Taiko Audio SGM Extreme : the Crème de la Crème

With respect to the Taiko Extreme how do you connect it to your DAC

  • USB

    Votes: 47 70.1%
  • Ethernet

    Votes: 10 14.9%
  • Both USB and Ethernet

    Votes: 5 7.5%
  • AES/EBU

    Votes: 6 9.0%
  • Dual AES/EBU

    Votes: 1 1.5%
  • Other

    Votes: 5 7.5%

  • Total voters
    67
Sep 7, 2016
295
363
155
Netherlands
"Extreme is equivalent to the best tt w the best vinyl collection" - how did we get here?
You need to drink more alcohol now to understand. And feel the "spirit", there is lot of it right now.
 
Likes: bonzo75

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
11,293
2,166
433
E. England
Bob, I get that. Then again, if all we want is for the thread to be fanboi "the Extreme is extremely good" " yes, I totally agree", I'm happy to step off .

I actually think it's been quite informative to discuss the deeper relevance of the server/usb/dac relationship or interface.

Prior to this diversion, I always assumed the server was of less relevance to the overall digital front end, the dac being the critical component. Demanding maybe at least 1.5-2x spent on the dac than on the server. Hence $3k Innuos Zenith and $5k Chord dac, or $10k Innuos Statement and $13k Aqua Formula XHD.

But the combination of total confidence that Extreme banishes all that greyness I've heard in lesser servers, is absolutely built to succeed/exceed, and critically taking Mike's viewpoint that the bleeding edge performance of Extreme getting that data from the best Tidal files to the dac being hugely critical in the SQ end result, and Extreme likely to be class leading by a margin for way longer than any dac will have supremacy, has got me thinking totally differently about a purchase.

Happy to now step off and check out at the Hotel California Lol.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
11,293
2,166
433
E. England
You need to drink more alcohol now to understand. And feel the "spirit", there is lot of it right now.
AQ, you've misinterpreted the "spirit" of my words as well Lol.
Knocking back another one soon.
Regards of the year to you.
 
Likes: audioquattr
Jan 16, 2013
1,200
1,222
400
NYC
Bob, I get that. Then again, if all we want is for the thread to be fanboi "the Extreme is extremely good" " yes, I totally agree", I'm happy to step off .

I actually think it's been quite informative to discuss the deeper relevance of the server/usb/dac relationship or interface.

Prior to this diversion, I always assumed the server was of less relevance to the overall digital front end, the dac being the critical component. Demanding maybe at least 1.5-2x spent on the dac than on the server. Hence $3k Innuos Zenith and $5k Chord dac, or $10k Innuos Statement and $13k Aqua Formula XHD.

But the combination of total confidence that Extreme banishes all that greyness I've heard in lesser servers, is absolutely built to succeed/exceed, and critically taking Mike's viewpoint that the bleeding edge performance of Extreme getting that data from the best Tidal files to the dac being hugely critical in the SQ end result, and Extreme likely to be class leading by a margin for way longer than any dac will have supremacy, has got me thinking totally differently about a purchase.

Happy to now step off and check out at the Hotel California Lol.
Do that, but of course you won't be able to leave:)

Actually Marc, I think that your analysis on this thread has been very informative and I've personally enjoyed all of the opinions/options presented.

I do enjoy teasing you though:p
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
11,293
2,166
433
E. England
Thanks Bob. The booze is numbing the pain. I think the "heirarchy" rabbithole I opened up has actually enhanced value of Extreme in my eyes. And w no server coming close for some time (if ever), but dacs in a continual game of catch up/leapfrog/musical chairs, I quite like the certainty of basing a future in streaming on a totally dependable and advanced black box, and gilding the lily w dac investigations over time.

At exalted level of eg AF1, people are changing their carts surely way more than they are their tts.
 

BMCG

VIP/Donor
Oct 1, 2016
231
32
43
United Kingdom
And w no server coming close for some time (if ever)
I doubt that time will pass without competition responding...

