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: 86 67.7%
  • Ethernet

    Votes: 22 17.3%
  • Both USB and Ethernet

    Votes: 13 10.2%
  • AES/EBU

    Votes: 12 9.4%
  • Dual AES/EBU

    Votes: 3 2.4%
  • Other

    Votes: 8 6.3%

  • Total voters
    127

Kris

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Mar 4, 2019
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Certainly Emile, happy to oblige.

My original plan was simply to compare "basic connection" with "full monty 3-switch chain," but I'll now add 2 more test scenarios. So the test will now compare Extreme (with new USB card) SQ, when the network path is:

1. Basic connection:
Upstream > Supra Cat 8 > Sonore opticalModule > Finisar SFP > Extreme
2. Single switch - modded Buffalo:
Upstream > Supra Cat 8 > modded Buffalo > Finisar SFP > Extreme
3. Single switch - SOtM:
Upstream > Supra Cat 8 > SOtM > Finisar SFP > Extreme
4. Full Monty 3-switch stack:
Upstream > Supra Cat 8 > (A) eR (A) > Sablon Eth > modded Buffalo > Planet SFP > sNH-10g > Finisar SFP > Extreme

To clarify: my "modded Buffalo" is a Buffalo BS-GS2016 switch, modded to remove the internal SMPS and be powered by an external LPS. It also has a cap board of @nenon 's own design. This unit does not have a PF OCXO clock.

I agree . This is also what I was able to test long ago after getting first two Buffalo 2016 ,
then I got 2 more Buffalows. Than added PF ultra clocks in 2 Buffalows With help of Jord from Pink Faun. The difference is I use Sablon Ethernet copper as I think is the best.
Also I retest the SFPs as I have a selection of Startech, Planet Tech and few Finisar models.
So be aware this can significantly impact your results.

What I wanted to add is The addition of Pink Faun Ultra clocks is a very big difference (and expensive but well woth it) that Austinpop tested long ago and loved it , but it was not in his system for this test As far as I see.

So even without PF clock Buffalo was still better than Sotm in his test.
With PF ultra clock installed in Buffalo 2016 is a way better.
I have both PF clock Buffalows and Normal so was able to hear the difference many times.
 

Taiko Audio

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Updated list, @nuway if you changed DACs meanwhile please let me know.

Impact of network configuration unchanged:
1x Chord Dave - Amanero - HQPlayer - fiber

Impact of network configuration reduced or non existent:
2x Lampizator Pacific - XMOS 2 - TAS - copper
2x Lampizator Pacific - XMOS 2 - Roon - copper
1x Pilium Elektra - XMOS 2 - TAS - copper
1x MSB Select - XMOS 2 - TAS - copper
1x Aqua Formula XHD - XMOS 2 - TAS - copper
1x T+A MP3100HV - U-hear - TAS - fiber

It would be nice to have feedback on more setups where network tweaks still have a significant impact on perceived sound quality. I understand it's a tedious job to run these comparisons but it can be of significant help in pinpointing the cause of network side sensitivity. Of particular interest to me right now would be DACs with a first generation XMOS interface, like a Totaldac. The obvious issue there is these exceed USB spec which is a 495mA current draw causing the management controller to disable the USB port, they also draw a 6.48A initial charge peak which I was suspecting to be the issue first, however this is below the allowed 8ms allowed time duration:

TD.png

By design for USB2/3 the USB port is disabled when it crosses 495mA of current draw for 8 milliseconds. The Extreme onboard controller allows a higher current draw (USB 3.1) so we did not run into this before. We are looking into how to bypass the protection for Totaldacs, it appears to be very near "off spec" as some do work.
 
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Kris

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Mar 4, 2019
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Now we need to re - run this evaluation with a XMOS 2 USB DAC ;-)

I have the xmos 2 as you know Edward
I must agree with Rajiv . The degree of positive change is still there .
It might be smaller magnitudy than on mobo but its still significant impact ,
will continue as it is also early on my Taiko USB card.

( Comparison tested on TotalDAC reclocker ( old xmos) and JLSounds ( xmos 200 series) .
But this was tested on Mobo USB ! I was unable to test TotalDAC xmos with Taiko card.)

Again I think it makes sense as we treat with NET twicks the other side of the same Taiko server
( network ) that is an INPUT of the signal.
The USB is an OUTPUT of the signal from server.

To me those are still 2 separate things . USB seems much more important but why forget the other end if it makes a big difference ?
 
