Introduction of my new Antipodes K50 Music Server

Parsons

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Apr 1, 2018
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Antipodes development focus is (to my understanding), to bring the best signal to a DAC.
I learned from them, that Ethernet and USB carry too many distortions to become the digital connection to a DAC.
I2S ist best, followed by AES/EBU and SPDIF and a separate clock connection.

K50 is their best interface to connect internet and HD files to a DAC,
providing I2s and AES/EBU and SPDIF plus a separate clock connection

Using Ethernet or USB as connection to the DAC does sound significantly worse than I2s, AES/EBU or SPDIF.
(Using the Ethernet, USB and AES/EBU or SPDIF connections on Brinkmann Nyquist II)

According to their own goals, K40 cannot be more, than just a compromise .

So I decided to go for K50. Using the K50 for all rendering and decoding, sending only uncompressed files to my DAC.

I thought that with my previous DACs, finding USB and AES to be the best with one (ethernet being one of the worst in that DAC) and then AES to be the best with another prior (that didn't have ethernet). I spent several months and several device purchases to make I2S work "better than all others" and I never got there.

I didn't find the same results with the Rossini (which doesn't have I2S, btw)...the inputs are a lot closer to each other than previous DACs that I've owned (I own 6-7 now) and countless others I've heard in my system from friends, and I can't hear any downside with the ethernet connection to the Rossini when the chain is connected in the way I described specifically earlier in this thread. I am assuming the proper switch clocking, isolation, and very good cables are a requirement to feel this way, btw.

Your different findings are another data point for why I suggest the results are very DAC-specific and system-specific.

As an aside for ethernet, I place an extremely high priority on streaming music due to its instant availability and source material that I never in a million years would have guessed I would be so happily streaming in my nicest systems--stuff like YouTube and BandsinTown.com live concerts, and even lower-rez internet radio. Quboz and Tidal obviously are other significant sources of diverse and new music that many more trust quality-wise. Streaming requires the same investment in your network switching and ethernet from my experience, and the has the side benefit of bringing the ethernet-to-DAC a LOT more in line with other connection methods, and maybe even better than some in certain cases. I would have doubted it had I not convinced myself through a lot of testing (and spend, unfortunately).

One note AGAINST Ethernet...it may be the most EXPENSIVE to get right, so its VALUE proposition might certainly be challenged in many cases. However, for me it's performing at incredible levels and it's going to take a hell of a lot for me to go back to AES or USB, at least with this DAC.

I appreciate that others have different experiences with it, and I'm not arguing against contradictory experience to mine.
 

kennyb123

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Nov 30, 2012
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Kirkland, WA
Antipodes development focus is (to my understanding), to bring the best signal to a DAC.
I learned from them, that Ethernet and USB carry too many distortions to become the digital connection to a DAC.
I2S ist best, followed by AES/EBU and SPDIF and a separate clock connection

I think you have that backwards.

Looking at their legacy web pages for their the former generation of products: "The CX and EX are designed around the requirements for USB and Ethernet streaming, which are fundamentally about eliminating noise interference with the signal." For additional outputs one needed to add their P2 Reclocker. This didn't bypass USB, it extended it: "The ultra-low noise signal produced by the CX or EX is sent via USB to the P2, and the P2 regenerates signals using a femto-second clock."

This was repeated again with the S series. The S40 and S60 were designed around USB and Ethernet with one needing to connect a S60 via USB to get additional outputs.

This same logical design is found in the K50. This includes "an advanced player engine to run the selected Player App to provide exceptional USB Audio output and to feed the Reclocker". That exceptional USB Audio signal is very likely what is fed into the Reclocker.

This seems to dispute the argument that they feel that USB carries too many distortions. It might actually suggest they feel that USB is the best way to go, and the reclocker is added only for those products that sound better through their legacy inputs.
 

kennyb123

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Nov 30, 2012
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Kirkland, WA
I thought that with my previous DACs, finding USB and AES to be the best with one (ethernet being one of the worst in that DAC) and then AES to be the best with another prior (that didn't have ethernet). I spent several months and several device purchases to make I2S work "better than all others" and I never got there.

I really liked your entire post as your view comes off as very balanced. I don't think it's any longer valid to say that one interface is better than another in a general sense. It all comes down to the particular implementation. Plus I think cabling can have a greater impact on tipping the balance one way or another. A friend wasn't sure if he preferred Ethernet over USB with his Vivaldi stack until he heard the Shunyata Sigma USB. That cable tipped things so far in favor of USB that the question became moot.
 

Parsons

Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2018
83
47
83
Ohio
I really liked your entire post as your view comes off as very balanced. I don't think it's any longer valid to say that one interface is better than another in a general sense. It all comes down to the particular implementation. Plus I think cabling can have a greater impact on tipping the balance one way or another. A friend wasn't sure if he preferred Ethernet over USB with his Vivaldi stack until he heard the Shunyata Sigma USB. That cable tipped things so far in favor of USB that the question became moot

Thanks, maybe I will have to try a Sigma USB. Curse you. Ha!

