Living at the Extreme: I bought a Taiko Extreme and then this happened...

Jan 16, 2013
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NYC
#41
no worries man and no need to delete. happy to have you here! as someone who's been through the taiko burn in process, anything i should be looking out for? i've probably put about 20hours on it in 3 days just letting it play
In my experience you are literally at least a month away playing 24/7 prior to hearing what the Extreme will sound like long term. It's fun listening to things burn in, I do it consistently, but it doesn't really mean anything until a piece (especially capacitors with respect to the Extreme) is settled in. But it is fun to observe during break in:) Enjoy the journey.
 
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Kingsrule

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2011
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#42
In my experience you are literally at least a month away playing 24/7 prior to hearing what the Extreme will sound like long term. It's fun listening to things burn in, I do it consistently, but it doesn't really mean anything until a piece (especially capacitors with respect to the Extreme) is settled in. But it is fun to observe during break in:) Enjoy the journey.
Yep What I posted a year ago...
 
Jan 16, 2013
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#43
What's funny is that after a week the Extreme is sounding REALLY GOOD and you think ok, I'm there. Then another week goes by and you think, surely it's broken in now, just listen. This keeps happening and even after a month it's really probably 2 months of 24/7 before the caps are fully saturated and then it sounds like it will long term.
 

Skanda

Active Member
May 3, 2020
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#44
Quick update, even though I'm enjoying listening, the comments around burn in and character changes have me intrigued. I've decided to let the Extreme play at all times (with my system on mute) in the interest of helping those caps run up hours. With calls through out the day I have to regularly pause my playing so this could be a win-win.

For context, I'm so so about burn in. I really noticed a change over time with my amp (particularly around the midrange and bass) but not so much with my dac. My amp has some pretty big caps in it and the dac does not so maybe this is where burn in comes into play. So-called objectivists might tell me its all psychoacoustics so who really knows. There seems to be some general consensus that the Extreme really comes into it's own around 500hours and settles into it's stride around 1200hours so I'm eager to test and experience that as well.

So far so good though. I keep coming back to the sound staging - I just feel like everything has been injected with air and the bass is digging deep. I'm not having too many "i've never heard that detail" before moments but there is something unique about how the layering comes through. I want to say it's smoother but that's a loaded term as I'm certainly not lacking dynamics. There is just an excellent body and depth to the music.

I'll have more track detailed and music specific notes to share in the next couple days. Hopefully some notes on the burn in process as well.
 
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romaz

Well-Known Member
Oct 7, 2015
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#45
Thank you for sharing your journey, @Skanda. Very enjoyable and insightful. Life is very busy for me these days leaving almost no time for forum activity and yet it has been worthwhile making the time to read your posts.

Your following statement caught my attention:

"Resolution, space, speed take first preference. Tonal density matters more to me now that it did before because I am at the point in my audio journey where I have realized that the upper echelons of gear don't require one to sacrifice body for detail and air. I do like a bit of richness in vocals but my ears are particularly sensitive to speed and most gear described as "rich" is often slow to my ears. Dynamics are extremely important as I like a first row presentation that pops out at me but I also realize that modern music can be dynamically limited so often it's not a fault of my system but a fault of the recording."

I couldn't have said this any better. This is exactly how I feel and these are the characteristics where I personally find the Extreme to really excel.

Regarding your DAC, I had a chance to experience the Rockna Wavedream XLR edition last year driving a pair of D'Agostino Momentum M400s monoblocks and a pair of Wilson Alexx speakers and was REALLY impressed. Possibly among the best output stages I've heard in a DAC with rich, dense tone without sounding slow or syrupy. I have not personally experienced the Wavedream NET although I imagine there is a special synergy there, especially via I2S. You are in a good situation as you already have a setup that you love and so you really can't lose.

