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: 41 73.2%
  • Ethernet

    Votes: 9 16.1%
  • Both USB and Ethernet

    Votes: 4 7.1%
  • AES/EBU

    Votes: 3 5.4%
  • Dual AES/EBU

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 4 7.1%

  • Total voters
    56

onlychild

Active Member
Sep 18, 2019
38
107
35
SGM Extreme - 6 week experience: Server / Endpoint

The further benefit of this complete galvanic isolation is that I no longer hear any benefits from grounding the Extreme.

More to follow...
Hello Roy,

What were you grounding the Extreme with, the Setchi boxes? Also was it a chassis ground or signal ground?

Thanks
 

romaz

Well-Known Member
Oct 7, 2015
100
547
128
Absolutely in accordance with their opinions on the Blue and Orange SR.
And yet I have to disagree with the opinions made by an esteemed member of this forum in the Audiophile Fuses thread: they don't need 27K Hours to burn, nor take them to be blessed by Ronald Macdonald changes the sound.
By the time my Extreme arrived to me, I had an Orange fuse that already had nearly 400 hours on it. Straightaway, its impact to me was obvious although it's possible it is still improving. As I stated, I have another 4A Orange fuse that I will keep in storage (that has about 200 hours on it) that I will use to compare against from time to time to see if the Orange fuse in my Extreme continues to improve or eventually worsens with use.
 

romaz

Well-Known Member
Oct 7, 2015
100
547
128
Hello Roy,

What were you grounding the Extreme with, the Setchi boxes? Also was it a chassis ground or signal ground?

Thanks
Pramit, I have divested my system of all prior grounding tweaks except for the Setchis. This includes the Entreq Poseidon and a full loom of Atlantis cables and the SR Active Ground Block SE with SR's HD Cables that I used to own. I did also demo a friend's Tripoint Troy Sig BLK. In prior systems, which were considerably more complicated and once included a triple stack TotalDac DAC and a spaghetti chain music server and network, ground conditioning was much more impactful. In my 2 current systems, which are considerably simpler, grounding has had less impact and I have found the simpler and less obtrusive Setchis to work very much to my satisfaction.

To answer your question, with the Extreme, I am only signal grounding. Because of a lack of an appropriate connector, I have not tried grounding the Extreme's chassis. Some people "multi-point" ground to try and create a more robust ground plane but generally, my approach has been to "single-point" ground because this has often sounded better to me. However, with the Extreme, I had been applying 3 Setchis to it, one to the Extreme's USB port in the back, a second to the spare USB port on the JCAT USB card, and a third to the spare Ethernet port on the JCAT network card since the JCAT cards are independently powered by outboard PSUs, and to my ears, 3 Setchis sounded better than a single Setchi although the improvement, while easily audible was not large. I was hearing much larger improvement with a single D2 Setchi applied to the USB port on my InnuOS Zenith SE and this may be due to the better anti-vibration enhancements built into the Extreme. As my Extreme is now optically isolated from both my network and DAC, I am hearing no difference with the Setchis on the Extreme.

Here is something I am curious about.

I do have a very noisy environment, and probably one of the reasons the Tripoint NG also made such a huge difference in my system.
Now that you are using the Stromtank S1000 and are no longer in a noisy environment, your Tripoint NG is still making a huge difference? This would suggest that the ground noise the Tripoint is addressing isn't coming from mains but rather from your components and since your setup is so beautifully simple (the Extreme + dCS Bartok), I am wondering if your Tripoint would still have impact if you optically isolated your Extreme from the Bartok and then connected ONLY the Bartok to the S1000. With the S1000 in battery mode, this would result in TOTAL galvanic isolation between your server and DAC that should render ground conditioning moot. If you decide to perform this experiment, please share your results.
 

romaz

Well-Known Member
Oct 7, 2015
100
547
128
Hi Roy,
because of the length of the SlimRun there might be no USB cable needed.
Did you try an adapter like Uptone USPCB?

