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: 53 63.1%
  • Ethernet

    Votes: 14 16.7%
  • Both USB and Ethernet

    Votes: 9 10.7%
  • AES/EBU

    Votes: 10 11.9%
  • Dual AES/EBU

    Votes: 2 2.4%
  • Other

    Votes: 6 7.1%

  • Total voters
    84

the sound of Tao

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2014
2,322
2,123
470
It may come down to how you think of "background" or "active" listening.

I think most people, including Roon users, aren't giving their full attention, or even close to full attention, to music listening most of the time. There are many levels of attention from deep focus to distant background.

I have my system in my work studio. It might be on 4 to 10 hrs a day. If I'm doing work with only my hands, I can still listen with maybe 75% average attention, but wavering in and out with short periods of 100% attention. If I have to be doing more verbal or analytical work, my attention to the music has to go much lower (what most would consider "background"). If I really have to concentrate on something verbal, I'll have to turn the music off or to very low volume.

For active listening, with total immersion, I can't be doing anything else. It's like meditation. Ideally, I'd like to spend 1-2 hours a day attempting to listen with total immersion, if I can find the time.

There's a great piece written by Herb Reichert on the art and effort of deep listening. It's a practice, like meditation, and a skill to be developed over time.
Herb says the best he's done is 2 minutes of perfect concentrated music listening.

https://www.audiostream.com/content/herb-reichert-learning-listen
Yes that’s the way I see active listening also... easy with my horn setup it’s actually hard to do anything else with either the horns or the Magnepan 20.7s... completely engaged... not drifting or reading or browsing or anything.

The Harbeth 40.2s are specifically for multi tasking... great wide sweet spot you can still be musically connected while your active brain does tasking or while having friends around.

There are plenty of people I know using Roon who are just more into the music and access than the sonic sharpening which can also be a perfectly good focus for people as well. I like both.
 
Last edited:

ray-dude

Active Member
Dec 8, 2019
52
108
35
50
It may seem paradoxical, but the better my system has become, the fewer actual hours I listen to music. It is plain harder/impossible to just have it on in the background while I do other things (like work). A piece of music will come and I will stop what I'm doing and become completely engrossed by the performance., and next thing you know, a couple glorious hours of music listening and I'm missing deadlines. Fantastic problem to have, but not good for productivity :(
 

oldmustang

Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2012
199
323
295
Steve, since you have had your Extreme you have said it is close to making your vinyl setup obsolete (I am paraphrasing; correct me if I am sending the wrong message). I also believe you were running Roon on your Extreme. If both those are true I cannot believe Roon is a horribly sounding player whose best use is background music. That’s what Wil said.

TAS may be superior. I am not surprised, but until a week ago everyone said the Extreme + Roon was amazing (which I firmly believe as well).

Roon + Extreme *is* amazing. It is far better than my previous Innuos Zenith + Roon (Squeezelite Experimental mode). That hasn't changed.

But, as Steve W related, with the build 537 update that amazing sound took a very noticeable hit. I heard it right away and spent an uncomfortable couple of days trying to figure out what had changed with my system to lower my overwhelming satisfaction with sound quality so abruptly. Then it dawned on me that Roon had issued an update. Quick work by Emile did much to ameliorate the negative effects of build 537 but it certainly pointed out a vulnerability in being locked into the Roon ecosystem.

Roon + Extreme is far from horrible -- I can and do enjoy it very much. What I think Wil is saying perhaps hyperbolically is that Roon the company is not nearly as interested in sound quality as most of us are, and with every additional layer of "features" they are catering not to audiophiles but to folks who want to have a "life-style musical accessory". If I am interpreting what Emile has written in the past about minimizing overhead in processing requirements being key to wringing out the last iota of sound quality, then the continual layering on of features by Roon can have harmful consequences to finely tuned and highly performing platforms such as the Extreme.

Roon the company state that sound quality is important, but pointing out to them that there are other software systems with better sound quality falls on deaf ears. Indeed, many of the statements of Roon staff fall very close to the "bits are bits" arguments used by those who argue that this or that improvement in the digital domain cannot have any audible effect on sound quality.

This is certainly borne out in the interactions I've had with Roon staff who are extremely dismissive of sound quality concerns and by what I witness on-line at the Roon forum where sound quality issues are routine denigrated by staff and especially by the Roon fan-boys.

I definitely heard the improvement over standard Roon when I started using Roon Experimental (Squeezelite mode) with my Innuos Zenith; I look forward to much the same when TAS is available in the near future.