Regarding the Extreme, here are my 2 cents. Having explained your situation, I understand why you've opted to use the ancillary gear that you're using but you should view the Extreme like you do your Symphonic Line Kraft 300 amplifier. If you're using a generic 14 or 18awg power cord to power your Extreme, then you're not hearing anywhere close to what it can offer with regards to dynamics and space. In my own experience, even an 8 or 10awg cord hobbles it. Basically, the larger the gauge, the better. Consider reaching out to Mark at @Sablon Audio to see if he can lend you a Prince power cord (6awg). It won't cost you anything to try it and having compared several, I can attest to the synergy between this power cord and the Extreme.

As for your choice of USB cable, this is less crucial than the power cord but unless you're using the same $5 Amazon Basics USB cable with the Wavedream NET, it would be hard to call this a fair A/B since the USB cable makes a fairly significant difference. Since you are fond of WireWorld, consider reaching out to thecableco.com and ask to borrow the Platinum Starlight 7 USB cable from their lending library. If you decide to reach out to Sablon Audio to borrow a Prince power cord, perhaps Mark can also lend you one of his USB cables. You've gone this far and so for your sake, give the Extreme a reasonable chance to show you what it can do.

Regarding your network, the simplest thing I can suggest is to disconnect your Extreme from your network during playback. It won't cost you a penny to do this. In my own system, I have found that the absolute best network configuration with regards to SQ is no network at all. It is the advantage that CD transports have over music servers. If you play back a file that is locally stored on your Extreme, you can generally disconnect the Extreme from your network and play back that file without interruption. You can then hear for yourself how damaging the network connection can be and get a truer sense of what the Extreme is capable of without the network variable.

Also, consider trying playback software other than Roon. I'm not sure if you're using Roon now with your Wavedream NET but I'm willing to bet the NET sounds better as an MPD server than as a Roon server. In my opinion, Emile has done an excellent job making Roon sound as good as it can but in my system, I'm finding my very best SQ when Roon is taken out of the equation. Having had the opportunity to try a prototype feature that Emile developed for TAS, there is reason to be optimistic about its abilities once it is released. Until TAS becomes available, consider installing HQP Desktop on your Extreme, even if you choose not to upsample or use any of its filters. The evaluation version is free to try and HQP Server to my ears is a big step better than Roon. Drag a file or an album onto HQP's playback window and since HQP does not reach out to the network at all during playback, you can then completely disconnect your Extreme from the network. This is how I listen to my Extreme these days and I have not looked back. Once the TAS/HQP interface has been developed, I'll have the ability to stream Qobuz/Tidal again but until then, I buy what I like and keep it stored locally inside the Extreme.

While the initial financial outlay for an Extreme is greater than with the Wavedream NET, keep in mind that the Extreme is more future-proof and has greater flexibility. If you've opened up your Extreme, then you know how many free PCIe slots there are. This gives you the freedom to tune your Extreme to taste using various 3rd party input and output cards. Aside from a network switch that will be made available only to Extreme customers, as many know, Emile is also working on his own USB output card for the Extreme. Don't be surprised if he has other significant things in the works. This large chassis can also accommodate almost any size motherboard that may come along. The Extreme will definitely evolve with time.

Ultimately, what really sets the Extreme apart is Emile himself. The Extreme is not just its hardware or software but really all the proprietary scripts that Emile has created that integrate the two. Because of Emile, the Extreme is eminently tunable allowing it to morph or adapt to changing situations or to personal taste. You want more speed, greater body, greater density, more atmosphere, etc., these are qualities that can be manipulated and on many occasions already, Emile has done this for me. I don't think you will find better and more responsive customer service.
 
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kennyb123

Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2012
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#46
Regarding your network, the simplest thing I can suggest is to disconnect your Extreme from your network during playback. It won't cost you a penny to do this. In my own system, I have found that the absolute best network configuration with regards to SQ is no network at all. It is the advantage that CD transports have over music servers. If you play back a file that is locally stored on your Extreme, you can generally disconnect the Extreme from your network and play back that file without interruption. You can then hear for yourself how damaging the network connection can be and get a truer sense of what the Extreme is capable of without the network variable.
This really is something everyone needs to try. I took the lazy route of plugging my opticalModule into a smart plug so I could power off and on my network using my iPhone. Powering it off seemed to slightly reduce the volume but it was really just that a hard edge went missing. Even so, I‘ve rarely powered down my network while listening as string of recent upgrades have brought so much additional goodness that I’ve just wanted to take it all in without any fuss. But longer term I see it as good way to assess improvements to my network.
 

