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: 55 63.2%
  • Ethernet

    Votes: 14 16.1%
  • Both USB and Ethernet

    Votes: 10 11.5%
  • AES/EBU

    Votes: 10 11.5%
  • Dual AES/EBU

    Votes: 2 2.3%
  • Other

    Votes: 6 6.9%

  • Total voters
    87

alwayslearning

Well-Known Member
Jan 13, 2011
15
63
418
So yes, it is ironic that you and I would argue for the advantages of listening to Mahler on headphones, as Mahler is about as large scale and dynamic as they come, but the advantages are there. In fact, just last night I was listening to Dausgaard/Seattle's Mahler 10th — in my opinion the best recording of this piece in existence — and the final tympani strokes at the end of the 4th movement (Scherzo II), perforned at ppp, were rendered so perfectly, and delivered so audibly — by the combination of the Extreme, SW upsampling, and the DAVE going direct to my Empyreans — that it gave me no less of a thrill as the best speaker systems would.

The point here is that the Extreme benefits headphone systems just as much as speaker-based systems, and I am living proof of that.
Yes, Rajiv, it is counterintuitive that Mahler might be best enjoyed with headphones, but for me that is usually the case. By the way, Dausgaard is a great Mahlerian, something I didn't really appreciate before his appointment as Music Director of the Seattle Symphony. Gerard Schwarz was also a very fine conductor of Mahler. Seattle's music director for most of the last decade, Ludovic Morlot, always seemed to run out of steam with Mahler, though his way with a lot of other music was outstanding and he really improved the orchestra.

Mike L. has offered his opinion that, the last time he seriously compared the two, he preferred his speaker system over a high-end headphone system (with the caveat that he has not listened to the latest and greatest headphone systems). Mike's opinion may not be all that surprising if you know something about his system. I haven't had the pleasure of listening to Mike's system in the last couple years, but it is the finest system I have heard anywhere, anytime. Mike has essentially neutralized the foremost advantage that headphones have over speakers -- the elimination of the listening room as a compromising factor. Mike's "barn" is in reality a finely tuned concert hall that goes way beyond anything I've encountered in home audio. Then you add Mike's decades of experience in building a synergistic system and his plethora of some of the best components in the universe and you've got something that most of us mere mortals will never duplicate.

(By the way, Mike, I appreciate your invitation to come and listen in the "barn." Let's do that when this pandemic is beaten back.)

I'm willing to bet, however, that for the vast majority of folks like me who have a listening room that doubles as a living room, with all sorts of compromises built in to the room itself, a high end headphone setup will reveal more nuance and produce more accurate sound than a speaker-based system.

Most of my listening is with speakers. I don't mind being tethered to headphones, but I prefer the physical freedom of not being tethered. My feeling is that most well-sorted speaker systems reproduce well-recorded small ensembles, solo piano, and voice in pretty convincing fashion. Chamber orchestras and big band jazz is usually easier to reproduce than large scale orchestral music, especially music that has really wide dynamic fluctuations. This really large scale music is where I, personally, find headphones to be a useful tool for understanding and enjoying the music. And the bang for the buck with headphones, if we are just focusing on sonic quality, is outstanding.
 

oldmustang

Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2012
229
390
295
I hadn't thought of Dausgaard as a Mahlerian, but I'll certainly accept your more informed opinion about that, Jon. My first experience with his work was as a great (and maybe only?) interpreter of Rued Langgaard's symphonies, and I really like his Nielsen recordings.

I have to say I am in the opposite camp when it comes to headphones vs speakers. I am too addicted to the sense of scale and expansiveness speaker systems can provide with great material. I will admit that my headphone experiences have been far from state of the art, and further agree that good headphones can bring forward inner details that can easily get lost with speakers systems. But for whatever reason, I'm addicted to speaker listening for every kind of music, so much so that my middling Aeon Flow headphones are rarely used unless my other half is asleep and I dare not disturb her.

I agree that it is a rare thing for in-room speaker systems to even approach the scale of the real thing when it comes to the concert hall experience, but though I try to use real music and real performance as a standard to be aspired to, I long ago made my peace with the fact that listening to live music vs. recorded music are two very different things, and each can be very rewarding in their own right. The Extreme experience has certainly moved my enjoyment of recorded music onto a higher plane.

