I read in the What’s Best Forum that the K40 has been discontinued. Is that the case ?
In my case the K40 is fantastic as a server since I am using my dCS Rossini DAC + Master Clock as a player. Firstly the Rossini dCS is optimized for an Ethernet input and moreover, ROON is very well rendered with the Rossini. In this configuration the K40 offers exceptional sound quality. The match is excellent.
I read in the What’s Best Forum that the K40 has been discontinued. Is that the case ?
Indeed the K40 is an awesome product, sadly a short life due to Covid induced parts shortages.
Watch these pages for a replacement announcement shortly.
Hi Rejean. I have a similar set up with a K40 and Linn Klimax DSM using Ethernet connectivity. My server software is MinimServer - I have not used Roon. I am curious about your experience with your K40 and Rossini, To preface, I have my local files on the K40, some of those files ripped from CDs, others purchased and downloaded from Tidal and Qobuz. I also stream from Qobuz. My question to you: do you stream from Tidal or Qobuz and, if so, have you done any critical listening comparing your local files with the same tracks streamed from Qobuz or Tidal? To further compare, I have purchased and downloaded tracks from Qobuz and Tidal to the K40 versus then streaming the same track from Qobuz at the same resolution - one streamed and then the same one played from the SSD of the K40. I have found sonic differences while doing so, and I am happy to share my experiences. But wanted to first see if you have engaged in any of these comparisons. Happy to chat further. Thank you.
Very interesting subject. First, with ROON I use Tidal because Qobuz is not available in Canada. The other thing is that I took great care to “clean” the Ethernet signal. I am using a sNH-10G SOtM dual switch powered by Farad Super3 LPS. The switches are connected to the Super3s by high-end DC cables from Audio Sensibility. The RJ / E cabling between the K40 and Rossini is of very good quality (Nordost Valhalla 2) and between the Netgear Orbi Router and the K40 I use a Network Acoustics RJ / E cable associated with the ENO Ag filter also from Network Acoustics. The router is powered by a Farad Super3 LPS. All these equipments are connected to a Shunyata Denali 6000v2 conditioner.
Under these conditions, the sound quality of the streaming is excellent. It is really impressive. Like you, I bought a few DSD 128fs and 256fs albums that I uploaded to the K40. Obviously, the sound quality is superior with these formats. However, for normal resolutions (flac 96 or 192 and even MQA) the difference in sound quality between CDs stored on the K40-SSD and streaming is minimal. It exists and it varies from album to album. I have also burned CDs with the K10 ripper, and I observe the same conclusions. From these few tests, I retain that the sound quality obtained via streaming can really be impressive. However, a lot of care and $$$ must be put into the quality of the Ethernet signal. In fact, I have observed that every effort to reduce Ethernet noise results in an improvement in the sound quality of streaming.
Rejean, thank you. My set-up is RJ/E Audioquest Diamond from my LAN to the network port on the K40. Then I use direct out from the K40 to the Ethernet input on my Linn DSM, again with AQ RJ/E Diamond. My K40 has 500+ hours or so on it, so I believe is fully broken-in.
This is what I have found quite consistently. Streamed Qobuz files sound a little fuller in the bass and mids, and this is immediately apparent even to untrained ears. Less apparent, but still present with Qobuz, I hear a longer decay of strings and vocals just a bit more transparent. The K40 presentation - all other things being equal as far as file resolution and even using downloaded Qobuz files - is more focused and incisive, with a slightly narrower soundstage, the K40 bass being quicker and, relatively speaking, less bloated.
Which is better? I would say that depends. If the track is already tending to be bass heavy, then the K40 wins. Otherwise, to be honest and since I like bass, Qobuz does a darn fine job. I very much like how fast the K40 is and how the music just appears from total silence. However, If I could change anything about the K40, I would tilt the balance slightly to a little “more” in the lower mids and bass.
Interestingly enough, when I first got into playing local files from my PC, digitally streaming those local files to an earlier Linn DSM, Windows OS sound was similar to what I experience with Qobuz. When I got my first Antipodes (a DX), I noticed some of the same sonics that I have described with the K40. I had corresponded with (at the time) Antipodes’ Tony Devitt who noted that files played from Windows OS can sound a bit fuller than files played from Linux OS. The “why” of this I do not know. And whether there are any firmware changes that Antipodes could make to address these nuances is something that Mark Cole could perhaps chime-in on.
