Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000T Portable Music Player

Astell & Kern

Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000T Portable Music Player

Astell & Kern A&ultima SP3000T Portable Music Player
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Analogue Warmth, Digital Precision

Astell&Kern's ethos of producing immersive sound from high-resolution original music stands as a testament to the spirit of innovation and excellence embodied in the A&ultima series. The goal was to surpass the impeccable design and high-resolution sound of the previous product, the SP3000, by crafting an audio player that truly captures the emotion and resonance of music.

Developed with this vision in mind, the A&ultima SP3000T channels the profound emotion and lasting essence of analogue audio. The integration of a real vacuum tube creates an authentic analogue sound complemented by cutting-edge audio technology such as TERATON ALPHA for an immersive auditory experience.

Introducing the A&ultima SP3000T — a portable audio player that defies convention, offering a unique fusion of analogue and digital excellence.


The Astell & Kern SP3000T in silver laying flat on a notebook with two pencils on a wooden tray beside it.



  • Dual RAYTHEON JAN6418 MIL-SPEC Vintage Vacuum Tubes
  • Our TRIPLE AMP SYSTEM allows listeners to select the right tones for their music
  • Three levels of voltage with Tube Current option
  • Stainless steel with 99.9% pure silver plating
  • Separate digital and analog signal processing (AK4191EQ x2 / AK4499EX x2)
  • VU Meter
  • High-performance Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU

True Analogue Sound with Real Vacuum Tube

The original vacuum tube is known for its warm sound, attributed to its distinctive rich harmonics, which have cemented its status as a cherished component of Hi-Fi audio. However, its impracticality in terms of miniaturisation, primarily due to power control and footprint issues, presented a formidable obstacle, rendering it unsuitable for use in portable audio players.

In Astell&Kern's unyielding quest for innovation, they refused to settle for conventional sound and design, and instead worked to bridge the gap between stationary and portable audio by infusing the essence of analogue sound into their devices.

The A&K SP3000T at the Munich HiFi Show in 2024 on a stand with headphones plugged into it.

These efforts eventually culminated in the pairing of the SP3000T with the RAYTHEON JAN6418 Miniature vacuum Tube. The RAYTHEON JAN6418 is a mini vacuum tube popular among audiophiles. Designed to meet military specifications and traditionally used in military communication equipment, it quickly garnered recognition for its distinctively warm and soft sound, leading to its integration into regular audio devices.

Sound Craftsmanship for the Ultimate Vacuum Tube Sound

Due to inherent differences in noise and amplification among original vacuum tubes, Astell&Kern adopted a meticulous selection process to adhere to their philosophy of addressing even the minutest differences in sound quality.

Astell&Kern carefully measures and pairs each JAN6418, a difficult process demanding both time and precision. This thorough selection method minimises output deviation between the left and right channels, resulting in more natural sound reproduction.

Every shielding operation on the vacuum tube is carefully executed by hand to minimise potential noise interference.

Thanks to A&K's unwavering dedication to sound craftsmanship, they have successfully brought the distinctive spatial sense and balance found in their existing audio players into the analogue realm of vacuum tube sound.

Minimising Microphonic Noise

The integration of vacuum tubes into compact, portable devices presents a formidable technical hurdle — maintaining low noise levels while delivering unparalleled resolution and robust output.

With the SP3000T, A&K have tackled this challenge head-on with a custom-made solution designed to minimise microphonic noise. A team devoted extensive time to refining the structural integrity of the vacuum tubes, ensuring minimal noise even in the event of minor shocks or vibrations.

1. Independent modular, flexible PCB design engineered separately from the main PCB   
2. Silicone module case designed to absorb primary shocks from the vacuum tube   
3. Silicone tubing perfectly tailored to the vacuum tube leads to reduce shock transmission along the leads   
4. Silicone dampers around the vacuum tube suspend the tube in the air from both ends

Tube Current option for premium analogue sound

After testing the operational range of the vacuum tube, A&K developed an internal plate voltage control system, which can be adjusted in three stages and directly affects the amplification rate of the vacuum tube amplifier, resulting in nuanced changes in sound texture.   
Experience the subtle shifts in density and spatial presence in your headphones or earphones as you fine-tune the current of the vacuum tube amplifier.

