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: 49 69.0%
  • Ethernet

    Votes: 10 14.1%
  • Both USB and Ethernet

    Votes: 6 8.5%
  • AES/EBU

    Votes: 8 11.3%
  • Dual AES/EBU

    Votes: 1 1.4%
  • Other

    Votes: 5 7.0%

  • Total voters
    71

oldmustang

Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2012
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Thanks very much, Marc for taking the time to share your observations with us. I particularly like that you gave us the playlist — which I’ve used to create a playlist for my own listening enjoyment later this evening.

Steve Z
 

Blue58

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2013
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As an Avantgarde owner, I would guess any tipped up highs you heard on ProgRock to be solely a result of these Uber-revealing, unforgiving horns and has nothing to do with the Extreme. My experience is the AG's punish bad recordings and are better at some genre's than others. Most jazz for instance (and I mean 99%) is a near ecstatic experience with the AG/Extreme combination. But take a large and aggressive choral/orchestral work and I'll be surely turning the volume down or off.
Hi Wil, we have very similar systems and perhaps the earlier AG Duos just sound a little bit less forgiving of source material than XDs.. Agree that jazz can be ecstatic, try the Prince Lasha, Congo Call track or Don Rendell, Blue Mosque, both very nice. To listen to the tipped up sound try the Genesis, One for the Vine, via Qobuz you’ll hear what we’re hearing.


“If the system had Startech SPF modules in it u didn't come close to hearing the Extreme.....
As well as ps for FMC's, dac used, etc........and pointing to the Extreme for the tipped up frequency balance, what's with that???“

Hi Kingsrule, yes I have the Startech FMC/SPF with Sablon Ethernet into the Extreme and was waiting for burn in to finish before looking at swapping the modules out. However 80% of my listening is via internal storage so not a high priority for me. Both Startech and router have PHSR4 LPSs/Ghent DC/FurPC with the view to update to Taiko switch in the future.
I also think changing the SR blue fuse in the Aqua Dac to an Orange fuse may help. Any More reports of fuse changes in the Extreme as it all went quiet after the initial chat about Brimars.?

I don’t think Marc was pointing the finger at the Extreme, only pointing out the Uber resolution that I now have to work with and ‘rebalance’ the system according to my preferences.

Cheers
Blue58
 

Kris

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2019
281
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48
If the system had Startech SPF modules in it u didn't come close to hearing the Extreme.....
As well as ps for FMC's, dac used, etc........and pointing to the Extreme for the tipped up frequency balance, what's with that???
I agree!
I had similar issue many months ago with Statech SFPs.
They are excellent but in my system they aded to much of a good in upper frequency.
The exchange of Startech SFP to Planet was a big step up and removed most of the upper region harshness.
But The real game changer were Finisar SFPs recommended on this forum .
Spiritofmusic must try Extreme with Finisar and he will be amazed just like I was and many others.
 

Blue58

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2013
584
252
280
London, UK
I agree!
I had similar issue many months ago with Statech SFPs.
They are excellent but in my system they aded to much of a good in upper frequency.
The exchange of Startech SFP to Planet was a big step up and removed most of the upper region harshness.
But The real game changer were Finisar SFPs recommended on this forum .
Spiritofmusic must try Extreme with Finisar and he will be amazed just like I was and many others.
Many thanks Kris, I’ll pick up a pair this week and swap over. I’m also waiting on Gigawatt and Doepke circuit breakers which should improve the overall system quality.
 

Blackmorec

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2019
312
400
68
67
Many thanks Kris, I’ll pick up a pair this week and swap over. I’m also waiting on Gigawatt and Doepke circuit breakers which should improve the overall system quality.
Sorry for going OT but do the Gigawatt and Doepke switches comply with UK code? I’m thinking of having the same switches installed.
 

