Taiko Audio SGM Extreme : the Crème de la Crème

Rhapsody

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Jan 16, 2013
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I'm saying that the changes are faster here than in any other sector of the high end, making obsolescence a real consideration, more critical or relevant the more you pay. This is not a jibe at Emile, indeed the opposite, I have fantastic respect for him and his product over the 3 years I've heard the SGM.

My Q is whether the Extreme can really accomodate those significant changes when they come, because those changes will be happening faster than in any other component.
Marc,

I'm attempting to say this in the gentlest way and am not speaking for anyone else here, but myself.

As suggested in prior post why don't you start another thread with your persistent question about the rapid changes of digital/servers.

You say you mean no disrepect to Emile, that is understood, but there are so many posts in this thread from everyone that is interested in the Taiko Extreme server that it seems like it just stays "bogged down" with your digital uncertainty.

It would be great if you explored that uncertainty in all its glory, but in another thread.
 

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
568
337
63
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
Just let me know how much time will l have to return it from the time I get it home ?
in case of SQ mismach?
14 days, it's a common EU policy.
 

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
568
337
63
The Netherlands
taikoaudio.com
Thank you for your endorsements everyone. Much appreciated.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,481
868
113
E. England
Marc,

I'm attempting to say this in the gentlest way and am not speaking for anyone else here, but myself.

As suggested in prior post why don't you start another thread with your persistent question about the rapid changes of digital/servers.

You say you mean no disrepect to Emile, that is understood, but there are so many posts in this thread from everyone that is interested in the Taiko Extreme server that it seems like it just stays "bogged down" with your digital uncertainty.

It would be great if you explored that uncertainty in all its glory, but in another thread.
Hokay.
 
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I'm saying that the changes are faster here than in any other sector of the high end, making obsolescence a real consideration, more critical or relevant the more you pay. This is not a jibe at Emile, indeed the opposite, I have fantastic respect for him and his product over the 3 years I've heard the SGM.

My Q is whether the Extreme can really accomodate those significant changes when they come, because those changes will be happening faster than in any other component.
I think this question goes as much to the Extreme as an example of the ultimate cutting edge technology, so I’m going to pursue the theme for a while longer in this thread.

Its true that there has been very rapid progress in the areas of servers and streamers compared to other areas in high-end audio and there’s a good reason for this. In the past audiophiles have simply taken standard computer hardware and with a little software and maybe a couple of special boards, created servers and streamers to deliver a stream of digital music to DACs. The rest of high end is all custom built and developed....loudspeakers, turntables, CDPs, ADCs, amps, pre-amps, phono-amps....all custom designed and built specifically for audio. With servers and streamers, this ‘customisation for audio’ has only just started happening quite recently, so there are 3 drivers behind the improvements in SQ.....better computing HW, better application/combination of the computing HW and better, designed-specifically-for-audio support peripherals like LPSs, cables, vibration control, RFI and EMI radiation control etc. What we’ve found is that using all the very latest HW, SW and knowledge, we can build some really kick-ass servers and streamers that significantly outperform the standard computer HW solutions of the past.

So yes, things are very likely to keep developing and improving for at least the near term and quite likely longer. Hooray for that!

So then comes the question, can the TA SGM Extreme, Innuos Statement etc. accommodate all the future improvements? For this there’s no definitive answer, only an indication because we don’t know what the future improvements will be. What we do know is that the computer industry tends to stick to standard sizes and protocols where possible. We also know that the best designers try to foresee where their product may go and future proof them to as great a degree as possible/feasible. We know that manufacturers have been successful in providing reasonably extended upgrade paths and we also know that when its no longer possible for a manufacturer to provide an upgrade path due to technological limitations, the better ones will often provide a financial cushion to soften the blow.
So for me personally, life is short and music is my passion so I’m diving right in, trusting that I’m picking the right dealers and manufacturers to make future business pleasant and enjoyable. I’ve spent the past 2 years in audio heaven, thanks to the Innuos Zenith SE and Statement. I’m certain that anyone with an SGM Extreme will share the same audio paradise. Given that you only loose a fraction of the buying price in the event you do have to upgrade rather than update, I really don’t think that the price of admission is too high considering the increases in SQ being delivered and compared to the hi-fi industry as a whole.
 