Vacuum Tube LED

While in vacuum tube mode or hybrid mode, the vacuum tubes on the back of the SP3000T emit light, enhancing the device's subtle and stylish analogue feel.

A&K SP3000T rear view showing the little illuminated window

99.9% Pure Silver Plating

While crafting the SP3000T, A&K spent a long time searching for a material that seamlessly blends high-resolution digital sound with the rich analogue warmth of a vacuum tube. After rigorous research, Astell&Kern proudly emerged as a pioneer in selecting and applying material featuring 99.9% pure silver plating.

Silver boasts superior electrical conductivity compared to copper and gold, making it a popular choice for premium semiconductors and high-end audio components.

The A&K in silver standing up beside a pair of black headphones

The body of the SP3000T is coated in 99.9% pure silver plating atop 316L stainless steel, which is renowned for its exceptional corrosion resistance.   
Since silver can tarnish over time due to exposure to air, A&K have taken extra steps to increase its longevity, such as adding a special multi-layer coating to prevent sulfurisation, to enhance durability and prevent exposure with air.

TERATON ALPHA, AK's Flagship Audio Technology

To take you on an unparalleled audio journey with A&K's groundbreaking DAP, they've incorporated the latest DAC and vacuum tube specifications, and added their revolutionary audio technology, TERATON ALPHA, Astell&Kern's ultimate sound solution.

TERATON ALPHA, the result of relentless research, encapsulates Astell&Kern's unique approach to achieving sound fidelity akin to the original recording.

Thanks to its effective power noise removal, efficient power consumption, vibration-free amplification and meticulously engineered audio output interfaces, TERATON ALPHA delivers a sound experience that is second to none.

The combination of the SP3000T's innovative real vacuum tubes and separate digital and analogue architecture with A&K's TERATON ALPHA solution has produced a masterpiece of an audio player that embodies the essence of pure, unadulterated sound.

Achieving Complete Separation of Digital and Analogue Signals

Building upon the design principles of the popular A&ultima SP3000, the SP3000T has undergone enhancements that have garnered widespread acclaim for exceptional sound quality.

Achieving remarkably low noise levels within the compact confines of the SP3000T's circuitry, which includes various resistance elements, components and vacuum tubes, posed a challenge beyond the capabilities of conventional design approaches.

A&K SP3000T in silver standing on a table with some earphones plugged in.  There are books in the background.

To solve this issue, the SP3000T boasts two of AKM's latest flagship AK4499EX DACs as well as a separate audio circuit design featuring the AK4191EQ, which is applied independently to the left and right channels responsible for processing digital signals.

Unlike most digital players, which typically process digital and analogue signals within the DAC, the SP3000T utilises a unique audio circuit configuration. This setup involves reducing the noise of the input digital signal through the AK4191EQ, which acts as a separate digital delta-sigma modulator. In this unique design, only analogue signals are processed within the DAC AK4499EX, ensuring that digital and analogue signals are processed separately.

We've also improved sound separation by adopting a new design that completely segregates the OP AMP and TUBE AMP signals. This refinement also maximises the DAC's performance, resulting in enhanced depth and richness in the lower frequency range.

Silver Plated Shield Can

A shield can is applied to prevent various noise and electromagnetic interference from affecting the audio block.

The SP3000T takes it a step further to achieve excellent audio performance and perfect shielding by applying highly conductive, high-purity silver on the existing shield can, and physically separating digital and analogue signals.