Thanks

Matt
Matt, the SlimRun is only an "extender" and requires a USB cable to complete the connection from server to DAC. This is actually an advantage since I generally find a copper connection to sound more humanistic than a purely optical connection. I did happen to try the Uptone USPCB with the SlimRun and it is not a bad way to go. For the price, it is an excellent way to go and if your DAC doesn't require 5V VBUS, the USPCB adapter allows you to shut down the power line. However, the Intona Ultimate still sounds better with the Sablon sounding better yet with respect to naturalness.
 

romaz

Well-Known Member
Oct 7, 2015
100
547
128
SGM Extreme - 6 week experience: Network revisited

I continue to find network enhancements to be very worthwhile and it is getting even better. In my system and to my ears, they presently equal the impact of vibration control and I am expecting that my network will likely continue to get better as I am told the M12 Gold should arrive to me in a couple of weeks.

Credit here goes to @nenon and @Xymox. As previously reported, I had been using an "all-in-one" ARRIS SBG8300 cable modem/router. It was randomly chosen for convenience reasons and I found it to sound significantly better than the Netgear N300 modem/router I was using previously. A couple of weeks back, @nenon suggested I give the ARRIS SB8200 cable modem and EdgeRouter X SFP router a try based on his own experience. It turns out, according to @Xymox, the ARRIS SB8200 uses the better Broadcom chipset as opposed to the much maligned high-jitter Intel Puma chipset. Since I had spare SR7 rails on hand due to my SOtM switches being on loan, I went ahead and purchased these items to try out. The SB8200 is in the middle and the EdgeRouter X SFP is on the left. Both units are being powered by 12V rails from my SR7:

EdgeRouter and SB8200.jpeg

I was not expecting much but I have to say that the improvement here is quite significant. Having directly A/B'd the EdgeRouter against a different router, it is the SB8200 that is making the larger difference although the impact of the EdgeRouter is not small. There is simply much better clarity and so this has set a new bar. The EdgeRouter is presently being used as my "dirty" switch and is connected to my Roku and Oppo while also being connected to my wifi access point via optical (SFP). The etherRegen (A ports only) is being used as my "clean" switch with only the Extreme connected to it via optical. It has been suggested to me that as I am bypassing the eR's "B" port, I am effectively using the eR like an FMC and would Sonore's less expensive opticalModule work as well? This is a good question and I believe others are testing this now.

More to follow...
 

Devg

New Member
Feb 17, 2020
7
2
3
39
I was not expecting much but I have to say that the improvement here is quite significant. Having directly A/B'd the EdgeRouter against a different router, it is the SB8200 that is making the larger difference although the impact of the EdgeRouter is not small. There is simply much better clarity and so this has set a new bar. The EdgeRouter is presently being used as my "dirty" switch and is connected to my Roku and Oppo while also being connected to my wifi access point via optical (SFP). The etherRegen (A ports only) is being used as my "clean" switch with only the Extreme connected to it via optical. It has been suggested to me that as I am bypassing the eR's "B" port, I am effectively using the eR like an FMC and would Sonore's less expensive opticalModule work as well? This is a good question and I believe others are testing this now.
@romaz, I am using the EdgeRouter X SFP for the past 5 yrs and find it to be a great addition. Due to being POE capable, the power supply it comes with is ground shunted. I tried powering it with a JS-2 but didn't notice much improvement. Not sure if the improvements is because of SR-7 or not but looks like that psu that an overall great presence on anywhere you put in the digital chain.

I have been using an Arris SB6121 which is quiet an older version and have been thinking of upgrading it to a newer model (DOCSIS 3.1 compliant). This post is timely. My question is if you only streaming locally (i.e. say from a NAS), do you also find similar improvements with the SB8200 ?
 

romaz

Well-Known Member
Oct 7, 2015
100
547
128
@romaz, I am using the EdgeRouter X SFP for the past 5 yrs and find it to be a great addition. Due to being POE capable, the power supply it comes with is ground shunted. I tried powering it with a JS-2 but didn't notice much improvement. Not sure if the improvements is because of SR-7 or not but looks like that psu that an overall great presence on anywhere you put in the digital chain.