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Esotar

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Mar 28, 2016
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www.digitusupremo.com
I think this question goes as much to the Extreme as an example of the ultimate cutting edge technology, so I’m going to pursue the theme for a while longer in this thread.

Its true that there has been very rapid progress in the areas of servers and streamers compared to other areas in high-end audio and there’s a good reason for this. In the past audiophiles have simply taken standard computer hardware and with a little software and maybe a couple of special boards, created servers and streamers to deliver a stream of digital music to DACs. The rest of high end is all custom built and developed....loudspeakers, turntables, CDPs, ADCs, amps, pre-amps, phono-amps....all custom designed and built specifically for audio. With servers and streamers, this ‘customisation for audio’ has only just started happening quite recently, so there are 3 drivers behind the improvements in SQ.....better computing HW, better application/combination of the computing HW and better, designed-specifically-for-audio support peripherals like LPSs, cables, vibration control, RFI and EMI radiation control etc. What we’ve found is that using all the very latest HW, SW and knowledge, we can build some really kick-ass servers and streamers that significantly outperform the standard computer HW solutions of the past.

So yes, things are very likely to keep developing and improving for at least the near term and quite likely longer. Hooray for that!

So then comes the question, can the TA SGM Extreme, Innuos Statement etc. accommodate all the future improvements? For this there’s no definitive answer, only an indication because we don’t know what the future improvements will be. What we do know is that the computer industry tends to stick to standard sizes and protocols where possible. We also know that the best designers try to foresee where their product may go and future proof them to as great a degree as possible. We know that manufacturers have been successful in providing reasonably extended upgrade paths and we also know that when its no longer possible for a manufacturer to provide an upgrade path due to technological limitations, the better ones will often provide a financial cushion to soften the blow.
So for me personally, life is short and music is my passion so I’m diving right in, trusting that I’m picking the right dealers and manufacturers to make future business pleasant and enjoyable. I’ve spent the past 2 years in audio heaven, thanks to the Innuos Zenith SE and Statement. I’m certain that anyone with an SGM Extreme will share the same audio paradise. Given that you only loose a fraction of the buying price in the event you do have to upgrade rather than update, I really don’t think that the price of admission is too high considering the increases in SQ being delivered and compared to the hi-fi industry as a whole.

Maybe CKKeung will tell you the results.

I did comparison tests with CDT and other music servers, too.

Extreme have to be compared with Analogue Devices I think.

Other comparisons is meaningless.
 
May 30, 2010
15,331
605
113
Portugal
I think this question goes as much to the Extreme as an example of the ultimate cutting edge technology, so I’m going to pursue the theme for a while longer in this thread.

Its true that there has been very rapid progress in the areas of servers and streamers compared to other areas in high-end audio and there’s a good reason for this. In the past audiophiles have simply taken standard computer hardware and with a little software and maybe a couple of special boards, created servers and streamers to deliver a stream of digital music to DACs. The rest of high end is all custom built and developed....loudspeakers, turntables, CDPs, ADCs, amps, pre-amps, phono-amps....all custom designed and built specifically for audio. With servers and streamers, this ‘customisation for audio’ has only just started happening quite recently, so there are 3 drivers behind the improvements in SQ.....better computing HW, better application/combination of the computing HW and better, designed-specifically-for-audio support peripherals like LPSs, cables, vibration control, RFI and EMI radiation control etc. What we’ve found is that using all the very latest HW, SW and knowledge, we can build some really kick-ass servers and streamers that significantly outperform the standard computer HW solutions of the past.

So yes, things are very likely to keep developing and improving for at least the near term and quite likely longer. Hooray for that!

