The 1st SGM Server EVO Edition in Hong Kong

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
1,168
283
83
Hong Kong
#1
I understand that there have already been several SGM EVO Edition Servers in N America (such as Mike's).
However there is only one of it in Hong Kong, arriving at the Volent Audio on 17th Aug.
It belongs to a customer who has sent his SGMS2015 to Netherlands for upgrade a few weeks ago.
I went there to have a listen at once today!

The back of the SGM EVO Edition. There is a copper back plate inlay with two slots to allow installation of two PCIe cards on the motherboard :
IMG-20180817-WA0022.jpg

Otherwise the chassis is the same of that of SGMS2015.
According to Ben Lau of Volent Audio, most of the innards have been upgraded/replaced.
20180818_140853~2.jpg

Volent Audio is the dealer of The Memory Player too.
I took this opportunity to do a shootout between the SGMS EVO (top left), SGMS2015 (bottom left) and The Memory Player MP-64-16 (right).
Other components were Totaldac Six, Bespoke preamp, Westminister Lab mono poweramps & Volent VL3.5 speakers :
20180818_140919~2.jpg

I was quite surprised by the degree of improvement of EVO edition over 2015 edition!
All aspects of sonics are much much improved, particularly the quietness and solidity & density of images.
The SGMS2015 seems to be rather digital when compared to the EVO.

In the past, the cheaper The Memory Player MP-64-16 was on par with SGMS2015 in general , with several aspects such as musicality and continuosness of sound ...etc bettered the latter.
However it paled when facing the EVO.
I brought my son who is a rookie headphoner to the shootout. He commented : how come the black computer sounded so soft and veiled when compared to the top silver colour computer?

Can the top model of The Memory Player (MP-64-32) take revenge and better the SGM SVO? I hope so.

I then asked Ben what the EVO upgrade cost was.
It's unbelievably low!
IMHO the EVO Upgrade is a steal! It's nearly a must for all SGMS2015 owners. :D
 
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CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
1,168
283
83
Hong Kong
#2
Oh sorry.
Just realized that I should have placed this thread on the Computer Based Music Server Forum.

Hello Steve,
Would you mind putting this thread back to the correct forum?
Many thanks!
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,211
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London
#3
How do both these servers compare to the Aurender W20
 
Likes: Chau

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
1,168
283
83
Hong Kong
#4
How do both these servers compare to the Aurender W20
The original SGMS2015 was introduced into Hong Kong by the official dealer in 2016.
We did a comparison vs Aurander W20 at that time.
Below is the old photo taken during the comparison.

123315wfsr6ksiurdeh6ee.jpg

Friends and I all opined that SGMS2015 bettered the W20 in that setup at that time, particularly in term of musicality & density of images.
We don't have any more encounter with W20 since then.
To be frank, W20 has become much less popular in Hong Kong during the past one to two years.

My guess is that both The Memory Player and SGM EVO Edition will be better than the W20.
 
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Likes: Chau

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
479
250
63
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
#5
Hi CK,

Thank you for taking the time to share your impressions!


I understand that there have already been several SGM EVO Edition Servers in N America (such as Mike's).
Yes we have upgraded a few servers in the US however Mike's isn't one of them yet. I do have some feedback from non forum member customers, I will check if they're ok with me sharing it online.

The back of the SGM EVO Edition. There is a copper back plate inlay with two slots to allow installation of two PCIe cards on the motherboard :
We added that to be able to support expansion options like direct Ethernet out for Renderers or AES/EBU-SPDIF out for DAC's with (relatively) inferior USB interfaces or any other type of interface.

According to Ben Lau of Volent Audio, most of the innards have been upgraded/replaced.
I then asked Ben what the EVO upgrade cost was.
It's unbelievably low!
IMHO the EVO Upgrade is a steal! It's nearly a must for all SGMS2015 owners. :D
The upgrade is being offered at our actual cost, technology in this playing field moves fast, we feel it's very important to retain product value after a considerable investment and not be left with an obsolete machine in just a few years time.
 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
1,168
283
83
Hong Kong
#6
Hi CK,
The upgrade is being offered at our actual cost, technology in this playing field moves fast, we feel it's very important to retain product value after a considerable investment and not be left with an obsolete machine in just a few years time.
Hello Emile,

I salute you!

This kind of aftersale service & attitude is very rare nowadays!
 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
1,168
283
83
Hong Kong
#8
How is the upgrade done in the US? Who would do it? Cost?
The upgrade in Hong Kong is handled by Volent Audio, the official dealer of SGM and the server has to be sent back to the Netherlands.
I think the dealer in N Am shall answer you about the total cost because the shipping cost must be different.
 