Skanda

Active Member
May 3, 2020
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#47
Day 3/Day 4 - Part 1:

Due to work I did not have a ton of time to listen but ofcourse the system is playing in the background when I'm not on calls. To that end, nothing particular was standing out - I mentioned in my update yesterday that the space and bass was deff there and that's what I kept coming back to. I do/did, however, feel that the extreme was not revealing it's true character to me. Of course, it's a damn good server out of the box but I wasn't having a mind-melting, system redefining experience.

Again, that is not a knock on the extreme by any means because I've heard so many amazing rigs over the years at all sorts of prices points, my own rig is quite impressive (but there is always room to improve!), and with my CIEMs I've heard pretty much all the subtle details in my tracks. If anything, I was getting a sense that the Extreme was holding back on me. I was experiencing flash of magic that are hard to describe: it was in the way certain words were inflected mid word or how certain consonants were hit with more force than others.

One such track was Juice Wrld's Can't Die. RIP Juice Wrld - the world lost a bright musical talent with his passing and I've been spending quite a bit of time with the first half of his posthumous album "Legends Never Die" which was released just a week or so back but I've already listened to a number of times. Posthumous albums are often dissapointing and have the unfortunate tendency of sounding unfinished, hollow, and a last ditch attempt at turning publicity into press but between this album and Pop Smoke's (another future legend lost too early) "Shoot For the Stars, Aim for the Moon" (which I will discuss in more detail in a future post), I've been pleasantly surprised by the quality and emotional rawness of these albums. As a long time fan of both artists I would say that not only am I happy with the albums but I feel the artists themselves would be happy with them as well.

Back to the track Can't Die. Juice Wrld, for those not familiar, tends to bring a bit of emo flair and singing to trap music. However, his rhyming abilities are top notch (an incredible showcase of this is his 1 hour!! freestyle over classic Eminem beats on Tim Westwood's radio show. Worth youtubing if this is your jam). The track opens with a spacy beat with the classic trap music high hats and rolling 808 bass line. There is a guitar synth which follows the same melancholy but hopeful up-and-down flow towards the edges of the sound stage. The chorus itself:

Sometimes it feels like I can't die, 'cause I never was alive
Every day it feels like someone new dies, hope the news is a lie
This is my version of watching you cry, looking you in your eyes
This is my version of watching you die, took me by surprise

caught my attention immediately. The sharp "c" in "can't" followed by "die" and a subtle breath - this pattern is repeated in "'cause I never was alive" but in a more breathy way because the "'c" is hit softly. This all seems like minutae and detail for the sake of detail but, to me, it adds a beautiful complexity to the music and message. It's ghostly especially with the knowledge that Juice is now gone. On top of the simple rhyme of "alive", "lie", "eyes", "surprise" in a "long preamble"-"short clause" grouping of syllables for 4 straight bars, there is now a very apparent rhyme scheme in the delivery and intonation. Woah...that's cool...and that's new to these ears.

So that's an example of the magic but on a pragmatic sense I was more curious about what's to come as the Extreme opens up. I hit up Emile on whatsapp to learn a bit more about the burn in process. He mentioned that keeping the unit plugged in counts towards the hours for the caps - it doesn't need to be played the whole time. Okay, that's helpful to know and at the time of this writing we're around 93 hours in. I also mentioned to Emile about how I felt the extreme was good but holding back on me and he strongly encouraged me to source a proper usb cable and power cable. I don't want to throw more money in right now with the argument being that my rockna could be bettered with network tweaks and more expensive cables too (though I use a wireworld gold AES cable for it - but if I wanted to move it to usb or something). Anyways,
something clicked, and I remembered I had a wireworld usb cable in my closet. It's not a platinum line, it's a few years old, and as someone who is not a big believer in cables I was skeptical but figured no harm in trying.

