Introduction of my new Antipodes K50 Music Server

Taiko Audio

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Another comparision between various outputs:

Using USB the Antipodes K50 and Taiko Extreme where very close.
With a BNC SPDIF output the K50 was preferred (slightly)

It’s a nice example of the relevance of the (personal) context and preferences in which a comparison is made (how is it connected, with which DAC, etc, etc..) to find ones personal best (favourite) which integrates with the other variables.

Normally I would refrain from commenting but in this particular case I feel I should. This particular Taiko Extreme server is from our UK distributor. I have recently serviced it (remotely) after it was send out on several demos with subpar results, it was just barely ahead of a Roon Nucleus from the last feedback we received. As it turned out someone, or multiple people had some fun changing parameters on it, I ended up changing over 150 (!!) settings back to default and removed a significant amount of tools and utilities which where installed. This particular unit has also visited @manisandher ’s home, I have no idea though when or where it it was “modified” to this extend.

Our customers typically value having desktop access to have a degree of control on form and function, however in this particular case we may need to lock units down in order to prevent these sort of impressions finding their way online.

We have multiple dealers selling both our servers, Antipodes servers, and even the Grimm mentioned above, they’re all good devices, they also do all sound quite different on which I won’t comment.
 

FredM

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Dec 28, 2019
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Normally I would refrain from commenting but in this particular case I feel I should. This particular Taiko Extreme server is from our UK distributor. I have recently serviced it (remotely) after it was send out on several demos with subpar results, it was just barely ahead of a Roon Nucleus from the last feedback we received. As it turned out someone, or multiple people had some fun changing parameters on it, I ended up changing over 150 (!!) settings back to default and removed a significant amount of tools and utilities which where installed. This particular unit has also visited @manisandher ’s home, I have no idea though when or where it it was “modified” to this extend.

Our customers typically value having desktop access to have a degree of control on form and function, however in this particular case we may need to lock units down in order to prevent these sort of impressions finding their way online.

We have multiple dealers selling both our servers, Antipodes servers, and even the Grimm mentioned above, they’re all good devices, they also do all sound quite different on which I won’t comment.
Oh boy.. thanks for sharing this, I can imagine you were not quite amused with the state when you accessed it . Good reminder that the condition & history of a device (like previous users) can be added as a relevant variable. As well as service by dealer/manufacturer. Keep up the good work!
 
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Nevillekapadia

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looks like, that a stand alone thread about the Grimm MU-1 is the way to go?
@shakti, completely agree with your thinking. There is one already started earlier.
@matthias I am not as frequent a visitor to the forum, but happy to take this topic onto the grimm thread started way earlier. Thanks for your understanding.
 

Audioking87

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Dec 14, 2019
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Normally I would refrain from commenting but in this particular case I feel I should. This particular Taiko Extreme server is from our UK distributor. I have recently serviced it (remotely) after it was send out on several demos with subpar results, it was just barely ahead of a Roon Nucleus from the last feedback we received. As it turned out someone, or multiple people had some fun changing parameters on it, I ended up changing over 150 (!!) settings back to default and removed a significant amount of tools and utilities which where installed. This particular unit has also visited @manisandher ’s home, I have no idea though when or where it it was “modified” to this extend.

Our customers typically value having desktop access to have a degree of control on form and function, however in this particular case we may need to lock units down in order to prevent these sort of impressions finding their way online.

We have multiple dealers selling both our servers, Antipodes servers, and even the Grimm mentioned above, they’re all good devices, they also do all sound quite different on which I won’t comment.
Sounds like BS. Damage control. Both units are good. Digital audio moves fast and K50 does have a different sound signature, its not impossible for someone to prefer it to a more analytical presentation.
 
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Tuckia

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Sounds like BS. Damage control. Both units are good. Digital audio moves fast and K50 does have a different sound signature, its not impossible for someone to prefer it to a more analytical presentation.
I can appreciate your comments, and I’m not judging one way or the other here, but can you offer any any personal experience with either or both units so we can better understand?
Thanks
 
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Parsons

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Apr 1, 2018
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As a very happy CX/EX/P1/P2 owner, I have been watching the threads and reviews of the new Antipodes products with some interest, and I spent some time catching up on this thread in particular. Thanks for the continued thoughts and findings.

Having not yet heard the other top brands' servers/players, and having also not heard the new Antipodes models, I do not doubt that they all produce phenomenal results, albeit perhaps with some different sound signatures or functional strengths. I look forward to hearing them if and when possible. I have read a great many reviews of all of them, and I do appreciate that the CX/EX combo I have has improvements to be gained. We will undoubtedly see (hear) improvements in all the brands as more experimentation, development and learnings continue to occur.

