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

Sablon Audio

Industry Expert, VIP Donor
May 22, 2015
1,064
740
478
Some more feedback on my journey into Taiko-land. I initially reported that I thought that, although the sound was superb, I was sure that there was more low level detail to be obtained (based on a battery powered digital front end I had a few years ago).

Reading back in this thread, it seemed likely that the power cable was (one of) my weak link, so I got on Mark's list to demo the
Prince power cable to has so impressed ray-dude and others.

My first response was not quite as dramatic as that of ray-dude, who heard a "i'm done now" gain in SQ as soon as he added the Sablon to his extreme. I did not have that experience but ended up in the same place eventually!

My initial reaction, replacing a Shunyata Diamondback Platinum power cable on a Synergistic Research
powercell 12 UEF SE power conditioner, was a subtle but important improvement in low level detail, for
example the micro modulations of Joan Baez's voice. I attribute this to a lowering of the noise, which impacts both background
silence and the low level details carried on top of louder sounds.

A bigger surprise was taking the Prince out of the system, where the absence of the Sablon cable made a much larger difference than I remember when adding the cable. The sound was now much less relaxing and more edgy. After getting used to the Prince, taking it out was a shock. So I ended up in the same place as ray-dude at the end :)
The Sablon cable is really really good on the Extreme.

Now, since I have already spent the entire year's audio budget on the Extreme, I'm waiting to hear about the Taiko USB card and map out what is my purchase on the road to audio nirvana/nervosa.

Next step: move the Centerstage2 footers currently under my headphone amp to under the Extreme.
I'm glad you got to enjoy the cord cat6man and that your feelings correlated with those of other listeners. As I have used all of Emile's servers over the past several years, it is somewhat implicit that my cables have been developed to work synergistically. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.
 

wil

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2015
528
323
273
I'm wondering if the Taiko team or anyone interested in Network audio has seen this WBF thread?

Multigig modem/router mod project​

Xymox

He's doing a deep dive into creating a SOTA modem/router. At this point, he admits he doesn't know if any sound quality improvements will result, but interesting for sure.

 

sbo6

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2014
1,192
224
320
Round Rock, TX
Where did I say you need to spend $50k? You are the one who started talking about $30k analog in a thread in which the gear being discussed cost $30k without a DAC.
You stated, "My guess is that the vast number of people who own an Extreme have over $50k invested in their digital front end. Digital sound can be great but it isn't that cheap to get it."

That sure sounds to me as if you're implying over $50K in digital "can be great", no?

And I simply leveraged this thread based on the advances that Alex achieved in his stellar music server which seem to have capitalized much owners' listening time, many who touted vinyl like a religion and digital as the antichrist. The ~$30K was a threshold IME and is not exclusive to the Extreme. Capice? :)
 

dminches

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2011
1,711
641
555
You stated, "My guess is that the vast number of people who own an Extreme have over $50k invested in their digital front end. Digital sound can be great but it isn't that cheap to get it."

That sure sounds to me as if you're implying over $50K in digital "can be great", no?

And I simply leveraged this thread based on the advances that Alex achieved in his stellar music server which seem to have capitalized much owners' listening time, many who touted vinyl like a religion and digital as the antichrist. The ~$30K was a threshold IME and is not exclusive to the Extreme. Capice? :)

No. You have misunderstood what I said. Just to clarify.

My first sentence was to point out that people with Extremes have a lot of money invested in digital.

My second sentence reflects my experience. Good digital isn't cheap, especially if one wants to compare it to analog.

Also, you said "who said you need $50k to get great digital" in response to my comments. I certainly never said that and don't believe that to be true. I also don't think you need to spend $30k to get great sound out of turntable rig either.
 

oldmustang

Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2012
340
560
435
Has anyone found a way in TAS to simply add a track (Playing or in Queue) to an existing Playlist?
I haven't, and one of my wish list items for the full Taiko version of TAS is the ability to add a track or album to a playlist from any screen in TAS with a minimum of clicking (say, one click to select "Add to Playlist", which would take the user to a screen where the user then clicks on an existing playlist to add the item or is allowed to create a new playlist with that item in it).

Steve Z
 

oldmustang

Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2012
340
560
435
go down to the track level, hit the 3 dots at the right, and select "append to queue" to add a track

to add an album, go to track level and hit plus sign inside circle to add all tracks on that album
That will add a track or album to the Queue, but the OP question (and mine, too) is about adding a Playing or Queue track to an existing Playlist.
 

AMR / iFi audio

Industry Expert
Aug 21, 2019
735
311
75
40
UK
ifi-audio.com
Depends on the quality of the implementation ;-)

One thing I have observed the last 6 years, is that the sonic quality and difference "boutique" parts make. It was no surprise in the analog realm, but the interesting observations and datapoints have been how these boutique parts make a comparable difference in the digital realm.

Wire quality, capacitor build and chemistry all make a very audible difference.

