Taiko Audio SGM Extreme : the Crème de la Crème

It sounds as if diamonds in the rough are being honed and that shortly their cut, color, clarity, and carat shall be revealed.

We’re excited that our Extreme should be here shortly.
 
(...) The biggest "elephant in the room" however is the sheer amount of variables introduced in streaming / server based solutions. With a CD transport variables are largely limited to the AES/EBU or SPDIF interconnect, power cable (and power quality / filtering etc) and vibration control, aftermarket footers, racks, flooring etc. With servers this extends to your network, Wi-Fi and all devices connected to this. For example, especially when using Roon which is the most "sensitive" playback software to this particular variable, Image placement can vary, change positioning and/or diffuse because of network activity. This led us to design a full network setup solution including the recently released network card and switch, and the router with Wi-Fi shipping soon. With these in place imaging is rock solid and purity/clarity is significantly enhanced. (...)

Does this top network setup solution result in better sounding files when downloading paid recordings from Qobuz?

How does currently compare the playback of a downloaded file with the equivalent streamed recording using the network card and switch?
 
@Emile

If overkill or too much is just enough.
Because we said so.

Which one would be even slightly better?

Lps modem/lps dirty router/ bps Taiko router...
Or
Dedicated audio isp/ lps modem/bps Taiko router...

Marc
 
I just use my laptop with dbpoweramp. Yes there are differences but I don't use cd rips beyond the once in a while check for differences between CD playback and streaming, aka I only use CD playback as a point of reference. My local library these days is 99% digital downloads. Back in the day though I spend a lot of time on getting the best possible rips and had an entire setup dedicated to just doing that. The best ever rig I had for that purpose booted into MS-DOS and I used a particular model SCSI Plextor CD drive with an Adaptec SCSI controller and ripped to a SCSI hard drive as well. I had to replace the CD drive every ~1000 rips as after that quality deteriorated, and actually select the best sounding drive as there were even variances in the same drive, so I tended to buy those in batches of 10 drives. I went through quite a few drives as when I made a discovery which led to a better sounding rip I tended to spend a full week re-ripping my entire library! Although it had it's charm I'm happy those days are over. I tend to not worry about this anymore as there are much larger gains to be made elsewhere, several of the XDMS back-end updates have individually made a larger difference for example.
I use my laptop and dbpoweramp as well. I’ve compared the rips to digital downloads of the same recording, and while there may have been differences I certainly didn’t find them obvious or significant enough to alter my emotional involvement. However, based upon what I’ve read, I fully admit my audio palette isn’t nearly as discerning as most of the people who participate in this forum, and certainly not as refined as Emile’s, Christiaan’s, and Ed’s.
 
I use my laptop and dbpoweramp as well. I’ve compared the rips to digital downloads of the same recording, and while there may have been differences I certainly didn’t find them obvious or significant enough to alter my emotional involvement. However, based upon what I’ve read, I fully admit my audio palette isn’t nearly as discerning as most of the people who participate in this forum, and certainly not as refined as Emile’s, Christiaan’s, and Ed’s.
That is exactly how the largest part of my digital library came to be -- laptop with either internal or external drive and dBpoweramp. And like you, Joe I haven't heard enough difference between my own rips and downloaded digital to lose sleep over it.

I have to say that just as with vinyl, provenance is everything. Unfortunately, in the realm of digital music unraveling the provenance of a recording is much harder and often impossible, compared to the vinyl world of pressings, first issues, and the like. I have demonstration quality examples of bog-standard 16/44.1, high resolution up to 768 kHz PCM and DSD256, and format is absolutely no guarantee of sound quality.

Like Mick Jagger sang, "Pleasure is where you find it".

Steve Z
 
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That is exactly how the largest part of my digital library came to be -- laptop with either internal or external drive and dBpoweramp. And like you, Joe I haven't heard enough difference between my own rips and downloaded digital to lose sleep over it.

