Antipodes K50 or K40

I currently use the Roon Nucleus networked to my Meridian Ultra Dac. I am considering upgrading my streaming to the Antipodes K40 or K50. I would like to hear thoughts and experiences from any members who actually changed from the Nucleus to the K series.

I can’t help with your primary question on the Nucleus vs K series but do own a K50 and an Ultra Dac and recommend the combination highly. The performance level of the pair is high, and you can achieve an organic, refined, musical, detailed, dynamic sound. Both, but particularly the K50, need attention to noise on the ethernet input and power cords and conditioner.

I imagine your Nucleus performance depends to some extent on the attention you’ve given to the same ethernet and power noise issues. However I previously owned an Innuos Zenith Mk3 and the K50 is in a different quality class.

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That is very helpful. What input do you use on the MUD? Can you fully render and unfold MQA with the K50 as a Roon endpoint?

I found the same to be true of the Nucleus, it greatly benefits from a high end power cord, good LPS and isolation footers. I have optimized my Ethernet network with audiophile switches, cables, filters and dedicated ac line.


I’m using USB because it can handle the whole range of high res frequencies into the MUD, but there are a couple of reviews saying the K50 sounds best with AES output. The K50 has a variety of server and player options. With either Roon(s)/Roon(p) or Roon(s)/Squeezelite(p), you are running Roon normally and the standard range of MQA options are there. You can either let Roon do the unfold or operate in pass-through and let MUD do all of the processing, which is what I do. Most people choose Roon/Squeezelite as the better sonic combination. Roon is the only way to play MQA on Antipodes though; none of the other built-in servers are licensed for MQA, so although some of them can access Tidal (I think), they don’t support MQA. Should the unthinkable happen and Roon disappear, Antipodes aren’t the only server manufacturers who will have to confront a software revamp.

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Roon Core provides MQA Core decoding (first unfold) on any hardware that is capable of running it.

To have MQA rendering, the second part of MQA Full Decoding, you need MQA hardware with analog output, i.e. a MQA DAC. No certified MQA hardware or software is allowed to send rendered output in a digital format because rendering is specific to analog hardware.

I just purchased the K50 to replace my Nucleus.


Congratulations on your new toy :slightly_smiling_face: You won’t regret it and will enjoy seeing what it can do. Three small points:

There is a break-in period of a few weeks with the early sound becoming more relaxed. I didn’t find it an issue and didn’t bother running it in.

I find the MUD/K50 combination can be easily affected by choices of power cords, switches etc so if you don’t immediately prefer what you hear, do some playing with those. Your gear is top notch.

Be careful to observe the comment in the K50 manual about not changing power abruptly, which means don’t switch off power at the back of the unit or pull the A/C plug unless the unit is in standby. I leave it in standby for a minute or two for stability. If you check some of the discussion on Whatsbestforum, you’ll note some earlier issues with fuses blowing on the K50. Mark Jenkins has since found a stable fuse for it and new units have it. (It’s a time delay, not a slow blo; and might not be easy to replace without going back to Antipodes.) The 3 oversize power supplies in the K50 are the causes of the slightly touchy fuse issue.

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I replaced my Nucleus with the K40 about a month ago. The difference in terms of sound quality is unbelievable. I chose the K40 because my dCS Rossini DAC has an excellent ethernet input and it is Roon Ready.

Is the K50 or K40 purely a Nucleus (Roon core) replacement or can it also act as a renderer?
I ask because I currently run a Nucleus+/Auralic Aries G2 setup and I’m curious what I would be getting with the Antipodes hardware.

The K41 which replaced the K40 is a server/streamer only and not a player/renderer. The K50 is both a server and player. Antipodes has a new player to use with the K41, the K21 if you desire separate components and prefer using just usb to your Dac. They support Roon and other music management apps and you can mix and match different music apps for the server and player.

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Thanks Mark!
How does the K41 compare to the Nucleus+ in terms of processor/RAM?
I ask because I have a very large music library and I think I’m getting to the end of my Nucleus+ capabilities in that regard.

