Antipodes DX Reference Music Server - 1Tb SSD-Solid State Drive

AT 03 MS DX 1SSD
NZ$ 7,995.00 ea (incl. GST)
Antipodes

HIGH-END AUDIO PRODUCT DESIGNS FOCUSED ON HOW THE HUMAN EAR ~ BRAIN ~ EMOTION SYSTEM WORKS

New
The DX is our flagship music server, and optimised to meet the needs of the most discerning audiophile.

As with all Antipodes music servers, the chipset speeds are tuned to minimise and spread electronic noise, reflecting the specific parts in each server. The DX is able to achieve a significant reduction in electronic noise interference compared to the DV and DS, delivering improvements in the perceived noise floor, refinement, organic solidity and musical coherence.

The DX uses our breakthrough new core technology, an optimal layout, superior signal buffering and reclocking, a premium implementation of our dual linear power supply technology and solid state storage - for the ultimate in sound quality.

DX interview with John Darko see; 
http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2015/05/antipodes-audio-dx-music-serve...

THE ANTIPODES MUSIC SERVER MODELS 

DS:
Is our entry into high quality music and manages to completely eliminate digital glare and grain and the bass is able to match the speed, punch and grace of the music.  It is avaiable with 1tB HD (typically holds up to 2,000 CDs)

DV:
Is the next model up from our entry-level DS music server, It enables higher storage up to 4TB HDD, is a large incremental improvement over DS models and is the "To-Go-To" Music Server for those who  need large file storgae capacity, a true reference quality.

DX:
Comes atandard with 1TByte SSD - Sold State Hard Drive and delivers a whole new trick, bringing you so much closer to the music, so much more of the music, and the detail resolution is so effortlessly sweet, clear, immediate and dynamic that you are left convinced that there are no veils left to lift.

ALL MODELS OFFER:

 - Easy access to your library, plays your high resolution files via USB, download direct to it and play, stream to UPnP A/V compliant players on your network.

- Outstanding digital audio performance. The glare and grain of digital audio is gone, and the music is underpinned by organic, rhythmic and tuneful bass.

- Utterly stable, plug & play setup, with online remote assistance if you get stuck, from a firm that has been in the high-end audio business since 2004.

As we developed our music server designs, each step generated less noise interference and allowed us to reduce and eventually eliminate the need for noise filtering. At each step the key change was a reduction in glare and grain from the mid-range up, and an improved organic bass with the speed and pitch accuracy needed to provide the music with its proper foundation. 

Hi Terry,
"I have had a good change to listen to the,  Antipodes Server and AURALiC DAC, and after listening to music for over 40 years I can honestly say I have never been happier with the sound.  Before I would have to change cables and set up to suit the type of music I was playing going from classical to hard rock or compromising and setting up for something in-between. Well that is all over with the Auralic and Antipodes handling anything you can throw at it , and it does it with ease.  To sum up it is so good at bringing all the detail out and in such a soft and rich way, it is like drinking the best red wine you have ever had. Thank you for taking me down this road, I have waited a long time to get there". .....….Martyn :)

REFERENCE LEVEL DIGITAL AUDIO PERFORMANCE
 
Digital playback systems must have precise timing for the resultant analog signal to be accurate. But the precision of the ‘clock’ used in a digital playback system is undermined if the digital signal suffers noise interference. Whereas in analog playback, noise is heard as noise, in digital playback noise distorts the very sound of the instruments and voices, and in a way that is very unnatural to the ear/brain. Typically it adds glare and grain, and robs the music of its solid bass foundation to the music.
 
Antipodes Music Server designs are focused on optimising timing accuracy, and a big part of that is minimising electronic noise interference with the clock data. Unlike higher powered servers, Antipodes Music Server technology reduces electronic noise interference to such a low level that noise filtering (which adds its own set of problems, in particular robbing the music of energy) is no longer needed.
- Fanless, silent operation
- 2.5" slow-spinning HDDs using customised firmware
- Custom scripts & firmware to optimise the handling of the digital signal
- Two stages of digital signal buffering and re-clocking in the server
- High-end USB audio output card with selectable 5v power
- Custom-designed internal linear regulated power supply, with one rail
  dedicated to the USB audio card (superior to our ears to any battery
  solution) and, most crucially, fed from a uniquely designed power transformer.
 
