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A novel way to massively improve the SQ of computer audio streaming

The Computer Audiophile

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Most important: please realize this thread is about bleeding edge experimentation and discovery. No one has The Answer™. If you are not into tweaking, just know that you can have a musically satisfying system without doing any of the nutty things we do here.

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https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/taiko-audio-sgm-extreme-the-crème-de-la-crème.27433/page-132#post-623214

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We have tested HQPlayer version 3.x with the Extreme, DSD upsampling using the most taxing filter back then, polysinc-xtr (non -2s), it can run on 1 CPU up to DSD256, for DSD512 you need both CPUs, at which point it draws about 330 watts from the wall. The EC modulators in HPlayer 4 use even more resources, this is really beyond reasonable assuming using a linear powered server. HQPlayer 4 does do better with higher individual core clock speeds and large caches, the current AMD offerings which we are also testing can do a better job here (at least for value), though not for bit perfect playback as there is some inconsistency between CPUs and even between cores on the same CPU, which we may be able to solve though. The bottom line is we have not given up on HQPlayer.

 

Passive cooling for a setup like that while it's drawing 330W from the wall? Just wondering if that were such a good idea even though meticulous detail could be observed in terms of heat dissipation etc.

 

CUDA offloading could be another avenue, though passively cooled GeForce might not be able to much.

 

Besides, not sure if Intel C621 were compatible with Pink Faun I2S Bridge since other Intel chipsets should be no good.

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9 hours ago, chrille said:

Have you actually heard your system against Roy's most recent ?

Or are you just envious that he seems to have reached Moksha?

 

 Regarding Mokhsa and music listening my current  take on it, after a  great week of downhill-skiing during which a good friend gave me 6 gigabytes of mainly Indian and  other world music, as 16/44.1 wave files, is that in particular Anoushka Shankar's album RISE brings me at least close to Moksha on a daily basis.

 

PURE BLISS via my quite big  electrostatic speakers ,my 900 watts per channel amp and mbp via usb and Qutest/HMS/Audirvana.

I really wonder if I could be even more amazed and thrilled by her fantastic music than my relatively  humble system already delivers?

And its freaking rbcd not even hi res!

 

For anyone who wants to explore a bit  beyond their Western Pop/Rock Comfort Zone I can very heartily recommend Anoushka Shankar's music.

She records among other labels also for DGG and there are some interesting Youtube videos of her playing LIVE at Music Festivals as well.

RISE is just one album among  several others she has recorded that is imho capable of giving  at least ME,a non drug induced REAL HIGH equalled by few other musicians, including her half sister Norah Jones whose music more people are probably a lot more  familair with.

Norah's music is nice and  very good at its best imho.

 

But Anoushka's is on a much more advanced level musically

Moksha music.

Oops  I almost forgot to mention that she plays the Indian instrument Sitar. And one comment about that instrument I've read said." Sitar is an instrument smuggled through Heaven"

I'd like to add, here it is played by a Godess

Cheers Chrille

 

@chrille

first, thanks for Anoushka Shankar recommendation!

 

@all

one thing i see that seems to differ between the diy and extreme, that perhaps warrants investigation, is the impact of storing the music in (lots and lots of) optane versus streaming from a NAS or using a hard drive conected via usb to the server.

any thoughts folks?  has anyone compared internal storage with external storage on the extreme?

 

 

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28 minutes ago, cat6man said:

one thing i see that seems to differ between the diy and extreme, that perhaps warrants investigation, is the impact of storing the music in (lots and lots of) optane versus streaming from a NAS or using a hard drive conected via usb to the server.

any thoughts folks?  has anyone compared internal storage with external storage on the extreme?

 

The personal SQ ranking of Emile from best to worst:

 

Extreme internal storage > Streaming from Qobuz and Tidal > External storage

 

Matt

 

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Here's what I know regarding storage... Extreme has low-latency storage in the form of PCI-E mounted NVMe. That specific ASUS board in extreme from Asus Emile uses supports Intel vROC... 