Always in this pursuit...once a benchmark has been set....the challenge to exceed such will (almost always) be taken up.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
11,293
2,166
433
E. England
I doubt that time will pass without competition responding...

Always in this pursuit...once a benchmark has been set....the challenge to exceed such will (almost always) be taken up.
Well, Romaz has highlighted a few key areas where Extreme excels by a wide margin. And the internal photos of some of the closest competitors tell a story. It looks like the double stacked Pink Faun might be most competitive.
 

nonesup

Well-Known Member
Feb 16, 2017
487
118
60
Spain
I'm having a lot of fun with some things that are said in this thread, like buying a Select ll and connecting it to any computer, or buying an Exteme and connecting it to a $ 1000 dac. Frankly very funny. Mike Lavigne I don't know why you bought a Select ll and Extreme .... you want to throw your money away ..
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
8,800
2,531
520
I'm having a lot of fun with some things that are said in this thread, like buying a Select ll and connecting it to any computer, or buying an Exteme and connecting it to a $ 1000 dac. Frankly very funny. Mike Lavigne I don't know why you bought a Select ll and Extreme .... you want to throw your money away ..
:rolleyes:

depending on our point of view, anything beyond ear buds and a phone for music listening can be viewed that way.

how far down the rabbit hole do you choose to go?

and how valuable is that to you?

i've blasted through plenty of bandwidth posting about my selection of the Select II, and then the steps that led me to the Extreme. so don't need to defend/talk about that here....ad nauseum.

glad you at least got some entertainment.:cool:
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
11,293
2,166
433
E. England
I'm having a lot of fun with some things that are said in this thread, like buying a Select ll and connecting it to any computer, or buying an Exteme and connecting it to a $ 1000 dac. Frankly very funny. Mike Lavigne I don't know why you bought a Select ll and Extreme .... you want to throw your money away ..
Yep, and guys wiring their $500k systems w 99 cents Ching Chengs. Nonesup, don'tcha know yet that in high end audio there are more roads that lead to Rome than actual roads that terminate in the Italian capital.
 
May 30, 2010
16,634
1,515
450
Portugal
let's see how Micro answers the question posed by Post #2209 before we project the implications of what he says in Post#2208.

what percentage of Micro's dics does this transport make preferable? and as Marc ask's....why?

and interestingly Micro has a $30k+ dcS transport sitting there that he does not mention.
Yes, currently for equivalent contents 16/44.1 - CD or DSD64 - SACD I still prefer the DCS Vivaldi spinner with the whole Transparent Audio cabling, although we can never be sure that DSD64 is bit equivalent to SACD. The main difference is in the bass handing and overall easiness. This was particularly noticeable with non-classic music. Also there is a perceivable difference between Qobuz and files played from the Extreme PCI-e server.

Today I got the visit of a good audiophile that comes regularly. He listens mostly to rock, jazz and some classical and brought some recordings I would not usually listen : Annie Lenox - Medusa , some Santana like music and a few similar recordings. It was an interesting change - people who consider that we can evaluate and tune a system only using acoustical music and "natural" music can have surprises with such recordings - sometimes they show differences much better than acoustic music. He appreciated a lot the Extreme/Qobuz - we spent the last part of the session listening to french music of the 70's.

The Metronome system choice is mainly a preference with some specific recordings - big band music, some old jazz or recordings such as the equivalent of Shefield direct cuts sound more enjoyable with it - more slam and more explosive, bigger soundstage. I must say I dislike miniaturization in sound reproduction, I appreciate full scale with proper size.

But now the part that shows how volatile can be these comparisons - the Transparent Audio digital cables were the optimum choice for the DCS Vivaldi stack after a long process of listening, but the Extreme USB cable is still an Intona Reference - I still did not have the opportunity to get a better cable for a reasonable period, that means for me at less two/three weeks. A few sessions with a Transparent Audio top USB cable has shown me how sound balance can be affected by the USB cable.
 
Likes: matthias
May 30, 2010
16,634
1,515
450
Portugal
Yes Mike,
and we have to consider that the new Kalista CD transport is the double price of Extreme, AFAIK.

