The design work for the CX is now complete, and has benefited from a few enhancements discovered during the prototyping process. The CX will be launched at the High End Show in Munich in May, where we are sharing a Superior DemoCabin with Aequo Audio, manufacturers of exquisite loudspeakers. The Superior DemoCabins are capable of great sound so if you are there, please visit us.
The CX will begin shipping immediately on our return from Munich. Interest in the CX has been very high and we already have a lot of confirmed orders, so it might be a good thing to talk to your dealer soon if you wish to get one in the first production run.
We are pre-announcing the P2 platform, so that the market understands where we are going with the CX and EX. Whereas the P1 platform is a high precision ripper, the P2 adds re-clocked outputs and will offer a range of output sets.
The P1 and P2 are machined from solid alloy block, and provide vibration isolation when placed under a CX or EX. But each has an important second function that extends the functionality of the CX or EX that it is connected to.
The P1 houses and provides rock-solid stability for an excellent ripper. Ripper mechanisms have a finite life, particularly if you feed it non-stop with thousands of CDs. Friction and heat can take their toll, but this is minimised by the stability and heat-sinking provided by the P1 platform. If a ripper fails, we can ship a replacement mechanism to the customer for easy replacement. The ripper mechanism is bonded to a thick alloy plate, and this plate is easily removed by turning the P1 over and removing a few screws, and the new plate/ripper is just as easily fitted with the same screws. It is easy and fast for anyone to do.
The P2 works in the same way, but in this case fitting and replacement is more likely to be about adding or changing the digital audio output options. The P2 can be purchased 'nude' just as an isolation platform, or with any of the output modules pre-installed. And the customer can install or replace the output modules by turning the P2 over and turning a few screws. As with the P1, the P2 modules are self-contained on a thick alloy plate and you just need to turn the P2 over to screw in the new module. We are not ready to provide detail on the P2 output modules just yet, but the emphasis is on precision clocking, and regeneration for the range of outputs that an audiophile is likely to want in order to feed their favourite DAC.
It is worth adding that we consider reducing server noise as more important that precision-clocked outputs. We have done both in the past and it was clear to our ears that the clock quality was never going to add much value while the server generated noise interference with the signal that carries the clock data. So with the Antipodes V4 products, we focused on lifting the bar substantially in server and renderer performance. This alone provides excellent sound. Remember that any DAC will reclock the signal once or even twice before processing it. But the next step with the CX and EX line is to add precision re-clocked outputs. The strategy of doing it with the P2 is to provide a CX or EX owner with a range of options, avoid the need to pay for options a customer does not need, and enable them to change the output set to match a change in DAC.
So when the P2 modules become available later this year, the ultimate system is:
For more explanation please read our X Series Modular Solutions Brochure
We are making a very early pre-announcement of the P2, so that our customers can understand where we are going with the CX and EX music servers. The P2 is machined from a solid block of alloy, providing a vibration isolation platform for the CX or EX, and can be purchased "nude", or fitted with any of a range of re-clocked output modules that we will release later in 2018. Fitting and changing these modules is very simple for a customer to do themselves, or have it done at a dealer's in a few minutes. Any and all available details will be released first on this page and to our subscribers, so please don't bombard us with questions just yet.
The design work for the Antipodes CX Music Server is complete and it has gone into production, so we can now state a firm launch date. The CX will be launched at the High-End Show in Munich in May and we will begin shipping the CX as soon as we return from Munich in mid May. See the CX product page for more details
The Antipodes P1 is an isolation platform for the CX or EX carved from a solid block of a special grade of alloy, that also houses a high-quality ripper. The ripper uses the very latest laser technology capable of reading pits 100 times smaller than the pits on a CD. Connecting a P1 to a CX or EX enables the highest possible rip and auto-ripping to the server's library. The P1 can also be used under a CORE or EDGE. See the P1 product page for more details
The Antipodes EX Music Server is an evolution of the EDGE, but built to 'X-Series' specification level. It is primarily focused on state of the art renderer app performance, and also achieves high quality server app performance. The EX uses our new ODAPS2 internal power supply technology. The EX is an ideal starting point in our range, because it includes a simple DAC, and you can upgrade it later with a separate DAC, and with a CX to reach the state of the art. See the EX product page for more details.
All Antipodes DX, DS Reference, CORE and EDGE music servers use our proprietary ODAPS linear regulated power supply technology. ODAPS simply stands for Optimised Digital Audio Power Supply. The point is that most audio power supplies are focused on rejecting 50Hz or 60Hz ripple, but do a poor job of rejecting RFI and EMI. This is because analog circuits are much less impacted by RFI and EMI noise. But our ODAPS technology is all about rejection of RFI or EMI noise, which has a big impact on digital signals. RFI and EMI filters are a band-aid trade-off often used in servers but our ODAPS technology removes high frequency noise through power supply design without compromising current delivery. Antipodes has now developed the second generation of this technology, called ODAPS2, specifically for the new EX and CX music servers. This involves a different circuit layout and an innovative new power transformer design.
The Antipodes DX, CX and EX each have two Ethernet ports - allowing you to use one to connect to the network and the other to be used as a Direct Ethernet link to a renderer device. Despite the simplistic claims that are often made about Ethernet handling of digital audio, Ethernet can introduce high levels of noise into the receiving device. This is a key reason why a USB connection to a DAC will out-perform an Ethernet connection when the server is low noise - such as with Antipodes Music Servers. But there are times when you will use Ethernet to carry a music signal, such as if you use a CX as the server and either a DX or EX as the renderer. Another example is if your DAC has an Ethernet input and no USB input (making it a renderer device). In these situations, you need to connect two devices to your network, the server device and the renderer device. The best way to do this is by Direct Ethernet. It means that you connect your server device (such as an Antipodes CX) to your network using one of its Ethernet ports, and connect a short high quality Ethernet cable from the server direct to your renderer device (such as a DX, EX or Ethernet DAC). The Direct Ethernet solution in Antipodes servers minimises network 'chatter' on the link and creates a high bandwidth, phase accurate, low-noise direct link between the server and renderer. This provides a dramatic improvement over connecting your server and renderer devices through a noisy switch or over a long length of network.
We originally planned to launch an upgrade program in October 2017, so that existing owners of Antipodes music servers could upgrade their servers for the new V4 platform. Our customers understood how significant this new platform is and we literally received hundreds of requests for an upgrade. We were not prepared for this unprecedented level of demand for upgrades, and had to delay the program while we manufactured more of the parts required to install the V4 technology into previous models. We are now in a position to begin the V4 Upgrade Program and you can learn more on our Upgrades page. If getting this upgrade is important to you we recommend that you act within the time windows set out for the process. We may or may not be able to run this program again and stocks of upgrade parts are finite.
We de-commissioned our wire manufacturing plant two years ago to re-build it to produce a new generation of wire. The technology took much longer than expected to perfect and we ran out of a lot of our stock of the old wire earlier this year. We call our new technology Open Lattice Long Crystal (OLLC). Traditional long crystal wire suffers from a poor lattice structure, as evidenced by its relative lack of malleability and ductility. Lattice structure is considerably more important than crystal size and our old wire was based on that principle. The new wire technology is based on more than two decades of research into improving the lattice structure in wire, and provides a huge leap forward in speed, resolution and accuracy of timbre. The wire is extremely soft and that has required us to completely re-design the way we make cables, in order to fully protect the wire from stretching, which would otherwise cause signal reflections in the wire. The wire plant is now operational so look out for our new cables in the coming months.