I have to say that just as with vinyl, provenance is everything. Unfortunately, in the realm of digital music unraveling the provenance of a recording is much harder if not often impossible, compared to the vinyl world of pressings, first issues, and the like. I have demonstration quality examples of bog-standard 16/44.1, high resolution up to 768 kHz PCM and DSD256, and format is absolutely no guarantee of sound quality.

Like Mick Jagger sang, "Pleasure is where you find it".

Steve Z

my sister-in-law, a psychoanalyst, has a sofa pillow in her office that says "too much of a good thing is wonderful".
i think we all buy into that here.
 
my sister-in-law, a psychoanalyst, has a sofa pillow in her office that says "too much of a good thing is wonderful".
i think we all buy into that here.
Two of my personal mantras:

Nothing succeeds like excess.

Moderation in all things. Including moderation.

Steve Z
 
Trying to prep for router and power distributor. Was trying to figure out if my Plixir Elite BDC LPS could power the distributor and would work/be beneficial with the same connector I currently have on the Taiko switch. (Btw, enjoyed a 3-4 % drop in noise floor using the Plixir LPS on the switch vs wall wart to wall)

Great documentation and updated FAQs on Taiko website that answered all my questions (short answer is yes), in case you haven't checked it out recently: https://taikoaudio.com/taiko-2020/taiko-audio-downloads (Thanks Christiaan et al)

Really helpful and looks like some qs that come out of this thread get memorialized there.

Cannot wait! And hope Taiko using our funds for some short term rolling CDs to accrue some extra revenue! All for that, least we can do, and thank you Taiko for persevering in the face of complications/headwinds completely out of your control.
 
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Trying to prep for router and power distributor. Was trying to figure out if my Plixir Elite BDC LPS could power the distributor and would work/be beneficial with the same connector I currently have on the Taiko switch. (Btw, enjoyed a 3-4 % drop in noise floor using the Plixir LPS on the switch vs wall wart to wall)

How/where did you measure the drop in noise floor? Just curious.
 
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Does this top network setup solution result in better sounding files when downloading paid recordings from Qobuz?

How does currently compare the playback of a downloaded file with the equivalent streamed recording using the network card and switch?

Ultimately bits are bits and the bit content is unchanged. However processing components which are activated during playback do impart a "signature". With the full monty DC distributor, Router, dedicated Wi-Fi, switch, networkcard stack I actually almost exclusively use streaming content now.
 
@Emile

If overkill or too much is just enough.
Because we said so.

Which one would be even slightly better?

Lps modem/lps dirty router/ bps Taiko router...
Or
Dedicated audio isp/ lps modem/bps Taiko router...

Marc

I'm struggling to find meaningful differences between the two here.
 
Cannot wait! And hope Taiko using our funds for some short term rolling CDs to accrue some extra revenue! All for that, least we can do, and thank you Taiko for persevering in the face of complications/headwinds completely out of your control.

The only complications we're currently facing is the dependability on surface finishing. We have looked into doing this ourselves but these are chemical processes with a lot of security / safety concerns. I checked the history of the company currently applying the switch/router surface finishing and this is actually their 3rd mayor incident, they had fires in 2013, 2017 as well, and these are not minor events, a news photo:

4c027615-00fd-36c2-a653-e1b02f42e646.jpg

I don't have any warm fuzzy feelings subjecting ourselves to these kinds of potential hazards.

CNC machining is a whole different story, our first Haas VFSSSYT CNC machine is now 2 years old and it paid both for itself and the new Haas VM6 (!) which is now up and running. Without these we wouldn't even have been able to offer the switch/router as they are as just the chassis would cost around 2K with outsourced manufacturing, add the electronics, R&D cost recovery, support, handling, overhead and some margin for us, dealers and distributors and it should be quite clear this could not retail at 4.8K. Perhaps you could get it cheaper if you had this made in China and shipped by sea, but you'd need to order very large quantities due to several months of lead time, and quality would be an issue, you could potentially find yourself with an entire unusable shipment.
 
Two of my personal mantras:

Nothing succeeds like excess.

Moderation in all things. Including moderation.

