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: 92 68.7%
  • Ethernet

    Votes: 23 17.2%
  • Both USB and Ethernet

    Votes: 13 9.7%
  • AES/EBU

    Votes: 12 9.0%
  • Dual AES/EBU

    Votes: 3 2.2%
  • Other

    Votes: 8 6.0%

  • Total voters
    134

Blackmorec

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2019
424
584
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While discussing networking (noise):


Our current recommendation is to use UNshielded CAT5 or CAT6 copper network cabling, we simply get the best results that way ourselves since the introduction of the new USB card. There is a solid explanation for it which I will share now.

There are 2 main modes of noise stemming from network usage:
1) Noise generated by network activity / processing
2) Noise transmitted over interconnects

Noise type 1) is dominant in Fiber connections due to a higher current draw of the SFP module which is an explanation for a benefit to creating a seperate subnet or vlan in this case as that reduces network activity on that subnet. As it's fiber there is no direct path for electrical noise as fiber is electrically non conductive.

Noise type 2) is dominant in copper connections, we have a very consistent network noise profile which is now rather insensitive to variations in network activity. This applies to a much lesser degree to Fiber which we have to configure differently to get to the level of Sound Quality we're after as a direct result of it's higher current draw. Now let's take a look at copper networking's sensitivity to noise type 2):

A 1Gb or higher Ethernet cable is made up of 4 pairs of signal carrying conductors, nowadays often surrounded by a shield. The signal carrying conductors (data pairs) are transformer decoupled, both common and differential mode, with their centertaps highpass filtered and referenced to ground (on both sides), usually with a corner frequency of about 1MHz. Typical schematic from Intel reference design documentation:

View attachment 79138

Solid engineering here which you should typically find in any switch, regardless of pricelevel.

Now let's discuss cable shields. Cable shields extend chassis shielding to include signal carrying conductors into the system shield, shielding them from external noise sources and/or reducing emissions. Now what happens if we apply this to our hifi-systems. To make this more visible I've created a quick MSPaint drawing:

View attachment 79140

It should be clear from this drawing that these cable shields can create a conductive path from any device on your network straight into your system. Therefor we propose to connect as follows:

View attachment 79142

This is accomplished by using an unshielded ethernet cable, which would be CAT5 or CAT6 as CAT7 and CAT8 are shielded by design.
Wouldn’t using a shielded cable with plastic RJ-45 plugs achieve the same goal? I use plastic connectors and have all my cable screens star earthed to a low impedance ground.
 
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Lampie519

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2021
493
341
65
56
Hoofddorp, Holland
Expecially at the ends (so in the plug) it is essential to have some shielding as the cables within the connector are no longer twisted (now paralelled configuration) therefore noise can be injected plus the crosstalk between the signals will be much stronger. Again this is pure the technical side of it....
 
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Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
1,979
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435
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
That just might be mine his is tinkering with because i have one on order :p. This is a giganormus step (and cost ) for me, only equal to my hopes of sound that will caress my eardrums. In august it will come to my dealer. I cant wait!!!

All the best Jaxho

Welcome to the forum @jaxho , congratulations on your purchase!
 
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Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
1,979
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435
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
The Berkeley Alpha USB has gone missing. Is it no longer supported?

It is supported but as it doesn't support ASIO, at least not reliably, there's not much sense in keeping it included.
 

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
1,979
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The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
Emile, is a Taiko switch still on the table or have you decided to not design and build one?

We have several iterations of a switch ready we could put into production. However I'm not fully satisfied. One of the largest challenges is getting a consistent performance improvement over a wide range of use cases. For example some configurations improve local file playback but degrade streaming performance, others "beautify" small scale performance but confuse large scale orchestral. You can smooth out leading edges creating a more forgiving sound while at the same time reducing apparent event energy portrayal, etc etc. I am not in favour at all of creating a switch with settings, like for example jazz, rock or classical. The bottom line is that switches do introduce some kind of colouration or effect, like any other device you connect to or introduce into your system. From this switch design process stems the current recommendation to try an unshielded cat5/cat6 cable as you can consider those to be "neutral", and I did identify noise travelling cable shields as one of the most damaging aspects of a network connection, what still needs to be investigated are the effects of conductor to shield capacitance and how that affects things when one leg (the shield) is fully floating or connected on one side, hence I cannot recommend to try anything beyond something unshielded at this time. I'm currently also looking into other ways to address this issue as the switch iteration which satisfies me most would not be cheap, it has a very large parts count, it would probably end up retailing at at least as much as the Telegartner Gold M12 which I feel is not worth the degree of improvement (significantly less then a USB cable or power cord here) and still not provide a complete solution for all systems and musical preferences.
 