Steve Z
 

alwayslearning

Well-Known Member
Jan 13, 2011
15
63
418
For what it's worth, the Dausgaard/Seattle Mahler 10 that Rajiv mentioned won a Recording of the Month award from Gramophone, which called it the best Mahler 10 extant. And this fall, Dausgaard and Seattle won another Gramophone Recording of the Month for their Nielsen 1 & 2.

Ok, back to the Extreme, which is sounding fantastic after playing continuously for the last two weeks here.
 

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
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Kris

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2019
317
159
48
It looks Emile and his Team is still improving the TAS for Beta users .
Good for all of us.
I am ready for that upgrade any time.
Best
K
 

wil

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2015
379
193
248
I'm hoping TAS can still allow me the listening exploration pattern I've fallen into with Roon, which is:

I start with an album from an artist, performer, composer, band, etc and I'll start exploring more of their albums available on Qobuz. (I like to listen to entire albums). But often I'll let Roon Radio lead me somewhere else. I then I might go off onto another branch of the tree. After climbing around on that branch I may go back to where I started, or explore somewhere else.

The key to exploring music like this is the Roon Queue History. This allows me a bread crumb trail to go back and explore side branches I passed by. This tree exploration can last for weeks so it's critical that the Queue History can go back that far.

Will TAS have the functionality equivalent to Roon Radio? (sorry if this has already been discussed)
 

EuroDriver

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2015
488
629
178
Monaco
I'm hoping TAS can still allow me the listening exploration pattern I've fallen into with Roon, which is:

I start with an album from an artist, performer, composer, band, etc and I'll start exploring more of their albums available on Qobuz. (I like to listen to entire albums). But often I'll let Roon Radio lead me somewhere else. I then I might go off onto another branch of the tree. After climbing around on that branch I may go back to where I started, or explore somewhere else.

The key to exploring music like this is the Roon Queue History. This allows me a bread crumb trail to go back and explore side branches I passed by. This tree exploration can last for weeks so it's critical that the Queue History can go back that far.

Will TAS have the functionality equivalent to Roon Radio? (sorry if this has already been discussed)
Hi Wil,

thank you for describing in detail your music discovery process.

The software development road map includes having Taiko's Software interacting directly with the Qobuz API and making available all of Qobuz's music discovery functionality.

TAS will have a history function for the reason you described above

Qobuz does not have radio, but Tidal has a radio function
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
but Tidal has a radio function
will Tidal be available in the beta version
 

ray-dude

Active Member
Dec 8, 2019
70
203
35
51
Having just switched from Tidal to Qobuz because of TAS, the quality of Qobuz -> TAS+HQP -> Chord DAVE is ASTONISHING.

MQA has always been compromised for me, and the damage was always amplified to 11 when going through upsampling. Qobuz+TAS is a match made in heaven, with the high res Qobuz content (with MQA damage) being the seemingly little bit extra that turns out to be a complete game changer.

With this combo, my Extreme has essentially petabytes of storage with the biggest music collection the world has known, for US$150/year

Absolutely glorious, and a shining light of hope and art in a very dark time. Be safe everyone.
 

octaviars

Member
Mar 2, 2020
32
22
10
42
@ray-dude how does your ethernet chain connect to the Extreme? Is it fiber from router to oM and then RJ45 to Extreme?
 

EuroDriver

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2015
488
629
178
Monaco
Having just switched from Tidal to Qobuz because of TAS, the quality of Qobuz -> TAS+HQP -> Chord DAVE is ASTONISHING.

MQA has always been compromised for me, and the damage was always amplified to 11 when going through upsampling. Qobuz+TAS is a match made in heaven, with the high res Qobuz content (with MQA damage) being the seemingly little bit extra that turns out to be a complete game changer.

With this combo, my Extreme has essentially petabytes of storage with the biggest music collection the world has known, for US$150/year

Absolutely glorious, and a shining light of hope and art in a very dark time. Be safe everyone.
It's almost exactly 4 years to the month that Emile and I were racking our brains for explanations why streaming SQ was so poor, especially in USA compared to Holland. And then we speculated and dreamt what a game changer it could be if were able to engineer a solution to close the gap with storage.
 

Taiko Audio

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Feb 10, 2017
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Taiko Audio

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@ray-dude how does your ethernet chain connect to the Extreme? Is it fiber from router to oM and then RJ45 to Extreme?

It does look like fiber may once more become the preferred connection as TAS has minimal to no network activity during playback. It’s interesting that it appears that the active time of the more power hungry SFP module can negative the galvanical isolation advantages. Then there’s another advantage where we gain more control over which of the 2 CPU’s handles what type of activity.
 