The difference a good power cord makes to the Extreme, is not explained by ones and zeroes
Could not agree more. Music is not maths or engineering where things can be compared and explained in numbers.
 

wil

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2015
528
323
273
Is there a way to check what USB driver we have in the TAS Server settings? I have no idea what driver version I'm running.
 

oldmustang

Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2012
340
560
435
Is there a way to check what USB driver we have in the TAS Server settings? I have no idea what driver version I'm running.
If you log onto your Extreme with VNC and look at the Windows desktop, on the lower right side of the of the window are a couple of icons. Click on the Taiko Audio USB driver icon (red "Tau" symbol) to expand it. The version of the driver can be found under the "About" tab.

Steve Z
 

Rhapsody

VIP/Donor
Jan 16, 2013
1,809
2,271
815
NYC
If you log onto your Extreme with VNC and look at the Windows desktop, on the lower right side of the of the window are a couple of icons. Click on the Taiko Audio USB driver icon (red "Tau" symbol) to expand it. The version of the driver can be found under the "About" tab.

Steve Z
Love it Steve. Learn something every day!!! Thx.
 

oldmustang

Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2012
340
560
435

heebrog

Well-Known Member
May 12, 2018
101
39
95
Perth, WA
If you log onto your Extreme with VNC and look at the Windows desktop, on the lower right side of the of the window are a couple of icons. Click on the Taiko Audio USB driver icon (red "Tau" symbol) to expand it. The version of the driver can be found under the "About" tab.

Steve Z
Hi Steve,

Which one is it? I can't see a red "Tau" symbol on my VNC Windows screen. I'm using a Chord DAVE dac.
 

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Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
1,884
3,140
435
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
PCIe to USB bridge update:

While the guys are working on casting the XO's in their Panzerholz anti vibration mounts, machining the copper brackets for mounting the PCB's into the Extreme and soldering the wire harnesses, I have been getting some hands on quality time with this final production level revision of the board with some interesting and also a few, admittedly, unexpected results.

First of all our effort to produce a card that does not change the general voicing / sound signature of the Extreme have endured. It really "sounds" the same in general terms. What it does do is remove a significant amount of hash, grunge and even distortion of the stereotype "you had no idea it was there until it's gone". The result of this is a much more relaxing sound with a better musical "flow", a larger dynamic range and a significant increase in separation, especially noticeable when using TAS is for example the differentiation of a piano piece where you can now clearly separate the hammer striking the string, the string and tone board resonances and all of its subtle decays fading out over time, all combined into a singular event with correct placement into the soundstage, each individual part with the right relative volume, making it just much more believable and natural. The whole listening experiences becomes both more relaxing and exciting at the same time. The impact is fundamental, straight to the heart of musical enjoyment.

An unexpected side effect I did not anticipate is it dramatically changes the equation on the networking side of things. Where we managed to achieve a significantly reduced audibility of network components used in TAS, the USB card changes the equation. My favourite (currently available) switch for example is the Telegartner Gold M12 with its supplied CAT7 network cables, however with the USB card in the Extreme, it deteriorates performance compared to a standard Netgear GS108 switch with a standard CAT5/6 unshielded network cable, muting top end extension, decreasing overall clarity and detail levels and reducing dynamic impact and sound staging abilities. This is a complete reversal of what used to be a reasonable predictable scenario. Even more surprisingly it applies to BOTH TAS and Roon to a similar degree. We will have to verify these results with some other "audiophile" switches and network cables, our resident Ether Regen has unfortunately passed on to the digital after life, cause unknown, it did run very hot. We will verify the impact on Fibre networking next either running direct from our router or by using FMC's. We may have entered a stage where the de-tweaking philosophy of forum member ddk (to achieve a more natural sound) may have become a reality for digital playback, at least on the networking side.