WIFI
 
Antipodes Servers do not include a wifi connection as wifi would generate large amounts of electrical noise inside the server and compromise audio performance. However you can connect via Ethernet cable to a wireless Access Point if desired without sonic penalty.
 
USER INTERFACE
 
Headless (no screen, mouse or keyboard needs to be attached)
VortexBox Linux OS for easy remote maintenance from PC/Mac/iPad browser.
Custom scripts simplify setup to plug and play.
Simple click or tap to play with iPad/iPhone/Android/PC/Mac remote applications.
Easy remote management of music files using you choice of tools on a PC or Mac connected to the same network - music files on the music server are as easy to manage from your computer as if they were on the computer
 
MEDIA LIBRARY MANAGMENT
 
Automatically rips the main feature and language of movie disks, and stores the movie as a single playable file (MKV format) - to activate this feature you need to purchase a license (50 Euros via the VortexBox GUI) to use the pre-loaded software.
Automatically manages your music library:
- Rips & tags CDs, just insert the disk and it ejects when ripped
- Automatically gets coverart from internet databases while ripping
- Automatically organises ripped music into folders by artist & album
- And use any music management tool on a PC or Mac to adjust tags
  (eg. iTunes, JRiver, dBpoweramp, MediaMonkey, Picard, etc).
Easily copy music files to & from the music server, or download directly
One-click to get coverart for music files that you copy/download
Simple backup and restore to a USB hard drive (not included), or use your favourite backup program from a PC or Mac
Rips in ‘paranoid’ mode for the best possible rip, to uncompressed flac, indistinguishable from wav files in listening tests, superior to compressed flac.
NAS access - store your music files internally and/or on your NAS to expand storage for a very large library.
 
MUSIC PLAYBACK
 
Control playback through a USB DAC with MPD client applications, or with SqueezeBox client applications
Stream via Ethernet to Streamers or SqueezeBox products
Plays all music file types (unless DRM protected) to your USB DAC:
- Bit-perfect and gapless within the capabilities of your USB DAC
- PCM files up to 32bit/384kHz
- DSD64 & DSD128 (Double DSD) music files using DoP.

CAN IT BE USED WITH LINN AND NAIM STREAMERS?

Antipodes music servers include NAS functionality and have a DLNA server installed for streaming to UPnP devices fr instance Linn and the Naim Uniti is a streamer DAC and a number of customers use one of our Music Servers in preference to using a standard NAS for the simple reason - The sound Improves, and because it is silent you can locate it with your stereo equipment and keep the Ethernet path short.  Plus you have the benefit of auto-ripping integrated into the NAS.  A router is necessary so you would locate an Ethernet switch at your stereo rack and connect to the Uniti and the DS Ref with short Cat6 cables.  

STREAMING VIDEO

 
Video rendering is not performed on Antipodes Servers. We recommend streaming video from Antipodes Servers to video rendering devices, as this makes it simple and easy to avoid the audio and video getting out of 'sync'.
 
Antipodes Servers come with Plex Media Server and a DLNA server to stream to UPnP compliant video rendering devices, such as a Smart-TV, networked Blu Ray player, Roku, Boxee Box, WD Live etc. In this mode the Antipodes Server acts as a high quality NAS, with no setup hassles, auto-ripping, fanless/silent operation, superior sound and video quality, and rock-solid stability.
 
WHY BIT_PERFECT IS NOT ENOUGH AND TIME DOMAIN ACCURACY IS SO IMPORTANT IN DIGITAL
 
When you store a digital file you are storing 1s and 0s. But when you are transporting a digital file it is done using an analog carrier. The data is 1s and 0s but the method is either an electrical or optical waveform, and any such waveform is subject to potential noise interference. In any high-precision digital application, whether audio or guided missiles, being bit-perfect is not enough.
 
Being time-perfect is also important. Any clock irregularities or noise interference with the signal affects the precision with which the downstream stages can process the stream, and therefore the precision of the end result. Time-domain distortion in digital is often referred to as jitter. The downstream stages can usually extract the correct 1s and 0s but in a real-time system, such as in playing digital files, noise distortion can obscure the timing of the recognition of a change in the analog waveform that indicates the 1s and 0s, and the resultant analog output is distorted. Even very minor levels of jitter can affect the ability of the ear/brain process to make sense of what it hears, instruments and voices don't sound natural, and musical enjoyment is diminished.
 