I have to admit, even airplay (which is coincidentally flowing through all my ethernet equipment since I don't have wireless in the chain) and more oddly bluetooth over optical SPDF are both sounding amazing to me now, so my interest in trying new cables/inputs has waned a lot in the last months with the Rossini, even though there might still be more to gain. Will have to give it some thought now though, since now you've tempted me.
 

Celts88

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2018
18
1
70
Perth, Australia
Per my earlier post, I demo'd a K50 for a few weeks. I initially ordered a K40 to use with my Linn KDSM, but I also have a Trinnov Amethyst which accepts other inputs in addition to Ethernet, so I changed my order to a K50 to see if using the Trinnov would be better than using my Linn.

Using the K50's Direct Ethernet to the Linn is essentially the same as using a K40.

In my system, I did not hear much of a difference using the K50 vs my current set up (see signature) so I returned it (I also experienced the same result demoing an Innuos Statement - didn't hear much difference vs. current equipment).

As I've said previously, the biggest bang for the buck in my system has been the Melco S100 switch with a Farad Super3 power supply. Of course, YMMV, but I can highly recommend the Melco.

The interesting thing is I just purchased a Melco N10 and it has a direct Ethernet player output. In the case of the N10, it improved upon the results I've been getting from the Melco S100 switch, especially when it comes to PRaT; music just sounds faster having the N10 in the loop - lots of toe tapping!
7ryder

Thanks for the detailed reply :)

Regarding the Melco S100 switch, that's a bit too pricey for my budget, but I do have ab UpTone Audio EtherREGEN on the way that I can plug in before the CX (or K40) to help improve Ethernet isolation.

Your findings of using the K50 via Ethernet output could be that you have a very good system already in palce, so the K50 didn't add much to it. I have a more 'mediocre' system therefore my jump to a K40 may show up more improvement than your current system does (only hypothetical as the only true way to find out is actual listening test).

Thanks again for your reply
 

kennyb123

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Nov 30, 2012
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Kirkland, WA
Thanks, maybe I will have to try a Sigma USB. Curse you. Ha!
The you probably don't want me to tell you how much better it gets with their Omega USB.
 
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kennyb123

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Nov 30, 2012
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I had some newbie questions for Mark Cole of Antipodes tonight as I was trying to get my K30 set up the right way. He answered every question promptly. He was tremendously helpful during the buying process and he continues to be tremendously helpful.

The K30 has been blowing my mind.
 

Celts88

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2018
18
1
70
Perth, Australia
I had some newbie questions for Mark Cole of Antipodes tonight as I was trying to get my K30 set up the right way. He answered every question promptly. He was tremendously helpful during the buying process and he continues to be tremendously helpful.

The K30 has been blowing my mind.
I had to send my CX back to Antipodes last week as it hit a big problem after the R28 software upgrade (was this the issue or just a confidence). The CX would show on my network for 5 to 10 minutes then would fall off (still turned on, but lost to the network), and was also heating up extremely hot during this time. Tony and Mark C. both tried externally logging in to look at my CX, but as it kept dropping off my network, then they eventually said to send it back for them to have a look at.

Antipodes paid for the postage back to NZ (good on them) received it on Friday, and are going to have a look at it and get back to me. I've already raised the question with Mark C. that if the CX needs repair due to a warranty issue would they be willing to look at a trade-in deal for a K40 (not sure what's involved with future upgrades for CX's so never went down this line). I wanted to look at the K40 first as I currently connect my CX to my Devialet 1000pro via ethernet and the K40 seemed a logical choice in upgrade (K50 is just too rich for my budget, and the K40 has the better V5.6H board over the K30 V5.2H board).

One part of me wants the CX fixed and back to me ASAP (in time for roll-out of new Roon 1.8), but another part sneakily wonders if the CX has a warranty issue then what options would Antipodes be able to offer for an upgrade to a K40 ;)
 

Parsons

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Apr 1, 2018
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Ohio
I had to send my CX back to Antipodes last week as it hit a big problem after the R28 software upgrade (was this the issue or just a confidence). The CX would show on my network for 5 to 10 minutes then would fall off (still turned on, but lost to the network), and was also heating up extremely hot during this time. Tony and Mark C. both tried externally logging in to look at my CX, but as it kept dropping off my network, then they eventually said to send it back for them to have a look at.

Antipodes paid for the postage back to NZ (good on them) received it on Friday, and are going to have a look at it and get back to me. I've already raised the question with Mark C. that if the CX needs repair due to a warranty issue would they be willing to look at a trade-in deal for a K40 (not sure what's involved with future upgrades for CX's so never went down this line). I wanted to look at the K40 first as I currently connect my CX to my Devialet 1000pro via ethernet and the K40 seemed a logical choice in upgrade (K50 is just too rich for my budget, and the K40 has the better V5.6H board over the K30 V5.2H board).