Rhapsody

VIP/Donor
Jan 16, 2013
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I posted this pic of a new black Extreme installation previously but it was a day shot and looked faded....better pic at night. Black Beauties- Extreme and Pilium Leonidas integrated.
20201204_165928.jpg
 

Rhapsody

VIP/Donor
Jan 16, 2013
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cmarin

Well-Known Member
Jul 17, 2011
32
23
348
Texas
Well Mike, a few of us are really interested in those comparisons. Means nothing in the absolute grand scheme of things...discs guys gonna disc, streaming guys gonna stream.
But as lines in the audiophile sand, I would love there to be a proper cd transport v TAS/Extreme computer audio grand compare.

I plunged into the Extreme world two weeks ago with Emile’s help after having owned the original SGM and the SGM EVO.

The Extreme has about 400 hours on it. I am using a Sablon 2020 USB cable (with 100 hours), a single Odin2 AES that’s fully burned in, and Roon playing files from the internal storage.

I was pretty much a CD Transport apostle based on my experience with the Kalista Dreamplayer transport. But after hearing the Extreme breaking sound barriers as break-in progresses, even not fully optimized, I may very well have to eat my words with a little bit of crow as a side dish.

Kudos to Emile, Edward and the rest of the gang.

I’m going to wait until the Exteme is fully settled/optimized and for its Daysa platform to arrive, in order to perform the comparison with the Kalista; hopefully with an optimized TSA platform as well.

We shall see. I just hope the crow is properly seasoned.
 

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ray-dude

Active Member
Dec 8, 2019
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@ray-dude how does your ethernet chain connect to the Extreme? Is it fiber from router to oM and then RJ45 to Extreme?

I have (happily) returned to optical in on the Extreme for a while now.

I have fiber to the home going to a vendor provided ONT (powered by 12V LPS) to sablon ethernet to an LPS powered EdgeRouter X SFP. On the ERX1, I use the SFP ports to have generic fiber connect to a second ERX (ERX2) which I use for my home WiFi and wired ethernet networks. This optically isolates ERX1 from my home network.

On ERX1 I have a dedicated audio subnet configured for one of the ethernet ports, with some filtering rules in place to keep it from seeing traffic from the rest of my home network. That is connected by Sablon ethernet to an LPS powered Sonore opticalModule with low power Finsar SFP, then fiber to my Extreme with a matching Finsar SFP on the Extreme.

For giggles, I have a WiFi controlled power switch on the energizer for the LPS that powers my oM. That lets me power off the oM and isolate my Extreme from the network completely.

Since TAS, I have not gone back and retested my network config to see what is optimal. TAS is so close to playing back local content, that I haven't felt compelled to tweak up network stuff. Once Emile and team release their network switch, I plan to revisit network tweaks with the new and improved Extreme ecosystem (TAS, network switch, etc)
 
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marty

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
1,886
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Just a quick note of thanks to Emile for his legendary customer service. I received my Extreme a month ago, but had nasty issues with Roon. When Emil initially transferred my 5TB of files from my NAS to my Extreme HDD, Roon kept wanting to access my playlist and bookmark data from the meta-data stored on the NAS drive, rather than access the files from the Extreme. If I disconnected my NAS drive, half my playlists (some 20 years old from my iTunes days) were lost. This was not a Taiko issue but a Roon issue. Roon sent me info as to how to correct the problem, but apparently, I didn't have my decoder ring charged, so after a few week of headbanging, I gave up and asked Emile for help. Sure enough, he read the Roon material and knew exactly what to do. After some generous time on Team Viewer, he rectified my situation so my Roon files now come from the best SQ source, namely either the Extreme HDD or direct streaming sources. Thanks Emile! (Anybody want a 14TB NAS drive cheap- with 5TB of files included? PM me.)

I look forward to exploring TAS, but will wait for some further development as I cannot live without the Roon metadata and flexibility since I find it currently essential for musical exploration.

Here's a question that has surely been asked before but since I'm not eager to look through 264 pages of thread for the answer o_O, and since there seems to be budding resurrection to consider using fiber vs copper to drive the Extreme due to TAS, what is a good/best?, modestly priced fiber optic cable (I need 25 ft) that folks are using to connect their network switch to their Extreme? Thanks in advance.
 

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