I am commenting now on this thread only to perhaps suggest some areas that others might consider as they look for their next server/player upgrade (notably including the K50 over the CX/EX), as I think I found out a few things in my endeavors with the CX/EX/P1/P2. Some of these may be my own biases/subjective opinions, but I hope that they still might be on interest and pertinent to the newest models:

1). Depending on your DAC and it's needs for its strongest input type (ethernet, USB, AES, etc.), I would expect that there may NOT be a universally best server/player, and like all components, it's probably in everyone's best interest to try as many as possible WITH THE DAC you intend to keep for a while. Accordingly, if a DAC change is in your future, that might actually make your server/player choice different once that happens.
2). If you require non-USB/non-ethernet for your DAC of choice, the P2 reclocker is a good but not phenomenal choice. I would suspect that the functionality in the K50 could and will be even better, so I'm not surprised to read that in the materials. I was able to match the reclocking SQ of the P2 with at least one other more modest costing unit. Reclocking/changing outputs from USB is a real concern for many who can't/don't want to use USB.
3). If you are hearing differences in Tidal/Qobuz vs. local files from SSDs, I might suggest the following if you have not already done so: Investigate ethernet isolation units and methods (optical for one), great external clocking for those switches, and better ethernet cabling to your server/players. I will not bias you with particular brands, but only suggest that with significant work, you can get incredible results from streaming that very much closes the gap on SSD-based local files. I would argue that these improvements should translate to any brand server/players that you chose...unless of course this level of improvement is already built-in to these top servers.

I hope we will continue to get some additional K50 comparisons here on this thread.
 

7ryder

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Feb 1, 2015
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I’ve been working with them directly to purchase a K30. I agree wholeheartedly with you.

How long did it take for the K50 to get from them to you? I’m in the Seattle area - and I think you may be too.
Sorry for the late response. They shipped me the K50 very quickly - within a week - but the actual shipping took a while due to clearing customs, etc. In the event that the K30 doesn't workout as planned, returns are very easy - 30 days no questions ask and the return address is in Colorado.
 

7ryder

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Feb 1, 2015
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Very wise advice. I would add that if you haven't done anything to treat your listening room, before I'd spend $15K or so on these servers, I'd get my room "fixed" first.
 
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kennyb123

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Sorry for the late response. They shipped me the K50 very quickly - within a week - but the actual shipping took a while due to clearing customs, etc. In the event that the K30 doesn't workout as planned, returns are very easy - 30 days no questions ask and the return address is in Colorado.

No worries- thank for the reply. My K30 is actually out for delivery so I'm expecting the doorbell to ring any minute now.
 
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Celts88

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Feb 15, 2018
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Anyone heard anything about how the K40 is?

I've got a CX and looking at upgrading to a K40. I've a Devialet 1000Pro and connect my CX via ethernet hence why I'm looking at a K40, but can't find ANY reviews (either professional or consumer) on the K40.
 

7ryder

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Feb 1, 2015
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Anyone heard anything about how the K40 is?

I've got a CX and looking at upgrading to a K40. I've a Devialet 1000Pro and connect my CX via ethernet hence why I'm looking at a K40, but can't find ANY reviews (either professional or consumer) on the K40.
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!
 

matthias

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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!

So if I understand correctly the Melco N10 was superior to Antipodes K50 and you can save money by selling your Melco S100?

Matt
 

7ryder

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Feb 1, 2015
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So if I understand correctly the Melco N10 was superior to Antipodes K50 and you can save money by selling your Melco S100?

Matt
Hi Matt,
I had the S100 in my system while auditioning both the K50 and Innuos Statement and the sound didn't improve using their direct Ethernet outputs to my Linn Klimax DSM. I took the S100 out of the loop and tried both servers without that switch and things didn't sound as good as having the S100 in the chain.

On the other hand, adding the N10 has had a cumulative effect on the improvements that the S100 was already adding to the system and is a step up - I'm guessing it's like having two S100s in the chain. Also, all of my ripped files are now playing from the N10 and not the Synology NAS I was using, which is probably another reason for the improvements.

So, no, I don't plan on removing the S100, in fact, I'm talking to Pink Faun about having their clock mod done on it since users have said a lot of positive things about the mod.

- Chris
 

Parsons

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Apr 1, 2018
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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!

