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: 51 63.8%
  • Ethernet

    Votes: 14 17.5%
  • Both USB and Ethernet

    Votes: 8 10.0%
  • AES/EBU

    Votes: 10 12.5%
  • Dual AES/EBU

    Votes: 2 2.5%
  • Other

    Votes: 5 6.3%

  • Total voters
    80

Taiko Audio

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Feb 10, 2017
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@romaz Thank you for explaining the CPU impact on sound so clearly

@spiritofmusic This is why we named it Extreme, dual high power CPUs which require an extreme cooling solution and an extreme power supply to operate

@matthias The same applies to endpoints, hence the mentioned Pink Faun dual stack approach, high power core and high power endpoint
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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That hotter than ideal Pink Faun double stack should be perfect for those people already using space heater SETs Lol.
 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
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This thread has nearly 2000 posts now.
Not easy for a CAS thread to achieve so, in a sea of WBF LP & open reel tapes audiophiles!
Thanks every WBF brothers!

Please note that on page 1 of the thread, on post #5, I have already said :
" ... I have 100% confidence that it will remain on its throne for at least the coming 4 to 5 years.
It's simply too difficult for the other brands to catch up! ... "

Today I still stand by this statement.
And this is the reason why I named this thread :
Taiko Audio SGM Extreme : the Crème de la Crème!
:cool:
 

Kingsrule

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2011
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Romaz, such a fascinating post. So in yr opinion, overspecced/oversized/overengineered CPU is the holy grail, and the pivotal reason Extreme is streets ahead. Not just capacity/size, but Emile's engineering solution that enables such a monster to run cool and unstressed?

Until other designers emulate or exceed this, Extreme will have an, ahem, extreme advantage?
How about looking at it as properly specced/appropriately sized/properly engineered/........?
Might change ur perspective on servers
 
May 30, 2010
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I will offer my own perspective based on personal experiences that I hope will be helpful to those who are searching for their own music server. With so many server options available and with reviewers suggesting this server or that server is best, how do you choose? (...)
Thanks for such a comprehensive analysis - really intersting to learn about your experience. However I feel that at some point we are mixing apples with oranges. There are many types of servers and many times the server function is distributed between several machines - I remember that in the Statement I could choose between installing Roon in the machine or having just an end point to Roon or Jcat suggested a scenario using a separate Control PC and and Audio PC with their network cards for the best sound quality - it sounded interesting but too laborious for me!
 
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Taiko Audio

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There are many types of servers and many times the server function is distributed between several machines
This is a valid approach, which is why there are 2 CPUs inside the Extreme, configured as separate domains for process execution. But it takes it a bit further, as in stead of 2 running operating systems, there is only 1.
 
Aug 28, 2019
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Thanks for such a comprehensive analysis - really intersting to learn about your experience. However I feel that at some point we are mixing apples with oranges. There are many types of servers and many times the server function is distributed between several machines - I remember that in the Statement I could choose between installing Roon in the machine or having just an end point to Roon or Jcat suggested a scenario using a separate Control PC and and Audio PC with their network cards for the best sound quality - it sounded interesting but too laborious for me!
Which basically mirrors my current setup and I really enjoy.

Being a computer-based audio enthusiast, I must admit that the SGM Extreme is an incredibly impressive build, both technically and visually.
 

