Antipodes Music Servers are specially designed solutions for music streaming at the highest level from Antipodes Audio Limited, a New Zealand company that offers the two product lines Antipodes K-Series and Antipodes S-Series.
Music streaming promises a particularly intuitive way to access thousands and thousands of music titles, and in the best case in outstanding quality. And indeed, the market offers a wide variety of solutions that can fulfil this to a large extent. However, all such systems have one thing in common: a certain level of knowledge of IT in general, and network technology in particular, is a must.
This is not so much true for self-contained platforms such as BluOS by the Lenbrook Group, Yamaha MusicCast or HEOS built-in by Sound United LLC, but for platforms that are manufacturer-independent or cross-manufacturer solutions. Here, for example, the software from Roon Labs LLC. should be mentioned.
Yes, there are solutions that work “out of the box”, but then you also have to accept that they are exactly as they are delivered, any further personal adjustments are simply only provided for to a limited extent or not at all.
So is the only way left to put together your own server? No, because here too, the market offers suitable solutions, such as the systems developed in New Zealand by Antipodes Audio Limited.
Since 2009, Antipodes Audio Limited has dedicated itself to the development of special servers that are specifically designed for the special requirements in the direct hi-fi or AV environment. In 2011, the company presented the first such product, which caused a sensation. The impeccable reputation of the company founded by Mark Jenkins was established not least by the solutions of the Antipodes X-Series, which have now been replaced by new product ranges.
Today, Antipodes Audio Limited offers a truly impressive range of products, roughly divided into two series: the Antipodes S-Series, consisting of solutions with a particularly compact form factor, and the Antipodes K-Series, offering the highest performance in a full-width form factor.
To complete the picture, the Antipodes S-Series offers the two solutions Antipodes S40 Music Server and Antipodes S30 Music Server, which are congenially extended by the solutions Antipodes S60 Power Supply and Antipodes S20 Reclocker.
In the Antipodes K-Series, three servers are offered: the Antipodes K30 Music Server and the Antipodes K40 Music Server, plus the latest system from New Zealand, the Antipodes K50 Music Server, which is available as a flagship. The Antipodes K-Series not only offers servers, but also a suitable extension with the Antipodes K10 Ripper.
Of course, the solutions from Antipodes Audio Limited are nothing more than a computer, a PC or whatever you want to call it. However, the developers approach the conception of their solutions in a completely different way than a pure IT expert would do. Everything, and by that we really mean everything, is designed to process multimedia content in the best possible quality, so that “IT” has no negative influence on the quality.
In addition, and this is also a point that should not be underestimated, the solutions from Antipodes Audio Limited are designed in such a way that they do not have to do their work somewhere in the shadows because they are too loud or are simply typical unsightly “PC boxes”. Rather, the solutions of the New Zealanders are intended to provide products that fully meet the special requirements of use in a hi-fi or AV environment, also with regard to silent operation and a certain aesthetic appeal. In short, the systems of the Antipodes S-Series and Antipodes K-Series should even be placed in the hi-fi or AV rack, because here they form the central interface for all matters concerning streaming, but also function directly as a player, if desired.
Of course, the latter is especially obvious with the solutions of the Antipodes S-Series, which, as already mentioned, come up with a particularly compact form factor. All units of this product line measure no more than 165 mm in width, 260 mm in depth and 70 mm in height; ultimately, except for the details, they are housings of the same design, made of aluminium and optionally available in silver or black.
This also applies to the solutions of the Antipodes K-series, but these have dimensions of 445 mm in width, so they present themselves more or less with the standard dimensions of the HiFi. Specifically, the Antipodes K50 Music Server and Antipodes K40 Music Server have dimensions of 445 x 370 x 120 mm, and the Antipodes K30 Music Server 445 x 370 x 78 mm. The Antipodes K10 Ripper is a little out of the ordinary, measuring only 165 mm in width, 140 mm in depth and 28 mm in height.
It is interesting to note that Antipodes Audio Limited does not list the typical features one would normally look for when choosing a PC, such as the type and performance of the processor and other essential components. Instead, the company specifies what the systems are designed to do and guarantees that there is more than enough performance to do it. Even the storage capacity for one’s own multimedia content – audio, video and photo – is ultimately irrelevant when buying a music server from Antipodes Audio Limited, because the user determines this himself by selecting the hard disk or SSD, so these are not predefined ex works.
What the manufacturer clearly emphasises, however, is that all components used in the configuration of the Antipodes music servers are always selected, particularly high-quality and, above all, durable solutions. This applies on the one hand to the components of the pure “IT” as well as to the corresponding power supply, and of course especially to the components relevant for direct audio processing. Because this should be explicitly emphasised once again, the solutions from Antipodes Audio Limited are not only pure servers, they can also function directly as players.
It is all the more essential that the structure of the music servers is designed in such a way that the individual areas are optimally separated from each other and that the “IT” does not have a negative effect on the signal processing of the D/A converters and output stage. This is also the reason why the Antipodes S-Series with its compact form factor has a separate power supply as an optional accessory.