 

 

 

The biggest advantage of Intel® VROC is the ability to directly connect NVMe-based SSDs to the new Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor PCIe* lanes, then make RAID arrays using those SSDs without using a RAID host bus adapter (HBA). As a result, Intel® VROC unleashes NVMe SSD performance potential without the complexity and power of a traditional hardware RAID HBA. In this way, Intel® VROC was designed specifically for NVMe SSDs, and is positioned to appropriately support this technology and help transition the market to these faster drives.I personally am disappointed that it takes 24k euro to get the most out of roon. 

 

Don't know vroc is enabled or not but the above is what I've read. 

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Looking at the HdPlex H5 Gen 2 case in front of me and doing some measurements:

Internal dimensions are: 360 mm x ~350 mm (339 mm by specs, but there is some extra space)

Taiko Extreme motherboard: 305 mm x 330 mm

 

The motherboard would fit inside. I would just need to drill a couple more holes and add additional standoffs. Easy!

 

One CPU should fit with the stock cooling pipes. The other one would need longer pipes to go to the other heatsink. I think that's doable and actually looks much easier than I thought. Of course, I would not know for sure until I have the actual motherboard, but it looks good on paper at least.

 

There would be very little space left for power supply.

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1 hour ago, cat6man said:

 

@chrille

first, thanks for Anoushka Shankar recommendation!

 

Anoushka is amazing. Our local Indian Classical Music Circle of Austin (ICMCA) has organized concerts featuring her, and she is a joy to hear live.

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39 minutes ago, RickyV said:

The only thing we can do is buy the best parts we can get our hands on and build pc’s.

And hold our breath to see how the ‘Junior’ version of the Extreme will look like 🍿

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46 minutes ago, RickyV said:


With DIY we can only do so much, we can buy sr-7’s for every individual rail, we can buy apacer wt ram etc. But what Taiko does is probably more. The ram they use we can not buy. The mobo is it standard or is it modified for Taiko? Then there is the s.w. Taiko programs the two CPU’s as a server and endpoint configuration, can we do that? They probably have measured all sorts of latency, EMI an noise levels we can not do.

The only thing we can do is buy the best parts we can get our hands on and build pc’s. But maybe we have come to a point where that is not enough anymore and have to start measuring (or something).

Nevertheless Taiko is probably out of reach, DIY is fun and some take it to the extreem. So go for it @Nenon 👏 

 

I think your comments are spot on.  I really don't think that the Extreme is an attainable goal for a DIYer.  It would be like watching a bunch of golfing videos, going to the driving range and hoping to play like Tiger Woods.  However, I do think that DIYers can better many of the commercial products for a fraction of the cost.

 


Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7s, 4 M&K ST-150Ts, 1 VCC-5; Amplification: 2 Vandersteen M7-HPAs, CI Audio D200 MKII, Ayre V-6xe; Preamp: Doshi Audio Line Stage v3.0; Phono Pre: Doshi Audio Phono Pre; Analog: Wave Kinetics NVS with Durand Telos composite arm; SME 3012R arm, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement v2; Reel to Reel:  Technics RS-1500; Doshi Tape Pre-Amp; Studer A810, Studer A812, Tascam BR-20; Multi-channel: Bryston SP-3; Digital: Custom PC (WS 2016/AO/HQPlayer/Roon)> Lampizator Big 7 DAC

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45 minutes ago, Nenon said:

I feel like my message was misunderstood. I tried to explain a couple of times. But let me say it one more time. I am not trying to clone the Taiko Extreme. I cannot even if I wanted to. I just want to try some new components. 

 

Sure, he does! Probably a lot more than we know about. And what we know about is already unreachable by us.