Blackmorec

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Feb 1, 2019
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I will offer my own perspective based on personal experiences that I hope will be helpful to those who are searching for their own music server. With so many server options available and with reviewers suggesting this server or that server is best, how do you choose?
.
Hi Romaz,
Very interesting post. Personally I’m not a DIY kinda guy....too little knowledge, skill and patience I guess, but I do love to follow these threads in order to stay abreast of the latest developments. Since moving into an exclusively digital system one thing I do love to do is to improve and tune my system, as the right moves can be very rewarding. I currently own an Innuos Statement, having upgraded from a Zenith SE, but have not heard or even seen an Extreme so I‘m not in a position to put your observations into some sort of sound quality context. Nevertheless, I do have considerable experience with tuning both the Zenith SE‘s and the Statement’s operating environments. When I read your piece I was able to identify with some of the points you made. When I first received the Zenith SE I was bowled over by its sound. At the time I could compare it to my Michell Orbi/SME IV/Ortofon Cadenza Black combination. In many aspects, but not all, the Zenith was better....However the TT was still fuller, less ‘anaemic sounding’ as you put it. To me that was my understanding of the difference between analog and digital so I didn’t find it particularly unusual or disturbing....they were just different. But then I set about tuning the Zenith. It already sat on a Finite Elemente Pagoda Master Reference stand, so I did things like adding an after market power cord, which brought a nice SQ improvement, like extra ambience and air. But it wasn’t until I started working on the upstream front end....the data stream supply that I started to make some real breakthroughs. I liked Innuos‘ strategy of minimising both radiated and conducted EMI and RFI, better power supplies, vibration control, jitter minimisation, better wiring connections (solder vs push fit) Etc. When I looked at the upstream components of my network I found loads of areas where the same strategy could be applied, so I set about steadily upgrading the front end, using the Innuos strategy. I have posted the results but I’m not sure how many people have actually tried similar measures. The results are fundamental rather than cosmetic. Cosmetic is something there’s more of, but that you soon assimilate. Fundamental changes the entire way you hear the music, making it more real, more believable, more lifelike, natural, organic. Essentially I put in better network cables (Synergistic Research throughout), better power supplies (Sean Jacob’s DC3s) for all network components, well screened DC cables (Neotech JSSG360 360s from Ghent Audio), vibration control for all network components (Atacama stands under Modem, Router and all PSs) and special anti-vibration wall mounts for the network switch and wi-fi receiver. I modified things like the TPLink RE650 to put it directly onto a DC3 supply, so I could remove the mains plug and SMPS and mount the unit of a specially made anti-vibration mount.
At one point I tried adding a SoTM TX-USBUltra but that was actually a downgrade and soon removed. When the Statement was announced the Zenith SE was sounding so good in all respects that it was no longer worth keeping the vinyl front end, which the Zenith was now making sound a little ‘Old’ and outperforming in every aspect. Both Zenith SE and TT were traded for a Statement. When the Statement arrived I did a few more things, finishing off the front end and replacing it’s unbiblical cords with Chord company individually screened umbilicals.
The effect of all this was to make the sound hugely enveloping and immersive. The soundstage is no longer a soundstage, its the acoustic space that’s actually on the recording. The sound has amazing drive and vibrancy, and the rhythmic interplay of instruments feels like it can change your reality...play with your mind. The system is utterly and completely silent so even with the amps at full gain there’s no audible noise, so the volume control is now more like a s/n ratio control. Normally when gain is increased it increases both noise and signal but absent noise and all you get is more signal. But it goes waaaay beyond technical aspects. What’s really important is that the music now communicates....it always makes you feel something. All music has a mood, exciting, happy, joyous, melancholy, sad, whatever and it has the ability to really thrill, like nothing I’ve ever heard before. The timing is exquisite, most notable in the interplay between musicians...I find myself listening to old recordings and hearing completely new aspects, not related to hi-fi things, but related to the music itself...it just communicates on an entirely different level. 2 things you’ll notice when you go to a live concert....your level of excitement and arousal is higher.....you’re more responsive to the music and you don’t have to concentrate. The music just takes over. My system now does this in spades. Its no longer me listening to music, its the music drawing me in and mesmerising my brain....completely swamping other thoughts, talking directly to my inner being, my soul. When the music stops suddenly its like a crevasse suddenly opens up under my feet....my mind being completely divorced from its environment.
So, right now, when I read your post, while I can‘t at all judge what it is you‘re listening to, your description on the Innuos sound does remind me of how my system started out, long ago. But with all the improvements to the Innuos’s environment and network feed, those days are long gone and the sound is on an altogether different plane, where you need different, non-hi-fi terminology to describe what‘s going on. There’s a beauty to the sound that I’ve never heard before, on any system. Beauty that’s so stark it can make you cry with joy.
Getting back to CPUs, what I would be really interested to know is WHY a more powerful CPU does what it does. How much time does the CPU spend on doing things related to making music, vs doing things that are actually unnecessary overhead. I know that Emile has pruned the OS but its still Windows 10 with its massive number of command lines. Add that to Rune, and possibly a data stream with lots of correction required and I still wonder if the heavy duty CPU is required to overcome some issues like error correction and unnecessary overhead or whether a more powerful CPU just sounds better....

You lay the blame for iffy sound at the door of the CPU, but at least in my case those problems could be more than fully resolved by following the same Innuos strategies for the rest of my system that they applied to their server. On the other hand, it may be simply that having a more powerful CPU is just like having a PS with plenty in reserve....the reserves are never used but it nevertheless sounds better......somehow happier just cruising at an unstressed utilisation level. Whatever it is, the future is still bright, with lots of developments on the horizon. All I know is that I should get to hear an Extreme sometime so I know exactly where the goal posts have moved to. If its still a lot better than my Statement now sounds, then I may also become a customer, once I can figure out how to conveniently rip CDs and place them in the Extreme’s library.