Steve Z
 
Last edited:

sbo6

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2014
1,068
151
285
Round Rock, TX
FWIW in my system rating sonics:
1) HQPlayer playing local songs copied into a RAMdrive
2) HQPlayer playing songs from the local HDD
3) Roon playing songs from the local HDD via HQPlayer
4) Roon streaming Qobuz via HQPlayer
5) Roon streaming Tidal via HQPlayer
6) Roon playing songs from the local HDD via Roon
7) Roon streaming Qobuz or Tidal via Roon

Net - Stand alone Roon alone is clearly less satisfying versus HQplayer especially playing memory cached songs. While Roon is ~1-2DB louder than stand alone HQPlayer, HQPlayer is more effortless, dynamic with more air, less grunge and a larger sense of space. If there was an Audio-Optimizer for Roon that brought it up to HQplayer's sonics, I'd by it in a minute.
 

austinpop

Well-Known Member
May 23, 2017
59
122
98
Austin, TX
I've just returned from a long drive into Germany to securely get the chassis parts for the next batches of Extreme servers to our workshop in Hengelo. Unfortunately European shipping services have been less reliable then usual lately and we did not want to take any chances for additional delays with so many people eagerly awaiting the arrival of their servers.

Let's just take a moment and admire the commitment to customer satisfaction this simple paragraph reflects! Bravo, Emile.
 

howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
1,615
1,381
520

darkfrank

Member
Oct 29, 2018
16
16
8
32
The only way to optimize ROON efficiently is to re-assemble the code, for example disable those add-on function like dsp or real time audio analyzer, iTunes, airplay support, etc. I know someone in CHINA has been doing this and made the ROON as a Windows Service with the highest system priority , the final outcome is really great, SQ got big improvement. However this is a violate of the TOS so I will not provide any link or more details in it.
 
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vjayh

Well-Known Member
May 20, 2012
27
22
343
The only way to optimize ROON efficiently is to re-assemble the code, for example disable those add-on function like dsp or real time audio analyzer, iTunes, airplay support, etc. I know someone in CHINA has been doing this and made the ROON as a Windows Service with the highest system priority , the final outcome is really great, SQ got big improvement. However this is a violate of the TOS so I will not provide any link or more details in it.
Interesting. Maybe a dumb question, but could one just go back and utilize an older version of Roon with the Extreme? A version that worked just fine and had "the magic" that existed for 200 pages of this forum :)?
 

matthias

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2019
374
120
48
Germany
Interesting. Maybe a dumb question, but could one just go back and utilize an older version of Roon with the Extreme? A version that worked just fine and had "the magic" that existed for 200 pages of this forum :)?

I suppose TAS even in pre-beta outperforms every Roon version with the Extreme. Now imagine how a full production version will sound. :)

Matt
 
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vjayh

Well-Known Member
May 20, 2012
27
22
343
I suppose TAS even in pre-beta outperforms every Roon version with the Extreme. Now imagine how a full production version will sound. :)

Matt
I can imagine. But I can also imagine the Extreme no longer working as a Roon core with 2 other connected systems I have and that bums me out.
 

petavgeris

Member
Apr 16, 2019
14
12
8
49
Roon + Extreme *is* amazing. It is far better than my previous Innuos Zenith + Roon (Squeezelite Experimental mode). That hasn't changed.

But, as Steve W related, with the build 537 update that amazing sound took a very noticeable hit. I heard it right away and spent an uncomfortable couple of days trying to figure out what had changed with my system to lower my overwhelming satisfaction with sound quality so abruptly. Then it dawned on me that Roon had issued an update. Quick work by Emile did much to ameliorate the negative effects of build 537 but it certainly pointed out a vulnerability in being locked into the Roon ecosystem.

Roon + Extreme is far from horrible -- I can and do enjoy it very much. What I think Wil is saying perhaps hyperbolically is that Roon the company is not nearly as interested in sound quality as most of us are, and with every additional layer of "features" they are catering not to audiophiles but to folks who want to have a "life-style musical accessory". If I am interpreting what Emile has written in the past about minimizing overhead in processing requirements being key to wringing out the last iota of sound quality, then the continual layering on of features by Roon can have harmful consequences to finely tuned and highly performing platforms such as the Extreme.

Roon the company state that sound quality is important, but pointing out to them that there are other software systems with better sound quality falls on deaf ears. Indeed, many of the statements of Roon staff fall very close to the "bits are bits" arguments used by those who argue that this or that improvement in the digital domain cannot have any audible effect on sound quality.

This is certainly borne out in the interactions I've had with Roon staff who are extremely dismissive of sound quality concerns and by what I witness on-line at the Roon forum where sound quality issues are routine denigrated by staff and especially by the Roon fan-boys.

I definitely heard the improvement over standard Roon when I started using Roon Experimental (Squeezelite mode) with my Innuos Zenith; I look forward to much the same when TAS is available in the near future.

Steve Z

Hello Steve!

Please do not consider my writings as an offense. Far from it. Just consider them as a point for further thought.
I have not had any personal direct exposure to TAS /Extreme, so I might be more conservative here. But please think over my statement: 'Roon+Extreme can't be far from horrible' in the same way that whatever you multiply with zero is finally zero.
This does not mean that Extreme is horrible. Even if it is the best think on earth, multiplied by zero leads to zero.

