Introduction of my new Antipodes K50 Music Server

Ratbastrd

Well-Known Member
Feb 24, 2017
19
5
83
@Ratbastrd
Looking at the chain, do you expect the Mark Levinsons internal DAC is on par with the streamer/servers? (I just don’t know)
It would be a pity if any connected digital source couldn't really shine. In case a higher level DAC is preferred (again, if) you could perhaps have a look at a servers with DAC, or good matching server/DAC combinations. A good listen at home will show synergies with your set/room.

Furthermore on the servers, you could add the Innous Statement to the list. At AudiophileStyle forum you’ll find a MU1 topic that could be interesting for you.
"Do you expect the Mark Levinsons internal DAC is on par with the streamer/servers?"

I'm sure that I could upgrade, and potentially find a better solution, but its also possible I F' it up, or create other problems, and thus not worth the added expense. I'm in the 90th% for that element.

PS: I know the guy's and the back story to that program. They are some of the best in industry, had an enormous budget, with access to pretty much anything they needed. Within Harmon, the ML 585.5 is considered a crowing achievement.
 
Last edited:

speakerlust

Well-Known Member
Mar 26, 2011
40
42
363
@Ratbastrd,

I am also of the opinion that power supplies make significant difference for my digital devices. You indicate you have Roon NUC server now. I believe that is a switching power supply. While you don't want to be throwing money at additions with unknown benefits to you, it could be worthwhile to upgrade power supply there if you are considering/open to keeping the NUC.

It appears to me we are beginning to see offerings of hybrid switching linear power supplies. I wonder whether world wide supply chain shortage issues may be an influence in this direction.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ratbastrd

Ratbastrd

Well-Known Member
Feb 24, 2017
19
5
83
@Ratbastrd,

I am also of the opinion that power supplies make significant difference for my digital devices. You indicate you have Roon NUC server now. I believe that is a switching power supply. While you don't want to be throwing money at additions with unknown benefits to you, it could be worthwhile to upgrade power supply there if you are considering/open to keeping the NUC.

It appears to me we are beginning to see offerings of hybrid switching linear power supplies. I wonder whether world wide supply chain shortage issues may be an influence in this direction.
Fully agree, the NUC is powered by a Teddy Pardo. I've also got a Paul Hynes powering the SoTM. This is exactly what is driving me nuts. I'm tired of buying devices and then realizing I have to buy another device to fix a fundamental flaw of the first device I bought, then discover that there is an incompatibility issue with the combination, that can be solved with a third option. This whole digital audio space is really a freaking kluge IMO.

Companies like, SoTM, have so much promise, but the design/software teams are sub par IMO.

So now, I have steeled myself to the idea that I am going to jump up a few class of devices to get to a level of design excellence that meets my standards.
 
Last edited:

kennyb123

Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2012
472
303
305
Kirkland, WA
Companies like, SoTM, small green computer etc. have so much promise, but the design/software teams are sub par IMO. Either that or the business model is completely exploitive if you know what I mean.

So now, I have steeled myself to the idea that I am going to jump up a few class of devices to get to a level of design excellence that meets my standards.

Those that you mentioned have a different business model - and that model works really well for some folks. IMHO they offer a really good bang for the buck. The original Sonore microRendu embarrassed many much more expensive servers when it landed.

These are smaller companies and it has been my impression that they run with a slimmer profit margin in order to keep their pricing affordable to their target customers. They don’t have the cash reserves to pull off what the larger players can pull off. I don’t think it’s fair at all to call them “exploitive”. Their aim is to delight their customers and do so the best they can within their means. If they are guilty of anything, it’s that they just want to keep doing what they are doing and not try to grow into something that’s more than that. There are plenty of other brands out there that can serve other niches. They own their particular niche though and are smart to stick with it. Too many companies fail by being too focused on short term profit that can help drive aggressive growth plans.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ratbastrd

Ratbastrd

Well-Known Member
Feb 24, 2017
19
5
83
Those that you mentioned have a different business model - and that model works really well for some folks. IMHO they offer a really good bang for the buck. The original Sonore microRendu embarrassed many much more expensive servers when it landed.