Matt
The Metronome spinners are not universal transports - I was disappointed with its performance with the Vivaldi DAC. However it sounds really great with the Metronome DACs or the Kondo KSL DAC, for example.
 

jespera

Active Member
Jan 12, 2018
109
66
35
Copenhagen
it's not that simple. it's not that people don't care, but they have already answered that question for themselves.

i think many of us have made the determination that files sound better by the long term process of having reference cuts ripped from discs that at one point were being compared directly to CD's they were sourced from. over time these cuts have improved steadily and so the conclusion is that they have left the disc performance behind relatively.

taking the time now to find a SOTA disc spinner and going back to verify these conclusions is the only part missing. and we would go through that process for who exactly? not ourselves for sure....we have moved on.

so today's disc spinners do raise this question; but it's not relevant for many.

.
Or maybe you never did the comparison because back then you “knew” that bits are only bits...
 

matthias

Active Member
Mar 14, 2019
317
96
28
Germany
The Metronome system choice is mainly a preference with some specific recordings - big band music, some old jazz or recordings such as the equivalent of Shefield direct cuts sound more enjoyable with it - more slam and more explosive, bigger soundstage. I must say I dislike miniaturization in sound reproduction, I appreciate full scale with proper size.
Slam, more explosive and full scale with proper size are my preferences as well.
Do you think that top CD spinners still have the edge over top servers for this sound signature?
Thanks

Matt
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
11,368
365
283
The Metronome spinners are not universal transports - I was disappointed with its performance with the Vivaldi DAC. However it sounds really great with the Metronome DACs or the Kondo KSL DAC, for example.
Interesting...i nearly got the Metronome Kalista Ref Transport for the Zanden DAC...and know one Zanden DAC owner who preferred it to his Zanden transport. However, 12 Zanden owners I know have the full Zanden 4-box stack.

I think Transport designed to run with the DAC is a big plus, something i never fully appreciated until hearing for myself...against some reasonably good transports.
 

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
1,375
1,755
210
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
I think Transport designed to run with the DAC is a big plus, something i never fully appreciated until hearing for myself...against some reasonably good transports.
It definitely is. Several of my friends still own some of previous century crazy expensive stacks, back then these would cost more then a decent sized house here in The Netherlands. Not so nowadays which may put some perspective on how expensive high end gear really is these days relative to real estate pricing. I remember when I got the Wadia 2000 stack, that is like 25-30 years ago. I had to delay buying a house for that. I greatly preferred it over the ML30/31 for midrange magic although the ML stack had killer bass extension. Switching transports/DACs was not successful though, with the Wadia you had to use a digimaster (I replaced that with a Genesis Digital Lens which did a bit better) to convert AES to ST fiber to be able to use the ML31 with it, so that was an obvious drawback. Combining the 2 was pretty poor though. I did prefer the Levinson 31 over the DCS transport (forgot the model name), even when using the Verona clock, with the DCS Elgar/Purcell which came out probably 10 years after (for bass again). I have a friend who is still using the large Metronome stack, I don't remember the model designations, it was their top offering around 10 years ago. Another one is still using the Wadia 7/9 which is a very successful pairing as well, still going strong bar resolution/clarity. Over the years we have swapped a lot of big stack transports / dacs but usually the same brand pairings worked best.

A big difference with server technology is the interface. These transport/dac stacks all use/used AES or a proprietary variation on that to transport I2S between them. It may come as no surprise that the AES or SPDIF output we can optionally fit into the Extreme sounds closer to a CD transport then USB or Ethernet. Generally speaking it can give you a somewhat softer / more laidback presentation. But USB or Ethernet are the interfaces of the future. On the DAC end these are not always very well executed, as strange as it may sound it's a different technology then Digital to Analogue conversion so it's often just fitted because manufacturers have to, but not always well implemented. Things are improving there though, one of the clearest examples of advancing technology being the MSB Pro USB module. XMOS has come a long way with 8,16,32 core USB receivers, split into 2 processing domains for the USB side and I2S side, Thesycon has developed a very advanced interface which is in the latest T+A 3000 series for example. https://www.thesycon.de/eng/u-hear.shtml .
 
