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: 56 63.6%
  • Ethernet

    Votes: 14 15.9%
  • Both USB and Ethernet

    Votes: 10 11.4%
  • AES/EBU

    Votes: 10 11.4%
  • Dual AES/EBU

    Votes: 2 2.3%
  • Other

    Votes: 7 8.0%

  • Total voters
    88

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
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BUT, there is an aspect we have not addressed thus far, which is switching noise. For linear AC-DC supplies this is predominantly low frequency, 50Hz-1Khz, and we have learned how to deal with that in decades of using them, and to make a controversial statement, we may simply be accustomed to being exposed to those and they are not considered to be bothersome. For switching AC-DC supplies this is more high frequency in nature (typically 50KHz), which is generally accepted to be very harmful to sound quality. For DC-DC applications linear regulation has no switching noise, but switching regulators do, also typically at 50, but you'll more often see 100KHz here. And again it is generally accepted that this is harmful to sound quality. Now you can filter these switching frequencies, but the higher the current, the harder this is, you need larger coils for example, to keep resistance reasonable to avoid significant losses in heat and to avoid high vibration levels (this can actually sometimes even be heard by ear, referred to as coil whine). In practical applications there is typically going to be switching noise residual as there are practical/physical limitations as to what you can filter out. Generally speaking these are considered to have an undesirable noise spectrum for high-end audio, by design.

Interestingly, there may be a parallel to be drawn here to digital audio sampling frequencies. For 44.1KHz sampling rates, we have a Nyquist frequency of 22.05KHz we have to filter out. I don't think it's necessary to elaborate on that necessity. Increasing the sampling rate moves this frequency up, think higher resolution files or up sampling. Doing so reduces filter complexity, or rather, filter steepness requirements. There are too many people reporting benefits of PCM sampling rates up to 384 or even 768KHz to ignore this. DSD sampling rates even start at 2.8224MHz.

Nowadays it is possible to design switching regulators to operate at frequencies well over 768KHz and even to around DSD sampling rates. To compare switching to sampling frequencies may be far fetched, but for practical applications, and our perception of digital audio, perhaps not so much, as filtering switching residual to vanishing low levels all of a sudden becomes possible, even "easy", and the filter, in fact the whole design, distortion is very benign, magnitudes of orders lower then a high current linear regulator.

As always, you still need to verify theory by ear. Which is why we have decided, after very long deliberation, to make such a design available as an ATX DC-DC power supply design, for people to purchase individually. A few months ago we have shipped one out to @nenon who runs an active thread on the Audiophile Style forums on building no compromise DIY music servers. You can follow his progress here: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/58164-building-a-diy-music-server/

His impressions have been positive so far and we have subsequently decided to order a batch to supply to an amount of DIY builders and see where this will lead in the future with a pool of people experimenting with the technology and running comparisons to linear regulators in a variety of applications.

EDIT: I have received a considerable volume of e-mails expressing interest in acquiring one of these, I will reply to them shortly with a link to a subscription form.
 
Last edited:

Taiko Audio

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Hi Emile,
great "white paper" on SMPS :)

BTW, what is the switching frequency of the Taiko DC-ATX?

Thank you

Matt

Considering the amount of work that went into determining that I'm not disclosing that right now, I'll say it's a fine balance between achieving power conversion and filter efficiency.
 

austinpop

Well-Known Member
May 23, 2017
66
166
98
Austin, TX
@Taiko Audio

Thanks for the wonderful primer on power supply design considerations! It really increased my understanding of the processes at work here, and opened my eyes considerably.

It did raise a couple of thoughts in my mind:

1. The example you gave of DC-DC conversion from 12V to 1.2V for the CPU is interesting, as the 12v to 1.2v DC-DC conversion is done by VRMs (voltage regulator modules) on the motherboard, is it not? I point this out merely to highlight that while we can control the quality and design of the power supply(ies) delivering 12V to the motherboard via the EPS connection, we are at the mercy of the motherboard manufacturer for the quality of the VRMs. So the importance of motherboard selection and curation cannot be overstated.