These are smaller companies and it has been my impression that they run with a slimmer profit margin in order to keep their pricing affordable to their target customers. They don’t have the cash reserves to pull off what the larger players can pull off. I don’t think it’s fair at all to call them “exploitive”. Their aim is to delight their customers and do so the best they can within their means. If they are guilty of anything, it’s that they just want to keep doing what they are doing and not try to grow into something that’s more than that. There are plenty of other brands out there that can serve other niches. They own their particular niche though and are smart to stick with it. Too many companies fail by being too focused on short term profit that can help drive aggressive growth plans.
Fair enough, I've never dealt with the SGC people and will remove them from my comment.

SoTM on the other hand has been a huge disappointment, they marketed upgradeability (since removed from their documentation) and then failed to develop upgrades, rather producing new models while killing onward development for legacy product with zero notice. I understand why, and went so far as to try and work out fair exchange for the "newer" model including cash from my end. In the end I was rebuffed and thus can't support the business model.

A reminder that you get what you pay for, my bad.
 

kennyb123

Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2012
472
303
305
Kirkland, WA
SoTM on the other hand has been a huge disappointment, they marketed upgradeability (since removed from their documentation) and then failed to develop upgrades, rather producing new models while killing onward development for legacy product with zero notice. I understand why, and went so far as to try and work out fair exchange for the "newer" model including cash from my end. In the end I was rebuffed and thus can't support the business model.

A reminder that you get what you pay for, my bad.

Live and learn, as they say. This is a still a nascent market to some degree. I think it may be getting harder for some designers to figure out how to improve on their current models.

I’ve owned servers from Auralic, Sonore, Innuos and now Antipodes. Each, except for the Auralic, was a delight during the time I owned it. Antipodes may have been at it longer than these others, so I think there’s a very good chance this will be my endgame brand.
 

Ratbastrd

Well-Known Member
Feb 24, 2017
19
5
83
Live and learn, as they say. This is a still a nascent market to some degree. I think it may be getting harder for some designers to figure out how to improve on their current models.

I’ve owned servers from Auralic, Sonore, Innuos and now Antipodes. Each, except for the Auralic, was a delight during the time I owned it. Antipodes may have been at it longer than these others, so I think there’s a very good chance this will be my endgame brand.
"Antipodes may have been at it longer than these others, so I think there’s a very good chance this will be my endgame brand."

May I ask why? What is it about the product you have that does it for you? What are the most critical elements you look for that Antipodes delivers?

Thanks

This is really helpful thank you!
 

kennyb123

Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2012
472
303
305
Kirkland, WA
May I ask why? What is it about the product you have that does it for you? What are the most critical elements you look for that Antipodes delivers?
I somewhat addressed that on head-fi yesterday in this post. I will try to flip that to reflect your request. Antipodes checks all these boxes.
  1. Sever should be capable of dynamics and transient speed - music must come to life. Low power CPUs are not good at this.
  2. Two-tier architecture seems like a great way to keep noise further away from the DAC - but it must not sacrifice the ability for music to come to life.
  3. Upgrades should offered to help keep a server investment reasonably up to date. The upgrades should be transparently communicated.
  4. Numerous software options should be offered. HQPlayer should be one of them (for me).
  5. Great pre- and post-sales support. Mark Cole offers a level of service I've not had with other providers.
  6. There should be a community forum with employees actually participating. I purchased my K30 knowing that Antipodes was going to be launching their own forum. Taiko really sets a very high standard in this with their participation in their thread here on WBF.
  7. Company should be more well-established. I think both Auralic and Innuos were still too early in their growth when I owned their products. Nuno the Innuos CEO was actually doing support calls himself. It seemed he was stretching himself too thin by not growing his staff (I think that changed sometime last year).
  8. The server should allow me to install my own drives. I shouldn't be locked into the drive that was installed when I purchased the server.
  9. The company should't push me towards getting support from their dealers. I wanted to be able to interact directly with folks like Mark.
Lastly I wanted to mention that Taiko really set the standard of what I think a server manufacturer should be doing. I would never be able to afford an Extreme. And when they came out and said there wouldn't be a "mini Extreme", I looked for a company that seemed to be doing many of the same things both in terms of their server designs and also supporting their customers in the same ways. Antipodes came closest to that while also meeting the above criteria.
 

