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Antipodes EX

26.09.2019 // Wolfgang Kemper

A special music server stems from the New Zealand manufacturer Antipodes Audio. Not only does it sound remarkably good, but it also opens up ways of expansion to meet the highest demands. And, it also shows how important a qualified dealer or distributor is.

The Antipodes EX isn’t meant as a plug-and-play device. Just plug it in and all the options will open by themselves, it's not the concept for Antipodes EX. But even the comfort oriented music lover shouldn’t be scared, as the purism has its sense and the installation isn’t a problem at all, even if you are not familiar with the world of network and device configuration. This is because the distributor CM-Audio takes care of that for every customer. Already in my test reviews about the Gordian mains filter and the Merason D/A-converter I reported about the exemplary service of CM-Audio. With the Antipodes EX, the service goes far beyond that. Company director Markus Flöter also makes the Antipodes music server available to the potential customer as a complete set in a ready-to-play configuration in order to be tested in the customer’s home system. Apart from the return postage (9.90 euros by parcel service) in an environmentally friendly, reusable shipping box, there are no other expenses. The test package includes a respectable Knack power cable, proper USB and Ethernet cables from Viablue and an Apple iPad with charger set. All you have to do is to register the tablet in your own wireless network, and the Antipodes EX will instantly play.

Aboard there is also a large selection of examplary music tracks stored on an SSD in one of the two hard drive bays. In addition, the EX is already logged in to the extensive streaming offerings of Qobuz and Tidal. So you are able to explore the Antipodes right away, preferably using the versatile Roon player. If you don't want to operate the comfortable Roon for some reason, the New Zealand device can also be controlled with a variety of other software. Some of these installed players are sonically quite competitive, but in regard to versatility they are not comparable to Roon. So in the end it’s up to you. For my review I have limited myself to Roon, because I assume that you, dear reader, know about fundamental differences of player software in terms of both sound and user interface. Besides Audirvana Plus, Roon is my usual player software and so I am quite familiar with it. Even when using Roon, there are still variation possibilities, such as outputting PCM as a native file or converting it to the DSD format to an external, DSD-capable D/A converter. This also has an effect on the sound. Antipodes recommends removing unused software so that the computer is not unnecessarily burdened by software procedures. Purism, this is the creed of Antipodes Audio.

Despite its small dimensions, the Antipodes EX weighs an impressive 7.5 kilograms – excluding the hard disks. The reason for this lies in its extremely sturdy and solid housing
Despite its small dimensions, the Antipodes EX weighs an impressive 7.5 kilograms – excluding the hard disks. The reason for this lies in its extremely sturdy and solid housing

The Antipodes EX is a music server featuring two hard drive bays which are prepared to take 2.5-inch Sata SSDs or other suitable HDD media. Each one of them can have up to eight terabytes, so you can increase the total to 16 terabytes, if you want to. The Antipodes’ controlling computer treats the two hard disks as one unit and stores to them at will. Thus the hard disks cannot be linked together in any raid mode for data backup purposes. On their website, the New Zealand specialists currently recommend the use of Samsung EVO SSDs. For sonic reasons, at Antipodes Audio a Sata SSD is preferred to mSATA or m.2 SSDs. The storage media are not included in the purchase price and can be added at any time. If you order them directly from the distributor, CM-Audio passes them on without a surcharge. The installation of the disks requires a configuration by the distributor, and can be effected using CM-Audio’s cost-free remote online service.

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