Disclaimer: ohm image generally doesn't host rumours, but with a scoop this big, and this mofo is BIG, ohm makes a jump. I was approached by an anonymous source deeply familiar with, or employed by, Astell & Kern.
That the recently announced AK380 doesn't feature Ultimate in its copy was the first hint that it wasn't their top model. That was the first clue that something else was coming. Last year, Head-fi fooled everyone with a mockup of an AK480 on 1 April.
As it turns out, the AK480 wasn't a mere joke. It was real, just not as Head-Fi had envisioned it.
And it's Ultimate, again. For the third time.
Astell & Kern's maverick copyright team are back in the saddle. Again.
Apparently, Astell & Kern approached Atari to design their next ultimate device. Ostensibly, this was in response to complaints that some AK DAPs were too angular, hard to hold, and looked a little too much like lop-sided diamonds.
If you're worried about the AK480's plethora of buttons, or the joystick, don't. My source informed me that the new navigation method will be faster, and more intuitive, than any touch-only device. But best of all, the Lyn... er AK480 will launch with a huge library of Astell & Kern-distributed hi-res DSD audio, on sharable devices Astell & Kern are calling cards. It can also be linked up with other AK480s for up to 4x the processing power, and quadrophonic sound.
I don't know about you, but I'm ultimately excited.
UPDATE: AK480 will support up to Do the Math DSD32+32+32+32+32+32+32, which is said to be hugely superior to DSD128, DSD256, and anything up until the next ultimate player comes along.