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Article: Antipodes K50 Music Server Review


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What a coincidence. I bought a k50 just a week ago and I also really enjoy it. It replaced an Aurender N200. One question, do you keep the unit always on or are you putting it in stand-by when you stop listening? I noticed that I always have to start the DAC (Holo may in my case) and then the k50. Perhaps it’s better to keep both machines always on. What is your opinion on that?

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4 minutes ago, The Fonz said:

What a coincidence. I bought a k50 just a week ago and I also really enjoy it. It replaced an Aurender N200. One question, do you keep the unit always on or are you putting it in stand-by when you stop listening? I noticed that I always have to start the DAC (Holo may in my case) and then the k50. Perhaps it’s better to keep both machines always on. What is your opinion on that?

Wow, very cool @The Fonz!

 

So far I've left the K50 on all the time in both systems. 

Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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Fantastic review, Chris! I recommend trying out the K50 with the Squeeze + Squeeze setting as well. It does require giving up the JPLAY interface in favor of Material, but when you listen to one of your favorite Tsuyoshi Yamamoto albums (from SSD) that you're familiar with, I believe you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Another option is to choose Roon (server) and Squeeze (player) and utilize the Roon interface. While it may not be as superior, it's still worth giving a listen. 
Enjoy the experience!

 

K5001.jpg.4b25af01a97e418ace9732a6daf6bd26.jpg

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3 minutes ago, di-fi said:

Great review Chris. Please also give the K50 a try with the Squeeze + Squeeze setting. You will have to sacrifice JPLAY interface and use Material instead, but when you listen a Tsuyoshi Yamamoto album you are most fimilair with, i am convinced you will be surprised. Enjoy!

 

 

K5001.jpg.4b25af01a97e418ace9732a6daf6bd26.jpg

Say it ain't so @di-fi! I'm allergic to Squeeze :~)

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11 minutes ago, di-fi said:

Sorry, then only do it for the community. Push play and listen only, dont look at it ;)

Anyways you beat me with your reaction, I was still editing my comment, read the last phrase: another option is Roon to Squeeze, and you can watch it safely!

You guys are too good :~)

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Chris, two questions:

 

1. Does the K50 have the horsepower to handle Atmos/MCH, particularly with convolution (I’d ask as well about DSD and upscaling, but I know we’ve not got you on the HQPlayer bandwagon yet).

 

2. You like the sound a lot. But how does the sound compare to your CAPS Twenty music server?

 

JCR 

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23 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Say it ain't so @di-fi! I'm allergic to Squeeze :~)

The Antipodes implementation might surprise you in a very good way - both in terms of sound quality and user experience.  The Material interface makes better use of screen real estate IMHO, especially on a phone.  

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC < Mutec REF10 SE120

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali v1 and Typhon x1 power conditioners, Shunyata Delta v2 and QSA Lanedri Gamma Revelation and Infinity power cords, QSA Lanedri Gamma Revelation XLR interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD 60 speaker cables, GIK bass traps, ASC Isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels, Quadraspire SVT rack, PGGB 256

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5 hours ago, kennyb123 said:

The Antipodes implementation might surprise you in a very good way - both in terms of sound quality and user experience.  The Material interface makes better use of screen real estate IMHO, especially on a phone.  

Respectfully, I told you @The Computer Audiophile, you might be missing out on something. If you want the best SQ from the K50, simply choose “Squeeze (Auto)”. It’s that easy!
Also you are few of the lucky ones to try that out with the latest and greatest Antipodes software AMSv5, while we stil look forward to give that a try. Please let us know. Thanks for trying.

 

(…) It’s intriguing that Chris mentions a Squeeze allergy and seems willing to compromise SQ for a better interface, favoring JPLAY. Neither did Christiaan Punter push it any further in his recent review of the G4 Oladra:
The Oladra will be listened to mostly using Roon, although I should mention that Antipodes are a big fan of using Squeeze, either with Squeeze Server or as an endpoint combined with Roon. (…)

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...in my humble opinion, the only "truth" is that there are so many variables (software and hardware) in the "setup" of a high-level digital system that no review (at the moment) can make the test "exhaustive", which I mean "sufficient", not "definitive".
The introduction of the "audio switches", "grounding", the feet of the components, the USB modules and how they are powered, the "DSP" of the playback APPs (simplifying, "that" are... DSP: read about the mode and of the amount of data they exchange with the renderer when you virtually press the "play", "search", "stop" etc. button) not to mention all the software possibilities (twonky, Minimserver, LMS etc.) and (leaving aside the cables: the cables!) have you ever tried to turn the socket, reversing the electrical phase? But then, in the USA... with all due respect, what do you know about this?

The only thing I can hope for (I'll be wrong, I'm sure...) is that at least when you review a streamer, you compare another by putting it in the same conditions as the other.
Without this "archaic proof", there could only be many, many empty words.
However, it's always nice to read you.
Especially here :)

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2 hours ago, znorter_1 said:

...in my humble opinion, the only "truth" is that there are so many variables (software and hardware) in the "setup" of a high-level digital system that no review (at the moment) can make the test "exhaustive", which I mean "sufficient", not "definitive".
The introduction of the "audio switches", "grounding", the feet of the components, the USB modules and how they are powered, the "DSP" of the playback APPs (simplifying, "that" are... DSP: read about the mode and of the amount of data they exchange with the renderer when you virtually press the "play", "search", "stop" etc. button) not to mention all the software possibilities (twonky, Minimserver, LMS etc.) and (leaving aside the cables: the cables!) have you ever tried to turn the socket, reversing the electrical phase? But then, in the USA... with all due respect, what do you know about this?