Charles there is no comparison. The K41 has a powerful LPS and can store 24TB of downloads on SSD. No limit on number of albums added via Tidal or Qobuz. What do you plan to use as a renderer? The K41 only makes sense when you have a really good bridge or Dac with superior rendering ability.

The K41 and K21 have no clock. I use the AES output on my K50 as my Meridian Dac plays MQA from all inputs. Most other dacs only play MQA from ethernet or USB. The Innous statement optimizes USB so if I wanted to use the USB input on my Dac I would look at that server also. Taiko Extreme also but that is at least twice the price.

Thanks Mark!
Excuse my ignorance but what is a “LPS”? I’m assuming it has something to do with the K41’s Processor and RAM and by the sounds it is vastly superior to the Nucleus+.
As for a renderer and DAC, I have an Auralic Aries G2 and an Ayre QB9 DSD and so I’m good to go in that regard.

Linear Power Supply. The K41 has no clock. Have you considered the Altair as a complimentary streamer?

Hello, Mark. I’m considering upgrading my server from a NUC to a K41. My endpoint will be the Lumin X1. Wondering if the S40+S60 power supply would suffice. I don’t need more than 8TB storage. I do however need DSP and upsampling power.

Wondering if you have any thoughts.

I thought about getting the K40 rather than the K50 but it seemed to me I would be paying 60% of the price of a K50 for a server with 1/3 the functionally. My Meridian Ultra Dac is known to have a good render and clock, but when I use the K50 LAN output to my Dac I am using it same as a K41. There is no comparison to the quality of the sound of using the full functionally of K50 via the digital outputs (AES/EBU, etc) with render and reclock.

At a minimum I would want to have the flexibility of using the server as a server only or both server and player with all the player apps available and just use the clock in your Lumin. I think the S40 + S60 provides flexibility and is at a better price point then the K50 and K30. However the K30 is only $1000 more than the K41 so if you want the performance of the K series I would lean towards K30. If you contact Antipodes they will advise you of the difference in performance of the different options. Please let me know what you plan to do. I did find a US dealer who was helpful and flexible with pricing.

Thanks, Mark. I spoke with antipodes already about the capability of the units. I just wanted another (user) perspective.

My incoming Lumin X1 doesn’t have any digital inputs…so it’s only the server functionality I’m after. I agree with your assessment that the S40 is the best option…with respect to value here. And I’ll have the flexibility of the player function or adding a S30 should I ever change my setup.

Antipodes site says the S40 and K30 share the same server engine so It seems to me, the K30 as a server/player = S40+S60+S30.

I’ll get the S40+S60. If you’re in Canada, let me know (PM) the good dealer you found.

Hi Robbie - I also have the Innuos Zenith MK3 which I think for the money sounds great although I have recently been trialling the Aqua LinQ which when played through the Zenith server sounds sublime. The only thing that puts me off the product is having to 2 boxes so I have decided to go for the Antipodes K50 1 box solution which makes more sense to my set up.
What would you say are the improvements over the Zenith, from what I’ve read the K50 is apparently a natural organic sound which is exactly what I’m looking for.

I can only comment on the K50 with my new Aqua Formula xHD Dac, which replaced my Meridian Ultra Dac. The sound is strikingly more organic and pure with my new combination then it was with the former. This is the sound I was looking for from a Dac which is why I purchased the Aqua without auditioning it. Hopefully this is somewhat helpful.

Hi Mark,
Just out of interest did you try the K30 as well as the K50, the reason for asking is some say it’s 80% of the K50 in terms of sound quality. Lots of reviews for the K50 and very little for the K30 however I am going to demo first having had 3 weeks with the Aqua LinQ which is a stellar piece of kit albeit no server integration which is a big disappointment to me requiring 2 boxes.
Appreciate your opinion on the K50 which is what I’m swaying towards at the moment.