Blue58

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2013
584
252
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London, UK
Sorry for going OT but do the Gigawatt and Doepke switches comply with UK code? I’m thinking of having the same switches installed.
Hi Blackmorec, I'm sure they do comply with 18th Edtn. regs and Din rail mounted so should fit eg. Hagar consumer unit. I’ll let you know if I encounter any issues. By all accounts they perform well with no negatives.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
11,432
2,309
603
E. England
I agree!
I had similar issue many months ago with Statech SFPs.
They are excellent but in my system they aded to much of a good in upper frequency.
The exchange of Startech SFP to Planet was a big step up and removed most of the upper region harshness.
But The real game changer were Finisar SFPs recommended on this forum .
Spiritofmusic must try Extreme with Finisar and he will be amazed just like I was and many others.
Kris, I chose my words on my mini review pretty carefully. The Extreme is phenomenal in many ways, some of those ways I've never heard from great digital before, and only rivalled by the very best analog I've heard.

For Rush/Different Strings to reveal it's studio environment so transparently, to me is as close to magical as hifi can get. Kinda worth the price of admission on it's own. Of course, this is ramped to the maxx with recordings with more fidelity to begin, like the jazz we played.

For me, in my personal situation, it's the uncompromising nature of recordings with less fidelity, or questionable mastering choices, that seem to sound over challenging. Now, this schizophrenic nature was also evident on Barry's SGM2015, but the iffyness was displayed as a flat soundstage with no imaging. Yesterday the emphasis was more on a kind of glare or glassiness.

But to remove any hint of me sounding like I'm being equivocal on the Extreme, its prowess on good and great recordings mark it out as closer to great analogue than great digital in it's phenomenal resolution, air and tonal density.
 
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howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
1,391
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Kris, I chose my words on my mini review pretty carefully. The Extreme is phenomenal in many ways, some of those ways I've never heard from great digital before, and only rivalled by the very best analog I've heard.

For Rush/Different Strings to reveal it's studio environment so transparently, to me is as close to magical as hifi can get. Kinda worth the price of admission on it's own. Of course, this is ramped to the maxx with recordings with more fidelity to begin, like the jazz we played.

For me, in my personal situation, it's the uncompromising nature of recordings with less fidelity, or questionable mastering choices, that seem to sound over challenging. Now, this schizophrenic nature was also evident on Barry's SGM2015, but the iffyness was displayed as a flat soundstage with no imaging. Yesterday the emphasis was more on a kind of glare or glassiness.

But to remove any hint of me sounding like I'm being equivocal on the Extreme, its prowess on good and great recordings mark it out as closer to great analogue than great digital in it's phenomenal resolution, air and tonal density.
Great review Marc and i think i get what you are taking about. I don't think the extreme, like any digital or analog rig, can get the best out of any and all recordings. It's sound signature will work with some and not with other recordings. The sound can definitely be tweaked and I think the glare you mentioned is tameable in the settings as quite a few of us did get a change a while back to fiddle with the settings. I am glad, though, that you consider the extreme to be up there with the best. There is light at the end of the tunnel...
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
11,432
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Howie, that was our consensus, and Barry is working hard at optimising. An audiophile's work is never done...I do hope the world one day will recognise the sacrifices we've made.

If I was to draw an analogy, and Barry was a vinylphile...he's bought a Vyger or AS2000 or AF1, w LT arm or SME3012 or SAT, and a VDH cart, and has hit the G-Spot on great jazz albums...but is still at sea on 70s rock. He still has to dial in that tt setup and cart optimisation to slightly tame fiery upper freqs, while maintaining full flow on the better stuff.

And they always said analog was harder to get right than digital Lol.
 
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howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
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Howie, that was our consensus, and Barry is working hard at optimising. An audiophile's work is never done...I do hope the world one day will recognise the sacrifices we've made.

If I was to draw an analogy, and Barry was a vinylphile...he's bought a Vyger or AS2000 or AF1, w LT arm or SME3012 or SAT, and a VDH cart, and has hit the G-Spot on great jazz albums...but is still at sea on 70s rock. He still has to dial in that tt setup and cart optimisation to slightly tame fiery upper freqs, while maintaining full flow on the better stuff.