Seamless Fusion of Real Tube and OP AMP — Astell&Kern's TRIPLE AMP SYSTEM

Harnessing the power of Astell&Kern's unique TERATON ALPHA technology, the A&ultima SP3000T achieves seamless harmony between the rich, authentic analog sound of a real tube and the dynamic clarity of an OP AMP.

The SP3000T offers three distinct modes to cater to your audio preferences: TUBE AMP Mode, which delivers the natural warmth of a vacuum tube amplifier;   
OP AMP Mode, which is renowned for Astell&Kern's crystal-clear resolution and expansive soundstage; and Hybrid AMP Mode, which expertly blends the richness of analogue with high-resolution clarity.

Upgrade your listening experience with A&K cutting-edge amplifier technology.

OP AMP Mode — Unparalleled High Resolution and Dynamics

Immerse yourself in high-resolution audio that faithfully reproduces the original sound without distortion, offering a newfound sense of space and unparalleled clarity and dynamics. OP AMP Mode represents the pinnacle of high-quality sound, a hallmark of all Astell&Kern products.

Enjoy exceptionally low noise interference and high resolution thanks to Astell&Kern's TERATON ALPHA technology and uncover unexplored nuances in your music across any genre.

TUBE AMP Mode — The Authentic Essence of Analogue Sound

Nothing compares to the warm texture and distinctive sense of space delivered by a Tube Amp — qualities that remain unmatched by even the most advanced digital amplifiers. Renowned for their ability to convey the raw emotion of music, the timeless appeal of vacuum tube amplifiers has captivated audiophiles since their inception.

The SP3000T's TUBE AMP Mode allows you to enjoy the smooth and inviting analog sound unique to real vacuum tube technology, complemented by groundbreakingly low noise levels.

The A&K SP3000T at the Munich HiFi Show on a stand with headphones plugged in.

Astell&Kern's Cutting-Edge Amp Technology — Hybrid AMP Mode

Departing from the traditional Vacuum Tube AMP and OP AMP modes, the SP3000T features a groundbreaking HYBRID AMP Mode — a new concept in audio technology that puts tone control at your fingertips. HYBRID AMP Mode seamlessly blends the best of analogue warmth and high-resolution output to create a unique tonal experience. With five adjustable levels, users can tailor the sound to their preferences and the unique characteristics of each song, ensuring an optimal listening experience every time.

Snapdragon Octa-Core CPU

A&ultima SP3000T is equipped with a Snapdragon 6125 Octa-core processor, so you can enjoy the overwhelming sound, with faster system response and a redesigned generation user interface that moves comfortably and smoothly.

Featuring a high-performance CPU and improved 8GB of DDR4 memory, which is twice the amount commonly used in other digital audio players, the more powerful system is stable with fast and fluid movement.

The CPU, memory and wireless communication parts are configured as one module, with the digital circuit parts arranged in the same area creating a single system on a chip (SoC). This maximises the efficiency of the overall circuit configuration by providing more dedicated audio-only circuit space as well as reducing heat and noise from digital circuits.

VU Meter GUI for complete musical immersion

The SP3000T marks a milestone for Astell&Kern as the first device to feature a VU Meter GUI, elevating your listening experience by providing a visual representation of sound levels as you indulge in your favorite music.

The VU Meter, an iconic piece of audio equipment with a long-standing history, displays voltage levels of voice signals to aid volume measurement and adjustment.

Beyond its utilitarian function, the VU Meter's unique design and retro charm help to enhance the immersive music-listening experience.  Conveniently accessible via the bottom navigation bar, the VU Meter on the SP3000T allows you to monitor sound levels while viewing album art or streaming via A&K's Open App Service.

Immerse yourself in the rich analogue sound and emotional depth of the SP3000T's vacuum tube through the captivating interface of the VU Meter.

Digital Audio Remaster Technology for Even More Vivid Original Sound

The SP3000T is equipped with Digital Audio Remaster(DAR) technology, which was developed to deliver fine sound at higher sample rates.

DAR technology is developed to upsample the sample rate of the sound source being played to go beyond the limits of the source format.

The high sample rate allows more refined play and offers delicate and analog-like original sound, helping you to enjoy the richness of the original sound, subtle differences in the nuance of the music and rich sounds at a higher level.

Sound Design With DAC Filters

With the SP3000T, you can have fun creating your own sound style by selecting various DAC filters provided by the DAC manufacturer.  Design your own sound with 6 different DAC filters.

Streaming and AK Connect Network Play — Designed for Convenience

Astell&Kern's audio players are seamlessly integrated with external streaming apps through the Open App Service. Enjoy high-quality streaming from platforms like Tidal and Apple Music with the unparalleled fidelity of the SP3000T.

With AK Connect, our network play feature, you can easily access and play/download music from PCs and devices connected to the same network as the SP3000T in real-time.

Elevate your streaming experience to new heights with Open App Service and AK Connect.

High-Quality Wireless Hi-Fi Sound with BT Sink

BT Sink allows you to connect the SP3000T to external devices such as smartphones and PCs via Bluetooth.

Transmit sound from an external device directly to the SP3000T with just one pairing. Enjoy superior sound quality with support for high-quality codecs such as LDAC and AptX. Elevate your listening experience with seamless wireless connectivity through BT Sink.

Real-Time Information Confirmed by Light

Inside the A&ultima's beautiful volume wheel are LED lights shaped like a majestic musical sound swirling through the unit.

You can check the bit depth information of the currently playing song or view the set AMP mode through the LED light that spreads intensely from the inside of the SP3000T.

Supports Native DSD512, 32bit/768kHz

SP3000T supports Native DSD512 and up to 32bit/768kHz with Astell&Kern’s excellent audio technology, allowing you to fully enjoy your favorite music.

AK File Drop to enjoy wireless transfers

The new AK File Drop function in the SP3000T makes files transfers easier and more convenient. Using AK File Drop, you can freely transfer files wirelessly through a PC, smartphone, or FTP program located on the same network. Music file management is now possible with a cableless, wireless solution.

QC 3.0 Fast Charging Supported

The SP3000T supports Qualcomm QC 3.0 fast charging, so you can charge your DAP faster and more efficiently than previous models, reaching a full charge in about 3.5 hours.

ReplayGain Automatically and Uniformly Adjusts Playback Volume

ReplayGain, which adjusts sound sources with different volumes to an identical level, has been applied. Now, enjoy your own playlists seamlessly through the ReplayGain feature on SP3000T.   
* ReplayGain supports up to 24-bit/192 kHz sound sources.

Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4/5 GHz)

SP3000T offers Dual Band Wi-Fi (2.4/5 Ghz), providing enhanced network performance to enjoy Hi-Fi music through various streaming services.

High-End Shrunken Calfskin Case

The SP3000T comes with a deluxe case crafted from shrunken calf leather sourced from Perlinger in Germany and Alcantara in Italy, ensuring a level of style and quality that matches the quality of the device. The shrunken method used to craft the leather results in natural wrinkles, creating an irregular, yet distinctive texture that enhances its luxurious appearance. Unlike regular embossing techniques, this process preserves the leather's natural texture and minimises discoloration, ensuring the color remains vibrant even after prolonged use.

Astell & Kern Calfskin case on the SP3000T.  It's a golden colour.

The case of the SP3000T is fashioned from exquisite leather crafted by the Perlinger tannery in Germany.   
With a heritage spanning five generations since its inception in 1864, Perlinger stands as the last bastion of calf leather manufacturing in Germany.   
Renowned for its unparalleled quality, Perlinger's shrunken calf is regarded as the finest in the industry, making it highly sought after by prestigious luxury brands such as H.


The A&ultima SP3000T symbolizes the pinnacle of analogue sound and embodies an unwavering dedication to timeless audio elements such as vacuum tubes and turntables.