So then comes the question, can the TA SGM Extreme, Innuos Statement etc. accommodate all the future improvements? For this there’s no definitive answer, only an indication because we don’t know what the future improvements will be. What we do know is that the computer industry tends to stick to standard sizes and protocols where possible. We also know that the best designers try to foresee where their product may go and future proof them to as great a degree as possible. We know that manufacturers have been successful in providing reasonably extended upgrade paths and we also know that when its no longer possible for a manufacturer to provide an upgrade path due to technological limitations, the better ones will often provide a financial cushion to soften the blow.
So for me personally, life is short and music is my passion so I’m diving right in, trusting that I’m picking the right dealers and manufacturers to make future business pleasant and enjoyable. I’ve spent the past 2 years in audio heaven, thanks to the Innuos Zenith SE and Statement. I’m certain that anyone with an SGM Extreme will share the same audio paradise. Given that you only loose a fraction of the buying price in the event you do have to upgrade rather than update, I really don’t think that the price of admission is too high considering the increases in SQ being delivered and compared to the hi-fi industry as a whole.
Considering the interest of people in the subject and the generic references to other brands, I think we should proceed with the discussion in this thread.

IMHO the current top servers are examples of ultimate cutting edge technology, but also of brute force that successfully solve a problem - giving us excellent digital reproduction with our current DACs. IMHO we lack evidence of how successful they are - for example, as far as I know we do not have enough data comparing the performance of dedicated transports, optimized by the DAC manufacturers with the servers supplying the same redbook CDs or even SACDs.

Why do I consider it brute force? Because as long as they are not being played, just stored, bits are bits. If in the process of being played these bits sound different it is an evidence the process is not being fully mastered. IMHO sometime in the near future we will have a box with a digital input and an output that, included between any digital source and the DAC, will make any bit exact source sound optimum.

The high-end diversity has found its essence in our preferences - it is why analog can be so rich, we do not expect two analog products to sound the same. But by definition digital playback of bit exact contents should sound similar - IMHO streaming, files stored on NAS , SDD or PCI memory should sound the same.

The best thing about about current top servers is that they bring us top performance and great pleasure NOW - audiophiles always want it to yesterday. If I could pick today an Extreme server in a shop nearby to try immediately and get it if pleased I would probably do it. But I hate queuing for high-end equipment - the last time I did it was decades ago, when Quad was just selling ESL63 serial numbers with a promised delivery date ...

All IMHO, YMMV.
 

Number9

Active Member
Oct 15, 2018
126
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28
Considering the interest of people in the subject and the generic references to other brands, I think we should proceed with the discussion in this thread.

IMHO the current top servers are examples of ultimate cutting edge technology, but also of brute force that successfully solve a problem - giving us excellent digital reproduction with our current DACs. IMHO we lack evidence of how successful they are - for example, as far as I know we do not have enough data comparing the performance of dedicated transports, optimized by the DAC manufacturers with the servers supplying the same redbook CDs or even SACDs.

Why do I consider it brute force? Because as long as they are not being played, just stored, bits are bits. If in the process of being played these bits sound different it is an evidence the process is not being fully mastered. IMHO sometime in the near future we will have a box with a digital input and an output that, included between any digital source and the DAC, will make any bit exact source sound optimum.

The high-end diversity has found its essence in our preferences - it is why analog can be so rich, we do not expect two analog products to sound the same. But by definition digital playback of bit exact contents should sound similar - IMHO streaming, files stored on NAS , SDD or PCI memory should sound the same.

The best thing about about current top servers is that they bring us top performance and great pleasure NOW - audiophiles always want it to yesterday. If I could pick today an Extreme server in a shop nearby to try immediately and get it if pleased I would probably do it. But I hate queuing for high-end equipment - the last time I did it was decades ago, when Quad was just selling ESL63 serial numbers with a promised delivery date ...

