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Astell&Kern’s New Flagship A&ultima SP3000T DAP and NOVUS IEM Combo Will Set You Back $8,000

The Astell&Kern A&ultima SP3000T brings tube amplification into its flagship DAP designed to pair with limited-edition NOVUS IEMs by Empire Ears.

Astell&Kern SP3000T DAP with Novus IEM

The ultimate in portable listening? Astell&Kern today announced two new flagship products: the A&ultima SP3000T digital audio player (DAP) for $2,999 and NOVUS in-ear monitors (IEMs) in collaboration with Empire Ears for $4,999.

A&ultima SP3000T

Astell&Kern SP3000T DAP with tubes
Astell&Kern SP3000T DAP

Expanding on the extremely popular A&ultima SP3000, Astell&Kern combines the best of their current flagship player with the “warm” sound of tube amplification.  The SP3000T features Astell&Kern’s Triple Amp System, first debuted in 2021 with the A&ultima SP2000T, which allows users customize their sound profile using tube amplification, a digital op-amp, or hybrid combination of both tube and op-amps. 

All three modes are available when using the 2.5mm, 3.5mm or 4.4mm outputs.

Tube Amp Mode 

The SP3000T features Dual RAYTHEON JAN6418 MIL-SPEC Vintage Vacuum Tubes. Tube Amp Mode provides a uniquely warm and soothing tone, typically seen with vintage tube amplifiers.

Astell&Kern SP3000T DAP with VU meter screen

Op-Amp Mode

The SP3000T uses the same op-amp configuration found in the flagship SP3000 player.  This proven op-amp technology was developed over the years for Astell&Kern’s digital audio player lines and has proven time and again to be the culmination of Astell&Kern’s expertise in amp design, delivering extreme clarity, low noise floor and the dynamic sound that Astell&Kern is known for worldwide. 

Hybrid Amp Mode

First debuted in the SP2000T, Hybrid Amp Mode enhances the resolution and clarity of the existing tube amp mode to express more musical detail. This mode, which combines the advantages of retro analog sensibility and high-resolution output, gives you the pleasure of a new tonality, bringing together the best of vacuum tube and op-amp design and technology.

Three-Step Tube Current Adjustment

While in tube mode, users can adjust the current flow to the tubes, allowing nuanced changes in the sound profile.  

Like the A&ultima SP3000, the SP3000T uses Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM) latest flagship DAC, the AKM AK4499EX and features a complete separation of digital and analog signals.  Most digital players process digital and analog signals together inside the DAC. However, the SP3000 and SP3000T’s reduce the noise of the digital signal input using the AK4191EQ, a separate digital delta-sigma modulator, and then the AK4499EX DAC processes the analog signals separately.

Tip: The DAC configuration between the SP3000 and SP3000T is slightly different. The SP3000 uses a Quad DAC AK4499EX + 2 x AK4191EQ with the hexa-structure (4+2). The SP3000T uses a Dual DAC AK4499EX + 2 x AK4191EQ (2+2).

Astell&Kern SP3000T DAP Lifestyle

By applying this unique design where digital and analog signal processing is physically separated, Astell&Kern claims an incredible level of sound that has never been experienced before.  

The A&ultima SP3000T is equipped with a Snapdragon 6125 Octa-core processor and 8GB of DDR4 memory, which is twice the amount of RAM commonly used in DAPs.  Along with the current Astell&Kern 4th generation, Crimson user interface, the player features a more powerful system that has proven to be stable, easier to navigate, and upgradeable.

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316L Stainless Steel with 99.9% pure silver plating gives the SP3000T a classic look that fully complements the vintage tube amp used in the player.

In addition to the SP3000T, Astell&Kern has plans for a more user-accessible product in the A&ultima line to be released in the second half of 2024, giving audio enthusiasts an additional option for high-end, flagship music playback.

NOVUS In-Ear Monitor

Astell&Kern Novus IEM back

NOVUS features a 13 driver Quadbrid, Dual conduction design. It’s the second Astell&Kern collaboration with IEM manufacturer Empire Ears, which began with Odyssey. Astell&Kern teamed up with Empire Ears to achieve the purest sound imaginable by combining innovative design with the latest technology.

Odyssey vs. NOVUS IEMs

10 Driver Quadbrid, Dual Conduction Design13 Driver Quadbrid, Dual Conduction Design
[Dual] W9+ Subwoofers[Dual] W9+ Subwoofers
[Five] Proprietary Balanced Armature Drivers[Five] Balanced Armature Drivers (One Sonion driver and Quad Proprietary NOVA Drivers by Knowles)
[Dual] Electrostatic Tweeters[Quad] Electrostatic Tweeters by Sonion
[W10] Bone Conduction Ultra DriverDual [W10] Bone Conduction Ultra Driver

NOVUS features a 6061-T6 aluminum shell finished in Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) with 24K Wet Gold-Plated faceplates and sapphire glass.

A custom-made four-wire hybrid copper, gold and silver cable with 23.7AWG Litz Type 4S cable structure reinforced with black macro-molecular fiber and terminated in 4.4mm balanced jack is included.  

Astell&Kern Novus IEM sides
Astell&Kern Novus IEM

Price & Availability

The Astell&Kern A&ultima SP3000T will be available in May 2024 at authorized Astell&Kern dealers worldwide for $2,999.

NOVUS is produced by Empire Ears under the Astell&Kern brand name and will be for sale exclusively at authorized Astell&Kern dealers worldwide for $4,999 in May 2024.  

The A&ultima SP3000T and NOVUS IEM will be available for demo at CanJam NYC 2024, March 9 and 10, at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. 

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