Anyway, I thought it may be interesting to share a piece of music that incorporates all the qualities I mentioned above. Massively exciting and percussive...explosive even, with gorgeous note development and decay, limitless soundstage that is totally enveloping, immersive and 3 dimensional, guitar work with a beauty that will bring tears to your eyes, a combination of imaging and music that is hugely involving and entertaining, utterly compelling listener involvement that doesn’t let up for the whole album and a level of creativity, artistry and musicianship that is absolutely second to none for the genre. What a build up...but take a listen and see if you don’t agree.;)

http://www.rodgab.com/mettavolution/
 
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.... and sonically.
That would certainly also be my expectation but since I have not yet had the pleasure to audition one, I'll anxiously await that chance to confirm before commenting. :)
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
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Hi PF, my comment wasn't to be taken too seriously, just a reply to Romaz who talked about hot running temps of big CPUs.
 

seeteeyou

Well-Known Member
Apr 6, 2015
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As romaz mentioned on AS before, the latency of Optane drives as well as relatively powerful CPU options might have played a certain role IIRC.

In addition, the WS C621E SAGE motherboard itself should have been built with ample room for overclocking. Therefore its VRM must be fairly decent or else it won't make the cut for SGM Extreme.

During the development of SGM Extreme, did Emile get a chance to evaluate this particular motherboard model X11DPU-XLL from Supermicro with some kinda marketing buzz called Hyper-Speed?

https://www.wiredzone.com/shop/prod...motherboard-for-2x-xeon-scalable-process-2870

It's meant for HFT that requires extremely low latency as well as low jitter. Even the BIOS itself should have been optimized for unparalleled performance. Its price tag ain't all that different when compared to what we're paying for WS C621E SAGE, though it's most likely featuring decent VRM that could cope with overclocking.

(Not that we'll need to bother with overclocking by any means, although such motherboards must be built to last with quality components.)

If latency were actually such a big deal, how about the networking side with products from Mellanox and Solarflare? Not sure if that were making a significant difference if we're merely transferring relatively small lossless music files over the network.
 

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
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Hi seeteeyou,

I did not test that specific motherboard, it’s formfactor is unuseable.

Solarflare and Mellanox are interesting, I have tested various Solarflare cards at 1G speeds and Mellanox at 10G speeds. They are both very detailed but also generally harsh on top.

Regarding latency you have to think why, and in what way that could influence playback, considering asynchronous USB, or ethernet interfaces.
 
Aug 28, 2019
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Quick question regarding the internal storage of the Extreme. How is the 24TB Version populated?

Thx and apologies if this question has already been posted.
 
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Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
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Quick question regarding the internal storage of the Extreme. How is the 24TB Version populated?

Thx and apologies if this question has already been posted.
12 drives of 2TB each.
 
Aug 28, 2019
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EuroDriver

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2015
415
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Monaco
As romaz mentioned on AS before, the latency of Optane drives as well as relatively powerful CPU options might have played a certain role IIRC.

In addition, the WS C621E SAGE motherboard itself should have been built with ample room for overclocking. Therefore its VRM must be fairly decent or else it won't make the cut for SGM Extreme.

During the development of SGM Extreme, did Emile get a chance to evaluate this particular motherboard model X11DPU-XLL from Supermicro with some kinda marketing buzz called Hyper-Speed?

https://www.wiredzone.com/shop/prod...motherboard-for-2x-xeon-scalable-process-2870

It's meant for HFT that requires extremely low latency as well as low jitter. Even the BIOS itself should have been optimized for unparalleled performance. Its price tag ain't all that different when compared to what we're paying for WS C621E SAGE, though it's most likely featuring decent VRM that could cope with overclocking.

(Not that we'll need to bother with overclocking by any means, although such motherboards must be built to last with quality components.)

If latency were actually such a big deal, how about the networking side with products from Mellanox and Solarflare? Not sure if that were making a significant difference if we're merely transferring relatively small lossless music files over the network.
We have known for more than 15 years that low latency has a beneficial impact on digital playback SQ and we have speculative theories about various mechanisms at play

Let me make a cooking analogy. Latency is a bit like the freshness of the ingredients, very important but not the be all and end all to turn out a delightful dish.

It’s very easy to be sucked down a rabbit hole of pushing a certain measure to the limit but then you discover associated negatives outweighing the incremental gains.

Whilst the Extreme pushes a lot of performance parameters utilizing extreme levels of hardware implementation, the sonic attributes are the result of Emile’s maestro voicing over the full audio frequency spectrum.

Emile hears like a bat and together with over 30 years of experience experimenting to get more realism, and emotional communication out of audio systems it has allowed him to develop a digital playback sonic landscape that brings listening pleasure as reported by Extreme and Evo owners in this thread
 

Taiko Audio

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Thx, 12 x 2TB of PCIe NVMe Storage? Can you elaborate just a bit more?
Yes that is correct. I’m not sure on what you want me to elaborate on specifically?

Each Xeon CPU integrated disk controller can drive 12 drives. So in theory we could use 24 drives, but there are not enough PCIe lanes left available to use all of that and there is not enough physical space to maintain proper natural convection airflow.
 

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