2. The other thought you provoked was this: it has become a mantra, a common practice in audiophile builds, to dedicate a separate, high-current DC rail (for example 12v/12a) to directly supply the EPS input for the CPU, while using a separate, typically 19v, rail to supply the DC-ATX adapter for the other voltages delivered via the ATX connector. However, I would hypothesize that this practice may have been born out of necessity, as we were limited in the quality of DC-ATX adapters available for DIY.

Do you have a view yet whether, with your very high-quality DC-ATX adapter, it would actually be preferred to reverse this practice, and use a single, high-current rail to supply the DC-ATX, and draw the 12v EPS from the DC-ATX itself? Or is this one of the myriad questions that the DIY community will need to explore? I know the answer is experimentation, but would love your thoughts!

Also, looking back at my questions, this is already getting into the DIY space, so I suspect further debate should happen there, so as not to derail the Extreme thread. Apologies if I am veering OT.
 

nenon

Active Member
Jan 29, 2020
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2. The other thought you provoked was this: it has become a mantra, a common practice in audiophile builds, to dedicate a separate, high-current DC rail (for example 12v/12a) to directly supply the EPS input for the CPU, while using a separate, typically 19v, rail to supply the DC-ATX adapter for the other voltages delivered via the ATX connector. However, I would hypothesize that this practice may have been born out of necessity, as we were limited in the quality of DC-ATX adapters available for DIY.

Do you have a view yet whether, with your very high-quality DC-ATX adapter, it would actually be preferred to reverse this practice, and use a single, high-current rail to supply the DC-ATX, and draw the 12v EPS from the DC-ATX itself? Or is this one of the myriad questions that the DIY community will need to explore? I know the answer is experimentation, but would love your thoughts!

It depends on the motherboard.

Some motherboards (most of the motherboards we have been playing with on AS) have 3.3V, 5V, and 12V on the ATX connector and another separate 12V rail input on the EPS connector. With those, we have to experiment. I suspect we would find out that with the Taiko ATX, reversing the practice is the way to go.

With the Asus SAGE motherboard used in the Extreme and similar motherboards, there is only one 12V input and it is shared between the ATX and EPS connectors. No need to experiment with that - we should must reverse the practice.
 
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cat6man

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
221
64
260
west of NYC, east of SF
TAS users:
i believe Qobuz is already integrated into TAS.

how about access to:
1. podcasts
2. internet radio

using LMS as my server, i've gotten to like being able to switch to a podcast or news/sports without having to change
listening systems.

also, are there any limitations if Roon is not used/wanted?
the installation instructions are pretty heavy on how to do X or Y via Roon.

stay safe
 

EuroDriver

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2015
494
661
178
Monaco
TAS users:
i believe Qobuz is already integrated into TAS.

how about access to:
1. podcasts
2. internet radio

using LMS as my server, i've gotten to like being able to switch to a podcast or news/sports without having to change
listening systems.

also, are there any limitations if Roon is not used/wanted?
the installation instructions are pretty heavy on how to do X or Y via Roon.

stay safe
This is functionality that should be supportable, but we will need to test it and see if it has any negative effect on sound quality.

Our first priority is the Beta rollout, then we will have time to look at other functionality.

TAS is in no way dependent on the presence of roon
 

EuroDriver

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2015
494
661
178
Monaco
will the android app also be available with the beta release, or follow shortly after?
As there are not many Android users, we would email you a link to the APK and not bother with the Google Play Store. The APK will be available by the time we start the Beta installations
 

cat6man

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
221
64
260
west of NYC, east of SF
As there are not many Android users, we would email you a link to the APK and not bother with the Google Play Store. The APK will be available by the time we start the Beta installations

works for me!
thanks
 

cat6man

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
221
64
260
west of NYC, east of SF
This is functionality that should be supportable, but we will need to test it and see if it has any negative effect on sound quality.