And they always said analog was harder to get right than digital Lol.
Sometimes I agree analog is easier to match music, assuming you have space and budget for different carts. Certainly that's what I am trying to achieve. I guess you could do the same with digital in the settings but somehow it doesn't quite have the same effect as, say having a VDH on one arm and an SPU on another.
 
Feb 10, 2017
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A while ago, while reading up on mastering techniques, I came across an interesting anecdote on why the AC/DC Back in Black album is considered to sound thin and fatiguing. It read the band members requested the bass to be dialled down during the final mix approval because they felt it was overblown. In hindsight they had been on tour for a considerable time just prior to this and where suffering from desensitised high frequency hearing.

I do not believe we should intentionally try to smooth over harsh, thin or bright mastered recordings. Although this will make your system more forgiving for these types of recordings, it may just take off the leading edge and excitement of instruments on well mastered recordings.

In the 2015/EVO we did have some ways to apply some perceived "smoothing" by alternating post processing modulators, filters, dithering etc by means of HQPlayer but that is a different route as we set out to take with the Extreme.

This again leads us to resort to using "tone controls" by means of changing cabling and/or altering vibration control. For sure you can make the Extreme sound much darker (forgiving) by placing it on Sorbothane or Navcom footers, or by choosing a "dark" Power cord or USB cable. But I would not recommend "compromising" it this way to achieve your desired balance. I would much sooner opt for altering your speaker positioning, for a less incisive sound simply decrease toe in, just 2-3 mm can make a very large difference.

With all that said, fibre can increase clarity/focus/apparent detail but it tends to go at the expense of midrange fill / bass bloom. As for the Startech, Planet and Finisar SFP modules, the Startechs are definitely the brightest of the pack.
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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Emile, we pretty much agreed on that yesterday. Barry contends modern remasterings are even worse, ie tipped up/brickwalled for the IPod generation.

Rush are a classic example. Each subsequent remastering from their original late 80s/early 90s cds, gets you further from the original, I'm sure much warmer, version.

On Moving Pictures, my Japanese vinyl stomps over every digital version I've heard, critically in the lower mids/upper bass areas.

Emile, spin YYZ from that album, you'll get my drift.

Even worse, try Genesis/Wind And Wuthering.
 
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I have recently been (re)intrigued by PureDSD masters from https://www.highdeftapetransfers.com/ with the addition of a Lampizator Pacific and Alieno amplifiers to our system. These allow me to focus more on naturality of tone.

OUR DSD RELEASES WHICH ARE MARKED "PURE DSD" ORIGINATE FROM A DSD MASTERING WITH NO PCM EDITING.
Because of the limited editing capability of DSD, to keep it "Pure DSD" with no PCM used, you could here blemishes from the original tape source that would be normally edited out in a PCM release.
Although these are mostly very old recordings, 50-70 years old, the preservation of authenticity of tone is very apparent.

A few examples for those interested:
https://www.highdeftapetransfers.com/products/sarah-vaughan-after-hours-pure-dsd
https://www.highdeftapetransfers.co...llys-manne-hole-hollywood-california-pure-dsd
https://www.highdeftapetransfers.com/products/duke-ellington-indigos
If you download the PCM versions of these they tend to apply some amount of noise filtering and IMHO part of the authenticity is lost.

I have just downloaded ~30 more albums over the course of this weekend (the download speed is capped to ~0.5MBs but you can initiate multiple streams at the same time) and will report back if there are more interesting pieces.

For PCM DXD this is a very nice album:
https://www.nativedsd.com/albums/2XHDFT1167-audiophile-analog-collection-vol-2
The DSD version is converted offline by using HQPlayer Pro, I have not tried that yet. The Tech specs tab is interesting to have a look at as it details equipment/methods used to transfer the recording from tape.
 

Blue58

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2013
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Aren’t they fabulous Emile.
I’ve got the Ella, Duke, Sarah, Wes, Hank, Kenny, Copland amongst others and I think my favourite is Don Rendell. Also great that for many titles you can download both the DSD and DXD at no extra charge.
Have fun.
 