One part of me wants the CX fixed and back to me ASAP (in time for roll-out of new Roon 1.8), but another part sneakily wonders if the CX has a warranty issue then what options would Antipodes be able to offer for an upgrade to a K40 ;)
Yes, if there is a dilemma to have, you might be in one of those "nice" dilemmas!

I'm very impressed with the support and continued stories I read from Antipodes. It's making me want to consider new products from them for sure.

Maybe see if they can send you a K40 to demo? I think ALL of us (well me myself minimally!) would love to hear more first-person impressions compared the the CX. You and I are asking ourselves the same questions [only my CX hasn't dropped the network or gotten hot thought (yet!) since the upgrade].
 
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Parsons

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Apr 1, 2018
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7ryder

Thanks for the detailed reply :)

Regarding the Melco S100 switch, that's a bit too pricey for my budget, but I do have ab UpTone Audio EtherREGEN on the way that I can plug in before the CX (or K40) to help improve Ethernet isolation.

Your findings of using the K50 via Ethernet output could be that you have a very good system already in palce, so the K50 didn't add much to it. I have a more 'mediocre' system therefore my jump to a K40 may show up more improvement than your current system does (only hypothetical as the only true way to find out is actual listening test).

Thanks again for your reply
I predict you will hear improvements with the EtherRegen but its improvements are further enhanced with a well clocked and powered switch in front of it, from my experience. And yes, the EtherRegen is also improved itself by great external clocking and strong linear power. The nice part is you can do these things in stages if you choose to (or choose NOT to).

I see from your other post that your testing may be a tad delayed now to the CX issue, but do please report back here what you find in your upgrade path.
 
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Parsons

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Apr 1, 2018
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I had some newbie questions for Mark Cole of Antipodes tonight as I was trying to get my K30 set up the right way. He answered every question promptly. He was tremendously helpful during the buying process and he continues to be tremendously helpful.

The K30 has been blowing my mind.

Can you remind us what you moved to the K30 from? Outstanding that you are loving it.
 

kennyb123

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Nov 30, 2012
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Can you remind us what you moved to the K30 from? Outstanding that you are loving it.
Innuos Zenith Mk3 plus Chord Hugo M-Scaler. I include both in that because the K30 allows me to use HQPlayer to perform scaling to a million taps. Dollar-wise when you add in the cables and power supply for the M-Scaler, the combined retail price is actually higher for my former setup. The K30 provides a significant upgrade above all that. It may be among the most significant upgrades I’ve done. There is so much more natural density to instruments and voices. And the dynamics are insane. I’m a drummer so the sound of drums and percussion are really important to me. It’s actually remarkable how much more lifelike they are with the K30 in place. But every instrument has gained in that regard.
 

Parsons

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Apr 1, 2018
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Innuos Zenith Mk3 plus Chord Hugo M-Scaler. I include both in that because the K30 allows me to use HQPlayer to perform scaling to a million taps. Dollar-wise when you add in the cables and power supply for the M-Scaler, the combined retail price is actually higher for my former setup. The K30 provides a significant upgrade above all that. It may be among the most significant upgrades I’ve done. There is so much more natural density to instruments and voices. And the dynamics are insane. I’m a drummer so the sound of drums and percussion are really important to me. It’s actually remarkable how much more lifelike they are with the K30 in place. But every instrument has gained in that regard.
Outstanding. Same Omega USB as before I assume? That's quite an endorsement.
 

Parsons

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Ohio
I meant to add that I think until you have heard unbelievably good dynamics, you don't know what dynamics really are. And then you always know when you don't have them from that point forward and you won't be happy without them.
 

shakti

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Innuos Zenith Mk3 plus Chord Hugo M-Scaler.
I am coming from Innuos Zenith MKIII plus Innuos Phoenix clock,
the difference to K50 is huge.
 

kennyb123

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Pb Blimp

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Oct 30, 2017
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I have a K40 on the way to feed my MSB Renderer. Still a few weeks out.
 

kennyb123

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Nov 30, 2012
262
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385
Kirkland, WA
I have a K40 on the way to feed my MSB Renderer. Still a few weeks out.
Congrats!! I am absolutely loving my K30. It did improve quite a bit after two weeks of being powered up and playing music continuously.
 

Celts88

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2018
18
1
70
Perth, Australia
I have a K40 on the way to feed my MSB Renderer. Still a few weeks out.
I've also got a K40 coming as a replacement for my CX which will feed my Devialet 1000Pro. Haven't read ANY reviews on the K40 (only K30 and K50) so wondering what it will sound like compared to the CX.

Congrats!! I am absolutely loving my K30. It did improve quite a bit after two weeks of being powered up and playing music continuously.
When you say playing music continuously did you just have the K30 playing music, but didn't actually have your amp on to play music through your speakers, or do you need all on for the burn in process to fully work?
 

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