Jun 26, 2019
56
24
8
54
It definitely is. Several of my friends still own some of previous century crazy expensive stacks, back then these would cost more then a decent sized house here in The Netherlands. Not so nowadays which may put some perspective on how expensive high end gear really is these days relative to real estate pricing. I remember when I got the Wadia 2000 stack, that is like 25-30 years ago. I had to delay buying a house for that. I greatly preferred it over the ML30/31 for midrange magic although the ML stack had killer bass extension. Switching transports/DACs was not successful though, with the Wadia you had to use a digimaster (I replaced that with a Genesis Digital Lens which did a bit better) to convert AES to ST fiber to be able to use the ML31 with it, so that was an obvious drawback. Combining the 2 was pretty poor though. I did prefer the Levinson 31 over the DCS transport (forgot the model name), even when using the Verona clock, with the DCS Elgar/Purcell which came out probably 10 years after (for bass again). I have a friend who is still using the large Metronome stack, I don't remember the model designations, it was their top offering around 10 years ago. Another one is still using the Wadia 7/9 which is a very successful pairing as well, still going strong bar resolution/clarity. Over the years we have swapped a lot of big stack transports / dacs but usually the same brand pairings worked best.

A big difference with server technology is the interface. These transport/dac stacks all use/used AES or a proprietary variation on that to transport I2S between them. It may come as no surprise that the AES or SPDIF output we can optionally fit into the Extreme sounds closer to a CD transport then USB or Ethernet. Generally speaking it can give you a somewhat softer / more laidback presentation. But USB or Ethernet are the interfaces of the future. On the DAC end these are not always very well executed, as strange as it may sound it's a different technology then Digital to Analogue conversion so it's often just fitted because manufacturers have to, but not always well implemented. Things are improving there though, one of the clearest examples of advancing technology being the MSB Pro USB module. XMOS has come a long way with 8,16,32 core USB receivers, split into 2 processing domains for the USB side and I2S side, Thesycon has developed a very advanced interface which is in the latest T+A 3000 series for example. https://www.thesycon.de/eng/u-hear.shtml .
Hi Emile,
Do you believe that this new USB Thesycon tech improve the bit perfect operation on the new T+A3000 dacs?
 

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
1,375
1,755
210
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
Hi Emile,
Do you believe that this new USB Thesycon tech improve the bit perfect operation on the new T+A3000 dacs?
Absolutely. They used Amanero before, its still in their lower range offerings. The Amanero is musically compelling, but it is a cheap / lower end offering which is noticeable in ultimate resolution and scale / authority, especially with large scale orchestra.
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
5,497
1,049
268
Greater Boston
A big difference with server technology is the interface. These transport/dac stacks all use/used AES or a proprietary variation on that to transport I2S between them. It may come as no surprise that the AES or SPDIF output we can optionally fit into the Extreme sounds closer to a CD transport then USB or Ethernet. Generally speaking it can give you a somewhat softer / more laidback presentation. But USB or Ethernet are the interfaces of the future.
"Generally speaking", don't know. What I do know is that the sound with AES/EBU from my CD transport is soft and laid back only when the music demands it, and then competently so. Otherwise? Hell no. Exciting? Hell yeah.

So yes, your comment makes me smile: if you could hear my system, you would know why ;).
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
8,800
2,531
520
Or maybe you never did the comparison because back then you “knew” that bits are only bits...
i had files for 4 years with my Playback Designs, and did lots of disc spinning. all the time ripping my CD's and listening.

then for a few months when i had the Aqua Formula i also had their transport. and i paid keen interest to the file <-> disc differences and posted about it.

as the poster child for 20+ years of comparing formats it's always been an interest of mine. my investment in all the formats at a high level shows that. i'm not much for assuming anything.

i've just moved on from discs after doing the work to satisfy myself. i do know discs can sound superb. and i've not had all the disc spinners in my system.
 
Likes: musicfirst100

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high-end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing