Taiko Audio SGM Extreme : the Crème de la Crème

matthias

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Correction, move the storage card from slot 3 to slot 1, then move the Optane drive from slot 5 to slot 3, then install the USB card in slot 5. That would be just perfect.

Emile,
does an Extreme with only the Optane drive and the USB card sound superior to one with additional storage?
Thanks

Matt
 

Taiko Audio

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Emile,
does an Extreme with only the Optane drive and the USB card sound superior to one with additional storage?
Thanks

Matt

No. Especially if the storage cards are in slots 1 and 7 which are handled by a different CPU.

Slots 3,4,5 are connected to CPU1, slots 1,2,6,7 to CPU2.
 

ray-dude

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Dec 8, 2019
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The ups and downs with the USB card as it settles in are quite something. Overall trend is up, with some dips and valleys along the way.

At this level of refinement, it takes so little to disrupt the magic, that paradoxically it is actually much easier to hear system changes and their impact. Enjoying checking in a couple times a day to enjoy some music as things settle in...

I can't imagine the patience required to voice these things when caps/clocks/etc. settling in over a period of days.
 

oldmustang

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The ups and downs with the USB card as it settles in are quite something. Overall trend is up, with some dips and valleys along the way.

At this level of refinement, it takes so little to disrupt the magic, that paradoxically it is actually much easier to hear system changes and their impact. Enjoying checking in a couple times a day to enjoy some music as things settle in...

I can't imagine the patience required to voice these things when caps/clocks/etc. settling in over a period of days.
Well, different horses for different courses, er, systems. Though it's still early days I haven't heard any dips or valleys. The Taiko USB card been getting better all the time.

Steve Z
 
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Rhapsody

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Well, different horses for different courses, er, systems. Though it's still early days I haven't heard any dips or valleys. The Taiko USB card been getting better all the time.

Steve Z
I agree, I've not heard any valleys....just kept getting better.
 

oldmustang

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We have ignition.

Cold out of the box, I hear things I love but I'm not going to comment on the details until I get some hours on this puppy.
Well, hopefully not ignition!

Come on, give us a few of the juicy details. We won't tell anyone else. Promise!

Steve Z
 
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Sampajanna

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Hello. I joined WBF to ask a question in this thread. I love the passion of both the creators and owners of this worldclass streamer. I have 2 questions:

1) I am an Mscaler + Dave user. I tried HQP and did not like it. (like AudioBacon I found HMS slightly better in SQ.) I am sure you can get it working great but for me it involves too many tweaks. I like critical listening and tweaks as any audiophile but we all have our balance of tweaking/critical listening and enjoying the music. I fall more on the enjoyment side and too much tweaking starts to hamper my experiece. So, with this setup is an Extreme worth investing in since my upscaler/Dac is not supported? Should I also think about a new Dac? I worked hard to balance my system and found the HMS + Dave better than even higher priced dacs for my speakers which are a tiny bit warm (Marten) and so benefit from the dynamics and transparency of the Dave, especially with the two DC4s I have powering them.... Anyway, love the idea of a Taiko, I just want to know if it will mean a whole system overhaul in your opinions...

2) Does the new usb card come with Extremes now?

Thanks so much for all your work creating, testing and tweaking this glorious server. I am sure I am not alone in hovering on the fringes, lurking and contemplating it...

Current system:
Innuos Statement> Mscaler> Wavestorm BNC> Dave> AVM Ovation MA 8.3 monos> Marten Mingus speakers
Everest 8000 and all Shunyata cabling. 2 X Sean Jacobs DC4 for Mscaler and Dave
 
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Taiko Audio

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Welcome to the forum @Sampajanna .

I do believe forum member @romaz did a comparative test to the Innuos Statement while using the Dave a few 1000 posts back. This thread has become quite lengthy making it hard to find fast. A search on “statement” posted by @romaz in this thread should bring it up.

While the Dave/Mscaler are not supported by our own driver, that is just one small part of the whole package, it works just fine with the Chord supplied driver.

I have just aquired a Dave and DC4 myself which I have burning in now before giving them a serious audition. This was long overdue as we do have a fast growing amount of Dave / DC4 owners in our customer base, might even be at 15-20% now which is a considerable share. What I did already distill is that the DC4 is absolutely a mandatory addition, I would not bother buying a Dave without the DC4. The delta is really a “meh” to “wow” kind of thing.
 

Sampajanna

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Not just Dave with DC4, but also Mscaler with another DC4 and you will see it best significantly more expensive DACs, especially with smoother speakers like mine.... Also the Wavestorm cables are a must. I would say more than the dc4. I believe Robb Watts has even said as much. But I don’t want to derail this wonderful thread.

Thanks for the welcome. Id love to hear some Taiko+ Mscaler+ Dave experiences from anyone here!
 

Taiko Audio

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The Extreme is the most expensive audio purchase I have made so far. I was really hesitant to pull the trigger since I already owned the Innuos Statement, but after reading reviews from ears I trusted, the same ears that have not led me astray so far, I had to indulge my curiosity.

What I was most curios about was the “thinness” I kept reading about from severs that had low power CPUs. My experience has only been with two different models of the Innuos servers, both of which have been low power CPUs.
View attachment 61911
Being one of the few headphone only listeners, I wanted to share some initial impressions with the Extreme and some unscientific comparisons between the Extreme and Statement.

Wow, the Dynamics, unreal. This was the first thing I noticed and in the first few seconds. The dynamics are much much better! Then I heard was I was hoping to hear, the so called “thinness” was gone. It is hard to put in words, but the sound was not only denser, it was more….”Grand”. I’ve thought about this for a bit, and “grand” is the best description I can come up with. Not only were instruments denser in sound, they were much better defined. The soundstage expended considerably in all directions. Instruments had much better impact as well. All of this lead to what I call a "grander" presentation. It sounded bigger, more impactful and more encompassing. The overall presentation is just so different from the Statement, in so many aspects, that it is something you have to hear for yourself to grasp the true magnitude of improvement. My Statement now sounded thin in comparison to the Extreme and there is no going back.

But there are so many other things the Extreme does better than the Statement. The sound was now smoother but with more details. Background and nuanced sounds are a lot easier to hear. The sound is larger and bigger (grand). Also, another initial impression I heard was that the Extreme made it sound like my amp was more powerful. The grip it had on the Susvara drivers was much better controlled (the start and stop on a dime reference I read in @romaz’s review was easily heard with headphones). It’s also more engaging than the Statement and that has a lot to do with the sheer amount of improvements on all aspects of the signal.

As I get more time with it, I will post more impressions. For now, it is in burn-in mode and since my Tripoint Troy NG cables need burn in too, it is currently hooked up to the ground screw that Emile now provides with the Extreme. Once the Tripoint and Extreme are fully burned in, I will post more impression with and without the Tripoint hooked up to the Extreme, but for now I am in complete audio heaven.
View attachment 61910

And last thing to mention is the case work on the Extreme. Pics and words just don’t do it justice. This thing is a beast and beautiful as well. The matte black case with the sheer size, weight and beauty makes me think of a sever you would find in the Batcave! Yes, its that awesome!

Bravo Emile!!

Here's a post from a Dave owner.
 

Taiko Audio

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An "appropriate" CPU is not any more important than the other components in a music server, it's just most servers today are using what I would consider less than appropriate CPUs.

Of course, it's not just about high-power CPUs. Having tried my Hewlett Packard Z820 workstation which has dual Xeons and my son's high-powered gaming PC as music servers, it's hard to listen for very long because they sound quite harsh but I would consider a high power CPU a necessary starting point when looking for a music server. It's what initially drew my interest to the Extreme.