I am obviously talking nuances here, and I am perfectly happy with my K40. But Qobuz (and I use Qobuz since Linn doesn’t do MQA) is phenomenally good with my system and gives the K40 a good run for the money.
And let me be clear about one thing - I have no affiliation with Qobuz. These are all my personal observations based on my own listening.
Your thoughts? I am interested in your reaction to all this. Cheers!!
Isn’t it apples to oranges to compare a streaming service to hardware? Or are you considering the K40 to essentially be a streaming service?
Good questions. Yes, in a sense I do think it is apples to oranges. But the sonic nuances are interesting to me and speak to the tremendous technology behind the K40 as well as what the streaming service has achieved. Both have evolved to be excellent platforms, albeit with their own sonic signatures. So as much as I am comparing streaming service to hardware, the more important comparison to me is the result: what one versus the other sounds like when fed to the same renderer/DAC. At least with my system, it becomes a close call. Thank you for raising your questions.
Whilst I actually own a K50, one thing I would add is that a large part of the performance you’re getting from streaming will be down to your K40 anyway. So it’s not really Qobuz giving your K40 a good run for the money. It’ll be more that your K40 is extracting so much from the streaming service that it sounds as good/or almost as good as your K40 playing from its internal hard drive. Despite exactly the same network set-up with my previous streamer/server (Auralic G2), I only ever used Qobuz to find new music. Anything I liked I bought, downloaded & added to the drive. I found the streaming side of things very lifeless & un-involving. With the K50 I’m not sure I could pick out which was which in a blind test because they both sound superb…As a result my K50 is actually starting to pay back some of its initial outlay. Previously I was buying so many albums that despite having a Qobuz Sublime subscription my buying habits were costing an absolute fortune. Now I only buy the absolute stand-out albums & so far this month that’s only 4 & last month only 2 for the entire month. Contrast that to last May where I averaged over an album a day. So, not so good for Qobuz or the recording artists, but it’s doing absolute wonders for my wallet. I’ll be adjusting my Qobuz subscription downwards at renewal time as well.
This is what I mentioned earlier. The sound quality of the K40 and certainly the K50 is impressive for streaming. I no longer find any point in ripping CDs or downloading albums except very high resolution ones (i.e. DSD 128fs or higher), but there are few that interest me. Last point, in my experience the condition is to purify the ethernet signal as much as possible. Congratulations to Antipodes for the fantastic K40 / K50!
In my experience, both the hardware and software play a big role in how good Qobuz sounds. I’m inclined to say in fact that Qobuz doesn’t have a sound of itself, but what we hear from it is more about how well our network, server and software handles playback of streamed flac files.
For a long time files retrieved from my NAS had a slight advantage over Qobuz or Tidal. That gap nearly vanished after I optimized my network. That lead me to pretty much stop buying music.
Now files stored on my K30 have a significant advantage but that’s because they’ve been processed with PGGB and because Roon isn’t involved in playing them back. So I’ve been back to purchasing music again just so I have files I can process.
Qobuz has become more enjoyable thanks to providing a reference clock to my EtherRegen and switching to Squeeze player. Roon is still involved in playing them as it really is the best app for music discovery.
@kennyb123, thank you for your comments. I totally agree. You have also introduced yet another nuance to the discussion - PGGB. I have no experience with that so I would like to learn more and am interested in the context of your K30 (my K40) the sonic advantage to files processed with PGGB versus files in their native format/resolution.
This weekend I will start another thread on this as I think there are others who might be interested in hearing more about this.
Not sure how this makes me feel knowing got a product that only lasted 1 year.
Curious to see if the K40 replacement is a similar product or some now iteration of Antipodes music server?
If it wasn’t for Covid induced chipset and component shortages, it would be trucking on.
We don’t just discontinue a great product for no reason.
I didn’t mean to suggest the K40 wasn’t a great product. The wording of my post could have been better, sorry.