All IMHO, YMMV.
You got me up to the Zenith SE/Statement part. This scenario (if I understand your journey correctly) is a perfect example of why we need to be MORE cautious to spend big bucks at this stage. Afaik the SE is/was not upgradeable to the Statement because a whole new platform was implemented. Please share how you transitioned from the SE to the Statement.[/QUOTE]
 
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I’m not sure I get your point exactly. The Zenith MkII SE was always sold and marketed as a limited edition. That pretty obviously means no further development. Why would a company develop something that they’ve stated from the outset will only be manufactured is very limited numbers?
Then let’s look at the Statement. Its very clearly not a development of the Zenith SE, other than applying some lessons learned from the SE’s development. The Statement uses a different topology, an entirely different platform and shares very few parts with the SE. And at twice the price of the SE it also occupies an entirely different market position If Innuos set out to build a next generation SE with an upgrade path, then there’s no way they could implement anything like the Statement. To upgrade an SE to Statement level would almost certainly cost a lot more than simply trading in the SE with a dealer and buying a Statement, so what would be the point?

All that being said, let’s look at what SE owners loose with the launch of the Statement. The SE delivers stunningly beautiful sound, even better when the front end network is optimised. For the asking price I’m not aware of another item in high end audio that delivers more SQ bang for the buck. That doesn’t change, so no loss there. If its the fact that the SE is no longer king of the Innuos hill, and that you can get even better sound with the Statement, that in simply down to the fact that Innuos has built an altogether more expensive but more technologically advanced top of the range model. When a current model is enhanced, then upgrade paths are highly desirable but I really don’t see how upgrade paths are even feasible when a completely new model on a different platform is launched.

Finally, let’s look at upgrade paths in general. An upgrade path is very nice for consumers who buy an original model then get the opportunity to improve it and take it forward to the next iteration. Some products and manufacturers are better at doing this than others but its worth bearing in mind that it is only possible when the number of changes are limited, in order that the upgrade path remains feasible from both a cost and engineering standpoint. As soon as progress mandates a major change in design or topology, for example the release of a new mother board that requires special cooling and a much more powerful power supply, then upgrade paths are no longer feasible. In computing this often happens with major architectural changes like 16 to 32 to 64 bits.

I had a very easy transition to the Statement. With the arrival of the SE I realised that my Turntable had no future as a music source in my system. What’s the point in all the vinyl faff, only to get inferior SQ? My dealer put together a nice deal for both the TT and SE....clean as a whistle. Essentially I paid good money for the SE and it delivered its value, in spades. The fact that something better came along soon after its purchase meant that I had a choice.....stay with the SE; stay with the SE and tweak it or chop it in for a Statement. I chose the latter because I highly valued the extra SQ that the Statement delivers. BTW, I did exactly the same thing with a PS. Bought a midrange unit to try and was so impressed I traded it a few months later for their top of the range. Its the price of being involved in technology’s cutting edge.
 

Number9

Active Member
Oct 15, 2018
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My interpretation of your post is that you are supporting the idea that investing big bucks in a product that uses technology that is literally changing daily will maintain its value and remain SOTA because the upgrade paths and/or generous trade in credits offered by manufacturers will “cushion” costs. I was only pointing out that the example you provided to support this concept IMO proves the exact opposite. The fact that the SE edition was an attempt at SOTA and labeled a limited production only to be superseded by the Statement in a relatively short time period makes it even more evident. You justify that by trading in your turntable along with your outdated SE that the transition was easy, but overall you still took a hit.

Since I have personally taken nearly the same path you have I speak from experience. The manufacturer in this case Innuos offered (me) no leverage on the pricing to upgrade from the SE to Statement. The dealers (to my knowledge) were pretty much on their own as with any trade in and were offered no incentives by Innuos which would ultimately benefit the end user in savings.

That being said, I opted to go back to the excellent SOtM products I had previous to the Innuos and have not only gained SQ due to the incremental advances of technology but feel more “protected.”
 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
1,255
367
83
Hong Kong
Time to say bye bye to my SGM2015..........

View attachment 54804
Very smart you are! Hope that you will get your Extreme very soon.
Congratulations!

And this is the advantage of the "future-proofness" of SGM servers.
Owners need to pay only the price diff of their older models to upgrade to the newer models.
:cool:
 

Sablon Audio

Industry Expert, VIP Donor
May 22, 2015
590
149
43
Very smart you are! Hope that you will get your Extreme very soon.
Congratulations!