Some digital engineers will disagree with the previous paragraphs, because in their abstracted view of reality digital is resilient to noise interference and able to reject moderate jitter. Other digital engineers will endorse what we are saying because in many fields, reducing noise interference with the waveform carrying the digital data is a major design challenge and critical to the precision of the end result. The argument, if there is one, is really about whether you can hear it.
 
These issues don’t matter if you are simply going to record these 1s and 0s on a hard disk at the destination. When stored, digital files have no jitter in them. Based on this, digital is argued to be ‘fixable’ by buffering and reclocking the signal, late in the journey, close to the DAC. That is, first write the 1s and 0s to a buffer (which does not store jitter information) and then clock it out with a good clock for a short journey to the DAC chip. This and similar stories have often been told to assert that a DAC is immune to jitter, or totally eliminates it.
 
But it is simply not true. One key reason why it is not true is that a buffering and reclocking step is by definition a digital process with two sets of clock data in it (even if a common clock was used), and that in itself generates noise interference. Because the writing to the buffer and reading from it occur at the same time, it re-generates at least some of the problem that it purports to solve. Buffering and reclocking is a good idea, and we buffer and re-clock twice in our Music Servers. But it only reduces the noise in a digital stream. It does not eliminate it. Listening tests in a good system make it clear that reducing noise in the digital stream improves the analog output.
 
We pose the analogy that the buffering and reclocking steps used to clean up digital are similar to the concept of suspension on a car. And the distortions in the waveform carrying the digital data are similar to roughness in the road’s surface. Some suspension systems are more effective than others, but with any suspension system, rougher roads feel rougher, despite the benefits of the suspension system. We contend that it is important to not molest the signal at any point on its playback journey.
 
This is a key way that Music Servers differ from Streamers. Streamers, using the car analogy, put all the emphasis on the suspension system and none on the smoothness of the road. Transfer over Ethernet using TCP/IP has no timing integrity approaching what is needed for high-end audio, so the money goes into the buffering in the Streamer. Whether this is better than the Music Server method or not is a matter for the ears, and heavily influenced by implementation skill.
 
Another misleading claim is that the modern DAC chips themselves are resilient to jitter. It isn't easy to generalise about all DAC chips, but simplifying things, DAC chips these days tend to up-sample to a very high rate and then convert to analog at this high rate. This is done in order to use a gentle filter on the output. This is not to be confused with DACs that have separate upsampling stages before the DAC chip, which reduce the upsampling work that has to be done by the DAC chip. DAC chips will perform with greater precision when they have to do less work, and pre-upsampling helps, but successive upsampling has its downsides - so it is a trade-off. The misleading claim that is often made is that this upsampling by the DAC, whether before the DAC chip or in the DAC chip, removes jitter. Technically, the claim is correct but it does not tell the whole truth. The upsampling step results in a low jitter output but the jitter on the input is mapped to broadband noise - effectively meaning some of the bits are changed, so you are trading away bit-perfect data for reduced jitter. Jitter in the input still impacts the sound but in a slightly different way. The immunity to jitter is a myth, and the only value of the upsampling is on the filter needed to get rid of extraneous digital noise in the analog output.
 
In Antipodes Music Servers the process is about minimising the influences that create jitter at every stage of the journey, AND buffer and reclock at each stage:
Get a bit perfect read from the CD by ripping in paranoid mode.
Eliminate any jitter at the first step by storing it on a hard disk for playback later.
Store the files with zero compression (see below for an explanation why).
Read from the hard drive, and transport the data with timing integrity all the way to the DAC, with obsessive emphasis on eliminating noise interference
  with the waveform carrying the digital data.
Buffer and reclock, using precise clocks fed with heavily regulated power supplies, at each stage of the journey.
 
 
There are many misunderstandings on this topic, but we can be concise. Lossless compressed files, such as ALAC and FLAC do not sound as good as AIFF and WAV files. The simple reason is that a compressed lossless file breaks down the music into frames and potentially compresses adjacent frames at different rates.
 
This means that compressed lossless files play at a rapidly changing bit-rate. This is a recipe for high levels of jitter and such files have to expanded into a buffer and clocked out of the buffer just to play. As explained above buffering and reclocking does not put 'humpty dumpty' back together again, and so there is more jitter in a stream played from a ALAC or FLAC file than from a AIFF or WAV file.
 
