Nucleus or Antipodes CX

Below from Antipodes Founder & CEO (who also does the Design & Manufacturer)

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As soon as you see a manufacturer actively criticise the products of another that they compete with, then you have to start treating ANYTHING they say as suspect.

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We tried single core processors running at high clock speeds, using a wide range of relevant CPUs, and the sound quality across most of the spectrum was good, but was unacceptable in the mid-treble upwards. So we disagree. Perhaps we should let peoples’ music listening experience be the decider. Some people may prefer a little extra bite up top. Some won’t.

One last comment, just to provide some balance to some misleading comments here. The issue we find with many CPUs is not so much the clock rate itself, but where in its performance range you run it. Under-clocking improves the sound quality in our experience/opinion, but as the new CPUs get faster than the older ones, we find we can also clock them faster too and still get great sound. We never stated, as has been suggested, that a clock speed of 1.5GHz is necessary for good sound. It just isn’t as simple as that. This is like any other area in high end audio. Examining specs only gets you so far and listening is needed in order to know what you prefer. Listening, is how we go about the final design choices, but everyone has different tastes so we are not claiming that the only way is our way. I am just trying to clarify what we do, and I do not mean to imply anything negative about anyone else’s product. if you like another product better than ours then you should buy it and we should try harder.


I am not saying anything about SQ when talking about Roon Core hardware. My qualms are all about the Roon Server experience, where slower equates to worse. You may not agree, but we hear complaints from hundreds of new users weekly, and often the cause is slow CPUs in the Core (and slow remotes too).

If you want SQ, Roon Labs’ party line has always been to use a high quality networked audio endpoint, where the Roon Core’s CPU can be noisy as everything else on your network without affecting SQ. If you have a networked audio endpoint worth anything, it should be isolating you for all that noise that already exists everywhere on your network.

If you can tinker, NUC+ROCK cant be beat for value. If you can’t tinker, Nucleus/Nucleus+ is our solution for the best experience. If you want the best SQ, buy a high quality properly isolated network endpoint.

I personally would dump the price difference into an endpoint. There is a lot you can get for a $2k+ addition to your endpoint.


Thanks for clarifying Danny - much appreciated

My ears say otherwise, but I understand your position on this.

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Of course they do, it they didn’t it’d undermine your product’s perceived value proposition / market positioning.

I was mistaken about DX vs CX. While I’m still not happy with the CX, the statement was not accurate for the CX. The DX and previous products have been a bane of support for us (dealers and users).

Trying it not required for computers with specs. We know the operating system (assuming they are still using VortexBox) and we know the CPU.

If we could just boil this down to the fundamentals for a moment.

Danny believes the server should be considered to have no influence on sound quality, so the server should be high power per dollar, and preferably high enough power to cope easily with anything Roon throws at it. I have no doubt that Danny’s views are honestly held.

Antipodes believes that servers have a very meaningful impact on sound quality and we target the part of the market that values sound quality ahead of features, but still wants features. So our focus is on only providing as much power and feature set as can be provided without impacting materially on sound quality. it also means we don’t think that any old noisy box will do.

So, from my perspective this thread is fueled by the two different views about the relevance of the server to sound quality. Everything else springs from there. There are literally thousands of these types of threads on the internet about whether high end audio cables are different from using no 8 fencing wire, whether THD and Power are the only relevant measurements of a power amplifier, whether power cords can affect the sound. And none of them go anywhere, other than the people with the opposing belief sets getting more and more exasperated with each other. I don’t wish to be part of that.


@danny I am sorry that I started the fire… I have now bought the Nucleus + after being allowed a demo from my dealer and just installed an internal 2TB SSD. I have a very hi resolving system and I have to say " Holy Mother of Jesus!" thank you,thank you, thank you…you can say anything you want to about it not effecting sound quality but my ears will never believe you. The $2500 is some of the smallest money I have spent on a hifi component but has yelled some of the greatest results. Thank you, thank you,thank you. I have asked my dealer for a demo on the Antipodes EX to use as an endpoint. Guess I have to wait awhile for that here in the US as it seems demand is high and inventory is low . I again apologize for for starting the argument.

Not quite… I believe that the server either does or does not have an influence on sound quality.

If it does not, get the server that provides the best experience in all regards, ignoring any claims about sound quality.

If it does, there are things you can do (like isolation via networked endpoints) to eliminate the explainable effects that you believe might be attributing to negative sound quality. Therefore you should get the server that provides the best experience in all other regards, ignoring the claims about sound quality.

I believe if you focus on sound quality in the server by downgrading the CPU, you will compromise the server’s experience with Roon.

This is no surprise however, we’ve built Roon with this strategy from the start. Others have done this as well. For example, the strategy behind HQ Player relies on heavy CPUs/GPUs (much heavier than Roon requires), and the results are spectacular.

Show me any device that claims that good SQ requires low CPU performance, and I’ll counter that with exhibit #2: HQ Player.

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As someone who is a dealer for and uses both the Nucleus + and Antipodes CX on a daily basis, I feel compelled to add to the conversation.

I think we may me misinterpreting both @danny and @Mark_Jenkins comments as somewhat combative with each other’s. But my findings are that both are excellent products and both do what they claim. Is there a significant difference in sound quality between the two? Yes! But its significance may be in the fact that there is a perceptible difference at all! Of course, @danny’s remarks are not disputing a difference in sound quality, for the reasons he’s described. Should a user be compelled to look for a better sounding Roon experience and have the budget (as well as the system) to exploit it, so be it.

Where the Nucleus + is so attractive is that it is a turn key solution and supports all the features Roon promises, as well as those we’ve yet to experience. And, as a server, it still sounds great! Should you require multiple zones running DS and upsampling, a Nucleus + (and for that matter a NUC i7 running ROCK) is the perfect fit and forget solution. To alter the sound quality, as @danny has said, there are a number of high performance RAAT players out there.

Should you be a purist at heart, you are likely working with a single zone of music playback and have
built a specialized system to suite your very specific tastes. You, like me, may find the Antipodes CX (and let’s not forget their EX player) simply indisposable…and I think you are likely @Mark_Jenkins’s target audience.

Maybe we should be considering these two units as different solutions to different problems? I personally think either is a perfect fit. Should you have the opportunity to test the two side by side, jump on it!


I own an Antipodes DX3 and enjoy ROON. I have no interest in upsampling and mostly run Native DSD. So I guess I am a traditional audiophile. I did find restrictions with earlier versions of the DX, but I have found none with the current version and am running it in two zones. I have had problems with my Roon/Antipodes/Devialet setup after upgrading it, but none with my ROON/Antipodes/GRIMM so I haven’t seen any reason to think that the Antipodes was the main problem.

I have compared the Antipodes to other solutions, and so far it sounds better than anything else I have tried. The GRIMM system is ruthlessly revealing. I haven’t compared it to the Nucleus and perhaps that sounds as good or better with my systems. But there’s room for different approaches.


@Aaron_Garrett I definitely reached the limits of some earlier Antipodes units as well. So I learnt to avoid them for complex implementations (more than 4 zones with large libraries). The CX seems to be very robust running the latest version of Roon with multiple zones as well as some lite DSP and sounds killer connected to a USB DAC. I still haven’t tried any DSD upsampling but it seems to be missing the point of the “purist” approach anyway. Maybe the CX too has limitations but I suspect those scenarios are sufficiently remote that a CX user is unlikely to run into them…again, not saying these limitations do in fact exist–I simply couldn’t know that at this point.

Glad you’re enjoying the DX3…I’m sure @Mark_Jenkins will be happy to hear it!

GRIMM, hey? Cool!



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