Asking for Help with Digital Solution

I am reaching out here because I simply do not have the knowledge or experience with this stuff to make an informed decision. I currently play music in my main system through the Antipodes DX server/player using uncompressed FLAC files. Previous to that I used a tricked out Mac mini with LPS and SSD playing from iTunes through the Pure Music player.  I still own the mini and, although both sources sound good, the DX is in my main system because it offers a naturalness that the mini doesn’t quite match.

I have been reading a lot about other solutions and lately about the possible benefits of separating the server from the player (or renderer). The latest trend seems to indicate using a server such as an Intel NUC, Mac mini, or even Antipodes own CX, paired with a separate Network Audio Adapter (renderer/player), such as a Sonore microRendu or SOtM’s sMS-200ultra (or in the case of Antipodes, their own EX) can yield the best digital sound yet. Software provider roon offers instructions for using an Intel NUC with roon ROCK (I believe a stripped down Linux) as a server that can both play stored files and stream music.

It would be very attractive to me if I could have a server and USB/SSD storage tied to my network, connected by Ethernet to a renderer/player then connected to my DAC by USB. This would be particularly attractive if I could provide music to other areas of the house by simply adding additional renderers and DACs that are connected by Ethernet to my network. However, I will not go down that road if it sacrifices very good sound quality I currently hear from the Antipodes DX.

So, my question is, can I achieve excellent sound quality if I switch to something like an Intel NUC and a separate storage device both connected to my router/network and then connected by Ethernet to a renderer/player located near my DAC? I can do all of that for a fraction of the price of the Antipodes CX/EX solution. Right now, I am scheduled for the Gen3 upgrade to my DX but I am certainly curious to hear from those of you who are more knowledgeable about this stuff than me.

Just get Roon and configure it in whatever way makes you happy. It does everything and more than your existing and prior setups. It allows remote iOS or Android devices to control a server and your music files can be wherever you want and you can serve files to you DAC in whatever formats your hardware supports.
I am ok using roon and would have done so already but Squeezelite has sounded good on my DX and requires less processing.
Assuming I go through with the Gen3 upgrade for my DX, it should be better able to process roon and that is an option.
OTOH, if I were to run roon from a small Intel NUC with Linux or roon ROCK, then into a renderer like the SOtM sMS-200ultra, how good could the sound quality be? Can that type of set-up rival a stand-alone server such as the Antipodes or one of the better Aurender models?
I think you are making this far too complicated. Deal with room acoustics first, get a good AC noise cancelling solution like Furman. Separate your digital devices power from analog.



I would recommend trying one of the Sonore Rendu Ethernet to USB converters with Roon on your Mac Mini.  See how that compares to the Antipodes direct USB to your DAC.  The Antipodes is optimized for USB, but the Rendu may actually be better.

I now prefer to eliminate USB entirely from the equation and go Ethernet or WiFi.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

I recommend you do the DX3 upgrade. I had the Antipodes DX. I got rid of it and bought the DX3; IMO there is a significant SQ improvement. I predict you won't be wondering about better SQ anymore and the Roon interface in the DX3 is superior. Beware, however, that the DX3 is only USB out--SPDIF is no longer an option.
@astewart8944 , I plan to have the Gen3 upgrade performed, regardless of whether I try another device and I am ok with the USB-only output of the DX Gen3 since I tried the SPDIF out and determined the USB out actually sounds best with my DAC.  However, I am trying to figure out if there is a type of server I can network so I can play music at several locations in my house, while maintaining similar SQ as I get from the DX.  Do you know if it is possible to use the DX as a server connected to my home network and then to feed a player such as the sMS-200ultra or Sonore ultraRendu that would then output USB to my DAC?

@audioengr , could I use the Mac mini as a server connected to my home network and then connect Ethernet to a Sonore microRendu or ultraRendu located near my DAC, and then connect the Rendu to my DAC via USB?  Also, if I download Roon for ios, am I forced to use AIFF files through iTunes or is there a way I can use FLAC files like I use with my Antipodes?

Thanks all
I7 Dual Core Nuc & SOTM Ultra 200 both powered by a great LPS. Tidal streaming with Roon and HQ Player. If Windows 10 based, download Audiophile Optimizer and Fidelizer for best sound. Build a NAS  Drive with Western Digital Red hard drives and also powered with a good LPS.  Build upgraded DC cords for your LPSs using Canare Quad Core bulk cable and Oyaide connectors. The iFi DC purifiers should be added to these power cables feeding the Nuc and SOtM Ultra 200. Pure digital heaven! Don’t forget upgraded Ethernet cables.
@mitch2 The short answer to your question on the DX3 is I don't know with certainty. I think it is possible by connecting the DX3 to a DAC that is then connected to a preamp that can pre-out to a whole house preamp connecting to a multi-room/multi-zone amplifier. I'm trying to make this scenario work at my house. I won't know the answer until I solve the cable issue of the very long run from where my system now resides and where the whole house system is located. But theoretically it should work.