But beware of using WAV files. Apart from there not being a tagging standard for WAV files, the biggest problem is that there is no crc check (almost all file formats on your computer have a method to recover data automatically when it is lost due to small bit-level errors on your hard disks). This means your WAV files will acquire ticks and pops and eventually become unplayable. Therefore we rip to our version of FLAC, which is 100% compatible with the FLAC format, but which has no compression whatsoever. In blind testing the difference between uncompressed FLAC files and compressed FLAC files was reliably recognised, and no difference was recognised between WAV files and uncompressed FLAC files. You can convert your compressed FLAC files to uncompressed FLAC files using dBpoweramp on a PC or XLD on a Mac. Because FLAC is lossless, there is no damage done by having your files in a compressed form and then uncompressing them. They will sound the same as if you ripped to uncompressed FLAC initially.

Features

Specifications

Reviews

Testimonials

Features

Supplied standard 1TB SSD - Solid State Hard Drive (aprox 2,000 CDs),
Upgrade to 2TB SSD - Solid State Hard Drive @ RRP $8,995
Upgrade to 3TB SSD - Solid State Hard Drive @ RRP $9,995 

The Antipodes Music Server is optimised for high-end audio using state of the art software, design and audio grade computer parts. Options include:

- Fanless, silent operation
- Digital signal re-clocking and extensive noise filtering
- USB audio output card with on/off toggle for USB 5v power supply
- Low-noise Ethernet streaming to Ethernet DACs
- Custom scripts & firmware optimise audio performance
- Reference level internal linear regulated power supplies,one for the USB audio card (out-performs batteries), and a second running everything else (no smps). 
- Internal music storage SDD options of 1TB standard or upgradeable to 2TB. 
- External music storage via USB, eSata or connected to a NAS and USB Stick. 
- Streams any media file via Ethernet to SMB and UPnP clients (eg. Streamers, Smart-TV, etc) 
- Plays all music file types (unless DRM protected) to your USB DAC:
- Bit-perfect and gapless within the capabilities of your USB DAC
-  PCM files up to 32bit/384kHz
-  DSD64 & DSD128 (Double DSD) music files using DoP. 
- Automatic high quality ripping and tagging – slide the CD in and it will slide back out when it is finished. 
- Never any need to connect a keyboard, mouse or screen to the music server, or to ever interface with its software. 
- Music is controlled via any computing device connected to your network, such as your PC, Mac, iPad, iPod, iPhone, Android tablet or smartphone. 
- Open source solid software platform with a huge user base; your music can be readily copied to or from the server, and backed up providing an unencrypted mirror of your music library. 
- Output via USB using SOtM PCI to USB interface.
 
Remote Control
Control playback using any SqueezeBox compatible remote application on a computer, tablet or smartphone. We recommend iPeng for iPad and iPod, and Orange Squeeze for Android devices. Just download the application and open it. The application will automatically discover your Antipodes server and will then take a few minutes to cache the library meta-data, and you can start playing music.
 
Auto-Ripping
Just insert a CD. The Antipodes server will automatically rip all tracks, and get tags and artwork from the internet (relies on the album being recognised by the internet services used). Ripping takes a little longer than normal because Antipodes servers do not use error correction, so that you get a perfect rip. The ripped files are stored in uncompressed, lossless flac format using an Antipodes algorithm, for the best possible playback quality. We recommend you convert any existing files to uncompressed flac format or to aiff format (also uncompressed, with resilience and supporting tags).
 
File Formats
Antipodes servers can play almost any format, including wav, aiff, flac, alac, mp3, aac, ogg, etc; PCM to 32/384 & DSD64, DSD128 using DoP; and playback will be bit-perfect, provided your DAC is capable of decoding the music file. If your DAC does not have the capability to decode the file then the Antipodes server will in most cases transcode or down sample the file on the fly to a format the DAC can play.
 
Versatility
Antipodes servers can act as a conventional music server, outputing files through its high quality USB audio outputs to your USB DAC. But it can also act as a DLNA server, client or renderer. It can also play from a NAS and can play from internet music streaming sources such as Spotify and others.
 
Plug-Ins
Antipodes servers run SqueezeBox server to manage the music database and can use any relevant SqueezeBox plugin, of which there are many to choose from. Installing plugins takes just a few clicks.
 
Management
You never need to connect a keyboard, mouse or monitor to an Antipodes server. You can mange Antipodes servers, edit/copy/delete music files on the server, edit tags and cover art, and backup/restore your music from any PC or Mac connected to the same network as the server.
 
