Nucleus or Antipodes CX

I have limited desire to ramp up my understanding of computer Audio and prefer easy ( limited effort) with great sound as opposed to highly engaged with great sound. I currently run a dedicated Roon computer
OptiPlex 9020M
Intel Core i5-4590T CPU @ 2.00Ghz
8GB Ram
64-Bit OS, Windows 10
100GB Solid State Drive

with NAS ( 1500 albums) terminating to a Bryston BDP2 music server. I have been curious about all in one computing and storage for the sake of reducing complexity and the elimination of remotely located NAS > I really like the Aurrender N10 and would buy it but they refuse to interface with ROON so that’s a no go.
Antipodes is releasing a new model the CX where its lower model has been reviewed to be as good or better than the N10. My question being , am I better off with an all in one like the CX or just upgrading the Dell to a Nucleus , sound being the ultimate determining factor?

I have an Antipodes DX3 which I love. I haven’t heard the Nucleus but the CX should sound better because of the difference in power supplies. Roon is coming out with a linear power supply for the Nucleus (or the +), which may make things closer.

Why? The supply might make a difference if the DAC is directly connected to the music server with USB, given USB’s poor electrical characteristics, but from what @Billt1 wrote, it seems that his BDP-2 is networked to the music server.

NAS and Roon core ( Dell) in basement networked to Bryston BDP2 USB to Esoteric K01x DAC


I use my Antipodes both via USB and via Ethernet to my Devialet. I don’t know why it makes a difference, but the Antipodes sounds better in both modes than the other sources I have used. I assume the power supply is part of it, but perhaps I’m wrong.

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Maybe I misunderstood how the Nucleus + operates and is in fact more the same as the Antipodes CX than different? What I have now is a dedicated computer for ROON core that is linked via my network to a Bryston BDP2 music server in the audio rack which in turn USB out to the DAC. I want to consolidate and have Storage on the same device that outputs to the DAC . Is that that what the Nucleolus will do and if so is that better than leaving something like the Bryston BDP2 in the chain? Although I am looking for convenience and fewer components , how it sounds is most important

Nucleus can output directly to the DAC via USB. In general, USB is not the best connection between a music server and a DAC, because it is difficult to keep server electrical noise from traveling down the USB connection to the DAC and contaminating the analog side of the DAC. Some combinations of server and DAC work fairly well (for example, I got surprisingly good results with a Raspberry Pi 2 feeding a Soekris dac1541), but other things being equal I’d rather use S/PDIF from the source to the DAC than USB for that reason.

your understanding is correct.

As for the CX, just note that the Nucleus/Nucleus+ are built by the team that built Roon, keeping in mind what we have in plan for the future.

For example, later down the road, you may choose to do Room Correction with your system, and the CX migght not get the job done. The N+ absolutely will. The CX is a clock reduced CPU that is already slower to start. I understand Antipodes’ theories about higher clock rates (1.5ghz+), but I don’t buy that reasoning at all. 10 years ago these guys were complaining about 1ghz, and 20 years ago it was about 500mhz.

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Thanks Danny. I am a a true believer in the value of ROON. That is one reason I would not consider any products from Aurender although their products sound wonderful ( interface is terrible) their refusal to interface with ROON greatly limits their desirability and I can only assume future placement in the industry as ROON continues to expand. I visited Aurender at the Munich High End show this year to express my opinion personally as the N10 is a great sounding piece which I would buy if it allowed the ROON interface. FYI I found the Nucleus + sounded better on the network as opposed to USB out to DAC. I misspoke in a previous post when I said I was using The Bryston BDP2 USB out . I am not using USB but rather SPDIF BNC. So the long and the short of it it sounds like you are suggesting just buy the Nucleus + and forget the other? My wife , who has amazing hearing, told me whatever I just did (Nucleus + installation) don’t change and she did’t even ask me what it cost.

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That will be my suggestion, but full disclosure: I am biased because I made the Nucleus+.

I can tell you objectively that on all other non-SQ regards, if you plan to use Nucleus/Nucleus+, you will have a better experience. SQ is very subjective and I’m not going to debate that for every person that is buying these products.

Your Bryston will make a million times more difference in SQ than any server or power supply or cable or anything else.

If you have it, the wife loves it, you enjoy the sound, and the cost is cheaper than the CX - I’m not sure what the issue is!

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You’re making a lot of comments about the Nucleus, and that’s fine as being fully part of it’s development you should be, but you’re also making a lot of comments about the CX which you weren’t involved with. Maybe you might not be fully up on all it’s capabilities.

I objectively know that the CX isn’t going to support features that are Nucleus/Nucleus+ exclusive, regardless of CX’s hardware capabilities. For example, we released Crestron/C4 support for Roon as a Nucleus/Nucleus+ exclusive feature, the CX cannot run that. There will be more in the future, many of them desirable by a larger audience. I also am aware of the future of the Roon Core program in ways that are not public. I know one for fact that many of our users will want, but there is no way a clock-reduced i5 will do it. I’m not even sure a non-clock reduced i5 will. We will be testing that shortly to find out.