 

No, we cannot. But we can buy the custom order Apacer is doing for me. It's wide temperature industrial RAM, similar to the ECC RAM that sounds so much better than commercial grade. I don't know how that would compare to Taiko's custom RAM, but that is the best we can buy, and I would not be surprised if it is as good as any. And so far, it sounds like a one-time opportunity. There is no indication that Apacer would be producing more of it, but you never know. 

 

Standard.

 

No, we cannot. But I am sure romaz will pop a USB stick with Euphony on his Extreme and get an idea how much worse or better it is. This beast probably needs completely different type of tweaking than NUCs or low powered CPUs. If it sounds good right off the bat, I would be happy to put my effort into software / BIOS tweaks rather than building hardware. 

 

I am sure they have. We don't have their resources. Can't even dream of that...

 

You are absolutely right on both points. Emile has said multiple times that he is doing a lot of measurements. For the rest of us - it's a trial and error, some common sense combined with a little experience, and hopefully some luck with the trials and less errors. 

 

Again - no hopes that I will build an Extreme. I cannot! Not even trying to. The idea is just to try some new components. I am not aware of anyone here done tests with two powerful Intel Xeon CPUs, industrial RAM, and good quality power supplies. If we were to start from somewhere, we need to pick a motherboard. To reduce the trial and error risks, why not pick the same motherboard the Extreme is using? Emile said he built his own custom motherboard, and this one sounded better. Sounds like a safe bet to me. I am also looking at a couple other motherboards.  And this whole project may change quite a bit by the time I get to it, which is slated for end of the summer as of right now. 

 

The triggering point was the Apacer wide temp, industrial RDIMM memory. That would also be good for other Intel Xeon CPUs / motherboards. You can't use regular DIMMs in multiprocessor configurations, and Apacer does not make industrial RDIMM/LRDIMM. This is my opportunity to obtain some. To be honest, I am kind of surprised for the lack of interest of this memory. I expected there would be some interest. 

 

I've already done several low-powered CPU builds and several Intel Core i9 builds. I have been perfecting my AMD Ryzen 7 3700x build for quite some time, and this is still ongoing - with the full size ASUS ROG ATX motherboard and motherboard OCXO clocks (I posted about), I think I would get a taste of the best I can squeeze out of such AMD Ryzen build. And after that, while I am enjoying my AMD-based build, I will try an Intel Xeon configuration. This lineup makes perfect sense to me :). Hopefully that would be a good learning experience, and other people would benefit from it as well.


No worries @Nenon I have read your post 15732. My reaction was towards @austinpop who seem to be a little sad that @romaz has gone extreme. 
I am a DIY’er myself as you know so I only admire your DIYIng, devotion and building speed.

DIY rules  😁


🇳🇱
Meitner ma1 v2 dac,  Sovereign preamp and power amp,

DIY speakers with scan speak illuminator drivers.

Under development:

NUC7i7dnbe, Euphony Stylus

EtherRegen, Clock modded Isoregen, Lush^2

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4 hours ago, FredM said:

And hold our breath to see how the ‘Junior’ version of the Extreme will look like 🍿


Yes, definitely! This may well be where I go. Eventually.

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Apart from the fact that the Taiko server has its origin in a DIY project that got a bit out of hand and (along the way) got funding to take it to the current level, what I don't understand is the idea of keeping a server which - independently of how good measures are taken to keep this to a minimum - basically is an EMI/RFI and other noise polluter by design. So what makes the Extreme extreme is that it is able to minimise the evil.

 

Especially now, after the arrival of the EtherREGEN and alike, the way to go in my humble opinion is to keep streamer hardware before the DAC as minimalistic as possible and keep server (computer) hardware far out upstream. I know Emile from Taiko experimented with all kinds of audiophile switches but in my view in the wrong place. Before in stead of after the server.