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Taiko Audio

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Updated:

Impact of network configuration unchanged:
1x Chord Dave - Amanero - HQPlayer - fiber
1x Totaldac - XMOS1 / XMOS2 (?) - TAS - fiber

Impact of network configuration reduced or non existent:
2x Lampizator Pacific - XMOS 2 - TAS - copper
2x Lampizator Pacific - XMOS 2 - Roon - copper
1x Pilium Elektra - XMOS 2 - TAS - copper
1x MSB Select - XMOS 2 - TAS - copper
1x Aqua Formula XHD - XMOS 2 - TAS - copper
1x T+A MP3100HV - U-hear - TAS - fiber

The goal here is to establish a reliable baseline for how to extract best performance from a particular DAC model. Even more ideal would be to be able to extend this beyond the DAC, and pinpoint it to for example the USB controller used. As @austinpop mentioned we do have some working theories. The Amanero controller for example appears to be more sensitive then second generation XMOS and U-hear controllers. There are some very obvious differences. 5-6 years ago Amanero was the only game in town for DSD512 and PCM768 capability, so it's in a good number of DACs of that era supporting a broad range of sampling rates. Second gen XMOS can now do PCM1536 and DSD1024, in theory even PCM3072 and DSD2048. Without knowing specific design details, I can identify that USB kernel mode driver latency is 20-25 times higher for the Amanero driver then the XMOS-2 (using our own driver). It also uses larger data packet sizes, 3 times larger for 16 bits, 2 times larger for 24 bits, 1,5 times higher for 32 bits. We can very likely optimize TAS to extract maximum performance from a DAC based on compensating for these differences.

The ideal scenario imho would be something like this:

1) In TAS you select the DAC you are using and we automatically optimize the software environment for optimal performance with that DAC.
2) Based on data collected from our userbase a recommendation for a specific DAC model, which could be for example:

Chord Dave:
-Replace the internal switching power supply with a Sean Jacobs DC4
-Network environment impact, significant, invest in audiophile grade switches and cables
-Software environment, upsample to 705/768 in order to bypass the internal up-sampler with higher quality algorithms, employ a small ASIO buffer size to compensate for the large kernel mode buffer

Lampizator Pacific:
-For models predating xx-xx-xxx consider updating to current spec (replace the old Amanero interface with the new JLsounds)
-Network impact, minor, inserting a switch for copper cable lengths over ~75ft recommended
-Software environment, PCM buffer size 4096, DSD buffer size 8192

MSB Select:
-Highly recommended to purchase the MSB ProUSB / MSB ProISL interface
-Network impact, minor, inserting a switch for copper cable lengths over ~75ft recommended
-Software environment, PCM buffer size 4096, DSD buffer size 8192

DCS:
-Network impact ??
-Software environment, PCM buffer size 4096, DSD set to DoP (uses PCM frames so no separate configurable buffer)

This would take the guesswork / uncertainty out of the equation.

We can have general recommendations or good practices working in every use case, like replacing the SMPS for your router and/or switch with a LPS (or to take it a bit further, any SMPS in your entire home), this does not have to cost fortunes using the model @marty linked to a few posts back.
 
Last edited:

heebrog

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May 12, 2018
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Perth, WA
There has been much debate about analog vs digital on this thread.
I came across this very interesting podcast on AudiophileStyle and thought I would share it here.
Chris Connaker interviews Grammy Award winning Sound Engineer Bill Schnee where he gives some insight into the recording process.
Very interesting particularly his take on tape vs. vinyl vs. digital from 53';00
Plenty of other interesting personal stories about his relationship with Doug Sax and his experience of recording Whintey Houston/Barbara Streisand/Beatles.

https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/podc...t-1-grammy-winner-bill-schnee-interview-r999/
 

heebrog

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May 12, 2018
103
39
95
Perth, WA
The first tap enables the video output, the second shuts down the Extreme.
Hi Emile,

Is there a tell if the video output is running via VNC "Control Panel" to make sure it is off?
 

Rhapsody

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After approximately 250 hours on the usb card I was using a straight copper lan cable to the Extreme. The sound with TAS/usb driver/usb card was/is AMAZING to my old ears. Even Roon sounded great with the usb card, but not at the level of TAS/driver/card.

Today I inserted the two each M12 switches with the Optimo LPS's back into the network preceding the Extreme new usb card input.

The uptick in SQ was not subtle.

I could live without the network gear very happily, although at this point the two M12's/LPS with all JCAT Sig Gold switch are staying in the system.
 

matthias

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Mar 14, 2019
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Germany
After approximately 250 hours on the usb card I was using a straight copper lan cable to the Extreme. The sound with TAS/usb driver/usb card was/is AMAZING to my old ears. Even Roon sounded great with the usb card, but not at the level of TAS/driver/card.

Today I inserted the two each M12 switches with the Optimo LPS's back into the network preceding the Extreme new usb card input.

The uptick in SQ was not subtle.

I could live without the network gear very happily, although at this point the two M12's/LPS with all JCAT Sig Gold switch are staying in the system.

