The EX is our entry level model, combining the Server function, the Renderer function and the DAC function in a single device. So the EX can operate as a complete digital source to replace a CD Player.
But we recommend you add a high quality DAC to experience the full potential of the EX. Using just an EX, you can play direct to the USB or Ethernet input on your DAC.
“Technically immaculate as well as emotionally highly involving, the Antipodes EX is my current reference for Roon playback.” – Christiaan Punter of HiFi Advice (www.hifi-advice.com).
You can add high quality auto-ripping by adding a P1 Platform. Or you can add further digital outputs (S/PDIF, AES3 and I2S) by adding a P2 Platform.
The EX has less processing power than our CX, but there are only a few Roon DSP features that are too demanding.
For example you can easily play PCM files up to 32bit/768kbps, and DSD files up to DSD512 with the EX. Upsampling to 32bit/768kbps PCM on-the-fly is also well within its capabilities.
Only high intensity computations like transcoding/upsampling to DSD256 and DSD512 on-the-fly are too demanding.
We have added one notable feature to the EX, a good sounding stereo analog output. Customers moving from a CD Player can start with the EX and play direct to their amplifier, and leave adding a high quality USB DAC till later. This was not an attempt to include a high quality DAC, but to make entry to the high-end of digital audio more accessible:
It provides a low entry price to the digital audio high-end because it does not require you to add a DAC.
You can upgrade it with a high-quality USB DAC later.
You can upgrade it to the absolute state-of-the-art by adding a CX later, to become the CX+EX solution.
Starting this way is easier and sounds better than getting a DAC first and using a standard computer for the server.
The EX also includes Direct Ethernet capability, enabling the EX to feed an Ethernet DAC with a very low noise signal, insulated from extraneous network noise. It also enables the EX to receive a low-noise Ethernet signal from a CX, in the CX+EX Solution.
For a dramatic increase in sound quality, add a CX to the EX (the CX+EX Solution). In this configuration the CX is dedicated to the Server function and the EX is dedicated to the Renderer function.
The CX+EX Solution delivers the ultimate in sound quality, so an investment in our entry-level EX is also a stepping stone towards our best sounding solution where the EX is dedicated to just the Renderer function.
When operating the EX as just a Renderer, the extra headroom allows it to complete this task with a fluid yet dynamic and highly resolved presentation.