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Article: Reality Quest: Going to Extremes with the Taiko Audio SGM Extreme (Part 2 of 5)

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Am confused - thought ASMedia 3142 USB controller was a somewhat older part (and one with some compatibility issues).  The new USB 3.2 standard is 20gb/s.  Maybe there is something the designer likes about this specific part?

 

 

 

 

 

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Based on what I’m hearing, I’m very excited to hear some of the new generation ASM chipsets. Without spoiling too much, the 3142 built into the motherboard left my beloved tX-USBultra SE in the dust.  There is something special going on with these ASM chipsets, and I can’t wait to hear if the newer higher bandwidth versions are able to take it higher still!

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@ray-dude

 

Hi Ray,

do you think it would be possible to get an Extreme tuned for Audirvana for Windows (not Roon)?

 

Thanks

 

Matt

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Thank you @jrobbins50, this is a fast moving discussion around Roon (and alas, all my listening tests and write up were basically complete before that discussion even started).  Except for the paragraph on Roon upgrades above, please consider this review a snapshot in time prior to the changes referred to above. Appreciate you posting the above

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3 hours ago, matthias said:

@ray-dude

 

Hi Ray,

do you think it would be possible to get an Extreme tuned for Audirvana for Windows (not Roon)?

 

Thanks

 

Matt

 

Matt, that's a question for Emile on whether he would do the tuning, but there is nothing to prevent one to install and run Audirvana (it is a normal Windows box).  I'm sure at some point I'll experiment with the different Windows players on the market.

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17 minutes ago, ray-dude said:

 

Matt, that's a question for Emile on whether he would do the tuning, but there is nothing to prevent one to install and run Audirvana (it is a normal Windows box).  I'm sure at some point I'll experiment with the different Windows players on the market.

 

Thanks,

I asked Roy on WBF about and he replied:

 

"Unfortunately, because the Extreme's browser is semi-locked down for obvious safety reasons, I am unable to install Audirvana and so I will need assistance from Emile with this." 

 

So it seems not to be so easy.

 

As I like Audirvana I am very curious how the Extreme does sound with Audirvana as an alternative to Roon.

 

Matt

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, ray-dude said:

 

As a very late breaking example (after I had finished all the listening tests and this review), a recent Roon update had a significant adverse impact on sound quality 

 

So then we see a retraction from Taiko that the Roon update did not affect sound quality

 

did I miss something? If the reviewer heard "significant adverse impact" after this Roon update while no other changes were made, and then discovers there was no adverse impact, doesn't that cast some doubt about the whole review?

 

Yes, I am extremely skeptical that the "extreme" measures taken by this device are beneficial.  I think it is "extremely" likely that when someone spends $30K they expect to hear significant improvements and it is well proven we often hear what we want to or expect to hear.  I will wait for further explanation, but it does raise the  the "extremely" logical question about expectation bias.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by bbosler
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5 minutes ago, bbosler said:

 

So then we see a retraction from Taiko that the Roon update did not affect sound quality

 

did I miss something? If the reviewer heard "significant adverse impact" after this Roon update while no other changes were made, and then discovers there was no adverse impact, doesn't that cast some doubt about the whole review?

 

Yes, I am extremely skeptical that the "extreme" measures taken by this device are beneficial.  I think it is "extremely" likely that when someone spends $30K they expect to hear significant improvements and it is well proven we often hear what we want to or expect to hear.  I will wait for further explanation, but it does raise the  the "extremely" logical question about expectation bias.

 

 

 

 

 

I believe there were Taiko changes made that had an impact.

 

I'll be happily corrected if wrong though.


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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Ray-dude, this is great reading, thank you. 

 

You mentioned "six 80W capable heat pipes". How do you know that? How does one determine this for other passive cooling systems?

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I've heard great things about this server from the local dealer but have not had a chance to listen to it yet.  I look forward to Part 3.  

 

If possible, can you please compare your impressions to the Innuos Statement, if you are familiar with that server too.  Those two and the Pink Faun and W20 seem like the heavy hitter servers right now, however, this one truly seems the most "extreme" of the bunch.

 

I see (and you report) two ethernet jacks, plus optical ethernet on the server.  Can one run optical ethernet from a router/switch into the server then bridged network out directly from a remaining ethernet port on the server into the ethernet input of a network enabled dac (e.g., your Rossini) thereby keeping the dac off the network?


- Mark

 

Synology DS916+ > SoTM dCBL-CAT7 > Netgear switch > SoTM dCBL-CAT7 > dCS Vivaldi Upsampler (Nordost Valhalla 2 power cord) > Nordost Valhalla 2 Dual 110 Ohm AES/EBU > dCS Vivaldi DAC (David Elrod Statement Gold power cord) > Nordost Valhalla 2 xlr > Absolare Passion preamp (Nordost Valhalla 2 power cord) > Nordost Valhalla 2 xlr > VTL MB-450 III (Shunyata King Cobra CX power cords) > Nordost Valhalla 2 speaker > Kaiser Kaewero Classic /JL Audio F110 (Wireworld Platinum power cord).

