• What's The Difference Between A Server & A Renderer? Or a Streamer?

    Computer Audio Terminology

    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.

  • How Does Antipodes Combine These Functions?

    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 CX/EX/P1 approach addresses it like this:

    1. EX - The EX is our lowest price 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.
    2. 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. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 even open them up, 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 rack.
  • When Do I Need A High Power CX?

    The first decision to make when deciding on the right model for you is whether or not you need high processing power. High processing power can be of benefit if you wish to use Roon but even then you may not need it.

    One reason you may benefit from high processing power is if you have a large library of say 5,000 albums or more. Roon lets you discover your music in new ways and involves powerful database capabilities. As the library gets bigger, navigation of the library using all of Roon's features slows down. With high processing power you will be able to move around a large library and search your library faster.

    A second reason you may benefit from high processing power is if you wish to use Roon's DSP features. Programs like Roon and HQ Player have proved the worth of these features when done properly, and a powerful server is needed for some functions. All Antipodes products can handle most of Roon's DSP features, but you need a CX in order to do things like upsample and transcode your music files to high bit rate DSD during playback because of the mathematics involved. If you wish to transcode your music to DSD256 or DSD512 during playback, you will need a CX.

    To be specific, all Antipodes products can play files up to DSD512 and PCM 32bit 768kHz. And all Antipodes products can upsample during playback to any PCM rate, and to DSD64 and DSD128. But you need a CX to upsample to DSD256 and DSD512 during playback.

    We do caution users to be careful about assuming this will sound better than playing the files at their native resolution. Transcoding on the fly generates more noise interference, DSD loses immediacy compared to PCM, and higher bit-rates can improve high frequencies but reduce performance in the lower frequencies. You really need to experiment to decide what suits you best. The nice thing with the CX is you have the luxury of doing just that. The additional processing power may come in handy with new software features emerging or yet to emerge.

    Therefore if you decide you want high processing power you should look at a CX, or the CX+EX solution.

  • How Do I Make My Existing Music Available To Be Played?

    You can rip your CDs using the Antipodes auto-ripping app direct to the internal storage of your server. This app will ensure a high quality rip, but the best results are obtained when you use the P1 ripper platform.

    You can copy your music files to and from the Antipodes internal storage. Use your PC or Mac to copy and paste, or drag and drop, the music files. See the 'How To' Videos under the Music Server menu to see how this is done.

    You can direct your music downloads to the Antipodes server. Use your PC or Mac to initiate the download and in the download app, simply set the download location to the Antipodes server.

    You can also mount a USB disk or a network location, such as your NAS, and play these files on your Antipodes server without copying or moving them. When mounted, these files are seemlessly added to your music library as if they were physically on the Antipodes server, but note that restarting the Antipodes server will take longer as it will check for any changes to your files that may have occurred while the Antipodes server was powered down.

  • How Do I Install Storage In A CX Or EX?

    There are two reasons why we believe it is better for you to install your own storage in a CX and EX. The first one is it will cost you less. The high-volume low-margin computer supply chain can deliver these to you at lower cost than the low-volume high-margin high-end audio supply chain. This allows us to bring you world-class sound quality at mid-range prices in the CX and EX. The second reason is that subsequent storage upgrades will be able to be done without your CX or EX even having to be removed from your stereo system - and will continue to cost you less.

    Installing storage is simple. Buy one or two 2.5" 7mm Sata SSDs (the most common format) and slide them into the slots at the back of the CX or EX. This is as simple as putting bread in a toaster. Once pushed home it will be held very securely. The only additional step is to email Antipodes Support so that we can login remotely for about 5 to 10 minutes to setup the storage for you. Antipodes Support are always there to make things work for you, but you can take your server and disks to your dealer and ask them to do it for you if you prefer.

    Install Storage
  • How Do I Add A Ripper To A CX Or EX?

    Getting the best rip is important. Different rips can vary widely in sound quality, so it is a good idea to get it right. We highly recommend that you use a P1 for ripping, as it has exceptional pit-reading capability, able to read pits 100 times smaller than the pits on a CD. But you can use any USB optical drive instead.

    Installing the ripper is simple. Plug its USB cable into a blue USB port on the back of the CX or EX. That's it. Start feeding disks into it and ripping is automatic. The software is optimised for the task and will take care of managing the drive to read/re-read and manage ripping speed to get a high quality rip. And you can even remove the ripper when you don't need it.

  • What Sounds Best?

    The CX+EX solution is the ultimate. Next best is the CX. Next best is the DX or EX. The DX and EX perform at similar levels but each has different strengths. The EX is a little faster and lively. The DX is a little smoother with greater scale. The CX is a big leap ahead of the DX and EX, and it is another big leap in audio performance when you move up to the CX+EX solution.

    The CX, when used just for the server app, provides the best possible performance of server apps. The EX, when used just for the renderer app, provides the best possible performance of the renderer app. The superiority of the CX+EX is jaw-dropping.

    The superiority of DSD or PCM, playing files at their native rate or upsampling, playing direct or over Ethernet, and playing via USB, S/PDIF, I2S or AES3, depends a lot on the DAC and where the DAC manufacturer has put its emphasis. A lot of DAC manufacturers are audio companies that don't understand the digital part of the process as well as they do the analog part, so the quality of digital inputs varies and the choices made are sometimes unfortunate. We tend to use DACs made by firms that do the digital part well and in such cases we prefer USB and playing files at their native rate, as the alternatives all seem to rob the music of its essential life to some degree.

  • How Complicated Is It?

    Playing music is simple and intuitive regardless of whether you want to use Roon, MPD or SqueezeBox. Just download the necessary remote control app to your Desktop, Laptop, Tablet or Smartphone and start clicking or tapping on what you want to listen to.

    Click on the "SUPPORT" menu item at the top of this screen to access the Server Guide for your server, and get extensive step-by-step instructions for any task you need to complete. Typically 3 or 4 mouse clicks or finger taps is the most you need to accomplish anything. Or view our 'How To' videos to see how easy it is to setup an Antipodes music server.

    All tasks are simple, but they may be unfamiliar initially, and so you may get confused. If you do, simply email Antipodes Support for advice. One of our support team can even login remotely and do it for you at the same time as showing you what to do. You can be confident that you will never find yourself stuck.

  • Where Can I Find Prices?

    Prices are set by retailers, and vary due to differences in local duties and taxes, as well as differences in industry margin structures, so the best we can do is set out a hierarchy of prices and some rough numbers. As an indication, retail prices in the USA for the products vary from $4,000 to $10,000, excluding duties and taxes. Expect to pay more in countries with high tariffs and sales taxes (VAT, GST etc).

    From highest price to lowest price:

    1. CX+EX
    2. DX
    3. CX
    4. EX

    We recommend you go to the MUSIC SERVERS menu and select 'How To Buy' for contact details of our distributors. They will be able to advise prices in your region and your nearest dealer, as well as provide you with expert opinion on what server will fit your needs best.