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
479
250
63
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
#9
How is the upgrade done in the US? Who would do it? Cost?
It will indeed have to be shipped to the factory in The Netherlands, It needs to be fully disassembled and parts of the case will be CNC machined to accommodate the new components. Total cost depends on shipping / duties. Please contact us for an exact quote.
 
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Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
479
250
63
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
#10
Feedback from 2 US customers:

Hi guys,

I listened to the Evo last night for a couple of hours. It continues to improve with break in.
This Evo version is better in every way than the 2015. It has a bigger stage, more clarity and resolution, better separation of instruments.
The most impressive thing is how much more musical the sound is. There is no hint that it is digital. It is completely analog sounding with great tonality and dimensionality.
It is more the sound of a live event than the previous version.

I'm sure it will continue to improve with more in in since there is only six or so hours of playing time on it now

Emile did a terrific job in engineering the changes to improve the performance and SQ of an already great server.

Thanks

B
Hi Emile/Edward,
Gentlemen, All I can say is wow...very impressive improvement in sound quality.

Congratulations!
C
 

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
479
250
63
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
#12

moby2004

New Member
Jan 21, 2018
27
7
3
#13
Hello

It has been a long time I was watching for the SGM server and this upgrade is definitely checking my boxes as I was looking for extra digital outputs ! Do you consider USB being the best output or AES and Ethernet are at the same level ? In terms of files resolution i guess non usb outputs are more limited compared to USB?

Thanks
Alex
 

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
479
250
63
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
#14
Hello

It has been a long time I was watching for the SGM server and this upgrade is definitely checking my boxes as I was looking for extra digital outputs ! Do you consider USB being the best output or AES and Ethernet are at the same level ? In terms of files resolution i guess non usb outputs are more limited compared to USB?

Thanks
Alex
Hello Alex,

The best output really depends on your DAC, or rather it's interface implementation. There are still plenty of DAC's out there with USB input solutions sounding inferior to its AES/EBU input. In this situation people may end up preferring their (high level) CD transport over a Server which is why we now support AES/EBU outputs (optional). For Ethernet versus USB it's the same deal, when both are done well they're actually very competitive. AES/EBU is limited to a maximum resolution of 24/192. Both USB and Ethernet can go higher, typical maximum rates are PCM 32/768 or DSD512 depending on DAC support. We can fit any available desired output. As an example we shipped an "EVO" to a customer with a dual wire AES/EBU output option to drive his Pacific Micronics DAC to its maximum capability. This could also be a nice option for DCS owners for example.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#15
Hi Emile

I hope this question hasn't been asked and missed by me, but can you tell the readers the difference(s) between the original and the EVO versions
 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
1,168
283
83
Hong Kong
#16
Hi Emile
I hope this question hasn't been asked and missed by me, but can you tell the readers the difference(s) between the original and the EVO versions
Hello Emile,

Hope that the info on the Sound Galleries website can be updated too.

Many Thanks!
 

moby2004

New Member
Jan 21, 2018
27
7
3
#17
Thanks for your reply. Actually my set up is a bit complex as I am going through a trinnov room optimizer which doesn't have any usb input but with AES and Ethernet input. At the same time I guess I can import convolution filter in the SGM ? (And then skip entirely the trinnov processor )
 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
1,168
283
83
Hong Kong
#18
Dear Emile,

I guess you must have tested some spdif output cards and network cards on the SGM EVO Edition.

What are your favorites?
JCAT Net Card Femto? RME or Lynx spdif output cards?

Please share. Many thanks again!
 

Alrainbow

Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2013
1,075
45
48
NYC , USA
#19
I would like to hear one in my Room. How can this be arraigned?
I think an aurender is a good stable sever but for those who want the most a SGM or CUST is a must
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,520
607
113
#20
I guess i'm going to have to get this done. been trying to just listen and not worry about gear. :)

thanks CK for your feedback. what is interesting is that right now my new renderer for the MSB Select II is on equal performance footing to my SGM with USB (with modestly priced USB cable). this upgrade seemingly will push USB/SGM Evo 'beyond' the renderer performance.

I know what 'Evo' spec upgrade did for the LPS's of my Taiko Tana units. so i'm not surprised, just resigned to having better sound. can't help myself. i'll have to get my son to migrate the Roon core to my extra laptop while the SGM takes it's upgrade journey.
 

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