I have been using an Arris SB6121 which is quiet an older version and have been thinking of upgrading it to a newer model (DOCSIS 3.1 compliant). This post is timely. My question is if you only streaming locally (i.e. say from a NAS), do you also find similar improvements with the SB8200 ?
I have yet to power a component with an SR7 and not hear a significant difference but having said that, I have not yet tried the stock SMPS that came with the EdgeRouter. Many high end audio components today have very high PSRR and well designed ground planes where mains noise is less of an issue. Where power supplies often fall short, at least in my experience, is in their ability to respond to transient current demands and even in the SR7 line, the standard SR version, which is better than other PSUs I have compared it against, cannot compete with the DR version. Since the EdgeRouter is capable of accepting 9V, I would suggest you consider placing this relatively inexpensive device between the stock SMPS or your JS-2 and the EdgeRouter:

https://www.ldovr.com/product-p/dxp-1a5dsc.htm

Request 10.5V for the pre-regulator output and 9V for the final output. You will want to directly connect the 12V output from your PSU of choice into the input of this device and then connect the output of this device to the EdgeRouter. I will be quite surprised if you don't hear an improvement with respect to better dynamics and an even lower noise floor.

It looks like the SB6121 also uses the Broadcom chipset but according to @Xymox, DOCCIS 3.1 is supposed to sound better than DOCCIS 3.0 even if your Internet bandwidth is not 1000Mb/s. Perhaps he can correct me if I'm wrong.

With the Extreme, playback from local storage sounds better than from my NAS and so I am using my NAS purely as a backup device. As the future probably belongs to streaming from subscription services like Qobuz and Tidal, I see no reason to not do what you can to improve the quality of network streaming but as has been reported by many others, improving your network also improves the quality of local playback.
 

Devg

New Member
Feb 17, 2020
7
2
3
39
I have yet to power a component with an SR7 and not hear a significant difference but having said that, I have not yet tried the stock SMPS that came with the EdgeRouter. Many high end audio components today have very high PSRR and well designed ground planes where mains noise is less of an issue. Where power supplies often fall short, at least in my experience, is in their ability to respond to transient current demands and even in the SR7 line, the standard SR version, which is better than other PSUs I have compared it against, cannot compete with the DR version. Since the EdgeRouter is capable of accepting 9V, I would suggest you consider placing this relatively inexpensive device between the stock SMPS or your JS-2 and the EdgeRouter:

https://www.ldovr.com/product-p/dxp-1a5dsc.htm

Request 10.5V for the pre-regulator output and 9V for the final output. You will want to directly connect the 12V output from your PSU of choice into the input of this device and then connect the output of this device to the EdgeRouter. I will be quite surprised if you don't hear an improvement with respect to better dynamics and an even lower noise floor.

It looks like the SB6121 also uses the Broadcom chipset but according to @Xymox, DOCCIS 3.1 is supposed to sound better than DOCCIS 3.0 even if your Internet bandwidth is not 1000Mb/s. Perhaps he can correct me if I'm wrong.

With the Extreme, playback from local storage sounds better than from my NAS and so I am using my NAS purely as a backup device. As the future probably belongs to streaming from subscription services like Qobuz and Tidal, I see no reason to not do what you can to improve the quality of network streaming but as has been reported by many others, improving your network also improves the quality of local playback.
Thanks Roy. will give ldovr a try.
 

matthias

Active Member
Mar 14, 2019
233
72
28
Germany
Likes: Devg

wil

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2015
234
93
58
SGM Extreme - 6 week experience: Server / Endpoint

For nearly a decade, it was a long held belief among many computer-based audiophiles, especially with HQP upsampling, that distributing tasks between a powerful but noisy server and a low-power, low-noise endpoint was the pathway to nirvana. The idea here is that the server was responsible for all the heavy lifting while the endpoint was responsible only for playback. For those who did not engage in HQP upsampling, it was a widely held belief that the low-power endpoint was the more important component and this was the basis for devices like the original SOtM sMS-100 and Sonore microRendu. No doubt, these devices have become very popular and have evolved into the much more refined sMS-200ultra Neo SE and opticalRendu that you can buy today. Because of its optical connection, Sonore has gone so far to suggest that in the absence of the need for HQP upsampling, the quality of the upstream server doesn't matter. At all. Or does it?

