The EX is made to the same specification level as our flagship DX, becoming only the second Antipodes music server to get the 'X-Series' designation. The EX can be thought of as a DX in a half-width case. It uses the same V4X circuit for signal handling that is used in the class-leading DX and the only significant difference driving relative audio performance is that the EX uses a single internal ODAPS2 power supply and the DX uses internal Dual ODAPS1 Power Supplies. While the new ODAPS2 technology improves on ODAPS1, particularly for the rendering function, the use of dual power supplies in the DX gives it slightly better performance of the server function. Which sounds best will depend on system context.
Other differences from the DX are that the EX uses user-installable storage and does not have an integrated ripper.
The EX is built in four separate chambers, separating wiring and switches, the power supply, storage disks and signal handling from each other. And the EX is the first Antipodes music server to use our newly developed ODAPS2 power supply technology, which reduces high frequency noise without resorting to filtering that would impede the speed of current delivery needed in a music server. This translates to providing an improved sense of space and fine detail. The EX is a superb renderer, coupled with an excellent mid-power server capability. Its full potential is realised when it is performing just the renderer function and receiving an excellent input signal from a CX. Used on its own the EX is a stunning value entry model to the Antipodes X-Series. Upgrading it with a CX to the CX+EX solution, where the CX performs the server function lifts performance to the absolute state of the art.
Owners of an EX can use any USB CD/DVD ripper to auto-rip their CDs, or add the new P1 platform, with its integrated high precision ripper. The EX is designed so that you can add your own storage disks, and you can self-install up to 4TB of HDD or up to 8TB of SSD storage. Use of SSDs improves dynamics, high frequency sweetness and speed, and is significantly more musically engaging. If you prefer to have your storage disks pre-installed then your dealer can assist you.
We have added one key feature to the EX, a high quality stereo analog output. Customers moving from a CD Player can start with the EX and play direct to their amplifier, and leave adding a high quality USB DAC till later. This was not an attempt to include a high quality DAC. Instead we sought a very inexpensive way to reveal the benefits of getting the digital part right. It is as they say, buzz-word free, limited to PCM and up to 24 bit 192kHz, and other formats can be transcoded on-the-fly for playback.
The reason for the design choices in the EX are:
The EX has two Ethernet ports. You can use one to connect to your network (necessary for remote control and other functions) and use the second to provide a low-noise dedicated feed to an Ethernet DAC. In this configuration you do not need any other connection from your Ethernet DAC to the network because it is able to communicate through the EX. While it is smarter than this, you can simply think of the EX as doing the same job as a high quality, linear regulated psu powered, Ethernet switch.
The EX has four USB ports - two black ports and two blue ports. All four ports receive exactly the same quality of USB signal and each is separately generated. However you may find that DAC compatibility and that sound quality are different. The reason these different options are offered is to enable you to achieve the best sound quality with different DACs.
It is worth repeating that each of the four ports is independently derived so they do not interfere with each other, and each of them receives exactly the same quality of digital audio signal. How the presence of the 5vdc feed affects the audio quality is dependent on your USB cable and the design of the DAC. Which port you need to use for compatibility with your DAC is dependent on the design of the DAC.