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
1,979
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The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
Expecially at the ends (so in the plug) it is essential to have some shielding as the cables within the connector are no longer twisted (now paralelled configuration) therefore noise can be injected plus the crosstalk between the signals will be much stronger. Again this is pure the technical side of it....

Yes, plus a change in impedance causing increased radiation, you will measure higher emissions straight on that connector then on the cable itself, you could argue that can couple to a connector shield which is in turn connected to your chassis. What is technically correct from a data integrity POV unfortunately does not always agree with our ears.
 
Jun 30, 2020
61
70
20
Berlin, Germany
griggaudio.de
Solarflare cards sound good, atleast for a while. I have a few, not the latest, mine are around 2-3 years old. They do run very hot causing a steep decline in performance at around 15-20 minutes after cold boot in the Extreme. I modified one with a custom heatsink adding a heatpipe to the Extreme's heatsinks but that merely extended useability to 1-2 hours, you will need forced air cooling with those.

Yes, unfortunately the chip on the Solaflare NIC is very hot. But in terms of sound, I don't know anything better. I can recommend the Solarflare models SFN8522 and even better XtremeScale X2522.
 

kswanson27

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2018
228
68
93
77
It is supported but as it doesn't support ASIO, at least not reliably, there's not much sense in keeping it included.
I'm eventually headed toward a Berkeley DAC so I guess I'll have to keep my Totaldac reclocker. Looking forward to that pause feature in TAS!
 
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MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
2,838
434
580
Mass
I'm eventually headed toward a Berkeley DAC so I guess I'll have to keep my Totaldac reclocker. Looking forward to that pause feature in TAS!
You can't currently pause the music with TAS?
 

dminches

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2011
1,789
719
555
You can't currently pause the music with TAS?

No. You can play and stop. If you can FF and/or REW I haven’t figured that out yet.
 

cat6man

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
352
200
385
west of NYC, east of SF
While discussing networking (noise):

View attachment 79140

It should be clear from this drawing that these cable shields can create a conductive path from any device on your network straight into your system. Therefor we propose to connect as follows:

View attachment 79142

This is accomplished by using an unshielded ethernet cable, which would be CAT5 or CAT6 as CAT7 and CAT8 are shielded by design.

does the same argument suggest that there should be no shield connection between server and DAC also?

if i'm not mistaken, the floating shield of the Sablon would serve the same purpose of breaking the conductive path from the server to the DAC, right?
 

EuroDriver

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2015
633
1,084
343
Monaco
TAS is a BETA release, we understood that when

I'm eventually headed toward a Berkeley DAC so I guess I'll have to keep my Totaldac reclocker. Looking forward to that pause feature in TAS!
We have a customer who has nice results with Total DAC reclocker to the Berkeley DAC
 

kswanson27

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2018
228
68
93
77
We have a customer who has nice results with Total DAC reclocker to the Berkeley DAC
No delays at the start and/or end of a track?
 

cat6man

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
352
200
385
west of NYC, east of SF
No delays at the start and/or end of a track?

haven't really looked at start or end, but gaps between tracks are very noticeable.
gapless playback is a key feature of future beta release.
 

kswanson27

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2018
228
68
93
77
haven't really looked at start or end, but gaps between tracks are very noticeable.
gapless playback is a key feature of future beta release.
Two different issues here: the gap between tracks everyone is experiencing and the other is a stutter at the start of many (but not all) tracks and a premature end on many as well which I'm experiencing. I'm beginning to think my issues are caused by some kind on interface problem between my reclocker and the 8c's DAC since, if I understand correctly, I'm the only reclocker owner having these issues.
 

jelt2359

Member
Nov 17, 2020
34
9
8
37
Two different issues here: the gap between tracks everyone is experiencing and the other is a stutter at the start of many (but not all) tracks and a premature end on many as well which I'm experiencing. I'm beginning to think my issues are caused by some kind on interface problem between my reclocker and the 8c's DAC since, if I understand correctly, I'm the only reclocker owner having these issues.
Do you have these issues with other players (not TAS)?
 

kswanson27

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2018
228
68
93
77
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