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: 80 67.2%
  • Ethernet

    Votes: 21 17.6%
  • Both USB and Ethernet

    Votes: 12 10.1%
  • AES/EBU

    Votes: 12 10.1%
  • Dual AES/EBU

    Votes: 3 2.5%
  • Other

    Votes: 7 5.9%

  • Total voters
    119

Taiko Audio

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Extreme Power Question:

In the Manual under the appropriately titled "Advice for HiFi OCD" it states: "At a minimum AC power should be capable of delivering 2KW of continuous power..."

So, if for instance, one had Iso Transformer with a capacity of 1500 continuous watts before the Extreme would that transformer be underpowered?

Or is the actual power needed by the Extreme more like 480 watts continuous power?

No that needs to be amended. The Extreme draws around 60 watts of continuous power, it can draw up to 320 watts but that is only very short term, like during the first 30 seconds or so after power on. It can also draw more if you perform realtime upsampling. This comment is meant to indicate that a “limited” AC supply can restrict apparant dynamics and scale of the performance.
 
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Taiko Audio

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@oldmustang , are you up to trying out our new USB driver with your DCS?
 

oldmustang

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Dec 2, 2012
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austinpop

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May 23, 2017
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The DAVE's Amanero based USB interface also appears somewhat unusual (from our POV), so we are currently looking into optimizing native 32-bit file playback performance.

This is the kind of attention to detail that I truly appreciate, as both an Extreme and DAVE owner. Emile takes a "no customer left behind" approach.

As an obsessive DIYer myself, I had to chuckle at the lengths Emile goes to to extract SQ. In one of our conversations wrt the alpha I asked him why, when switching back to Roon from the Control App, the Roon icon was no longer displayed in the taskbar. His response: we hid it because it sounded better. :)
 

matthias

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Mar 14, 2019
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As for Qobuz streaming versus local file playback, Emile and group have done well to narrow the gap which is a remarkable feat but my method of local file playback is unique and consequently, Qobuz streaming will never quite equal local file playback. The following is a screen capture of playback of one of my reference files through Qobuz. Notice the playback streaming bit rate of 750kb/s of this Redbook file at the bottom.

Here is playback of that same track on TAS from the Extreme's local storage but note the massively increased bit rate:

The gap in bit rates is like comparing hi-res to mp3 and it sounds like it, too. Obviously, this file has been manipulated but plays back bit-perfect on TAS and sounds simply STUNNING on the Chord DAVE. This has absolutely nothing to do with HQP btw and unfortunately, seems to benefit mainly Chord DACs.
Hi @romaz ,

very nice review as always.

Please can you shed some light on your unique method of local file playback

and

how do you get the mentioned massively increased bit rate.

Thank you

Matt
 
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matthias

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LMS was indeed the chosen starting point to build out the Taiko Audio System.

From the perspective of SQ, the player software does more than 2/3 rds of the heavy lifting. Extreme HQP and Extreme XD have been coded from the ground up and both share no common source code with Squeezelite or other LMS players

Taiko will also be releasing its own optimized derivative of LMS which we confidently expect will raise the SQ bar even higher.

A lot of the available features in LMS won’t make it into TAS as they can’t be at a SQ level which Taiko Owners enjoy and expect.

There is also going to be a new Taiko App User Interface for browsing, playing tracks and creating playlists that hopefully will be intuitive and a pleasure to use. Wilson cut his coding teeth 20 years ago as a database programmer and we expect those skills to come into play in the coming software releases

This is a very exciting project for us, but the most rewarding part is being able to deliver enhanced listening pleasure to the Taiko Customer base

Since LMS is able to operate on all platforms is there a chance to get versions of TAS outside the Extreme?

Thank you

Matt
 
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ctydwn

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Aug 23, 2019
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Curious whether TAS by itself would necessitate any changes to existing upstream network optimization tweaks, including switches, that have been optimized for Roon playback. I am guessing no but it all does seem like magic to me so thought I'd ask...:oops:

Separately, also wondering whether the Taiko switch will eliminate/subsume the benefits of say the M12 Gold switch, or if they would complement one another, or if it could be system dependent.
 
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nenon

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Curious whether TAS by itself would necessitate any changes to existing upstream network optimization tweaks, including switches, that have been optimized for Roon playback. I am guessing no but it all does seem like magic to me so thought I'd ask...:oops:

Separately, also wondering whether the Taiko switch will eliminate/subsume the benefits of say the M12 Gold switch, or if they would complement one another, or if it could be system dependent.

I consider the network equipment as part of my "source". Ask DAC manufacturers if the source upstream of the DAC matters, and the most common answer you would get is that the USB is galvanically isolated, the signal is reclocked, and the source does not matter or matters very little. Ask a Taiko Extreme owner if the source (i.e. the server) matters and you will get 100% consistent answer that the source matters A LOT. And in many cases it makes as much difference or even bigger difference than the DAC itself.