View attachment 62240

The premise for this statement is that quality digital file playback is purely about RF noise and an optical connection completely blocks RF noise. Because the oR uses a low-power, low-noise CPU, ultra-low noise linear regulators, low phase noise clocks, and a low noise microSD card for the OS, coupled with a good PSU, this solution should trump everything and in fact, the Rendu series won "Product of the Decade" on another site that would support that it does. Of course, if this was true, why wouldn't a battery powered laptop connected to your DAC via an optical Toslink connection be just as good? Zero ground noise and zero RF. There are, in fact, DAC manufacturers who believe exactly this.

I went ahead and tested and compared the opticalRendu, not to try and discredit it but rather for my own practical considerations. I have a 2nd listening room in my home office that is quite important to me as I spend a fair amount of time here. In fact, I am in my home office now as I type this. For the past 5 years, I have championed the practice of driving high sensitivity speakers on my desktop directly from my DAC. As my DAC has an output impedance of only 0.055 ohms and can output 2 watts at 8 ohms and is stable down to 4 ohms, I found some time ago that this DAC could very capably drive certain speakers without an intermediary speaker amp resulting in unbelievable transparency and when coupled with a small JL Audio subwoofer, could provide very satisfying full range sound from a near field perspective. While my large Wilsons powered by my D'Agostino Momentums more capably provide scale, this small desktop setup is still the more transparent and there is no detail, no matter how subtle, that escapes it. In other words, this setup deserves an Extreme as much as my main listening room but because of size, weight, and cost considerations, an Extreme on my desk is simply not practical. I thought perhaps that an opticalRendu using the Extreme as my Roon Server would work well here.

The opticalRendu does, in fact, work well. It's clear that Sonore has never used a server like the Extreme before because if they had, they would never make the claim that the server doesn't matter. Using an inexpensive i5-based NUC as my Roon Server, the oR sounds absolutely thin and puny compared against the Extreme coupled with the oR. You almost forget that the oR itself uses a low power CPU because the Extreme makes it sound so much fuller and more dynamic UNTIL I decide to bypass the oR and directly connect my Extreme to this DAC and then you realize that the oR significantly holds the Extreme back.

If I switch to my AMD 12-core 3900X Ryzen server as the Roon endpoint, using the Extreme as the Roon Server once again dramatically improves this endpoint but the results are even more satisfying than the oR. Dynamics are even better and there is significantly more body to the sound. If you can power a high-power computer well, I see ZERO benefit to using a weak CPU in an endpoint, even if that endpoint is responsible for something as simple as file playback using RoonBridge.

This finding led me to contemplate building a high-power Roon endpoint for my 2nd listening room but I decided not to go forward with this for 2 important reasons: (1) a high-power endpoint + external PSU would take up a lot of space on my desktop and (2) directly connecting the Extreme to this DAC still sounded A LOT better. Fortunately, I found a better solution that happens to be less expensive.

View attachment 62241
View attachment 62242

This inexpensive Monoprice SlimRun USB 3.0 extender is the functional equivalent of MSB's Pro USB adapter for a non-MSB DAC and comes in lengths of up to 164 feet and for the 65 foot length that I am using, I paid only $200 USD. Unlike a lot of other optical USB solutions, it is backward compatible with USB 2.0 and provides a pure optical data connection from server to DAC. While 5V VBUS and power to the receiving module is generally provided by the server's USB port, it can be fully bypassed with a 5V battery (or in my case, an LPS-1.2) resulting in complete galvanic isolation. To ensure that this is the case, I have shut off the 5V VBUS coming from the JCAT Femto USB card by pulling its jumper. Unlike the Corning optical USB cable (which I own and sounds horrible), this fiber USB extender when coupled with Sablon's latest USB cable sounds REALLY good and, to my ears, is superior to the Intona USB 3.0 isolator (which I find flattens the sound stage). There is a very obvious drop in noise floor resulting in greater clarity and definition with no perceptible downside that I can hear. The further benefit of this complete galvanic isolation is that I no longer hear any benefits from grounding the Extreme. This solution has proven so effective that I use it for both listening rooms but just as importantly, I am now fully leveraging the Extreme in both listening rooms without the use of a sound degrading endpoint.