The only thing I can hope for (I'll be wrong, I'm sure...) is that at least when you review a streamer, you compare another by putting it in the same conditions as the other.
Without this "archaic proof", there could only be many, many empty words.
However, it's always nice to read you.
Especially here :)

No worries @znorter_1, I’m happy your here posting honest opinions :~)

Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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... and if we wanted to find a fixed point (OK, you already found it years ago! 👏) what can we still say today other than that while talking about "bits", "zeros and ones", anyone (with a "decent" sys) can hear audible differences?
"Everything" sounds! "Everything" influences digital reproduction: the paradox par excellence!?
We move forward! Analog... is behind us now! 🤩😁

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K50 Rear Angle.jpg

 

 

I noticed that the K50 has a Word Clock output.  Does that mean it can also work as a Master Clock?

 

 

.

 

Custom Win10 Server | Mutec MC-3+ USB | Lampizator Amber | Job INT | ATC SCM20PSL + JL Audio E-Sub e110

 

 

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Given your previous review of the Grimm MU1, how do these two compare sonically?  It seems the K50 is more functionally versatile.  And I know the MU1 favors connection out via AES to a DAC.  Is that the case with the K50?

Steve Schaffer

Grimm MU1 / dCS Vivaldi Upsampler - APEX DAC - Clock / Spectral DMC-30SV preamp / Spectral Anniversary monoblocks / Wilson Audio Alexia V /  Wilson Lōkē subs / Shunyata Everest / Shunyata Omega interconnects, power cables, Ethernet / Shunyata Altaira / Uptone EtherREGEN switch / Cybershaft OP21A-D / Uptone JS2 LPS / HRS racks - Vortex footers - damping plates

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Couldn't find any info on this unit's ability to up convert files say from PCM to DSD256 with HQPlayer?

 

For $19K, a nice box with two computers and software, the processing capabilities ought to be pretty powerful.

Tone with Soul

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It occurs to me that the K50 has an advantage over many similar music servers. Running HQPlayer means that you could set up with high performance room correction filters, or use any of the other options within HQPlayer.

 

You cannot do this with an Aurender, Melco, and others. If I was in the market for a music server, the K50's ability to run convolution filters would be a major plus for me. I think there are some other options that will run Roon, and hence you could run the convolutions in Roon, but there are few and far between, and to my ears running convolutions in HQPlayer sounds a little better than the same in Roon. In fact for me, the fact that the K50 utilises HQPlayer pretty much eliminates the competition.

 

Although you could argue that when using HQPlayer NAA, the actual computer side of things does not mater much from a sound quality perspective. The actual NAA does, but not the PC or whatever, this just needs suitable performance to run the filters.

 

Consider that there are many very good quality NAA "end point " type devices at fairly low prices, this makes the $19K asking price seem a little steep to me, although no doubt it is a fine product.

Windows 11 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, Focus Fidelity convolutions, iFi Zen Stream, Paul Hynes SR4, Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection. Desktop system; RME ADI-2 DAC fs, Meze Empyrean headphones.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/7/2024 at 12:24 AM, Nikhil said:

I noticed that the K50 has a Word Clock output.  Does that mean it can also work as a Master Clock?

It runs at the appropriate frequency to support digital conversion of the currently playing track.  There are very few audiophile DACs that can accept this.  Typically the clock is sent over one of the synchronous outputs.  

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC < Mutec REF10 SE120

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali v1 and Typhon x1 power conditioners, Shunyata Delta v2 and QSA Lanedri Gamma Revelation and Infinity power cords, QSA Lanedri Gamma Revelation XLR interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD 60 speaker cables, GIK bass traps, ASC Isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels, Quadraspire SVT rack, PGGB 256

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On 2/10/2024 at 9:45 AM, 57gold said:

Couldn't find any info on this unit's ability to up convert files say from PCM to DSD256 with HQPlayer?

I had some success doing that.  DSD512 was too much for it though.  This was with HQPlayer 4.x.  Thus far HQPlayer 5 consumes much more CPU.  Even PCM upscaling chews up more CPU.  The lower powered K30 struggled at times with PCM scaling to the point where there were dropouts.  It barely broke a sweat with HQPlayer 4.  Antipodes is aware of the issue.

 

On 2/10/2024 at 9:45 AM, 57gold said:

For $19K, a nice box with two computers and software, the processing capabilities ought to be pretty powerful.

No not really because it is still passively cooled.  It’s more powerful than the CPU in many of their competitors products but a custom build is still the best option for those who want to really push things with HQPlayer.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC < Mutec REF10 SE120

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali v1 and Typhon x1 power conditioners, Shunyata Delta v2 and QSA Lanedri Gamma Revelation and Infinity power cords, QSA Lanedri Gamma Revelation XLR interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD 60 speaker cables, GIK bass traps, ASC Isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels, Quadraspire SVT rack, PGGB 256

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