dbeau

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2018
131
66
93
OKC,USA
I somewhat addressed that on head-fi yesterday in this post. I will try to flip that to reflect your request. Antipodes checks all these boxes.

Lastly I wanted to mention that Taiko really set the standard of what I think a server manufacturer should be doing. I would never be able to afford an Extreme. And when they came out and said there wouldn't be a "mini Extreme", I looked for a company that seemed to be doing many of the same things both in terms of their server designs and also supporting their customers in the same ways. Antipodes came closest to that while also meeting the above criteria.
likewise, I recently acquired a K50 and agree on every single point and opinion of @kennyb123.
The K50 is feeding an, also newly installed, Baltic 3 and this combo added so much to my system that a long history of acquisitions are probably over - other than maybe some tube swapping ;)
 

Ratbastrd

Well-Known Member
Feb 24, 2017
19
5
83
Guy's, thanks for all the good information. I've narrowed down my search to a couple devices. I'm going to start reaching out to dealers to demo a few devices. Right now, I'm planning to test the K50 and the Grimm MU1. Anyone have any thoughts on any other devices that should be demo'd?

My plan is to plug them in with my existing system as it is set up. Any advice or other thoughts on the demo process that may help me identify the right server?

thanks
 

kennyb123

Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2012
472
303
305
Kirkland, WA
My plan is to plug them in with my existing system as it is set up. Any advice or other thoughts on the demo process that may help me identify the right server?

The Grimm looks super cool in that it can do upscaling. They call it "oversampling".

1627665864485.png

For an apples-to-apples comparison, you would have to make use of the trial license for HQPlayer on the K50. You can contact the developer, Jussi, to get input on the right settings to use for your DAC.

Grimm's software manual here describes their Oversampling feature. The setting you choose will depend on the max sample rate accepted by your DAC. My DAC accepts up to 16FS so in HQPlayer I set rate limit to 768000. It looks like the Grimm wouldn't be able to do that for me, so I wouldn't use that feature if I owned the Grimm.

What is the max sample rate your DAC accepts?
 

Ratbastrd

Well-Known Member
Feb 24, 2017
19
5
83
What is the max sample rate your DAC accepts?
  • PCM sample rates/bit depth: 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, or 192kHz; up to 32 bits
  • DSD: Native or DoP (DSD over PCM), single- and double-speed (2.8 and 5.6MHz)
The interesting thing about the Grimm is the down sampling logic for improved SQ. Want to hear it, to see if it lives up to hype, particularly in my system, which does not incorporate a stand alone DAC.
 

kennyb123

Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2012
472
303
305
Kirkland, WA
  • PCM sample rates/bit depth: 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, or 192kHz; up to 32 bits
The Grimm will give you 4FS so you will be covered there. It’s been my experience that the real magic with PCM starts to happen at 8FS. I’d confirm with Grimm that they will eventually support higher rates if you are planning to get a newer DAC. Support for DXD (8FS) is becoming ubiquitous.
 