Integrating iconic design elements from the SP3000 with the analogue essence of the SP2000T, every detail of the SP3000T reflects a seamless fusion of these two models. From its meticulously crafted volume wheel to its protective casing, the design of the SP3000T pays homage to both heritage and innovation.

At the core of the SP3000T lies its dual vacuum tubes, which emit an ethereal glow that complements the rich analogue sound, while the rear glass panel, decorated with a subtle pattern, gently disperses this luminous aura to create a mesmerising effect.

The rear glass panel is contrasted to visually separate the vacuum tube area and accentuate this feature, while the black tinting ensures a refined appearance even when the lights are dimmed.

Light flows smoothly through the wheel protector that frames the volume wheel, producing an elegant visualisation of the "radiance" of the vacuum tubes from the rear side to the volume wheel.

With its silver-plated body and hairline finish, the SP3000T exudes a luxurious aura that is characteristic of Astell&Kern's flagship A&ultima lineup and embodies the craftsmanship and prestige synonymous with the brand.

  • Model: SP3000T
  • Body Colour: Silver
  • Body Material: Stainless Steel with Pure Silver Plating
  • Display: 5.5 inch 1080 x 1920 Full HD touch screen
  • Supported Audio Formats: WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF, MQA
  • Sample rate PCM: 8kHz ~ 768kHz (8/16/24/32bits per Sample)
  • DSD Native: DSD64(1bit 2.8MHz), Stereo / DSD128(1bit 5.6MHz), Stereo / DSD256(1bit 11.2MHz), DSD512(1bit, 22.4MHz) Stereo
  • Output Level Unbalanced: 3.3Vrms │ Balanced 6.3Vrms (Condition No Load)
  • CPU: Octa-Core
  • DAC: AKM AK4191 x2 (Dual Modulator) & AKM AK4499EX x2 (Dual DAC)
  • Vacuum Tube: RAYTHEON JAN6418 x2
  • Decoding: Support up to 32bit / 768kHz Bit to Bit playback
  • Input: USB Type-C input (for charging & PC & MAC)
  • Outputs: Unbalanced Out (3.5mm), Optical Out(3.5mm)
  • Balanced Out (2.5mm, only 4-pole supported | 4.4m, only 5-pole supported)
  • WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz)
  • Bluetooth: V5.0 (A2DP, AVRCP │ Qualcomm® aptX™ HD, LDAC, LHDC)
  • Dimensions: 3.33" (84.7mm)[W] x 5.57" (141.5mm)[H] x 0.70" (18mm)[D]
  • Weight: about 17oz (483g)
  • Feature Enhancements: Firmware upgrade supported (OTA)
  • Operating Temperature: 0℃ ~ + 40℃ (32℉~ 104℉)

Audio Specifications

  • Frequency Response: 
    • ±0.005dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.003dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Balanced
    • ±0.006dB (Condition: 20Hz~70kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.024dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Balanced
  • S/N: 120dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 124dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
  • Crosstalk: -136dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ -145dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
  • THD+N: 0.0005% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 0.0004% @ 1kHz, Balanced
  • IMD SMPTE: 0.0007% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1) Unbalanced │ 0.0007% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1) Balanced
  • Output Impedance: Unbalanced Out 3.5mm (1.5ohm) │ Balanced Out 2.5mm (1.5ohm), 4.4mm(1.4ohm)

Clock Source

  • Clock Jitter: 25ps (Typ)
  • Reference Clock Jitter: 200 Femto Seconds

Storage Capacity

  • Built-in Memory: 256GB [NAND]
  • External Memory: microSD x1 (Max. 1TB)


  • Capacity: 5,050mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer
  • Charge Time: about 3.5hours (QC3.0 Charging)
  • Playback Time: about 10hours (Standard : FLAC, 16bit, 44.1kHz, Unbalanced, Vol.50, LCD Off, LED On, OP AMP Mode)

Overall Rating