For the subjective pieces, or the pieces I may not know the whole story, I did the following:

  1. I put up a disclaimer about my bias
  2. I stated that SQ is very subjective
  3. I used the word “might” (misspelled as “migght”) about the clock speed capabilities (even though I know there is stuff we are going to do that I know can’t be done by the CX even at full speed)
  4. I said that I didn’t “buy it” about Antipodes clock speed theories (with a reason of why I didn’t). That’s not a statement stating a fact, only my opinion.

I’m not sure what else I could do here to be more clear on my position here, with all caveats. There are no secret techniques or understanding, to make computers perform better. This still is well understood and the knowledge is public. The SQ side is a different story (possibly), but there is no such problem about performance.

I feel like you may have a stake in the game here, since you’ve only come to defend this one unit. What is your bias?

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Thanks @danny . A candid and much appreciated response. Unfortunately I know once something stated as an opinion it becomes vulnerable . You are brave , but thank you for that as to me your opinion is very valuable

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If I understand this correctly you’re saying Roon are releasing features that are exclusive only to Nucleus units, and as example Crestron/C4 owners only get this new feature if they have a Nucleus?

Are you also saying there will be more features in the future “desirable by a larger audience” that again are only exclusive to Nucleus (that’s the way you appear, to me, to have worded your comment). If that is the case then it’s disappointing to hear for owners of all other units that some future features will be exclusive only to Nucleus. If on the other hand your comment is only in relation to an i5, be that clock-reduced or otherwise, then that’s totally different and off course is fully understandable that future features with units that don’t have a powerful enough CPU to run these features obviously won’t be able to (I wonder how this will affect the i3 Nucleus).

The thread is titled “Nucleus or Antipodes CX” and your comments were specific only to the CX therefore why would I talk about other units?

In my original comment I acknowledged that you making a lot of comments about the Nucleus was fine. I then said “Maybe you might not” be fully up on all the capabilities of the CX, which was myself putting out there that the CX may be capable. I would assume unless a CX has been given by Antipodes to Roon for testing then some of your comments “may” be incorrect or on the other hand they could also be correct - who knows.

Your reply to my original comment came across very defensive which was a surprise to myself. I own an Antipodes Server, no other business interest with Antipodes, just a simple consumer who happens to own one of their products just the same as I also purchased a lifetime membership of Roon over 2 years ago (that’s me clarifying any of my apparent bias), but at no time have I said the CX or any other model is better than a Nucleus. You can check all my posts on this forum, I’ve never once commented on the capabilities of a product that I didn’t own myself.

I’ve always been very positive about Roon and it’s features (except the back-up facility), and paid-up for the lifetime membership over 2 years ago showing even back then how much I thought of Roon (and there have been some excellent feature upgrades since then).

Not looking to get into any bunfight, I was just trying to get clarity on the capabilities of the CX with Roon, as you had previously said in another thread “its CPU is quite inadequate for DSP, big libraries, and general snappiness”. That’s a very sweeping comment, and very disconcerting for CX owners (I don’t currently have a CX, but hopefully will soon).

I’m currently sitting listening to Roon, being played via a 2012 Mac Mini and it sounds great, especially since my wife is away on holiday for the last week, so can play my music as loud as I want (not sure the neighbours are quite as happy :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:).

Nearly the weekend, so hope one and all have a good one, and enjoying listening to your music via Roon, using whatever hi-fi equipment you have :+1:


Right now the differences are integration into home automation. So long as the music side remains universal between the various Roon platforms I am not sure there is any reason to be unhappy. The manufacturers of other units can and do add functionality of their choosing that enables ripping or adds HQPlayer amongst others. In an open marketplace you make your choices. Antipodes have made clear what they think justifies choosing their product, Roon are making clear why they may (and quite frankly should) consider their product more suitable for the business of running Roon.

We’ve tested their prior devices and they are lacking. The CX is a strong update, not quite as good as we’d like. The thing that kills us is this underclocking. We know the most important thing for ALL software we develop is single core performance, and reducing the clock speed always diminishes that.

For the price point of the CX, you should always get the best Roon experience.

Roon’s core value proposition will not change – these are new features related to hardware or third party software.

Thanks for the clarification.

Aha -

Roon’s Nucleus will have new capabilities that are engaged through the Roon software.
Roon software will have new functionality that can only be exploited by the Roon Nucleus.

Really the same thing, but as a lifer the second phrasing bothers me. I suppose in 4 years (well, three years, now) it won’t matter, to me.


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@xxx - I said neither of those things. You need to think more creatively and less deviously.

For example (not saying we’re doing this), if we added an automatic cd-ripper solution to Nucleus via USB CD-ROMs, that would be a feature that fits my words (new features related to hardware), but neither of your re-wordings (it would not be engaged via Roon nor would it be new functionality in Roon).