Music Server Terminology

The purpose of this article is explain a handful of basic terms we use on this website to describe what our products do.

REMOTE CONTROL – Use your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone to tell the Server what to play.

SERVER – The Server organises your music, and displays your library, streaming services and radio stations on the Remote Control’s screen. When told to play a file, the Server pushes the music file to a Renderer.

RENDERER – The Renderer turns the music file into a digital audio signal to send to your DAC.

DAC – The DAC converts the digital signal to an analog signal and sends it to an amplifier.

Different products on the market may combine two or more of these functions:

STREAMER – This term is used loosely, but it usually means a DAC with an Ethernet input, and combines the Renderer and DAC functions in a single device. Many streamers work by ‘pulling’ files stored on other devices on the network, and so in this case the remote control talks to the streamer. Other streamers, such as Roon Ready DACs, work by files being ‘pushed’ from a server to one or more streamers, and so the remote control talks to the server.

MUSIC SERVER – Most devices called Music Servers combine the Server and Renderer functions in a single device, and may include a ripper.

RIPPER – Ripping simply means reading the data on a CD and storing it as a playable music file.  This process needs to be done well or you will be disappointed in the results, and given that it takes a lot of time to rip a large library, you should make sure this process is done at the highest possible quality.

 

HOW THESE TERMS APPLY TO ANTIPODES MUSIC SERVERS

All Antipodes Music Servers combine the Server function and the Renderer function in a single device, for a simple solution. The DX also incorporates a ripper. The CX and EX do not incorporate a ripper, but you can add a P1 to add a ripper to these models. The P1 is a slim isolation platform carved from a solid block of alloy, that holds a high quality ripper.

One of the things we have observed is that many customers that start with our entry product quickly decide they want to move to our top product. So we have thought long and hard about how to make this easier. The Modular Series (CX/EX/P1/P2) approach addresses it like this:

EX – The EX is our lowest priced model, combining server and renderer functions, plus a simple DAC. So you can move from a CD Player to an EX and leave getting a DAC till a later date. You can progress from here to our top of the line solution without needing to sell the EX. The two upgrade steps are to add a USB DAC, and to add a CX. See the CX+EX Solution described below.

CX – The CX is like an EX, but there is no DAC included, and it uses a very powerful computing core to enable DSP functions, and to manage large libraries with ease. The CX also provides superior sound quality to the EX, when they are used as both server and renderer.  So the CX is an alternative starting point to the EX, except that you will need a good USB DAC. Another option with the CX is to use it with a Streamer, and this makes most sense with a Roon Ready DAC.

CX+EX – The emphasis in the EX is on the renderer function. The emphasis in the CX is on the server function. In the CX+EX solution, you use the CX as the server and the EX as the renderer, and connect them together with a short high quality Ethernet cable. In this configuration each of the CX and EX are performing just one function and this results in much higher performance. Therefore, whether you start with an EX or a CX, you can progress to our top of the line solution by adding the other unit.

UPGRADING – Upgrading is straight-forward. For example, if you bought an EX and P1, and then add a CX, you can simply disconnect the P1 from the EX and connect it to the CX. Storage disks can be installed and removed from the EX and CX without you having to use any tools, because the disks slide in through the rear panel. Therefore if you bought an EX and installed storage disks in it, when you add a CX you can remove the disks from the EX and insert them in the CX. Because the storage has to be optimised, you will need assistance from your dealer or from Antipodes Support to setup the storage, but this can be done over the internet without you even removing the EX or CX from your stereo system.

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