Support
Antipodes Audio provides support to assist users with setup and troubleshooting if needed. Email support@antipodesaudio.com for assistance. If necessary Antipodes support can log into your network remotely to show you what to do, fix setup errors or diagnose faults.

Specifications

In Black or Silver
Auto CD Ripper
1TB SSD storage standard, upgradeable to 2TB SSD.
USB Audio Output
USB Stick input
Internal Linear Regulated Power Supplies
Power consumption 44VA; 15VA standby
85mm (h) x 430mm (w) x 273mm (d)
Shipping weight 7kgs
Warranty 1 Year - All Manufacturing Defects

Reviews

Lets be clear.......I am talking about a richer and more rewarding musical experience.
Michael Lavorgna

REVIEW SUMMARY: I was very much impressed by the Antipodes DX from the get go. Over time, I became more and more enamored with its ability to serve up an infectiously musical signal clearly outperforming the MacBook Pro as music server. If you are looking to get the most out of your file-based playback including streaming from services like Tidal, I'd recommend putting the Antipodes DX on your A-list of servers to audition.

EXTENDED REVIEW: Unlike computers, music servers have but a few simple jobs to do—store, stream, and serve music. This seemingly simple task, easily accomplished by the even the doggiest of computers, is actually fraught with issues. Noise, noise, and noise being just three of them.

New Zealand-based Antipodes Audio make a line of music servers ranging from the least expensive Antipodes DS, to the mid-tier Reference Series DV Music Server, to the top of the line unit under review, the Reference Series DX. Every server in the Antipodes lineup supports PCM up to 32/384, DSD64 and DSD128. The DX offers two options for USB output depending on your DAC's USB input; if your DAC's USB input is self-powered, like the Auralic Vega which I used for this review, then you can connect to the DX's USB Audio 2.0 5v Off output thereby eliminating one potential source of noise getting into your DAC. If your DAC relies on the USB bus for power, then use the USB 2.0 Audio 5v On output.

There's also an Ethernet input which allows you to connect to network attached storage via DLNA and you can also connect a USB hard drive to the unit's USB Backup port and the DX will access and play its contents. Antipodes recommends using the DX's internal storage for best sonic results. However, the DX server is limited to 2TB of SSD storage. The stock unit comes with 1TB. So for those music lovers with large libraries, you'll have to use your NAS or hard drive to house the spillover. I'll talk about how this sounds shortly.

The Antipodes servers run on VortexBox, the free, open source Fedora-based Linux distribution that turns any computer into a music server. This means you can use your favorite UPnP/DLNA remote app for playback or the browser-based SqueezeBox Server. I preferred remote control using my iPad running the iPeng 8 app. The DX also allows you to stream from Tidal (yeah!) using the iCkStream plugin, Qobuz, Spotify, and Internet Radio. The Antipodes also support gaplass playback.

Once connected and powered on, the DX shows up on your network-attached computer as a shared device. To copy music to it, just drag and drop. The DX also includes an auto CD ripper using Paranoid-mode that saves your CDs as uncompressed Flac files. I ripped a few CDs and all of the associated metadata, including cover art, showed up.

Since the Antipodes provides very little information on the DX server, I asked my contact at Antipodes if he could provide some. Here's the response I received from Antipodes' founder Mark Jenkins:

"The parts are not necessarily special apart from the power supply design. It is a bit like a high-end speaker – the parts may not be special but how the parts work together as a system is where the value is added. "People talk about linear power supplies as if one is much the same as another. With a server most common linear power supply designs don’t sound any better than a cheap switch-mode power supply, in fact the most common designs sound worse because of where the noise is placed (in a frequency sense). And most transformer designs sound terrible if they are placed inside the server. Our actual transformer and power supply design are a critical part of the DX.

"The motherboard derives from a standard board that happens to have the mix of the chips we like, with some minor changes to onboard power supply. But the big difference with the motherboard is the way it is tuned. All chipsets generate electronic noise that will interfere in some way with the signal carrying the digital data, and the level and frequency of the noise has an audible effect on the analog output of any DAC. It is easily heard – it just does not fit with the simplistic accepted digital theory of how these things work.

"So the key to the design is how we tune the chip-set speeds across the whole server – from power supply through to output card, and the fundamental technology capability comes from the motherboard manufacturer that we work with. The insights into where we manage and place the noise for best sound are our speciality. The effect on the final outcome is very significant and swapping the standard setup of the motherboard into the DX brings the sound quality down several notches.

