A remarkable music player that’s now properly portable

Astell & Kern’s SP1000m is lighter, shorter, narrower and cheaper than its predecessor – and still produces the same high-quality audio

Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000m, £1,999
Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000m, £1,999 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

A couple of years ago, I reviewed the small-music-player specialist Astell & Kern’s unbelievably good A&ultima SP1000. A&K makes music players of extraordinary distinction and here we have its latest, the SP1000m, which is half the SP1000’s weight, shorter, narrower, 40 per cent cheaper – and yet has almost exactly the same awesome internal spec, plus a lovely updated interface. Yes, the screen is a smidgen smaller, the battery life a tad shorter and the built-in memory not as capacious (though easily overcome by a micro SD-card slot for overflow music), but while the SP1000 was too hefty to fit in a pocket, the SP1000m is properly portable. So, what does the “m” actually stand for? According to the A&K website, many things: “The ‘m’ does not stand for a specific word, but rather encompasses directions that the product aims to pursue. Mini – smaller than the SP1000; Mobility – more portable; Maximum – produces the highest-quality audio; Mania – for users who have a mania for original sound; Mate – perfect any time and anywhere; Moment – listeners are in the present with music.” I’ll add another: Minor Miracle. So now you know.

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