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?