Color me impressed...I was easily able to differentiate this usb cable from the simple amazon basics one I had grabbed to get the extreme up and running. The wireworld is on the leaner side but not a huge issue for me because the transparency is insane. The highs are a bit edgy and there could be more body but this is a start - I can always buy a platinum one or try out a sablon now that I know it's responding to USB. I'll throw this in the "audio surprises" column. Can the difference be measured? I don't know...but it doesn't invalidate what I started hearing. Roughly, I'd say more speed, more clarity, more details. To quote the esteemed philosopher Matthew Mcconaughey, "Alright, alright, alright".

Fast forward a few hours, and my gf had gone to bed and my work was done for the day. I should have probably gone to sleep too but I haven't had a late night listening session in a while and I decided to take my opportunity. Late night listening is always really nice as, with the lights off, the brain is really able to recreate the soundstage and there are minimal distractions. In fact the only distraction for me is that bright-as-fuck led on the Torus AVR, pardon my french. Like goddamn, why did they build it with this - I've got to get duct tape or a sharpie to dim that thing. Now things were interesting. I re-listened to Can't Die and there are so many little samples floating around that I was missing. Very intrigued, I decided to listen to some tracks from toronto rapper Tory Lanez who blends a rnb smoothness with rap, dancehall intonations with rugged rhymes. It's been a long week, it's humid and gross (classic NYC summer day), and I want easy listening. Tory also uses a lot of adlibs and vocal samples in his tracks. I cycled through some of my favorite cuts from him: "Luv", "Hillside", "Bal Harbour", "Super Freak", "I Sip". The sheer amount of detail and dynamics being thrown at me is incredible. My brain was being overloaded with detail and, frankly, I was loving every minute of it.
 

Skanda

Active Member
May 3, 2020
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#48
Day 3/Day 4 - Part 2:

On the track Hillside, his opening verse brings that dancehall flavor that he has clearly mastered. With his bars start sharply and then slurring through the middle to end in a soft way but the modulations in volume make it quite attention-catching. "Henny in my hands just to feel, yeah" - the "feel yeah" bit just sounds so unconstrained and is popping out of the speakers with force and the use of autotune (i think) causes the two words to really just flow together and hit a really sharp crescendo. While this is happening in the back you can hear a quiet string synth following the bass line perfectly. "Ridin' through the city in the Bando, yeah" - the way "bando" is enunciated "bahhh-n-doughhh, ye-ha". When Wiz Khalifa's verse begins with a drawn out "Cheeeeeeeeel" the song changes from the dance hall vibes to more hiphop while the beat remains. The part of his verse that really had my brain melting was the layers and layers of adlibs, reverb, repeated vocals, and vocal harmonizing in the background. I don't know how many layers exactly but if I heard one 1-2 layers deep in my CIEMs then I'm hearing 3-4 layers deep on the magicos. Woah. Woah, woah, woah. I like listening through Tory's tracks because on top of being chill music, he's mentioned in a few interviews that he's a microphone afficionado. He owns some pretty rare mics and likes to change up what mics he uses in recording so while his voice is recognizable it's had a lot of variety and the intelligent use of autotune allows for him to really bring out his melodies.

So where do we stand a few days in. Well for one, I'm really surprised at how much detail I had been missing out on. Detail is a funny thing though, once you hear it, it's hard to unhear it and you can _usually_ pick it up in other systems - even a bluetooth speaker sometimes - without much trouble. High end gear makes it easy to hear all the layers with ease which, in my experience, allows the listener to step back from intense focus to hear all the little bits and really take in the musical picture. That's what's important to me here. The little bits and samples I'm hearing aren't detail for the sake of detail but they are adding to musical understanding and enjoyment. These are details I don't ever remember hearing - with focus I could maybe make it out on my CIEMs or the Rockna (i'll have to test both) but the fact that they were making themself readily recognizable with the dull roar of the AC in the room as well is very impressive and I'll chalk that up to the extreme. I need more late night listening sessions.