Every good designer has a goal to make their products immune to the surrounding environment. To name a couple examples - Speaker manufacturers try to add room correction, but there is no complete immunity from a horrible sounding room; equipment manufacturers try to create very advanced power supplies in their products to make them immune to power line noise, but as we know good power cords, dedicated mains circuits, power conditioners, etc. can make a big improvement on those devices.

Some DAC manufacturers make their products more "immune" to sources than others. But there is no such thing as complete immunity to the source. And that applies to even the most expensive DACs money can possibly buy. You often see MSB Select DACs paired with Taiko Extreme for example. There is a really good reason for that. Simply put, it sounds on a completely different level than a Roon Nucleus for example. Not picking on the Nucleus, it was the first product that came to mind.

I believe the same rule applies to music servers. Some manufacturers can make their products more immune to the upstream source devices (i.e. network devices). AFAICT, the Extreme / TAS combo is way ahead of the competition. And while it would probably make network devices much less noticeable, I think they would never be completely immune. Otherwise, Taiko would not be developing their own switch... or at least that's what my logic tells me.

It is an astonishing accomplishment that TAS "fixes" Qobuz streaming issues and makes it sound as good or almost as good as playing local files. But remember that network devices also influence local file playback. My wild guess would be that even with TAS, network devices would make a difference. I have tripped into this several times thinking that as I improve some main components, they will make other components less important. And every time the outcome has been the same - the better my main components get, the more resolving my system becomes, and unfortunately the not so critical components I was hoping would not make a difference all of a sudden started to make even bigger difference.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I believe switches would still make a difference :).
 
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ray-dude

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Dec 8, 2019
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I agree with Nenon 100%. What matters is that the server is connected to the network and listening to the network. Caching schemes can help decouple, but the connection is still there. You want as little network traffic as possible to and from your server, and you want it as clean as possible, and you want it as decoupled from music playback as possible. The reference level is playback with the machine physically unplugged from the network, and TAS does a very fine (even remarkable) job of significantly closing that gap, but alas, everything still matters.

The good news (for me) is that the upcoming Taiko switch and USB card will allow full tuning of the system from the switch to the USB input to the DAC, with full control of all critical elements in between. The building blocks are there to tune to difference reference DACs as well. As amazing as things sound today, they are about to get better, Very glad to be part of the Extreme project!
 

austinpop

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May 23, 2017
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Austin, TX
Curious whether TAS by itself would necessitate any changes to existing upstream network optimization tweaks, including switches, that have been optimized for Roon playback. I am guessing no but it all does seem like magic to me so thought I'd ask...:oops:

Separately, also wondering whether the Taiko switch will eliminate/subsume the benefits of say the M12 Gold switch, or if they would complement one another, or if it could be system dependent.

My thoughts are in sync with @nenon and @ray-dude.

As some here know, I'm no stranger to network optimization tweaks. :cool:

I just posted my thoughts on the effect of TAS on network optimizations over on AS at this link.
 

cat6man

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Feb 7, 2013
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I believe the same rule applies to music servers. Some manufacturers can make their products more immune to the upstream source devices (i.e. network devices). AFAICT, the Extreme / TAS combo is way ahead of the competition. And while it would probably make network devices much less noticeable, I think they would never be completely immune. Otherwise, Taiko would not be developing their own switch... or at least that's what my logic tells me.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I believe switches would still make a difference :).

My hope would be that the Taiko switch, optimized to feed the extreme, would virtually eliminate the effects of things further upstream from the Taiko switch.........but that one switch would still be needed between the 'network' and the extreme.
 
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romaz

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Oct 7, 2015
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Curious whether TAS by itself would necessitate any changes to existing upstream network optimization tweaks, including switches, that have been optimized for Roon playback. I am guessing no but it all does seem like magic to me so thought I'd ask...:oops:

Separately, also wondering whether the Taiko switch will eliminate/subsume the benefits of say the M12 Gold switch, or if they would complement one another, or if it could be system dependent.

I agree with what both @nenon and @ray-dude have said but my journey with networking has taken a bit of an unexpected turn and so my current viewpoint may be surprising to some. My personal experience with the network with regards to my Extreme are well chronicled on these pages and so I won't rehash what I've said except to say that the network has the potential to cause great harm (as much harm as a bad software player) and it generally has nothing to do with ground loops or leakage currents as optical and wifi networks can sound just as bad.

When the horrible Roon update 528 was released, it forced me to become very suspicious. It turns out Roon is a very social product and likes to go out into the network at all hours of the day and night. It is needy and insecure as it's seems to be always looking for its client. It is chatty and doesn't ever stop talking. It is promiscuous. While I can't prove it, I think it even brought home an STD once or twice.

In a fit of disappointment, I once tried to take away Roon's network privileges and so I disconnected it from the network cable. After a few minutes, it revolted and refused to play. It was clear this thing was hooked on crack network but during the few minutes that it was playing free of the network, it was readily evident that SQ was better. This was further proof that I needed to move on.