 

Power Conditioning: Entreq Olympus Tellus grounding (AC, preamp and dac) / Shunyata Hydra Triton + Typhoon (Shunyata Anaconda ZiTron umbilical/Shunyata King Cobra CX power cord) > Furutec GTX D-Rhodium AC outlet.

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9 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I believe there were Taiko changes made that had an impact.

 

I'll be happily corrected if wrong though.

 

Chris, I don't think any of us have anything definitive (other than the note posted above).  

 

@bbosler as near as I can reconstruct, a couple weeks ago coincident with the timing of the Roon upgrade, there was a big change in sound quality.  For the purpose of this review, that happened after I had completed all my listening tests and basically completed the initial drafts of this review. 

 

The timing led Taiko (and others) to initially attribute the change in sound quality to the Roon upgrade. As I understand it, the Roon team and Taiko teams then worked together and looked into it, and late last week Taiko posted the above retraction.  In the interim, Taiko made a bunch of changes to retune the system.

 

I wish I had more definitive answers on this one, but as a music listener, I am delighted with what I am hearing.  

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19 minutes ago, Downtheline said:

Ray-dude, this is great reading, thank you. 

 

You mentioned "six 80W capable heat pipes". How do you know that? How does one determine this for other passive cooling systems?

 

The information on heat pipes came from Taiko.  My expertise in this area is only Google-deep, but the world of CPU cooling is pretty wild!

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11 minutes ago, MarkS said:

I've heard great things about this server from the local dealer but have not had a chance to listen to it yet.  I look forward to Part 3.  

 

If possible, can you please compare your impressions to the Innuos Statement, if you are familiar with that server too.  Those two and the Pink Faun and W20 seem like the heavy hitter servers right now, however, this one truly seems the most "extreme" of the bunch.

 

I see (and you report) two ethernet jacks, plus optical ethernet on the server.  Can one run optical ethernet from a router/switch into the server then bridged network out directly from a remaining ethernet port on the server into the ethernet input of a network enabled dac (e.g., your Rossini) thereby keeping the dac off the network?

 

Mark, I wish I had access to a Innuos Statement to listen to them side by side.  I did poke around, but the current circumstances don't lend themselves to dealers or individuals bringing things like that over to my home for extended listening tests.  Ditto for the other servers you mention.

 

I don't have an answer for you on your network enabled DAC question.

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@ray-dude, these write-ups are making my week. 

 

Question for you - do you see any off-the-shelf regulators in use in the power supply? I know Taiko has previously used Belleson regulators, but this power supply, ostensibly, looks like a standard CLC / Pi-Filter with substantial emphasis on the C's. As such, it seems like Emile could be letting the motherboard handle all regulation from a power source with VERY small, sinusoidal, low-frequency, ripple? Or is Emile using a discrete regulator instead of a monolothic regulator following the pi-filter? 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, ray-dude said:

Chris, I don't think any of us have anything definitive (other than the note posted above).  

 

 

fair enough, there are many things in this hobby that can't be explained, and even though I will remain skeptical about the benefit of going to this length, I admire your passion. 

 

I do want to thank you for the Qobuz playlist and notes about the recordings you used. Although I will never spend that kind of money on a server, I do enjoy the reviews and discovering new music. I ordered 10 MA CDs yesterday so at least they got some benefit from it. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, bbosler said:

I do want to thank you for the Qobuz playlist and notes about the recordings you used. Although I will never spend that kind of money on a server, I do enjoy the reviews and discovering new music. I ordered 10 MA CDs yesterday so at least they got some benefit from it. 

 

 

This is wonderful, thank you for sharing.  Todd Garfinkle (chief everything at MA Recordings) does such amazing work, and his care and musicianship really comes through on his recordings.  I hope you enjoy the albums, and please share your favorites!  (I'm always keen to find a new favorite in Todd's catalog)

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9 minutes ago, taipan254 said:

@ray-dude, these write-ups are making my week. 

 

Question for you - do you see any off-the-shelf regulators in use in the power supply? I know Taiko has previously used Belleson regulators, but this power supply, ostensibly, looks like a standard CLC / Pi-Filter with substantial emphasis on the C's. As such, it seems like Emile could be letting the motherboard handle all regulation from a power source with VERY small, sinusoidal, low-frequency, ripple? Or is Emile using a discrete regulator instead of a monolothic regulator following the pi-filter? 

 

 

 

I did not see any obvious mods to the motherboard (my presumption is that it is stock), so my focus was much more on the substantial C's.  Alas, I don't have answers for your question. I think one would need to disassemble the supply assembly to really get a sense of the topology and components used, and I didn't have the heart (or nerve) for that.

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