Looking forward, after seeing @romaz 's informative post and my conversation with Emile, I think I'm going to let me ears adjust to this new cable as the Extreme continues to burn in. As always revelatory detail now may become "too much" in a week or so, so let's see how this goes. In the next day or two, I'm going to take my Soulution powercord off the Rockna NET and put it on the Extreme. It's the only spare cable I have at the moment. I've avoided/put off ordering cables for a while due to logistics, a potential move/an ongoing house hunt keeping me from buying a new rack (which would inform cable lengths and component placement), and a strong case of millenial burnout (I swear it's a thing!). If I hear a good response to the powercord then certainly some Wireworld power cables will be ordered. I've had a great experience with those and until my newer items arrived I had the full loom so I'd like to go back to that and upgrade my ic's in the process. Most likely I'll stay on the copper side of things as I worry the silver might be a bit too much for my system though the AES on the rockna is silver and was working well. This will also help me determine if I hear a greater difference between changing pc's or usb on the Extreme. I'm excited by what I'm hearing and there is a lot more to go.
 

austinpop

Well-Known Member
May 23, 2017
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Austin, TX
#49
I've got to get duct tape or a sharpie to dim that thing.
No need. Get these, and have your revenge on all those annoying LEDs in your system: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009WT7PYO

Pro tip: don't bother with the less opaque ones that claim 50-80%. This one above, at 80-90% dimming, is the lowest I'd go, especially for the really annoying bright ones.
 

Skanda

Active Member
May 3, 2020
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#50
No need. Get these, and have your revenge on all those annoying LEDs in your system: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009WT7PYO

Pro tip: don't bother with the less opaque ones that claim 50-80%. This one above, at 80-90% dimming, is the lowest I'd go, especially for the really annoying bright ones.
Amazing! TY so much. Ordered the black ones to match the black finish on the torus.
 
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ray-dude

Active Member
Dec 8, 2019
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#51
This really is something everyone needs to try. I took the lazy route of plugging my opticalModule into a smart plug so I could power off and on my network using my iPhone. Powering it off seemed to slightly reduce the volume but it was really just that a hard edge went missing. Even so, I‘ve rarely powered down my network while listening as string of recent upgrades have brought so much additional goodness that I’ve just wanted to take it all in without any fuss. But longer term I see it as good way to assess improvements to my network.
I too have my OpticalModule on a smart plug (Wemo -> LPS 1.2 -> DXP double regulated -> oM). oM is on a dedicated subnet on my EdgeRouter X SFP, and my home ethernet (including WiFi) is optically isolated on a second ERX SFP. For the life of me, I can't hear a difference with power to the oM on or off. It has completely quelled my FOMO as we wait for Emile's new switch.

Now if I can only get to get work and life to settle a bit so I can listen to music again (today was the first time music was playing in a couple weeks :( )
 
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wil

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2015
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#52
FWIW, I haven't heard any difference when I've unplugged my network cable. It either means my network is pretty clean or I have tin ears. Or both....
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
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#53
Better not to hear these things, Wil. Can you imagine the trouble you'd get into if you did?
 

ray-dude

Active Member
Dec 8, 2019
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#55
I should clarify that I definitely heard a difference between network and no network early in my tweaking (I did not mean to inadvertently imply it didn't make a difference...going to no network basically shows you what you might possibly gain by investing in network tweaking).

The big steps to getting to parity between network and no network for me was the latest update from Emile and team (and being able to go back to fiber into my Extreme), isolating my audio network on its own subnet with a LPS powered ERX, with my home ethernet/WiFi on a separate/optically isolated ERX.

That being said, others have consistently suggested pieces of the network chain as the equivalent of digital tone controls. There may still be some benefit to extra kit in the chain, but thankfully, not hearing any difference between network powered on and network powered off, I'm no longer tempted to try the multiple stacked switch experiments that others have been doing

Fascinating reports though. Wild to think what the underlying factor might be (and I suspect that when we figure it out it may be a key to a lot of things we hear with changes to the digital chain)
 
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Biketony

New Member
Nov 6, 2019
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#56
Skanda, looking forward to your next post on the progress
 

Skanda

Active Member
May 3, 2020
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#57
Hey there, unfortunately I am out of town for a few days and con ed is installing smart meters in my building. I powered down the extreme and the rest of the system last night and it will be off for the next few days.