Not at all doubting your findings...however, I'm interested to know if you can confirm that both the K50 and K40 (and I suppose Melco N10) had hundreds of hours on them when you made the comparisons? I ask not to challenge your findings AT ALL but merely to have more data points. I had a very demo'd CX with confirmed hundreds of hours on it (and I myself put hundreds of hours more on it, and there were several folks prior to me in the demo line). I did NOT notice SQ changes at any point that I used it over a couple months. But then I added a brand new EX, and while it sounded good from the beginning, I heard a change in sound signature over the course of several weeks, used in conjunction with the demo CX. Then, a month or so later, my new CX arrived. I literally replaced the demo one with my new one, and went noticeably back in terms of SQ, which then took a couple more weeks of constant usage to get back to the original CX demo/EX SQ level. The soundstage collapsed in width and depth, tonally I heard things that didn't sound right to me, etc. It wasn't subtle. If you have heard new components break-in, you know the weird timing and tonal things that you can hear in tracks that you are very familiar with.

Without mentioning any of this at ALL to a colleague, I recommended he add an EX to his CX, which he did. After putting it into his system, he mentioned the same thing to me when he got his EX...in responding I think he even said "I'm sending the EX back." I encouraged him to wait, and he emailed me two weeks later and said he was relieved to hear his system back to normal and actually improved with the addition of the EX.

Just curious in your situation...not saying it would have changed the results you got, but would be interesting to know.

Please also keep us in the loop at to how the upstream switch plays a factor (good and bad) in the ethernet SQ for both server changes and your DAC inputs...that's very interesting, and not surprising from my own experience...I personally believe the ethernet signal feeding the server/player/DAC is critical to maximizing the impact of those components.
 

7ryder

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Feb 1, 2015
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The Statement had lots of hours and was a well broken-in demo unit. The K50 was new from the factory. Given that they only allow a return within 30 days, I ran it constantly for about 3 weeks.
 

kennyb123

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Nov 30, 2012
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Not at all doubting your findings...however, I'm interested to know if you can confirm that both the K50 and K40 (and I suppose Melco N10) had hundreds of hours on them when you made the comparisons? I ask not to challenge your findings AT ALL but merely to have more data points.

I don't doubt his findings either but they likewise have me wondering how that could have been the case. We're so used to "everything matters" that we can't help wonder why it something didn't matter in this particular case. it should be noted that he was using the direct Ethernet outputs of both the Statement and the K50 - so that doesn't rule out differences when using their respective USB outputs. It does seem though that one should take a serious look at these Melco devices if one has a streamer they already love.
 

Parsons

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Apr 1, 2018
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Yes, good point. That's what I was suggesting a few posts back regarding my fear that there is not a universally "right" answer here...and may change depending on the needed input and DAC matching (really whole system matching).

I'm probably now biased a little in my case in that I feed my Rossini via ethernet directly from my EX, fed ethernet directly from my CX. Oddly in my case, the EX (as far as I can figure) is really doing NOTHING for me right now in this configuration other than passing through what I assume to be a (again) filtered and (again) reclocked ethernet signal--I stopped running HQPlayer on it, and Roon (running on the CX) finds the Rossini as a direct endpoint on the network (and so I don't think it cares that an EX is in the middle). I wanted desperately to assume I could pull the EX out (and even figured it might be degrading the SQ)...but oddly the opposite seems true...my system sounds the best with the EX in the middle, doing nothing other than further facilitating an ethernet connection. I also tried hanging the Rossini off of the SOTM and/or EtherRegen I have upstream, but it again sounded best hanging off the EX,...with the whole server/player/DAC isolated from the rest of my house network using the upfront switches. I wasn't smart enough to guess this ahead of time--it was a lot of trial and error on my part. I do have to tell you I am happy to have USB out of the equation, but that's another personal bias that I tested extensively before landing on ethernet being my preferred Rossini input.

So I guess i need to demo some other servers that might be doing the ethernet direct thing even better than a CX/EX and maybe the K50 or K40...
 

kennyb123

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Nov 30, 2012
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So I guess i need to demo some other servers that might be doing the ethernet direct thing even better than a CX/EX and maybe the K50 or K40...

The K40 seems ideal for your case. The K40 and K50 both have the same V5.6H board. And those boards are each powered by a dedicated HSL80 Power Supply. The K50 additionally contains an additional V5X Main Board plus their R1I Reclocker, with each powered by their own HSL80 Power Supply. I wonder if the K40 might even sound better without all the extra stuff in it that you won't be using.
 

shakti

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May 9, 2015
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So I guess i need to demo some other servers that might be doing the ethernet direct thing even better than a CX/EX and maybe the K50 or K40...
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.
 

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