After my disappointments with the Shanling M9 with ROON, I found the perfect DAP to work lovely with Roon.
I bought an Astell & Kern Kann Cube some years ago, because they told it would become Roon compatible. This never happened.
Two Days ago I got an Astell & Kern SP2000T, and this works perfectly. Not only does it play everything perfect in ROON from Tidal and Qobuz, but also my ripped MQA-CDs in iTunes/Apple Music at 352.8 kHz.
It also offers a tube amp which is incredible. I think I found the perfect DAP and maybe the last I need to buy.
There are also some other A&K players that are ROON ready, but I think the tube amp of the SP2000T makes the difference.
I found A&K overpriced, under specced and poor performance. Didn’t sound £700 better than my Hiby DAP even with Roons resampling either.
Shanling M8 resampled at 192 khz, even better than my Shanling M9 at 48 kHz. No, useless. Astell & Kern SP2000T is my first player that does it right.
I can’t hear the difference I sent the A&K back
When it comes to DAP it depends if the DAP is your main (or one of) source(s).
DAP for me is about portability, durability / reliability and battery life rather than “critical listening”. My trusty shanling M3X serves me well with either Roon (garden WiFi) , flash rips or streaming downloads. It has taken some proper abuse whilst doing home construction work, thrown in a back-pack and bouncing through airport security bins. For the 300 dollars it cost I’ll lose no sleep over that and the “fully fledged” roon experience isn’t missed when the source is in my back pocket and I’m busy doing / focusing on something else.
Is it possible to roll the korg nutube? If not then it’s just preset tube “flavour” EQ in my mind. Give me a comfy chair, a pair of ZMFs and the flexibility of rolling an OTL amp any day. That’s experiencing tubes.
As for pricing, the AK is on the extreme side for what is ultimately a device that will be shelf-lifed by its OS implementation. You pays your money you takes your choice.
For me it‘s all about listening. Sennheiser ie900 or Neve Emperion. Yes, they got the Korg tubes, and they sound great great great. Expensive at 2500.- but the best DAP I ever heard.
I have been searching for DAPs that run fine with ROON for years and I am so happy I finally found one.
It’s great, that the A&K SP2000T ist fine for you with Roon
From mine side: I’ve sold my SP2000 (which I’ve also used with Roon), because:
- not really mobile
- needs a lot of power, when using with Roon → so I’ve connected it always with a power line while playing
- limited in WLAN (so “only” DSD64 is allowed) and Roon needs generally a stable network connection
- sometimes troubles in using DSD and switching to PCM
- not gapless in using the DAP as DLNA client
- for some headphones it’s better to use an external headamp
- for controlling Roon you need an additional remote (mobile, tablet, …)
So the A&K doesn’t make sense for me. For the same price you’ll get for example an Naim Uniti Atom HE or a Matrix Audio M2 /X2, which are sounding not worser and are much comfortablier than the A&K.
I use it mainly at home where I have a very fast internet connection, very good hifi, and - ROON with my 2GB ripped iTunes collection of my CDs, but I mainly use Qobuz and Tidal in the best quality I can find.
So power is no problem, I have charching cables everywhere…
Gapless where I need it.
Enough power even for over-ears (I mainly use meze emperion), for ie‘s anyway. I use 2.5 mm balanced with confected very good cables.
You are right, there ar better amps. But the tubes on the SP2000T are exeptionally fine.
I always have an ipad or my iphone around, so controlling is no issue.
My shanling m8 and m9 and my fiio m15 can do roon natively, but all have the typical android output resampling problem and so are quite useless for me. Playing native via qobuz or tidal or the player, or over network, everything works, but not in roon.
That‘s why I am so happy with the SP2000T, because at home I like to use Roon. In the living Roon I can use it with my Brooklyn Bridge DAC. I also have some small DSPs that I can use with my phone, iPad, mac or PC, but none of them sound as good as the A&K SP2000P.
If I want to go mobile, I use my iPhone with bluetooth bone conductors for hiking and biking (Shokz Open Run pro), airpods pro or sony wf1000xm4 to chill or if I want noise cancelling. Airpods Pro in the plane.
If want better quality, I use my „chocolate brick“ - Earman sparrow, that has a 2.5 mm balanced output for my Sennheiser IE900.
So, for the time being, I‘ve got everything to listen to music happily…