Being in the manufacturing arena, I have experienced this the hard way. Unfortunately this is truth, this is reality. You may be making the best products on earth. You may have the best system on earth. Let me come to your place and leave me cut a single piece of wire. One wire only. by 95%+ of the probabilities, you are not going to listen anything from your loudspeakers. Does this mean that e.g. the server or the speakers or whatever are horrible? Of course not.

A manufacturer that behaves in a manner of leaving everything to customer's preference or liking, does not respect his own creations. And if you don't respect your own creations, you don't have the right to ask for respect from your customer's side. Anybody in the business knows this. This is the reason that truly flagship products offer a thorough, complete support and their manufacturers do not blame others for occasional bad results with their own products. Going temporarily any bad way is not bad or unethical in the end. There is always room and time for improvements and corrections. It is then that the manufacturer is called for proving his superiority. So simple!

As I wrote, I experienced Roon deterioration in time for several years. Please read my previous post. Here in this page, we do not speak of a good product that is good for occasional, background listening. Here we are talking of a FLAGSHIP product, maybe the *BEST* product. Unfortunately it relies on software. It relied on a bad software, unsuitable to its goal and purpose: to provide the best possible. Now things have changed dramatically, proving unquestionably the superiority that lies behind all this product. Results speak themselves.

I need to be honest: with various customers and friends that have asked me about the feasibility of getting this supreme server, my reply was usually 'stay away'. For one reason only: you can't claim you're number #1 and at the same time focus on this horrible software. These two can't ever walk side by side. It is a completely wrong philosophy. It's like putting the worse tires for your Lambo, they can't work together. If you are number #1, then you have all the good time in the world to prove it sometime soon.

Combining all the above, I think that we have just had the final proof. I have no more things to write. My congrats to the Taiko team!
 
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onlychild

Active Member
Sep 18, 2019
55
133
35
FWIW in my system rating sonics:
1) HQPlayer playing local songs copied into a RAMdrive
2) HQPlayer playing songs from the local HDD
3) Roon playing songs from the local HDD via HQPlayer
4) Roon streaming Qobuz via HQPlayer
5) Roon streaming Tidal via HQPlayer
6) Roon playing songs from the local HDD via Roon
7) Roon streaming Qobuz or Tidal via Roon

Net - Stand alone Roon alone is clearly less satisfying versus HQplayer especially playing memory cached songs. While Roon is ~1-2DB louder than stand alone HQPlayer, HQPlayer is more effortless, dynamic with more air, less grunge and a larger sense of space. If there was an Audio-Optimizer for Roon that brought it up to HQplayer's sonics, I'd by it in a minute.

I would like to add a few words to this. It could just be me, but I have not noticed the degradation of sound with the last two Roon updates (including the one applied yesterday) that others have noticed. I am using Roon only via HQplayer. My case is a little different since I am using HQPlayer to upsample to 705.6 kHZ to feed the Chord DAVE dac. That is where the DAVE dac really shines!

I am sure TAS will sound better than Roon w/HQPlayer and I eagerly await the day that Emile and team roll it out, but for those who are currently "stuck" with Roon, you might want to give HQplayer a try, even without any upsampling. The trial version has a 30 second limit, but that should be enough to get a sense of any improvements you might hear.

I see my future as :

Critical listening/sheer enjoyment : TAS
Working/Music Discovery : Roon + HQPlayer
 
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Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
I see my future without Roon and it is bright :)

Matt
You're gonna need some shades


I have to admit that even the still very early prebeta version of TAS that i received has kept me in my sound room for hours at a time over the past few days

I've said before that what I have been hearing has made me completely stop thinking of Roon and rather waiting for Emile to release the first live version as that is where I plan on hanging my hat.

For everyone still worried about losing Roon, that simply isn't the case as Extreme owners will have the option to use both merely with the switch of a button
 

vjayh

Well-Known Member
May 20, 2012
27
22
343
I may need to borrow your sunglasses :). I see a future where there isn't anything yet that I can use that's stable across all platforms that I have installed except Roon, but I'm hopeful that the aforementioned TAS Roon combo works seamlessly switching back and forth depending on which system I'm listening to.

Keep in mind tho, right out of the gate, even tho you may be able to switch back and forth, you lose the ability to access the Extreme Roon Core I assume when "switched" to TAS. Sorry other family members...if I'm listening in my dedicated sound room, then essentially you can't.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
12,071
2,785
653
E. England
Would Extreme-ists pay for both Roon and TAS? Roon for searches/new discoveries and to run it to secondary sites in the house, and then switching to TAS in the main zone for the best SQ?
How much would that combined subs cost annually/one-off?
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Would Extreme-ists pay for both Roon and TAS? Roon for searches/new discoveries and to run it to secondary sites in the house, and then switching to TAS in the main zone for the best SQ?
How much would that combined subs cost annually/one-off?
From what I am understanding TAS will be provided to all existing and future Extreme users
 

vjayh

Well-Known Member
May 20, 2012
27
22
343
Right. And I think most have already made the investment in lifetime Roon. Not really a cost issue so much as a compatibility/ functionality issue.
 

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