In general, the topic of power supply is one to which the developers of Antipodes Audio Limited attach great importance and consequently pay a lot of attention. While in the Antipodes S-Series it is the optional power supply that is available for upgrading, in the flagship Antipodes KS50 Music Server, for example, a combination of switched and linear power supplies is used and is referred to as Hybrid Switched Linear Power Supply, or HLS Power Supply for short.
HLS is in turn part of the so-called OLADRA Technology, which was also introduced for the first time with the latest offspring from Antipodes Audio Limited, the Antipodes K50 Music Server. The focus here is on components that are indispensable for a server, such as the mainboard, which has been optimised for audio in terms of the noise spectrum by means of Interfereence Spectrum Management, or ISM for short. In addition, and this is another detail to substantiate the high level of effort, three mainboards optimised for their respective tasks are used in this solution. And each of the three mainboards has, how could it be otherwise, a separate, deliberately oversized power supply.
As already mentioned, the company deliberately refrains from giving specific performance data, so these solutions are not for pure number fetishists, that must be clearly stated.
Rather, the description of clear tasks gets to the heart of who the respective systems were designed for.
The Antipodes S30 Music Server, which the manufacturer describes as a medium power server and player, but also as a pure player, marks the beginning. The Antipodes S40 Music Server can also fulfil this task, but here the company already speaks of a High Power Server and Player Solution. An essential difference lies in the interfaces, because while the Antipodes S30 Music Server, as a pure player, has USB for external D/A converters and analogue outputs, the Antipodes S40 Music Server does without an integrated converter and is thus designed solely for use in combination with external D/A converters.
This strategy can also be found in the Antipodes K-series, because the Antipodes K30 Music Server, declared as a high-power dual-computer music server, does not have an integrated D/A converter, but the Antipodes K40 Music Server, declared as a high-power single-computer music server, does.
The new flagship, the Antipodes K50 Music Server, which the New Zealanders call a high-power dual-computer music server, towers above all. Interestingly, however, this solution does without an integrated converter and is instead equipped with every conceivable digital interface, as well as a fully-isolated high-precision reclocker. When it comes to processing digital data, you are really well served here and can hardly hand over “cleaner” signals to an external D/A converter.
One more aspect should be mentioned: Antipodes Audio Limited’s product range is modular in principle, which was already clear from the previous description, but should be explicitly emphasised here. This way, the user can start comparatively “small”, especially with the Antipodes S-Series, and expand his system step by step, in order to finally call almost a solution with the features of the top models his own.
Finally, a very important point should be mentioned, namely the available software. Pure hardware alone does not make a music server, although it must be said that the solutions from Antipodes Audio Limited are not only suitable for music, but also for film and photos, because they certainly do not lack performance.
Thus, all servers of the New Zealanders rely on UPnP as the lowest common denominator for any streaming solution, namely in the form of miniDLNA. Systems from Sonos Inc. can of course also access the servers, and Squeeze and HQPlayer are also supported. However, Roon from Roon Labs LLC. is probably the most important platform in the high-end segment. And for photos and videos, PLEX is preinstalled on the servers.
Of course, all services are controlled simply and easily via the network, in the best case via a tablet.
The solutions from Antipodes Audio Limited are supported by CM-Audio Flöter Technology Service in Mönchengladbach.
The company has also come up with something really extraordinary around the product line of the New Zealanders, namely so-called test packages. The aim of these test packages is to offer the user the possibility to actually try out the products in the only relevant environment for him, namely his own listening room at home.
Among the various test packages that CM-Audio Flöter Technology Service now offers, there is also one for the streaming solutions of Antipodes Audio Limited. Details can be found on the website of the German company.
Getting to the point
The solutions of the New Zealand company Antipodes Audio Limited are particularly exciting because they are precisely the “IT” that is indispensable for streaming, but does not appear as such in any way. There is no information about the number of processors and their clock speeds, neither about the main memory nor about the motherboard. From the New Zealanders’ point of view, all this is ultimately uninteresting, because you don’t need a complex “computer”, but a sufficiently high-performance music server optimised for audio in order to realise streaming in the best possible way. What is actually inside the “box” is not the question that the user has to worry about; rather, he should only be able to be sure that solutions are offered that meet his demands in the best possible way.
|Manufacturer:||Antipodes Audio Limited|
|Distribution:||CM-Audio Flöter Technology Service|
|Price:||Antipodes S30 Music Server € 2.950,-|
Antipodes S40 Music Server € 5.200,-
Antipodes S20 Reclocker € 2.450,-
Antipodes S60 Power Supply € 1.950,-
Antipodes K30 Music Server € 10.600,-
Antipodes K40 Music Server € 9.600,-
Antipodes K50 Music Server € 15.890,-
Antipodes K10 Ripping Station € 690,-