I will say, as someone who leaves his system on always, it's really uncomfortable and sad to see it off. Especially with roon increasing my listening frequency as I can just unmute my pre and rap a few buttons on the roon app, I found myself missing music during simple tasks like getting ready for bed or making coffee in the morning. It's times like these that I see how emotionally connected I am to both music and the medium which delivers it to me. I found myself missing my system when playing music over a cell phone speaker as I got ready this morning.

On the bright side, having the class A Kraft turned off during this heatwave is making my AC much more effective. My girlfriend is more than excited about this haha
 

Skanda

Active Member
May 3, 2020
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#58
Back in the city and got the system running. It's been one day since the boxes were all turned on so everything is getting back up to speed. Played alot of music yesterday and the dynamics and details are still standing out to me in a positive way. I still have to vnc into the taiko to transfer some of my music library over from the rockna to see how it does with local files.

However, before I dig into all that, I have a question for those with more experience than me. As I look at USB cables and AC cables, does anyone have reccomendations of max length to use? I'm tempted to avoid moving around boxes and just pay a little extra for a 2-3m USB cable and a 2-3m AC cables. Is this going to be an issue with USB. There is a long backstory that I'm going to avoid but my current wireworld starlight usb cable is about 15ft long and I've never had issues with it. I think it's a solid 2-3ft longer than I need. I've read that 6m is max for usb without degredation.

Generally, a usb cable of that length would be expensive but it's the odd lengths that sell at huge discounts online so it's easy enough to try one. However, if the rec is shorter is better then I'll be looking to move some boxes around. Sablon is certainly top of mind as it has been rec'd repeatedly and the prices are reasonable.

Why am I so interested in trying USB and AC cables vs. earlier posts where I was remiss to indulge that? I'm coming to a realization about the extreme and that I had been thinking about it the wrong way. With the stock cables I did some back and forth testing between the Rockna and Extreme before I powered down my system. I was really really hard pressed to tell the difference. There was subtle differences in stage width and depth and the rockna was just a little less dynamically explosive. With the Rockna dac (wavedream sig se) + Roon, I was able to set up two zones playing with a short lag. Listening 30 secs on the extreme and then quickly flipping the input from USB to AES, the same song would be playing but now it would be streaming form the Rockna server (and because I lagged it, it would be playing the same section). The Rockna aquitted itself very well and really showed why it's such a top tier server. I was hard pressed to tell the difference. On top of being burned in, it's also important to keep in mind that the Rockna is running a wireworld gold AES cable and a Soulution powercord. Maybe you could squeeze out more performance using i2s or even usb from the wavedream net.

With the change of the USB cable, that's when a lot of things started clicking for the Extreme. In my earlier post I mentioned that the highs were a bit edgy, that's gone now and the tonal density is back. My guess is that this has to do with the caps breaking in. This is what I keep coming back to, though. This simple change caused the Extreme to open up. The sheer amount of details and dynamics that are pouring out of my speakers/the music is easily outpacing the Rockna NET. A near-future change of AC cable should hopefully help me determine if AC cable or USB cable is the more important one and from @romaz 's post above, it seems that AC had a bigger impact in his system.

From a distance, this can read as "audiophool buys expensive computer and spends more money on cables to convince himself it's better than his existing expensive computer. bits are bits and somehow a usb cable is going to make everything click". From a distance, this can seem like "moving the goal post". That's not the case at all - this is about scaling. I think while the rockna sounds great, I may have tapped out the performance of that piece. The Extreme started at this level and looks like there is more to go. Maybe this comes down to windows vs. linux or maybe it comes down to differences in powersupply robustness - which, I think the extreme's powersupply would put alot of big buck amps to shame so that's just a different playing field all together. There is also an argument to be made that the extreme may put my system in a position to showcase the diff between the rockna wavedream sig se dac and other dacs (lampi pacific, totaldac come to mind as ones I would like to try)