Hi Bob,
is it possible with streaming from Qobuz and TAS to disconnect network after the files have been loaded into RAM and playback completely without network connection?
Thanks

Matt
 

Rhapsody

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Hi Bob,
is it possible with streaming from Qobuz and TAS to disconnect network after the files have been loaded into RAM and playback completely without network connection?
Thanks

Matt
Hi Matt,

It is possible I guess, but I don't even want to know what that would sound like:(

In my environment where I have daily visitors I would never be able to disconnect the network and don't want to know if it sounds better as then I would be tempted on doing it, which does not make sense in my environment.

I was a happy camper without the network gear and even more content with the network gear installed. When doing demos I can't afford to be dis-connecting and re-connecting....stuff happens when I do that.
 
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Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Hi Matt,

It is possible I guess, but I don't even want to know what that would sound like:(

In my environment where I have daily visitors I would never be able to disconnect the network and don't want to know if it sounds better as then I would be tempted on doing it, which does not make sense in my environment.

I was a happy camper without the network gear and even more content with the network gear installed. When doing demos I can't afford to be dis-connecting and re-connecting....stuff happens when I do that.
Bob

I'm curious that when you reinserted your switches and said the uptick is huge if you heard the top end issues Emile commented about when he used the same switches
 
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Rhapsody

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Bob

I'm curious that when you reinserted your switches and said the uptick is huge if you heard the top end issues Emile commented about when he used the same switches
It sounds amazing, I didn't notice any abnormalities. Don't forget, different room, different systems, DIFFERENT EARS:)

Emiles hearing is TWICE as sensitive if not more sensitive than mine:oops: ESPECIALLY in the high frequencies.
 
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Taiko Audio

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@Rhapsody , is it much trouble to try just 1?
 

Rhapsody

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Bob

How long is the copper ethernet wire from router to your Extreme
TOO LONG:) 50' I'm not going to mess with that as I am moving in a few months.

I go from the router with the 50' copper to a JCAT network isolator so that I can come out the end of the NI with a Sig Gold Lan cable into the first switch. Then jump to the second switch jump to the Extreme with one Sig Gold lan cable and out of the same switch I go to an Aurender N20.
 

Rhapsody

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Taiko Audio

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Hi Emile,

Is there a tell if the video output is running via VNC "Control Panel" to make sure it is off?
It always disables 60 seconds after startup.
 

Rhapsody

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OK, I did it, and and I tried to do a cartwheel and knocked over the Air Force One Premiumo_O

Without a doubt at the same volume with the lan cable inserted there is more life, dynamics and POP to the music. Better Pace, Rhythm and timing. When I disconnected the lan cable after the track was loaded I felt there was something missing. IT SOUNDED GREAT, but I like the POP, even if it's unnaturally exaggerated, which I'm not saying it is, but for someone that would comment that this might be the case. (reading naysayers minds;)

I'm surprised and happy that this sounds like this in my system, again to my ears, but it's not questionable with the test that I just did.
 
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Kris

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2019
369
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After approximately 250 hours on the usb card I was using a straight copper lan cable to the Extreme. The sound with TAS/usb driver/usb card was/is AMAZING to my old ears. Even Roon sounded great with the usb card, but not at the level of TAS/driver/card.

Today I inserted the two each M12 switches with the Optimo LPS's back into the network preceding the Extreme new usb card input.

The uptick in SQ was not subtle.

I could live without the network gear very happily, although at this point the two M12's/LPS with all JCAT Sig Gold switch are staying in the system.
Hi Bob
Once I saw your removed the switches from the chain some time ago
I was hoping you will put them back again. I was sure they will stay once used again.

I did that few times myself with Buffalows just to be absolute sure and I always got back to use the switches.
Again. I am trying to have perfect cooperating devices connected to Extreme.
It pays back with amazing SQ.

I will be always hoping Emile will create the Network card with his ideas he used in USB card.
That network card could be used to replace Startech We all have now.
This could be the final element to be fixed so there is consistency starting from
Input signal to an output signal.

I must say I love the USB card as much as everone here and if we could get Taiko network card
with similar ideas I am sure everyone will be happy.

I point network pci card as I suspect it should be a way better than any switch before extreme.
Having absolute controll over the signal is not a bad idea.
 

Taiko Audio

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Oops! Limited damage I hope? So did you compare 1 versus 2 now?
 

Taiko Audio

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That changes the subtotal to:


Impact of network configuration unchanged:
1x Chord Dave - Amanero - HQPlayer - fiber
1x Totaldac - XMOS1 / XMOS2 (?) - TAS - fiber
1x Pilium Elektra - XMOS 2 - TAS - copper

Impact of network configuration reduced or non existent:
2x Lampizator Pacific - XMOS 2 - TAS - copper
2x Lampizator Pacific - XMOS 2 - Roon - copper
1x MSB Select - XMOS 2 - TAS - copper
1x Aqua Formula XHD - XMOS 2 - TAS - copper
1x T+A MP3100HV - U-hear - TAS - fiber
 

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