Roon Labs has released Roon v1.2 which provides us with a full release of Roon on Linux for the first time. We can report that this new release is undoubtedly better sounding and is now by far the best audio quality option with Antipodes servers. We have fully integrated both Roon Server and RoonReady in Antipodes 2, and Roon can be used in three key ways: use Roon direct to a DAC, via USB, S/PDIF, AES3 or TOSLINK; use Roon Server conventionally to serve music to RoonReady and Bridge devices on your network; and use just RoonReady to turn an Antipodes server into the ultimate endpoint.
Note that by using both Roon Server and RoonReady in the same device, we make a different set of design choices than the Roon development team have designed for. While we get superior sound to using separate devices for Roon Server and RoonReady, we have uncovered a couple of minor bugs. We will keep you up to date on these issues at this link.
Roon on an Antipodes server has turned out to not just be the addition of the world's best player GUI interface, but also a clear enhancement to sound quality. In our view, the price of Roon is well worth it on sound quality alone (when you use both Roon Server and RoonReady within the Antipodes, direct to a DAC).
Antipodes Audio demonstrated the new 2nd Generation Antipodes DX music server with Roon fully integrated, in ATRIUM 4.2 - booth F 205, together with Davis Acoustics, April Music and Verastarr.
The DS SSD differs from the base DS in 3 ways:
1. The core technology resources are increased to the DX level
2. The server is tuned to be optimised for use with SSDs
3. Internal storage is all solid state.
As well as improved sound quality over the base DS, the DS SSD is strongly recommended if you intend to run Roon when it is released to us. The DS SSD runs the database-intensive Roon with much greater responsiveness.
The standard DS SSD uses the same semi-switched power supply as the base DS. But the DS SSD can be upgraded with the GT power supply when that is released later this year. The GT power supply is not as highly specified, but uses the same topology as the power supply used in the DX, and using a power supply of this quality has a dramatic impact on sound quality in a very good system.
The upgrade program allows you to get an Antipodes server using VortexBox to be upgraded to the Antipodes 2 software suite. Servers shipped prior to 23 December 2015 were shipped with the VortexBox suite of programs.
All Antipodes servers can be updated to Antipodes 2. Most just require a firmware, operating system and software upgrade. But the servers we launched in 2011 also require hardware upgrades to bring their specifications completely up-to-date. This only impacts the DS Gen1 (including the DS Reference) and the DV Gen1. The new electronics come with a new warranty, audio performance is markedly improved, the servers will run much cooler, and SSDs become an internal storage option. We highly recommend DS Reference owners get this upgrade, as a full upgrade means we will bring the specification up to the DX level, which lifts the performance dramatically.
These upgrades are necessary in order to run Roon, when that is released to us, and the upgrade to SSD storage is highly recommended not just for sound quality reasons but also to handle the database-intensive nature of Roon with greater responsiveness.Upgrade options and process...
Ken Micallef reviewed the Antipodes DS Music Server in Digital Audio Review. read review
"I never realized a server could translate this level of resolution along with the DS’ most impressive trick: its ability to recreate the true depth, width and
height of the recording’s soundstage as originally created by the recording engineer and producer. The DS’ immersive soundstage was truly a revelation, and a
great musical joy."
"There was simply more music and apparently less noise coming through my Shindo/DeVore system. This paid off in improved micro-dynamics, low level detail retrieval, an immersive and better sorted soundstage that also had more air and a greater sense of spaciousness — that last quality even bettering my vinyl rig."
"The sound was organic, present, tonally-rich, extremely dynamic, resolving, sweet and organic. This was no case of upper frequency enhancement at the expense of low frequency warmth; the Antipodes simply brought more music to the table."
Antipodes Audio Limited and Antipodes Audio Americas LLC are legal entities for the business
activities of Antipodes Digital, a division of Qlatu Audio Limited - www.qlatu.com. Antipodes Digital is principally located at Raumati Beach, in New Zealand,
and in Central Park West, NY, but also has its main service centers in Auckland, NZ and in Denver, CO.
Antipodes is pronounced an-tip-uh-deez, and the word refers to the part of the world we began in. Europeans will often refer to New Zealand, Australia and anywhare at the opposite end of the earth as 'the antipodes'.
Antipodes began in 2004, selling cables worldwide, using wire we manufacture in-house, all-cotton insulation, and radically different cable geometries focused on preserving phase accuracy. The cable geometries solve a perrenial problem in audio by sounding the same in any system context, proving that conventional cable geometries are simply wrong.
Our music servers launched in 2011. Today, our music server business and our cable business operate independently, with separate management and separate channels to market. Our flagship music servers - first the DS Reference in 2011, and since 2013 the DX - solve the digital audio problem by completely removing the glare and distortion of timbre that has kept audiophiles 'out of love' with digital audio.
In 2014 we established Antipodes Audio Americas LLC with offices in New York, a service centre in Denver CO, and sales representation across the USA.
The emphasis is on delivering stunning sound quality, with a design emphasis on time-domain accuracy, which delivers an openness and immediacy
without any hint of unnatural aggression. This is what we hear when we listen to real music and we believe it lets the music speak for itself.
Our approach is highly scientific, but we are not wedded to prevailing scientific theories. The prevailing science applied in the audio industry is focused on the science of the equipment and fails to address the more complex science of how the brain delivers enjoyment from listening to music. The false premise has been that if the science of the equipment could be perfected then the need to understand how the ear/brain system works is unnecessary. The premise is a practical decision that is common in most science - to assume away the pieces of the puzzle where there is less hard evidence to go on. But assuming away the place where all the action occurs is a mistake. We don't find the accepted science gets anywhere near being able to isolate what kinds of distortion get in the way most with a human's ability to enjoy reproduced music, and the science often reduces a complex issue like harmonic distortion or digital signal distortion to a single number - which we consider to be utterly bizarre. Some timbre and time-domain distortions in an audio system have real-world analogs and some don't, and the unnatural distortions are not recognised by the ear/brain as real. This is the main reason that many prefer an otherwise more distorted analog source to a digital source. Experimentation to make great audio has to have a true reference point, which is how humans react emotionally to it. Just because that is unreliable, and hard to measure does not justify side-lining it in favour of a measure that may or may not be relevant.
Therefore, Antipodes approach has always been strict scientific experimentation, avoiding deductive or inductive leaps without verification, and our main measurements are the emotional reactions of an independent listening panel of local audiophiles. Many audiophiles make the mistake of listening for differences in the sound, not appreciating two important things. The first mistake is that they are using their cognitive brain to do this and the cognitive brain has no role in the enjoyment of music. The second mistake is to not realise that our listening process is an active one and not a passive one - what we think we hear is heavily affected by what we expect to hear, or the order in which we hear it. Our enjoyment of music comes from the limbic system in the brain, the source of human emotional reactions to our environment. The most relevant way to evaluate audio equipment is to ask yourself whether you are getting more or less emotionally involved with the music.
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