Finally, I was curious to know how the Extreme would sound as a Roon endpoint while using my AMD 12-core server as the Roon server. Would the Extreme benefit from offloading some of the work to another high-power device? The presentation was full and dynamic but I found that the AMD server actually slowed down the Extreme and I say this quite literally. In this configuration, the Extreme sounds slower and it is a definite step backward. Thus far, the Extreme sounds best standalone.

More to follow...
Romaz, Thanks for your continued reports!

In particular I was interested in your experience using the Extreme with different Endpoints.

I have been going through an exhausting process of evaluating whether a 2012 Mac mini would degrade the sq, or not, used as a Roon Endpoint along with the Extreme Server.

The Mini is fed by ethernet (AudioQuest Diamond) to the EtherRegen > Sablon usb > Ideon 3r usb Reclocker > Intona Ultimate usb > Lampi Pacific Dac. The Mini is modded for linear power and has the Uptone fan controller.

The Extreme is fed by EtherRegn > Fiber

After several blind listening sessions, I and two other good sets of ears, could not find clear differences or preferences between Mini as endpoint and Extreme as endpoint. Sometimes we would "prefer" the result from the Mini and sometimes from Extreme. The results ended up looking random enough to conclude there is no penalty with using the Mini as I have it set up in my system.

If there was any meaningful or consistent difference between the two, we found the Extreme, with some tracks, to sound slightly more rounded and full. But on the other hand, the setup with the Mini sometimes sounded more slightly more dynamic and transparent.

My system is exceedingly revealing (sometimes to a fault, I might add). The Avantgarde speakers will not allow anything to hide!

So, this will allow me finally, with a clear head, to install the Bacch DSP (which requires the Mac OS).

This is not to challenge your findings at all--I just thought this could be useful data point to add.
 
Last edited:
Likes: romaz

Devg

New Member
Feb 17, 2020
7
2
3
39

It isn't clear from the post but in my case the ARRIS is (indirectly) connected to the streamer using fiber, something like this


ARRIS ---> Orbi Wireless ---> EdgeRouter X SFP --------------fiber-----------> eR (B) ------> streamer

The NAS is connected to the EdgeRouter ethernet port.


I am considering moving the NAS to eR's A port which in theory should perform better and furthur provide network isolation to the NAS. I would have less expectation in sound improvement upgrading ARRIS but according to @romaz it looks like it worth trying upgrading any part of the network.
 
Feb 20, 2020
1
2
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Romaz, Thanks for your continued reports!

In particular I was interested in your experience using the Extreme with different Endpoints.

I have been going through an exhausting process of evaluating whether a 2012 Mac mini would degrade the sq, or not, used as a Roon Endpoint along with the Extreme Server.

The Mini is fed by ethernet (AudioQuest Diamond) to the EtherRegen > Sablon usb > Ideon 3r usb Reclocker > Intona Ultimate usb > Lampi Pacific Dac. The Mini is modded for linear power and has the Uptone fan controller.

The Extreme is fed by EtherRegn > Fiber

After several blind listening sessions, I and two other good sets of ears, could not find clear differences or preferences between Mini as endpoint and Extreme as endpoint. Sometimes we would "prefer" the result from the Mini and sometimes from Extreme. The results ended up looking random enough to conclude there is no penalty with using the Mini as I have it set up in my system.