Steve Z
One of my favorite sculptors Alberto Giacometti encapsulates it all with this: "Seeing, understanding the world, feeling it intensely and expanding our capacity for exploration to the maximum''
 
We received several enquiries on what it would entail to machine an Extreme out of a solid copper block like the switch, as we worked out the details this is not a practically realistic scenario.

The initial copper block would weigh about 400kg, this would already be somewhat troublesome to lift in the CNC machine but it could be done, we do have a forklift truck. However the final product would still weigh in at around 170-180kg. It would be quite labour intensive on top, manual polishing amongst others. Moving it around the factory for assembly of the internal components would be challenging. So this is just not in the cards, as much as I’d love to have one for personal use as well.
 
We received several enquiries on what it would entail to machine an Extreme out of a solid copper block like the switch, as we worked out the details this is not a practically realistic scenario.

The initial copper block would weigh about 400kg, this would already be somewhat troublesome to lift in the CNC machine but it could be done, we do have a forklift truck. However the final product would still weigh in at around 170-180kg. It would be quite labour intensive on top, manual polishing amongst others. Moving it around the factory for assembly of the internal components would be challenging. So this is just not in the cards, as much as I’d love to have one for personal use as well.
But no chance stealling it from a final customer !
This might be useful. Some speakers are like mine 250 kg each.

Also I remember you created yourself a test extreme with copper heatsink and copper bottom
Was that a better sounding than a current standard or the same ?
 
How/where did you measure the drop in noise floor? Just curious.
No measuring device. I use two tracks to listen for micro dynamics/detail in the first 30 seconds of the track. Not sure if this translates to noise floor per se versus, for example, increased resolution, but when I have added the decent LPS like the Plixir Elite BDC on my cable modem, another then on the (previous) M12 Gold switch and now on the Taiko switch, I could hear more of those micro details when this was the only change I made (going from wall wart to the Plixir).

If anyone was interested, the two tracks I use:
1) "Honey Sun" by Elbow, off "The Take Off and Landing of Everything" - in the first 30 seconds or so you can hear a number (I hear up to 7 depending) of fingers lightly moving across the guitar strings to the next chord (not a musician, so forgive the clumsy description). The last is the most audible always.
2) "Black Crow" by Angus and Julia Stone, off "Down the Way" - there is a bass ripple that is audible, to varying degrees, depending, in the beginning of the song

anyway, nothing scientific
 
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Well I think people will just have to try for themselves. Currently only the TACDA is finalised. That basically is DAC+Analogue output stage on a daughterboard you plug on to the interface board.

I’m not sharing photos of the main interface board yet (do insist on hiding a few specific parts) but this is how the daughterboard looks:

View attachment 115154

View attachment 115156
It sure looks neat and tidy. I had no idea that a DAC in 2023, at this level, could be so minimalistic, including its output stage. Any chance the design turned out so physically compact that a truly balanced variant is doable?
 
It sure looks neat and tidy. I had no idea that a DAC in 2023, at this level, could be so minimalistic, including its output stage. Any chance the design turned out so physically compact that a truly balanced variant is doable?
The narrow PCI bracket and limited clearance of the slots on the Extreme's rear end prohibit the implementation of XLR connectors. We could theoretically add XLR connectors to the larger Option panel and connect them to the TACDA board with a short cable. But we'd need to pretty much double the components of the TACDA daughter board and I don't know if that is really feasible or desirable.
 
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The narrow PCI bracket and limited clearance of the slots on the Extreme's rear end prohibit the implementation of XLR connectors. We could theoretically add XLR connectors to the larger Option panel and connect them to the TACDA board with a short cable. But we'd need to pretty much double the components of the TACDA daughter board and I don't know if that is really feasible or desirable.
Hi Christiaan,

thanks for sharing. If I remember correctly Emile said a couple of months ago, that a XLR version is definitely possible - as I had also thought the space at the back of the Extreme‘s slots might too narrow. It‘s just that the RCA version would be first to be released due to the other projects (Router, BPS, etc).

Has that changed? I ask because my guess is quite a lot of Extreme customers use XLR interconnects.
 

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