Intro

What a great time I have had with the Antelope Zodiac Platinum DAC/Pre and atomic clock, I want to give all the thanks in the world to them for allowing me to have so much time with this product, it really makes a difference to how solidly you can understand and enjoy a product.

So what have I been up to with this product then? Well over the several months I’ve had it, it has been treated to sources from BMC, Symphonic Line, Marantz, A&K, Sony, Digibit as well as a MAC and a PC. Amplifiers have been from Audiomat, Jadis, Thoress, Peachtree, Roksan, NAD Master Series, Amphion, Questyle, Tektron, the list goes on. Cabling has altered too, Chord, Audioplan, Nordost, DHC and a slection of Albedo cables have all been in to or out of the Platinum.

What I’m getting at here is that this product has been a rock in the system, whether this has been headphone or Hi-Fi, it has played its part continuously. It’s been a tool, a reliable ‘influence’ that has become a focal in what I listen to day to day. It’s important this is mentioned, and don’t underestimate what it means.Plat-12

Antelope Audio

This isn’t our first encounter with them so I will keep this fairly brief. The key points are that they are a company specialising in digital audio products for both the consumer and professional markets. They aim to harmonise the convenience of digital with the typical analogue realism and warmth that is sometimes lost in the digital domain; no easy task.

Clocking data is one of their fortes and as it turns out I will be speaking a little later about that as I received the 10M Atomic clock too.

A Platinum Package:

The Zodiac Platinum DSD DAC model actually comes bundled with the second generation Voltikus Audiophile grade PSU, Remote Control , Printed Documentation, USB cable, Optical TOSLINK cable, High-performance DC Power cable and an IEC Power cable. The 10M Atomic clock is an optional extra that does come at quite a price on top of the base price however, it does give a lot to the product and can be a worthwhile upgrade if the initial outlay is too much in one hit (as it may well be).

What does it do then? What does it offer? So there’s a few interesting things with this DAC, firstly you can use it as a digital converter in the sense if you input optical you can output coax for example. I’m slightly unsure when you would want this, but it can do it. Secondly you can up sample DSD 64 and 128 to DSD256 which they say releases “the true potential of DSD – delivering new standards in accuracy, transparency, imaging, and dynamics”. Pretty cool if you are someone that likes up sampling, I know I speak for both Sonny and myself when I say that I’m yet to be impressed by up-sampling, but I will remain open minded for the Platinum!

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Inputs and the general spec are as you would hope for a £4000-£4250 DAC (not including 10M clock), which I’m going to list to keep things quick.

  • 2x 1/4″ TRS headphone outputs
  • Balanced, trim able analogue XLR left/right outputs
  • Unbalanced, analogue RCA left/right outputs
  • Balanced, analogue 1/4″ TRS left/right inputs
  • Unbalanced, analogue RCA left/right inputs
  • AES/EBU digital input (PCM up to 192kHz, 24-bit)
  • 2x S/PDIF Coaxial inputs (PCM up to 192kHz, 24-bit)
  • 2x optical TOSLINK inputs (PCM up to 192kHz, 24-bit)
  • USB – standard B-type connector (Up to DSD128, PCM 384kHz, 24-bit)
  • 10Mhz Atomic clock / word clock BNC input
  • De-jittered AES/EBU output (PCM up to 192kHz, 24-bit)
  • 2x de-jittered S/PDIF Coaxial outputs (PCM up to 192kHz, 24-bit)

 

Interestingly though, it’s actually really small and lightweight for a component in this price range. Compare it to the behemoth that is the Lampizator and its pretty funny actually, can these products really compete sonically?! We have a width of 166 mm, height: 112 mm and a depth: 193 mm and the Platinum and Voltikus bundle weight is just 5.7 kg with the majority of this coming from the Voltikus!

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Josh Coleby
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