My current conclusion about the two servers is best described with an analogy to more familiar audio products: the rockna is like a top tier integrated (ch precision i1 or soulution 530 come to mind): incredible performance, incredible measurements, show-stopping sound, as well engineered as it gets. The Extreme is like separates: more stuff but ultimately performs at a higher level. For some the difference between betweern a soulution stack or ch stack and the integrateds may not be worth the price difference or the physical heft/space, etc - and that is a-okay. You can still build a world class rig with the top tier integrateds. However, in my experience, the separates bring more to the table - more power, more finesse, more...everything. I'm hearing a nice chunk of that "more everything" with the Extreme and we'll see what better cables do.

Again, these are just my current thoughts now that I've had some time to listen and, more importantly, some time away from my system to digest my experience. There is still alot more testing, listening, breaking in, configuring, etc to go. I appreciate everyone's patience and suggestions - and as I've said from the outset, my goal is to give an honest experience report and I have no intention of holding back! I also hope to be back with some more of the music focused examples later this week.
 
Apr 23, 2020
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Skanda-
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on The Extreme and Rockna. I agree with your thoughts on the value of quality power cords and usb cables. I have found that good quality cables reveal the best that components have to offer- and the better the component, the more “truth” that is revealed.
 

nenon

Active Member
Jan 29, 2020
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#60
There is a long backstory that I'm going to avoid but my current wireworld starlight usb cable is about 15ft long and I've never had issues with it. I think it's a solid 2-3ft longer than I need. I've read that 6m is max for usb without degredation.
Maybe this comes down to windows vs. linux or maybe it comes down to differences in powersupply robustness - which, I think the extreme's powersupply would put alot of big buck amps to shame so that's just a different playing field all together.
@Skanda - you are doing an evaluation of the Extreme. Why don't you do it right way? Give the Extreme a chance and explore its full potential. I think it's silly to use a 15 ft long USB cable with the Extreme. You would never know if any deficiencies are due to the cheap cables you are using or something else. I understand you may not have the budget, but do a trial of some better cables. You can always return everything and go back to where you started.

Reach out to Mark @Sablon Audio and get yourself a Sablon Prince (or King if you can fit the big AC plug) power cord. People who tried it on the Extreme seem to like it.

Get yourself a good and short USB cable. And BTW, by "good" I automatically exclude the Wireworld cables. Having lived with their top of the line PLATINUM STARLIGHT 7 for a while, I don't find them a good match for servers like the Extreme, but YMMV. Ask Mark for a Sablon USB cable for example. Get his standard length and move things around. 15 ft USB is crazy in my opinion.

There are many other good power cords and USB cables. However, you would be better off trying cables that are generally accepted to work with the Extreme. And Sablon seems to be most commonly used. It's one thing to have an established system and look for the exact power cord or USB cable that has the most synergy in your system. In that case, you can keep trying cables until you discover one that you really like. But it's another thing to be evaluating a component and to try to evaluate cables at the same time - this is when getting cables that many other Extreme owners really liked would be a wise decision in my opinion.

Maybe @Sablon Audio can even sponsor this trial. I think it would be a good advertisement at the end. I am confident your system would be on another level with some proper cables going in/out of the Extreme. You have gone so far, run the extra mile please.

From a distance, this can read as "audiophool buys expensive computer and spends more money on cables to convince himself it's better than his existing expensive computer. bits are bits and somehow a usb cable is going to make everything click".
I have a hard time believing that you are a "bits are bits" person. And I know that's not what you are saying. You bought an Extreme server! You did not connect your old slow laptop that cannot be used for anything else. You must believe servers can make a difference. Do yourself a favor by being open minded and explore that stuff other Extreme users are telling you to do.

EDIT: I quoted the "windows vs. linux" comment because I wanted to say that EVERYTHING matters! The digital source is a very complex interaction between hardware and software. Software, hardware, power supply, OS, cables, interaction with the DAC, etc... you name it, and it probably matters and makes a difference. There is a lot more than different OS going on here.
 
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