"The motherboard itself uses a quad-core Atom and 4GB of DDR3 RAM. But other chipset choices on the motherboard are also important. With RAM, we get people that are worried that we should use more than 4GB, but they think that more RAM is needed because they are used to bloat-ware servers (not Linux) where you need a lot of RAM because of all the activity. We could easily run our servers with 1GB of RAM given the low level of activity during playback, but the added RAM means we can cache more of the playlist in RAM for playback directly from RAM and manage the transfer from disk to RAM in a better and more consistent way, which does improve sound. Exactly how the files are placed into RAM and read out of RAM to the audio output is very important to the sound quality. In reality, in normal use, you won’t hear any difference between using 2GB and 4GB, but the extra is useful if playing during say a library rescan or ripping.

"The DX currently uses Samsung SSDs with 3D V-NAND technology, but we are always testing new drives that come onto the market. Each server is tuned to work with the particular drives used as each can generate a slightly different noise spectrum.

"We prefer to use open source software and believe in the eco-system of SqueezeBox Server and VortexBox as the best way forward (now that Logitech is out of it). It might not fit the ‘rock star’ mentality in high-end audio, but there are a number of audio firms that have got stuck in narrow technology silos by insisting on doing something on their own.

"In the end open source software is better for the customer. The software capability of our servers continues to get better, and be widely supported, with or without us. All of our customisation is at the script level. There is a lot of customisation involved, but by keeping it at the script level it can remain proprietary in a Linux license environment." Interesting, no?

The DX has an aluminum front panel and a high gloss finished metal chassis. Sitting dead center on the front is the CD slot drive, a power button underneath which is illuminated by a ring of blue when powered on, and the company's logo and "DX" printed in subtle gray on silver on right side. I connected the DX to the Auralic Vega DAC with a length of Light Harmonic Lightning USB cable. The Vega was connected to my Pass Labs INT-30A via XRLs from Kimber, and the Pass drove my DeVore Fidelity The Nines. I ran DX for a few days, including overnight, before settling down to listen.

"Shhh"/"Peaceful"

Once everything was set up, I dragged and dropped a bunch of music from my Synology NAS to the DX. The first record I listened to was the subtly stunning Ibeyi and within the first few notes I knew, without a doubt, that this was going to be a fun review.

While I could have written this review after that record, I dug in and enjoyed myself and my music library for a few weeks. As usual, I played all maner of music and file formats including CD-quality, higher resolution PCM and DSD up to DSD256. I also streamed from Tidal's lossless streaming service. The takeaway through all of this listening was some of the most musically engaging sounds I've experienced through my reference system. The DX delivered improved sound quality in every aspect of music reproduction as compared to my MacBook Pro.

Bass was richer and fuller and the sound image was rock solid and vast where called for, delivering with pinpoint precision the location of the performers with recordings that contain such information. Miles Davis' In A Silent Way (24/176.4 HDtracks) being one example. This record begins without Miles, with the boys in the band laying out at beautifully slow yet funked up foundation. When Miles steps in, dead center, I was initially shocked at how in-the-room his trumpet sounded. The DX also allows your DAC to shine with its fullest and brightest tone colors, 0 to 60 in a snap dynamics, and as much micro detail and macro musically moving force as it can render.

Comparing the Antipodes DX to my MacBook Pro as server was rather sad since everything I've just described was delivered by the MacBook as if someone had put a filter between my music and me. Every aspect of the reproduction took a few big obvious steps back and away from the DX's stunning clarity. Let's be clear—I am not talking about hearing chair legs squeak against floors, audience members coughing (although I must admit I'm amazed at how many cannot control their coughing), or the sounds of the second violinist's indigestion. I am talking about a richer and more rewarding musical experience.

Another thing you get when you reduce noise, and I'm fairly certain that's largely what we're talking about with the DX as compared to the MacBook Pro, is a better sense of scale. Low level details become much more sonically relevant which in turn makes larger scale sonic events that much more impactful. I know we've talked about noise in terms of cables but noise is not picky or choosy. It is not only endemic to computer-based audio, it is also agnostic in terms of where it goes.