Roon server (Mac Mini/i7/SSD/16GB/Uptone DC mod/external SDD via firewire/Uptone Audio JS-2 LPS) Streamer dCS Network Bridge DAC Chord DAVE Amplifier / DRC Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 Speakers Lindemann BL-10 | JL audio E-sub e110 Cables CAT6 UTP ethernet, Transparent premium AES/EBU, Nordost Leif Red Dawn analog RCA, Kimber 8TC speaker cables, custom star-quad power cables with Oyaide termination Head-fi and reference Bakoon HPA-21 | Audeze LCD-3 (f) | Audio-technica ATH-M50 Software High Sierra | Roon | Tidal | Qobuz Power and isolation Dedicated power line | Xentek extreme isolation transformer (1KVA, 0.0001pf, balanced) | Vibex one 6R power distributor | Uptone EtherREGEN | Emo Systems EN-70HD network isolator | Jensen CI-1RR isolator

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20 minutes ago, skatbelt said:

Apart from the fact that the Taiko server has its origin in a DIY project that got a bit out of hand and (along the way) got funding to take it to the current level, what I don't understand is the idea of keeping a server which - independently of how good measures are taken to keep this to a minimum - basically is an EMI/RFI and other noise polluter by design. So what makes the Extreme extreme is that it is able to minimise the evil.

 

Especially now, after the arrival of the EtherREGEN and alike, the way to go in my humble opinion is to keep streamer hardware before the DAC as minimalistic as possible and keep server (computer) hardware far out upstream. I know Emile from Taiko experimented with all kinds of audiophile switches but in my view in the wrong place. Before in stead of after the server.

The extreme is a one box solution and expects to have only an USB DAC upstream.

 

As you say, a two box solution is a much more affordable way to minimize the evil.

 


nuckleheadaudio.com

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1 hour ago, lmitche said:

The extreme is a one box solution and expects to have only an USB DAC upstream.

 

As you say, a two box solution is a much more affordable way to minimize the evil.

 

If the second box is a NAS 😉


Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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Just now, austinpop said:

 

But these are just boards, correct? Or can you get them in a chassis as a "finished" product?

 

That guy is a purist and won't make a "finished" product because it wouldn't sound as good in his opinion.  He is not what I would consider customer-driven.


 

 

 

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Just now, austinpop said:

 

But these are just boards, correct? Or can you get them in a chassis as a "finished" product?


No they are just boards, no chassis. 


🇳🇱
Meitner ma1 v2 dac,  Sovereign preamp and power amp,

DIY speakers with scan speak illuminator drivers.

Under development:

NUC7i7dnbe, Euphony Stylus

EtherRegen, Clock modded Isoregen, Lush^2

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On 2/7/2020 at 7:33 PM, lpost said:

 

Perhaps Roon 1.7 changed things.  I'm a bit late to the game of experimenting with SL.  However, I'm running -b 2097152:2097152 -a 52428800:4:: as a start and haven't had any issues for 30 tracks, internet radio, skipping, playing continuous...sounds good, better than Roon straight. - Nevermind, it's glitching.

 

I may go higher on buffers as I've got plentiful RAM.  

 

For what it's worth, I've been exceedingly happy with my Pink Faun 2.16 that appears to be a contender with the Taiko Extreme at ~1/4 of $.

 

I gave up on SL when I switched over to Euphony. On Euphony, you can run StylusEP as the endpoint, which actually sounds better than SL, and you don't have to futz with tweaking buffer sizes.

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2 minutes ago, auricgoldfinger said:

 

That guy is a purist and won't make a "finished" product because it wouldn't sound as good in his opinion.  He is not what I would consider customer-driven.


I think he is just, one man with a hobby selling boards, transformers. Finished products maybe to much for him. I don’t know I never the dealt with him.

 


🇳🇱
Meitner ma1 v2 dac,  Sovereign preamp and power amp,

DIY speakers with scan speak illuminator drivers.

Under development:

NUC7i7dnbe, Euphony Stylus

EtherRegen, Clock modded Isoregen, Lush^2

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