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Aren’t they fabulous Emile.
I’ve got the Ella, Duke, Sarah, Wes, Hank, Kenny, Copland amongst others and I think my favourite is Don Rendell. Also great that for many titles you can download both the DSD and DXD at no extra charge.
Have fun.
They are. A very interesting aspect of the Lampizator Pacific is the volume control option. It makes quite a difference and an interesting "tone control". With the Alieno amplifiers I use either a volume setting of -17 or -18 with the Alieno Pre set to high gain. -17 is brighter, -18 is softer. For these PureDSD recordings there's no doubt -17 is better as -18 removes some of the leading edge / sharpness of wind instruments making them sound softer and less realistic then they should. -18 is better for hot (mainly 16/44.1 or 24/48) recordings. For higher res PCM it's a bit of a toss up / might be down to taste. For the Audionets these are at -12/-13 with the same effect.
 
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Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
They are. A very interesting aspect of the Lampizator Pacific is the volume control option. It makes quite a difference and an interesting "tone control". With the Alieno amplifiers I use either a volume setting of -17 or -18 with the Alieno Pre set to high gain. -17 is brighter, -18 is softer. For these PureDSD recordings there's no doubt -17 is better as -18 removes some of the leading edge / sharpness of wind instruments making them sound softer and less realistic then they should. -18 is better for hot (mainly 16/44.1 or 24/48) recordings. For higher res PCM it's a bit of a toss up / might be down to taste. For the Audionets these are at -12/-13 with the same effect.
I pretty much discovered the same with my Pacific although my volume control is at -12 virtually 100% of the time
 
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spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
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They are. A very interesting aspect of the Lampizator Pacific is the volume control option. It makes quite a difference and an interesting "tone control". With the Alieno amplifiers I use either a volume setting of -17 or -18 with the Alieno Pre set to high gain. -17 is brighter, -18 is softer. For these PureDSD recordings there's no doubt -17 is better as -18 removes some of the leading edge / sharpness of wind instruments making them sound softer and less realistic then they should. -18 is better for hot (mainly 16/44.1 or 24/48) recordings. For higher res PCM it's a bit of a toss up / might be down to taste. For the Audionets these are at -12/-13 with the same effect.
So Emile, even you as the designer with a bleeding edge system ie Stern/Heisenbergs/Alsyvox and hugely tonally evocative dac ie Pac, feel the need to adjust parameters on certain kinds of music/mastering categories?
 

Taiko Audio

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Feb 10, 2017
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So Emile, even you as the designer with a bleeding edge system ie Stern/Heisenbergs/Alsyvox and hugely tonally evocative dac ie Pac, feel the need to adjust parameters on certain kinds of music/mastering categories?
Well no, I just leave it on -17 all the time, it's a nice option to have if someone walks in wanting to listen to something .. nasty. Yes I was trying to be polite calling those "hot recordings".
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
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Emile, the two Tidal masters we most struggled w yesterday, indeed the only ones that really were a problem compared to the higher fidelity recordings which the Extreme excelled on, were Genesis "Wind And Wuthering", tr. 2 "One For The Vine", and Rush "Moving Pictures", tr. 3 "YYZ".
But any track on either of these albums would demonstrate the issue.

If you could listen to them, and report on your personal take. My strong guess is it's a mastering issue, some albums are butchered, or deliberately tipped-up. The Extreme seems to absolutely highlight this, and despite the detail unearthed, it almost feels like there's a watermark imprinted on the music.

The vinyl versions, and tbh also the original cd versions, are way warmer, more textured, while maintaining a lot of low level detail.

This stratifying of good/stellar and average/failing presentations is apparent on uber level tts too, but there is way more "leniency" shown. Extreme is a tough mistress Lol.
 
Feb 10, 2017
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@spiritofmusic , just gave those 2 a spin, holy batman sibilance on the Genesis track, it’s just awful here, I don’t see how you could fix that. The Rush track is not as bad as the Genesis but flat and a bit thin, it’s veiled in the midrange while being tipped up at the same time which is somewhat unusual, you would almost think a last minute EQ applied on the complete mix, perhaps they wanted the intro bell like sound effects to pop out more / sound more crystalline?
 

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