And this is the advantage of the "future-proofness" of SGM servers.
Owners need to pay only the price diff of their older models to upgrade to the newer models.
:cool:
Thanks CK, it is indeed an adventure! My biggest dilemma right now is which dac I will pair it up with as I have really enjoyed my time with the modified T+A - is a real ball of energy and I will be loathe to lose it!
 

Number9

Active Member
Oct 15, 2018
126
40
28
Very smart you are! Hope that you will get your Extreme very soon.
Congratulations!

And this is the advantage of the "future-proofness" of SGM servers.
Owners need to pay only the price diff of their older models to upgrade to the newer models.
:cool:
Perhaps this is the case with the SGM server, but the reality is most of the manufacturers will not budge on the MSRP when a trade in is part of the deal. Here again is an example where the product is not being sent in for an upgrade, it is being sent in to the manufacturer where it will be resold at a discount and replaced by the new model. This may sound like sour grapes but it is not. I love spending my money.
 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
1,255
367
83
Hong Kong
Perhaps this is the case with the SGM server, but the reality is most of the manufacturers will not budge on the MSRP when a trade in is part of the deal.
Other brands with similar practice, for whom I know so far : MSB Select Series and Totaldac DACs.
But they are not server manufacturers.
 
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My interpretation of your post is that you are supporting the idea that investing big bucks in a product that uses technology that is literally changing daily will maintain its value and remain SOTA because the upgrade paths and/or generous trade in credits offered by manufacturers will “cushion” costs. I was only pointing out that the example you provided to support this concept IMO proves the exact opposite. The fact that the SE edition was an attempt at SOTA and labeled a limited production only to be superseded by the Statement in a relatively short time period makes it even more evident. You justify that by trading in your turntable along with your outdated SE that the transition was easy, but overall you still took a hit.

Since I have personally taken nearly the same path you have I speak from experience. The manufacturer in this case Innuos offered (me) no leverage on the pricing to upgrade from the SE to Statement. The dealers (to my knowledge) were pretty much on their own as with any trade in and were offered no incentives by Innuos which would ultimately benefit the end user in savings.

That being said, I opted to go back to the excellent SOtM products I had previous to the Innuos and have not only gained SQ due to the incremental advances of technology but feel more “protected.”
No, I wouldn’t say that your interpretation exactly matches where I’m coming from. I bought an SE for its stunningly excellent sound quality, which I have no reason to doubt its still producing. So the SE delivered on its contractual obligation and was entirely ‘fit for purpose’. I sold the SE and bought the Statement because the Statement provides even better sound, for which I was prepared to pay. Should Innuos compensate me in some way because they introduced a superior product? Of course not. When I bought the SE it was the best available (at least the best available from Innuos). 2 years later Innuos had developed a new and better product. Not an evolution of the SE, whose platform was too limited but rather an entirely new-from-the-ground-up product. How does developing a completely new product impact the existing product? It doesn’t. So why should Innuos compensate anyone? For what?
I think the point you’re making is that in buying the SE you thought you were buying the best and 2 years later, it wasn’t and somehow you feel that impacts on the value of what you bought. You decided to take a different path to me, staying with the SE and enhancing it with various tweaks and boxes. Given that the SE’s SQ was never a million miles away from the Statement I’m sure you’re perfectly happy with your sound. And if we’re both happy, where’s the problem? Just 2 different but equally valid approaches to the same challenge of obtaining great sounding music from a rapidly evolving technology.
 
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Kris

Member
Mar 4, 2019
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Thanks CK, it is indeed an adventure! My biggest dilemma right now is which dac I will pair it up with as I have really enjoyed my time with the modified T+A - is a real ball of energy and I will be loathe to lose it!
TotalDAC 12 or MSB select or totalDAC 24

Taiko and many extreme server dealers have totalDAC for a reason I think.
Vincent is very helpful and I am sure you will be extreme satisfied if you purchese DAC from him.
 
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spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,481
868
113
E. England
TotalDac 24?
24???
 

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