If there was any meaningful or consistent difference between the two, we found the Extreme, with some tracks, to sound slightly more rounded and full. But on the other hand the setup with the Mini sometimes sounded more dynamic and transparent.

My system is exceeding revealing (sometimes to a fault, I might add). The Avantgarde speakers will not allow anything to hide!

So, this will allow me to finally, with a clear head, to install the Bacch DSP (which requires the Mac OS).

This is not to challenge your findings at all--I just thought this could be useful data point to add.
Hi, if you stuck on Bacch DSP you are aware you can use certain pc’s to install Apples IOS. It’s called Hackintosh. So effectively you could build a high end end point with IOS installed. Just an option
 

matthias

Active Member
Mar 14, 2019
233
72
28
Germany
It isn't clear from the post but in my case the ARRIS is (indirectly) connected to the streamer using fiber, something like this


ARRIS ---> Orbi Wireless ---> EdgeRouter X SFP --------------fiber-----------> eR (B) ------> streamer

The NAS is connected to the EdgeRouter ethernet port.


I am considering moving the NAS to eR's A port which in theory should perform better and furthur provide network isolation to the NAS. I would have less expectation in sound improvement upgrading ARRIS but according to @romaz it looks like it worth trying upgrading any part of the network.
Just two questions:

Did you try to connect your streamer to the eR A-side too?

What is your experience with the Orbi from a SQ perspective?

Thanks

Matt
 

Devg

New Member
Feb 17, 2020
7
2
3
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Just two questions:

Did you try to connect your streamer to the eR A-side too?

What is your experience with the Orbi from a SQ perspective?

Thanks

Matt
I got the eR only couple of days back and there are some connectivity issues I am currently facing - I am sure its minor, so not able to concentrate much on the SQ and able to compare A vs B side. I have read some liked the A side better than B, so that would be very interesting comparison for me.

I have very recently re-entered the ethernet domain. Before I have used wifi and had no trouble with connectivity. Earlier I was using Airport extreme and then switched to Orbi with a improved SQ and a rock solid network. The Orbi satallite powered by PH SR-4 elevated the SQ even furthur. But removing the wifi card from the streamer (NUC7i7) was a great eye opener, so now I am trying to dabble through it :)
 

nonesup

Well-Known Member
Feb 16, 2017
473
105
60
Spain
Hi romaz, just a suggestion. I also had a Entreq Poseidon until a month ago, which I sold when I received my fourth and last Entreq Olympus Infinity with a pair of Entreq Eartha Olympus Infinity cables. So you have the opportunity to test this box and these cables in your system, I suggest you do it, I can assure you that they are in no way comparable to Poseidon.
 
Likes: romaz

romaz

Well-Known Member
Oct 7, 2015
100
547
128
SGM Extreme - 6 week experience: Vibration control

As expected, vibration control makes a pretty big difference with the Extreme but not as big as I was expecting. Perhaps, I was expecting too much or maybe my vibration control efforts aren't good enough yet. According to Emile, with his Extreme sitting atop a dual Daiza stack which are sitting on the floor of his listening room (no expensive racks or footers), he is hearing twice the improvement compared to his network tweaks. In my case, they are about even and so either his vibration tweaks are better than mine or my network tweaks are better than his. Once again, YMMV. Regardless, I am pleased with the noise reduction I am getting resulting in more solid imaging and focus.

My rack is currently nothing special but it was custom designed to my space constraints in my ventilated cabinet by Steve Blinn and I have been quite happy with it although it is in the process of getting replaced.

Sitting atop this rack and underneath my Extreme is a Synergistic Research Tranquility Base UEF:

Tranquility.jpeg

Having placed an accelerometer on top of the SR Tranquility Base UEF, I found its constrained layer design to be as inert as HRS's granite-based platform although from a SQ perspective, I slightly preferred the mechanical isolation I got from an HRS M3X as it sounded a touch more lively. But once you plug in the Tranquility Base into an electrical outlet and allow it to do its thing, this is where it really comes into its own and surpasses what the HRS platform has to offer by a significant margin. Especially with digital gear, I love what the Tranquility Base does and with the Extreme, it really makes a difference. I can't claim to understand fully what this thing does and how it supposedly modulates the intra-circuit distortion caused by spurious EM and RF fields (SR's words, not mine) but its effect is very easy to hear. Simply speaking, the presentation becomes livelier and with much better transient clarity and its impact with the Extreme is not subtle.

