(Editorial Note: Not long before the Munich High-End show, Avguide received word from Antelope Audio that the firm planned to unveil a statement class product called the Rubicon, which Antelope describes as the "World's First Atomic AD-DA Preamp". The original press release is provided below.
If Antelope's description seems a little far-fetched, it helps to know that the firm is one of the world's foremost developers of ultra-precise studio-grade digital clocks—including a model fitted with an actual Rubidium atomic clock. As you may have guessed, then, the Rubicon is a premium-quality audio preamplifier that provides both state-of-the-art DAC (digital-to-analog-converter) and ADC (analog-to-digital-converter) functions, both of which leverage a built-in, Antelope-designed atomic clock. The unit provides both analog audio and digital audio inputs (and outputs), and even incorporates a flexible, high-quality MM/MC phonostage. Finally, the Rubicon supports "high-resolution USB recording." Together, these features make the Rubicon a unit we look forward to hearing when it arrives toward the end of this year. --AVguide Staff)
Santa Monica, CA, April 19, 2012 – Antelope Audio will introduce Rubicon, a groundbreaking 384 kHz digital audio preamplifier which integrates the world renowned 10M Rubidium atomic clock. Rubicon caters to the ever-increasing interest in high-resolution audio, addressing the specific needs of high-end consumer electronics enthusiasts for accurate audio representation and detailed soundstage of both analog and digital recordings. The new device will be presented to the public during the Munich High End Show, May 3rd – 6th.
Rubicon is the first DAC to integrate a Rubidium atomic clock, which is 100,000 times more stable than a traditional crystal oscillator. Coupled with Antelope’s 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking technology, the Rubidium achieves a breakthrough in jitter management, improving the sound quality in an unprecedented way. The same technology is implemented in the company’s flagship master clocks used for scoring blockbusters such as Avatar and available at the best recording and mastering studios around the Globe.
“I find the idea of an audio enthusiast being able to hear his/her favorite recordings clocked by the world’s most stable clock very exciting. I believe this will bring the music appreciation in the home environment to a completely new level compared only to the precision and sonic detail representation available at the finest professional listening rooms,” shared Igor Levin, CEO and founder of Antelope Audio.
Housed in a sturdy, machined-aluminum enclosure with a vintage Art Deco design, Rubicon incorporates a discrete phono preamp, ultra linear, dual stage headphone drivers and Antelope’s renowned gold-plated relay volume control.
The transformer-based, ultra-low noise, discrete JFET phono preamp is a complement that will be highly appreciated by many vinyl lovers. In addition to the 384 kHz DAC, Rubicon also includes ultra-high sample rate A/D conversion. These functionalities together with the high resolution USB recording capability provide the users with the sublime experience of digitizing their favorite tracks, still keeping the depth and the warmth of the original analog recordings.
In addition to the 384 kHz USB streaming, Rubicon offers extended flexibility and smooth user experience provided by the implemented DLNA capability. The DLNA streaming gives users the opportunity to wirelessly push audio files from their smart phone, PC or NAS (Network-attached storage) server and play the content through the high-sample rate DAC.
Rubicon inherits the D/A conversion technology from 384 kHz Zodiac Gold DAC - the 2012 winner of the Audio Excellence Award in Japan and often described by reviewers and prominent sound engineers as “future-proofed”, “clean”, “neutral” and “accurate”. The A/D circuit comes from the 2011 winner of the Audio Media Gear of the Year award, high-end professional mastering converter Eclipse 384.
Antelope Audio plans to present the Rubicon for the first time to the public and the media during the Munich High End Show, in hall 3, booth A 04, at 2 pm, on May 3rd.
10M Rubidium Atomic Clock, providing 100,000 times more accurate reference;
64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking jitter management technology;
Ultra low noise phono inputs with custom audio transformers, discrete JFET preamp design;
384kHz A/D & D/A converters;
Gold-plated stepped relay volume attenuator matched to 0.05dB for all volume levels;
Ultra-linear, dual stage headphone amps;
De-jittered audio S/PDIF output;
Custom USB 2.0 chip streaming up to 480 Mbits/384kHz with recording option;
DLNA streaming capabilities through an Ethernet interface