I'm sure there will be many who will be skeptical of this claim because how can >95% of the music server manufacturers be wrong? Considering how a non-upsampling music server that uses dual high-power CPUs, no fancy clocks, and outputs through the stock USB port of an off-the-shelf motherboard is being acclaimed by many as the best music server in the world right now and has had a waiting list to buy one that has been as long as 3 months despite its $25k price tag is pretty strong support of this claim.

Once again, I don't want people to think that the Extreme is just about its dual Xeons because it is not but it is fundamental to its design. Had Emile gone with the same low power Pentium used by the Statement, as an example, there would have been no need for such a large expensive chassis with such an elaborate passive cooling system along with a power supply capable of powering a small amplifier. The engineering and cost to properly implement 2 high power Xeons are obviously not trivial hence the Extreme's large price tag but unlike many high-end audiophile components that are often over-engineered to diminishing returns, based on my own experience, the gains from going high power are significant and cannot be overstated.

This brings up the question of obsolescence. I had barely owned my InnuOS Zenith SE Mk 2 for a year when it was already obsolete. Not that the Statement made it obsolete because while I felt the Statement was a significant step better, it was not revolutionary better. It was my discovery of the benefits of high power CPUs that did the Zenith SE in. Once I heard what a music server with a high power CPU could sound like, there was no going back and so this raises the question of whether the Extreme's dual 10-core/20-thread Xeons will be outperformed by future CPUs. When I pressed Emile with this question, he indicated that with the Extreme's tally of 20 physical cores, "a couple of cores are being wasted" meaning they aren't being used suggesting that going with more cores is unnecessary, In fact, Emile shared with me that he purchased a whole range of AMD Epyc Rome CPUs having as many as 64 cores per CPU and did not find them to improve upon what he already had. Barring any major software change that would have vastly different CPU requirements than Windows and Roon, the processing capabilities of the Extreme should safely see it through the coming years.

Another Dave owner.

You will find plenty of experiences by using the forum search function, while in this thread, use the search function as follows:

Capture.JPG
 

Sampajanna

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Apr 1, 2021
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Epic! Thanks, brother. Are the new usb cards standard now or an add on ? And do they make sense for Dave owner?

Also, I don’t believe imho you will be doing the Dave justice audition8ng it without at least an mscaler and wavestorm cables if not the 2nd dc4... just my two cents....
 

microstrip

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Good news, I could just see that Fedex just delivered a parcel coming from Netherlands to my address ... I hope it is not a Fedex April's Fool Day message! ;)
 

Taiko Audio

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Feb 10, 2017
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Epic! Thanks, brother. Are the new usb cards standard now or an add on ? And do they make sense for Dave owner?

Also, I don’t believe imho you will be doing the Dave justice audition8ng it without at least an mscaler and wavestorm cables if not the 2nd dc4... just my two cents....

Right now its an add on. Probably makes sense for Dave owners too, waiting for feedback from them, it just started shipping.
 

aLLeARS

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I just installed the new USB card. Right after turning the Extreme back on I notice more open top and bottom (which always leads to better midrange). Dynamics are also noticeably better. Overall a more enjoyable listening experience. I can only imagine what 200 hours of run-in will do.
Happy Camper
 

nuway

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Jun 26, 2019
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Wonder if any Extreme users is using the new USB Card on Slot 4? undecided yet between Slot 4 or 5 (where full storage expansion is installed)
 

Jpowell

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Dec 23, 2011
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I just installed the new USB card. Right after turning the Extreme back on I notice more open top and bottom (which always leads to better midrange). Dynamics are also noticeably better. Overall a more enjoyable listening experience. I can only imagine what 200 hours of run-in will do.
Happy Camper
I just installed mine also (it also arrived a day early, for which I'm very happy!) and what struck me immediately (aside from the overall first impression of just "wow") were characteristics that I'm particularly sensitive to: string instruments just sounding so much more "real' in terms of harmonics and transients, ditto for snare drums, etc. I'm putting hours on the board now, but could hear a very positive difference right out of the gate. You guys--Emile and Co.--really rocked this one!
 

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