To try out external storage, I just selected my QNAP NAS from the Home menu and browsed its contents by Album. The Antipodes was connected to my network with a length of AudioQuest Cinnamon Cat. 7 Ethernet cable. While very subtle, the same music playing from the QNAP appeared to be duller, for lack of a better word, as if a much less intrusive filter than that heard with the MacBook was placed between my music and me. While the DX playing music from my NAS still outperformed the MacBook, I'd say if you want the best from the DX, use its internal storage.

Which raises the obvious question—is 1 or 2TB enough storage for your music? In very general terms, 2TBs strikes me as the minimum amount of storage one should have available in a music server, especially if you have, or plan to have, high res recordings. While my musical appetite is bigger than my budget, I still like to plan for expansion so 2TBs does not cut it for me so I'd have to rely on the QNAP's 4TBs of storage which makes me feel more at ease.

While I have reviewed other music servers including the Aurender S10, and the Aria Music Server, it has been too long since they left here to offer any kind of in-depth comparison. While both of these servers cost more than the DX, they also offer more storage albeit of the spinning disk variety. What I will say is that if you own one of those servers you should enjoy them and live happily ever after since they are great performers.

What about streaming? I connected to my Tidal account from within the iPeng app and was streaming away in CD-quality in no time. The obvious improvement in sound quality over my MacBook was as apparent as serving up stored files. Is it enough to say it simply sounded more musical? I think so but then you might feel short-changed. Using the DX as Tidal streamer, there was a clear sense of greater dynamics, a lower noise floor, and a more distinct sense of the voice of each individual in a recording. From Kendrick Lamar's latest, Jamie xx's In Colour Preview White Label, some Schubert and Bach piano music, and more. I will also note that the DX excelled at presenting the full body of solo piano music causing me to listen to lots. Bach, Schubert, Soler, and more. Nice.

In A Silent Way

I was very much impressed by the Antipodes DX from the get go. Over time, I became more and more enamored with its ability to serve up an infectiously musical signal clearly outperforming the MacBook Pro as music server. If you are looking to get the most out of your file-based playback including streaming from services like Tidal, I'd recommend putting the Antipodes DX on your A-list of servers to audition.
......... Michael Lavorgna

Manufacturer's Response

Michael,
Thank you so much for your thorough and insightful review. You've described the sound of our servers very well: lots more detail, but all in proportion so that it just conveys the musical event better. We're grateful that you've pointed out that a laptop, while convenient, does a poor job as a music-source compared to a well-designed server. As you've theorized, noise is a major factor here, but there are many other contributing factors which we'll get into another day, rather than prattling on here.

Regarding the DX's storage: the DX is technically capable of utilizing four SSD units, for a total of 4TB storage. However, we've not been happy with the slight degradation in sound quality heard when we add the third and fourth SSDs, caused by having all four devices with the same noise footprint. For some time now, we've been conducting a thorough examination of the problem; we believe we are on the right track with technology to resolve the issue, and will eventually be able to offer a 4TB DX with sound quality and noise levels identical to the 1 and 2TB units. Given the lengthy, thorough test protocols we implement before offering any new product, we expect that it may well be a year before the 4TB unit is available.

Regarding your observation of a decrease in sound quality when playing back music from the NAS using DLNA: in general, this is true. But if you'll allow us to assist you in setup mounting the QNAP, you'll find that the difference in sound quality between the internal storage and the mounted NAS is very small -indeed, tiny. We'd be happy to help you in the setup process, just as we would with any customer; the improvement in sound quality compared to playback through DLNA is well worth the minor effort involved.

We're very pleased by this positive review, and honored to receive the Greatest Bits Award. As we expand our dealer network throughout the US, we hope that many of your readers will come to hear the immersive and enjoyable listening experience our servers provide. We're also very keen to meet many more American audiophiles when we exhibit at THE Show at Newport Beach in May.

Thank you again for your efforts!
....... Mark Jenkins, Founder & CEO, Antipodes Audio Limited

Testimonials

it is like drinking the best red wine you have ever had.
Hi Terry,
"I have had a good change to listen to the,  Antipodes Server and AURALiC DAC, and after listening to music for over 40 years I can honestly say I have never been happier with the sound.  

Before I would have to change cables and set up to suit the type of music I was playing going from classical to hard rock or compromising and setting up for something in-between. Well that is all over with the Auralic and Antipodes handling anything you can throw at it with and it does it with ease.  

To sum up it is so good at bringing all the detail out and in such a soft and rich way, it is like drinking the best red wine you have ever had. Thank you for taking me down this road, I have waited a long time to get there".

.....….Martyn :)