Our first priority is the Beta rollout, then we will have time to look at other functionality.

TAS is in no way dependent on the presence of roon

perfect.

let me also say that while SQ is my top (and 2nd and 3rd) priority for Qobuz and uncompressed music on my home LAN, i would be fine with a lesser SQ for podcasts and radio, since they are not high fidelity sources to begin with. they are sources of convenience mainly.
 

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
1,572
2,386
320
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
@Taiko Audio

Thanks for the wonderful primer on power supply design considerations! It really increased my understanding of the processes at work here, and opened my eyes considerably.

It did raise a couple of thoughts in my mind:

1. The example you gave of DC-DC conversion from 12V to 1.2V for the CPU is interesting, as the 12v to 1.2v DC-DC conversion is done by VRMs (voltage regulator modules) on the motherboard, is it not? I point this out merely to highlight that while we can control the quality and design of the power supply(ies) delivering 12V to the motherboard via the EPS connection, we are at the mercy of the motherboard manufacturer for the quality of the VRMs. So the importance of motherboard selection and curation cannot be overstated.

2. The other thought you provoked was this: it has become a mantra, a common practice in audiophile builds, to dedicate a separate, high-current DC rail (for example 12v/12a) to directly supply the EPS input for the CPU, while using a separate, typically 19v, rail to supply the DC-ATX adapter for the other voltages delivered via the ATX connector. However, I would hypothesize that this practice may have been born out of necessity, as we were limited in the quality of DC-ATX adapters available for DIY.

Do you have a view yet whether, with your very high-quality DC-ATX adapter, it would actually be preferred to reverse this practice, and use a single, high-current rail to supply the DC-ATX, and draw the 12v EPS from the DC-ATX itself? Or is this one of the myriad questions that the DIY community will need to explore? I know the answer is experimentation, but would love your thoughts!

Also, looking back at my questions, this is already getting into the DIY space, so I suspect further debate should happen there, so as not to derail the Extreme thread. Apologies if I am veering OT.

1. Yes indeed!
2. That 12V/12A rail would probably be very noisy, it would make sense to feed the rest from a less loaded (hence lower noise) supply.

It's designed to perform very well as a single supply. Of course you could use two, but there are considerable downsides to having 2 separated power supply ground planes powering circuits with a common ground plane. All sorts of undesirable things can happen.
 

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
1,572
2,386
320
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
@Taiko Audio

Hi Emile,
can you imagine to offer for DIY purposes DC-DC SMPS modules with different voltages and amperages, maybe starting from 5V/3A up...

Matt

Not planned but never say never.
 
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Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
as an aside to all the DIY stuff going on here which is above my pay grade, I have to report another epiphany I had yesterday thanks once again to Emile

TAS alpha has been on my system for the past 3 months and I have yet to go back and play Roon as the SQ on TAS clearly bests that of Roon

What I did learn several months ago however was that I was limited in the extent to which I could avail myself to the full benefits of TAS. This became obvious immediately when I could not access PCM buffers above 2048 n or could I access the adaptive-1 or adaptive-2 buffer. The explanation was that I was limited by virtue of the fact that my DAC (Lampi Pacific) was based on a USB board which used Amanero which was the reason for my limited access to TAS buffers. I had a long talk with Emile as well as Lukasz about the new JL Sounds USB board which has replaced Amanero and is able to not only take full use of TAS functions such as full use of all buffers BUT so also allows me to now use the TAS driver as well as being able to take full advantage of Emile's upcoming proprietary USB board as well as his switch.

With Lukasz giving instructions from the sidelines as well as providing me with the JL Sounds USB board with a schematic on how to insert the new USB board and with the assistance of a local Lampizator approved technician the board was replaced on Monday. First sound impressions with this new board were all positiver but nothing that stood out as sounding vastly different......until yesterday.....