A partial technical explanation for this may be found in the noise performance of the USB card. I am hesitant in sharing as many design details as I used to as we have grown from a garage/home based 3 man part-time team to a full time 7 man team operating from a 20.000 sq ft facility with about a dozen subcontractors. There are over 2000 engineering hours that went into the design, excluding listening evaluations which I did not keep track of, all components have been selected by a combination of simulated and measured performance, suitability for circuit design and listening tests. So we do have some intellectual property to protect at this level of involvement and scale of operation. With all of that said, noise performance clearly matters, over a very wide bandwidth, even from a very low 0.1Hz up to 100MHz and possibly even higher. Every single component has a noise signature, often subject to external influences, and even if this is exceedingly low, it can have a surprising impact on perceived playback sound quality. Voltage regulator performance is of paramount importance. Nowadays you have "ultra low noise" IC regulators like the popular LT3045, although these are pretty good on their own, they do not reach the performance of a well designed discrete regulator. We do employ a pair of LT3045s, but they are only used in a less critical location as a pre-regulator, followed up by lower noise regulator designs. On the subject of clocking, you could view an oscillator as a noise regulator, a necessary evil in digital playback. I think there is no disagreement on those having an impact on sound quality. The large Can OCXO's which have become popular in digital audio are available in many shapes, forms and different performance levels for different applications. An OCXO is made up from a crystal, cut to resonate at a specific frequency. The stability is subject to variations in applied voltage, surrounding circuitry and external influences like temperature and vibration. The crystal in an OCXO is cut to perform optimal in a specific temperature range, a controlled heating element (oven) is added to ensure the crystal remains within that temperature range to reach maximum stability, typically between 70 and 85 degrees Celsius. Commercially available packages include the crystal, oven and surrounding circuitry into a single "tin can" which you can often drop into an existing design replacing less stable oscillators. The surrounding circuitry can have quite a few components, capacitors, resistors, chokes, logic IC's, regulation, filter circuits etc. This will all be operating at relative high temperatures, of course the parts used are rated to operate in that range so there is a reasonable life expectancy, though performance does change over time. We have some experience with this using OCXO's in our first models, and performance does change noticeably over a 3-5 year timespan, even diverging off spec to the point where the system starts producing errors. We have had to replace the OCXO's in our 2015 model on several occasions already which is simply unacceptable at this level of expenditure. The XO design we use has been redesigned from the ground up to operate optimally in a ~30-45 degree Celsius temperature range which is the typical internal operating temperature of the Extreme (~10 degrees above ambient). The design goal was to have a competitive phase noise performance to even quite costly OCXO's and being able to evaluate all components used in the XO circuitry for their influence on Sound Quality. The crystal is cut to work optimal in that temperature range, it turned out quite well, the discard rate is a very low 5.3%. The circuitry components tolerance is very tight and the series production performance variation is negligible. I will not disclose specs but it exceeds the performance of a reference OCXO which on its own exceeds the entire USB card retail price, without the use of an oven!

It just turned out even better than I had hoped for. I would carefully like to call it a very significant advance for computer based playback / streaming but the proof will have to come from you, our valued customers, listening evaluations.

The retail price has turned out higher then what we originally aimed for at EURO 1600 excluding sales tax where applicable, but I do feel it's performance more than warrants its price tag.
 

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
1,884
3,140
435
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
Hi Steve,

Which one is it? I can't see a red "Tau" symbol on my VNC Windows screen. I'm using a Chord DAVE dac.

The Chord Dave cannot be supported by our driver as it uses an Amanero USB interface. See the list below for supported DACs.


Update of the DACs supported by our USB driver:



Currently supported:

-APL DSD-MR

-Aries Cerat

-Aqua Formula xHD V2.0

-Bricasti MDxx

-DCS Vivaldi

-DCS Vivaldi Up-sampler

-DCS Vivaldi One

-Ideon Absolute

-Lampizator (with jlsounds interface)

-LH Davinci MKII

-MSB Pro USB

-Pilium Elektra

-Thrax Maximinus

-Totaldac

-Trinity Reference

-Vitus

-Ypsilon 1000

-CH Precision

-Esoteric Grandioso D1X

-Esoteric K-01X

-Nagra HD-X

-Brinkmann Nyquist


Pending:

-T+A HV 3100 series

-Denafrips Terminator Plus

-EMM Labs DAC 2



To have your DAC added contact us at contact@taikoaudio.com or run the Thesycon USB Descriptor Dumper utility downloadable here: https://thesycon.de/eng/usb_descriptordumper.shtml and e-mail us the output (use the save as file option).
 

dminches

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2011
1,711
641
555
Emile, thanks for taking the time to explain all that.

One of the conclusions I have drawn this all this is that Extreme owners are probably going to have to follow the guidance on the Taiko team for the entire signal path from router to DAC. Interjecting one's own network tweaks could upset the equilibrium (not that trying is harmful).

In the end I assume you feel that the Extreme with the new USB card is an improved solution than without it?
 

wil

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2015
528
323
273
Emile, thanks for taking the time to explain all that.

One of the conclusions I have drawn this all this is that Extreme owners are probably going to have to follow the guidance on the Taiko team for the entire signal path from router to DAC. Interjecting one's own network tweaks could upset the equilibrium (not that trying is harmful).

In the end I assume you feel that the Extreme with the new USB card is an improved solution than without it?
Since TAS, the efficacy of audiophile switch's has gone from being powerful to (possibly) negligible to now reportedly harmful. That's quite an evolution and a welcome one at that!

In parsing Emiles explanation, it sounds like Emile might be saying the new USB card's clock is better without another clock (in the switch) coming before it. But doesn't the off the shelf Netgear switch, which is not degrading sq, also have a clock (and of lower quality than the audiophile switch clock)?
 
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dminches

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2011
1,711
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Since TAS, the efficacy of audiophile switch's has gone from being powerful to (possibly) negligible to now reportedly harmful. That's quite an evolution and a welcome one at that!

That has not been the experience for some users and in Emile's post he even indicated that the Telegartner Gold M12 had a positive effect prior to adding the USB card.
 

wil

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2015
528
323
273
I've been curious to hear if or if not TAS is reducing the efficacy of network interventions. So far, I can only think of three comments so far on this thread (maybe I missed some): Emile - "significantly reduced" ; Bob - inaudible, so he moved the switches out ; and someone using the Melco with pink faun upgrade reporting it still to be a positive. I haven't taken the time to compare yet in my system/
 

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