SR MIG 2.0

MIG 2.jpeg

These do what they claim to do. 2 up and 1 down and you get a more ambient sound stage. 2 down and 1 up and you get more pinpoint focus. I prefer the more ambient sound stage but under the Extreme, their impact is more muted compared to the others I tried and I find the stock footers to sound more natural. They work fine under the Tranquility Base and so I use them there.

Stillpoints Ultra SS:

Stillpoints SS.jpeg

Because of its size and weight, the Ultra 5s are more appropriate for the Extreme but I sold my 5s some time ago and the Ultra SSs are all that I have left. I am less fond of Stillpoints these days and similar to their effect with other components I have tried them on, they result in an oversharpening that sounds less than natural. Because the Extreme is so large and heavy, I tried 4 of these under the Extreme but 4 sounds worse than 3 due to this oversharpening effect. Given how popular these are, they obviously work well in some systems but not mine.

HRS Vortex + DPX Damping Plate:

HRS Vortex.jpeg
HRS Damping plate.jpeg

The heavier the component, the better the Vortex seem to work and I like the even-handed noise reduction offered by both the Vortex and Damping Plate. They work almost opposite of the Stillpoints. Where the Stillpoints result in what I hear as an oversharpening, the Vortex and Damping Plate remove a subtle "hardness" that is present with the Extreme that is to my liking. The combo of Vortex + Damping Plate results in a bit too much softening of transients, however. Because I found more agreeable performance from 2 other footers, I elected to keep just the Damping Plate on the Extreme and am pleased with its impact although it is subtle.

Titanium G5

Titanium G5.jpeg

G5 titanium alloy resonates at a frequency outside of audibility and so these pucks are supposed to convert damaging vibrational energy into a more benign form that you cannot hear. These were custom made for me (about $30 per puck) by an audiophile friend in Taiwan and can be used individually, In the photo, you'll see 2 of these pucks sandwiching a tungsten carbide ball (grade 0) and this ball quite audibly improves smoothness. These are very effective and with the Extreme, they result in the greatest degree of clarity compared against the other footers I tried. For the price, they cannot be beat. I currently use a larger single puck under each spike of my Wilson Alexia 2s and they work especially well there.

Critical Mass Systems Center Stage 2 (CS2):

CS2x.jpg

The above is a photo I grabbed from the internet but depicts the 3 sizes of CS2 footers available (0.8", 1.0", and 1.5"). The larger the size, the more weight they can support and the more effective they are. They are especially effective under my amplifiers. Under the Extreme, I would bypass the 0.8" and 1.0" CS2s. They are hardly better than the stock feet. The 1.5s are a different story and of all the footers I tried, I chose these as my best footer for the Extreme for now. They give up a touch of clarity and resolution compared against the G5 Titanium footers but they bring about a "creamy" immersiveness that is unique among any footers I have tried. This quality is hard to describe but it results in a pleasing musicality that I like. If it weren't for this specific character trait, I would have gone with the G5 Titanium footers. If there is a downside to these footers, they are expensive and are more expensive than all the other footers I tried combined. Put another way, for the price of these footers, I could have purchased 2 Daiza platforms, the JCAT USB card, and the Sablon USB cable.

More to follow...
 
May 12, 2018
32
11
13
Perth, WA
Hi Roy,

Thanks for being so generous and sharing your experience with the Extreme.

I was intrigued by one of your earlier comments;

" I was hearing much larger improvement with a single D2 Setchi applied to the USB port on my InnuOS Zenith SE and this may be due to the better anti-vibration enhancements built into the Extreme."

I may be reading this incorrectly but am I to understand that grounding issues can be affected by vibration?

Geoff
 

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