FredM

Member
Dec 28, 2019
27
18
8
The Grimm will give you 4FS so you will be covered there. It’s been my experience that the real magic with PCM starts to happen at 8FS. I’d confirm with Grimm that they will eventually support higher rates if you are planning to get a newer DAC. Support for DXD (8FS) is becoming ubiquitous.
Hi Kenny,
In this review Grimms design choices for using AES/EBU output are covered (way better then I can describe ) https://www.stereophile.com/content/grimm-audio-mu1-music-streamer

TL/DR:
- AES/EBU supports the (magic) clock signal (= Max 4FS)
- With the 0FS, 2FS, 4FS output it is possible to choose the best match with the DAC (and it’s internal reconstruction filter)
 
  • Like
Reactions: kennyb123

kennyb123

Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2012
472
303
305
Kirkland, WA
Hi Kenny,
In this review Grimms design choices for using AES/EBU output are covered (way better then I can describe ) https://www.stereophile.com/content/grimm-audio-mu1-music-streamer

TL/DR:
- AES/EBU supports the (magic) clock signal (= Max 4FS)
- With the 0FS, 2FS, 4FS output it is possible to choose the best match with the DAC (and it’s internal reconstruction filter)

Thanks! Interesting box but it wouldn’t have made my short list. I base that mostly on the software selection as my brief skimming of the review and software manual lead me to believe that Roon is the only choice. Also I’m not a fan of it having a SMPS or of running server apps on a low power CPU (core i3) or of it having only a single SSD that has to be selected when purchased. But other than all that I’m sure it’s a really good sounding server - just not for me.
 

FredM

Member
Dec 28, 2019
27
18
8
Thanks! Interesting box but it wouldn’t have made my short list. I base that mostly on the software selection as my brief skimming of the review and software manual lead me to believe that Roon is the only choice. Also I’m not a fan of it having a SMPS or of running server apps on a low power CPU (core i3) or of it having only a single SSD that has to be selected when purchased. But other than all that I’m sure it’s a really good sounding server - just not for me.
Hi Kenny, thanks, we’ll all have our personal considerations which is all good. Glad that you’re happy with your server.

With the reply I was trying to point out that I guess it’s unlikely that Grimm will support 8FS spec or higher for connecting DAC’s. Of course they could, but not using AES/EBU with the clock signal.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: kennyb123

Ratbastrd

Well-Known Member
Feb 24, 2017
19
5
83
Thanks! Interesting box but it wouldn’t have made my short list. I base that mostly on the software selection as my brief skimming of the review and software manual lead me to believe that Roon is the only choice. Also I’m not a fan of it having a SMPS or of running server apps on a low power CPU (core i3) or of it having only a single SSD that has to be selected when purchased. But other than all that I’m sure it’s a really good sounding server - just not for me.
Yea running on Roon isn't my first choice. Realize this is an Antipodes thread, but I'm trying to nail down that "short list" for demoing. What would make the short list folks?
 

kennyb123

Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2012
472
303
305
Kirkland, WA
What would make the short list folks?

I provided a list of the important criteria to me above in post 288. It would help to have your list of what would be important to you.
 

Ratbastrd

Well-Known Member
Feb 24, 2017
19
5
83
I provided a list of the important criteria to me above in post 288. It would help to have your list of what would be important to you.
  1. Server MUST be best in class, dealing with vagaries of networking (noise, latency etc).
  2. Support both local and network streamed audio. One box solution is ideal.
  3. Sever should be capable of dynamics and transient speed - music must come to life, with little sonic signature (as neutral as possible)
  4. Two-tier architecture seems like a great way to keep noise further away from the DAC - but it must not sacrifice the ability for music to come to life.
  5. I don't want to have to have to upgrade PS to achieve best quality.
  6. Excellent internal clock, ideally master clock option. (Nice to have)
  7. Regular upgrades/updates should offered. The upgrades should be transparently communicated. Hardware upgrades if possible.
  8. Robust, reliable software. Good UI with support for industry standard SW options (HQPlayer etc.)!!!!
  9. Great pre- and post-sales support.
  10. Community forum with employees actually participating.
  11. Company should be more well-established. Solid business model. This is big investment
  12. The server should allow me to install my own drives.
  13. Direct support, is must have.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Maceear and dbeau

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. This is THE place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss vintage, contemporary and new audio products, music servers, music streamers, computer audio, digital-to-analog converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel-to-reel tape machines, speakers, headphones and tube and solid-state amplification. Founded in 2010 What’s Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals, we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people, and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing