The Antelope Rubicon AD/DA Preamp, the Atomic Amplifier…

Antelope, makers of the most drool worthy audiophile equipment have released the world’s first atomic pre-amp. While it may not run off uranium it does however contain a Rubidium Atomic clock. The most accurate timing device available, just part of what makes the Rubicon special.

By replacing the standard crystal clock, which provides the timing for the digital circuits, Antelope have created a timing signal that is 100,000 x more accurate. In audio terms this should make the output signal far more accurate. This technology also allows Antelope to raise the DAC’s bit rate to 384Khz, another world’s first.

Antelope have created not only a technology tour de force but possibly one of the most incredibly stylish amplifiers of all time. The Rubicon is one of those components that looks just as amazing, even when idle. With a touch of steampunk style that marries old and new the Rubicon a device everyone will want but few will afford.

The Rubicon Atomic is not an analogue purest either, this is no Neil Young of the amplifier world. Instead the Rubicon Atomic is designed to enhance everything digital. With a network port and DLNA compatibility allowing the Rubicon to access your entire media collection, bringing it to life as you have never heard before. The Rubicon even understands USB, able to playback and record from it’s USB ports at an insane 384Khz bitrate.

Rubicon Atomic Amp with Steampunk styling.

According to Antelope’s website Rubicon is the first DAC to integrate a Rubidium atomic clock. Coupled with Antelope’s 64-bit Accoustically Focused Clocking technology, the Rubidium based clock 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.

DLNA streaming capability
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.

Advanced technological fusion
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 favourite tracks, still keeping the depth and the warmth of the original analogue recordings.

Rubicon Atomic Clock

The real breakthrough of the Rubicon Pre-amp is of course the chip scale atomic clock integrated into the amp. Symmetricom were the first to release a such a device at the beginning of 2011, a major breakthrough in miniaturization. Only a few short years ago the smallest Atomic clock was the size of a desktop computer. The new chip scale atomic clocks measure an inch square.

Originally started as a DARPA project, supreme audio quality is not the only revolution being driven by Rubidium. GPS, communications and guidance systems are all made orders of magnitude more accurate through the use of such precise timing equipment. The new Symmetricom atomic clocks are accurate enough to keep time to within 1 tenth of a second over 70 years, if you’re always late then it’s time to update to an atomic clock.

Conclusion
Antelope Audio plans to present the Rubicon for the first time to the public, and the media, during the Munich High End Show, May 03 to 06 in Munich. Pricing and availability are yet to be announced but rest assured if you need to ask the price chances are you won’t be able to afford it.

Leading edge audio equipment such as the Rubicon may not be accessible to the everyday amp purchaser but don’t fret this is the technology we will all be using in a few short years.

Features

  • 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, a1 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

Reference: Antelope Rubicon
Reference: Symmetricom Miniature Atomic Clocks