I knew I needed to find something that was more anti-social, more homely looking, and didn't have loneliness issues or network dependencies...like a CD transport. Unfortunately, I gave away my CD collection at the same time I donated my Members Only jacket and Speedo collection to the needy years ago. And so the next best thing I could find was HQPlayer. Antisocial...check. Homely looking...check. Network-independent...check. Once in playback mode, HQP can operate completely devoid of the network, playing back one album after another or whatever mix you have set up in the queue and so during these times, I would disconnect my network. The best possible network switch is to have no network. It's the automatic SQ edge that CD transports have and once you get used to what this kind of network silence sounds like, it becomes easier to gauge the SQ impact of a network switch. You can stack 2, 3, 4, or 5 network switches together and SQ continues to change with each added switch and possibly for the better but thus far, no switch or combination of switches has ever equaled the sound of a completely disconnected network.

While I am not trying to advocate a network-free lifestyle, for the sake of SQ, during the playback of music, it is what I did for months. I plugged my network switch into a Philips Hue outlet and this allowed me to remotely toggle it off and on and so this made it easier. But then something happened that made this behavior unnecessary. Some months ago, Emile tweaked one of my RJ-45 Ethernet ports and left the other port untweaked and this made it easy to hear the differences between the two. Plugged into the tweaked Ethernet port, it didn't seem to matter anymore whether the network switch was kept on or off. There were still differences but now they were inconsequential and differences that I could live with. Did this tweak somehow bring network immunity?

Unfortunately, not completely. With HQP already being much less chatty, this tweak was as effective as having the switch disconnected but with Roon, you can still tell. I have yet to test this with TAS but the fact that Qobuz streaming now sounds almost as good as local playback, this is a good sign that Emile's upcoming switch may not be as important as his USB card. I guess we'll see.
 

ctydwn

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Aug 23, 2019
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Thanks very much for the responses @nenon @ray-dude @romaz @austinpop @cat6man. definitely answers any questions i had and seriously reinforces not only the excitement of what seems to be on the horizon but also the amazing versatility of the Taiko solution to potentially cater to a variety of user preferences
 
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Esotar

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Wow~

I'm lost for words....

This is really possible????

Only Emile can do it.

Really shocking....

127227964_2819584491659387_5242506113138937080_o-2-1.jpg
 

Taiko Audio

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Both the DCS Vivaldi DAC and Upsampler are now supported:

DCS1.JPG

DCS2.JPG
 
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oldmustang

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Screen Shot 2020-11-26 at 8.41.47 AM.png

I can testify it works great. The above is a screenshot of the master at work installing the Taiko USB driver on my Extreme.

More critical listening to support feedback to Emile and team will have to wait for later today but so far I've run it through a variety of sample rates, both PCM and DSD and I can say it sounds lovely.

Thanks to Emile and his whole team for all their work, and American Thanksgiving Day thanks to all my WBF friends for their camaraderie and the spirit of free and open discussion we enjoy about our favorite musical endeavors.

Steve Z
 

oldmustang

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Oh, by the way -- a little trick I learned while I was observing Wilson working via TeamViewer. By opening a browser window and typing in the IP address of the Extreme and port 9000

192.xxx.xxx.xxx:9000

A browser window will open to the TAS app alpha:

Screen Shot 2020-11-26 at 9.22.32 AM.png

I find I really like this view for adding things to the queue. The browser window player isn't identical to the iOS app, but all the important things seem to work just fine.

Just an FYI.

Steve Z
 

cat6man

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Feb 7, 2013
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Oh, by the way -- a little trick I learned while I was observing Wilson working via TeamViewer. By opening a browser window and typing in the IP address of the Extreme and port 9000

192.xxx.xxx.xxx:9000

A browser window will open to the TAS app alpha:

View attachment 71866

I find I really like this view for adding things to the queue. The browser window player isn't identical to the iOS app, but all the important things seem to work just fine.

Just an FYI.

Steve Z

hey now!

that is a very helpful post, as i now see a way to access/control a Taiko extreme when i don't (and won't) support/have apple devices here.
presumably an android app will be available later on, but this method, akin to LMS access from the web, would be a sufficient alternative in the meantime.

listen to the music play
 
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oldmustang

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hey now!

that is a very helpful post, as i now see a way to access/control a Taiko extreme when i don't (and won't) support/have apple devices here.
presumably an android app will be available later on, but this method, akin to LMS access from the web, would be a sufficient alternative in the meantime.

listen to the music play

You're welcome. Pretty sure this is an LMS thing, since there is a fair amount of LMS DNA in the Taiko app. Not the sound quality stuff, but the structure to hang things on in TAS. Ed mentioned that a desktop version of TAS is on the to-do list, but that it is at least six months out. Hopefully, the browser port will continue to work with TAS betas to come.

Nothing wrong with a little Grateful Dead on a Thursday morning. . . :)

Steve Z
 

Taiko Audio

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hey now!

that is a very helpful post, as i now see a way to access/control a Taiko extreme when i don't (and won't) support/have apple devices here.
presumably an android app will be available later on, but this method, akin to LMS access from the web, would be a sufficient alternative in the meantime.

listen to the music play

We actually do have an android app!
 
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