With Emile's genius and the help of Team Viewer Emile installed the TAS driver and removed the JL Sounds driver. According to Emile there is now a new player being used and there were SQ upgrades that he also installed

He was finished yesterday before I even had breakfast. I sat down to listen and I didn't emerge from my sound room let alone leave my seat for the next 5-6 hours. What I heard yesterday was beyond even what I have heard before with TAS sans TAS driver and the new JL Sounds USB board. The sound floor was so low that previous levels on my gain control were reduced. What for me was so dramatic was the pristine clarity of what I was hearing. I thought that clarity, dynamics, and lowered sound floor were amazing before but yesterday had me glued to my seat. The sound stage was 3D and there was top to bottom clarity. There were songs that I have used for years to demo certain features . One song I commonly use is "You Want It Darker" by Leonard Cohen who we all know had a deep gravely voice. Every time I play that song his voice sounds loose and gravelly. Yesterday I can honestly say that this looseness in the bottom register was completely gone and yesterday was the first time that I can say that I heard his voice the way I remember it

Bottom line is TAS remains the real deal. Whenever Emile asks me if I am interested in trying some new features in the alpha version I become like a kid at Christmas visiting toyland as every listening session brings new rewards.

So again thank you to Emile as I now have complete use of all the buffers. My previous default was PCM 2048 and DSD 8192. After yesterday my new default buffers are PCM 4096 and DSD 8192

To all the readers here who are Extreme owners I would strongly encourage all of you to avail yourself of the Beta version when it becomes available because if you think what you are hearing now is great, all I can say is "you ain't heard nothing yet" :)

we are lucky to have this team working 24 x 7 on making the SQ of TAS the best there is. What I heard yesterday was a quantum leap above what I was hearing before

I even got a notice yesterday from Test Flight that automatic changes were made to my Taiko Remote. You guys rock!!
 

Kingsrule

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2011
1,053
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485
It'll be interesting to see if all the Extreme owners get this special setup service when the Beta comes available.
USB drivers, system specific drivers, specific DACS that individuals are using, previous changes in eveyone's Extreme...it all seems like a huge task. No one from Taiko has been into my Extreme since the Roon update deal and even then it felt like the goal was to get in and get out as quick as possible. With hundreds of Extremes in the field, it feels there will be a generic upgrade to Beta but how can Taiko handle the nuanced changes that Williams, MikeL and others are getting? (Maybe I'm having Extreme upgrade envy......)
 

austinpop

Well-Known Member
May 23, 2017
66
166
98
Austin, TX
2. That 12V/12A rail would probably be very noisy, it would make sense to feed the rest from a less loaded (hence lower noise) supply.

Emile, I was thinking of something like a Paul Hynes SR-7 DR rail, which is the opposite of noisy!

One of the interesting concepts you've introduced, and @nenon has also expounded on the AS thread, is the notion that the Taiko DC-ATX adapter — which I have no doubt will trounce anything else on the market — is best fed with an unregulated energizing DC rail.

I know a lot of people using high-quality, double regulated supplies like the SR-7T and SR-7DR to energize the HDPlex DC-ATX, who will replace their existing HDPlex DC-ATX adapters for the Taiko. What will be really interesting is the experiments that prove or disprove whether a cheaper, but unregulated, energizing supply outperforms these SR-7 units.
 
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Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
It'll be interesting to see if all the Extreme owners get this special setup service when the Beta comes available.
USB drivers, system specific drivers, specific DACS that individuals are using, previous changes in eveyone's Extreme...it all seems like a huge task. No one from Taiko has been into my Extreme since the Roon update deal and even then it felt like the goal was to get in and get out as quick as possible. With hundreds of Extremes in the field, it feels there will be a generic upgrade to Beta but how can Taiko handle the nuanced changes that Williams, MikeL and others are getting? (Maybe I'm having Extreme upgrade envy......)
you are;)

It took Emile all of 20 minutes to do. I don't believe there will be anything generic. It truly is vastly superior IMHO to Roon
 

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