilise a proprietary Quadbrid system comprising of twin W9+ subwoofers, five balanced armature drivers, dual electrostatic drivers and a W10 bone conduction driver. A seven-way synX crossover and an all-new EIVEC MKII Engine ensure all 10 drivers are synchronised and coherent across the frequency response range.

The Odyssey IEMs come bundled with an Effect Audio Ares II copper litz cable terminating in a 4.4mm Pentaconn connector, as well as a 4.4mm to 3.5mm adapter, Final Audio Type-E ear tips and an aluminium case.

I had a very short listen to the SP3000 audio player, and I must say that from my first impressions, the resolution offered by the SP3000 is better, allowing for more space in between instruments as well as better spatial positioning. I'm certainly hoping to get my hands on a unit for a more in-depth review, but on first listen, this DAP looks to be very promising.

More information about the A&K SP3000 and Odyssey IEM are available on Astell & Kern's website.

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