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

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@jrobbins50 @bbosler This is a fast moving discussion around Roon updates (and alas, all my listening tests and write up were basically complete before that discussion even started).  

 

Rather than inadvertently sharing incorrect information, I asked Chris to update the review content to remove the reference to Roon updates (my main point was to speak to the sensitivity of the tuning and the responsiveness of Taiko, which the updated text reflects).

 

I appreciate you highlighting the issue in your comments above so we could take care of that.

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14 hours ago, StreamFidelity said:

Thank you for the very good description. Very beautiful pictures. Are you test Roon + HQPlayer too?

 

Roon + HQplayer is my default configuration @StreamFidelity.  I have a section on the combination in Part 3 tomorrow, along with first impressions and a review of other basic configurations.

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17 hours ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

okay, I have to ask, there is no optical output?

 

I have not seen an optical out option from Taiko.  Alas I don't have my Matrix Audio XSPDIF DDC (it is on loan to a friend), or I'd be happy to see whether the Extreme (vs NUC) is impactful with it.

 

 

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1 hour ago, ray-dude said:

 

I have not seen an optical out option from Taiko.  Alas I don't have my Matrix Audio XSPDIF DDC (it is on loan to a friend), or I'd be happy to see whether the Extreme (vs NUC) is impactful with it.

 

 

Okay thanks for that.

 

Some maintain optical isolation is superior so it I am wondering why this was not included as a digital interface option. It almost certainly (?) would have been considered in the design stages and rejected.

 

The matrix DDC appears only to have Toslink out, not SFP or ST glass. I am not sure Toslink is the best optical choice?

 

I guess they are going for the best USB audio implementation in their products.

 


Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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1 minute ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

Okay thanks for that.

 

Some maintain optical isolation is superior so it I am wondering why this was not included as a digital interface option. It almost certainly (?) would have been considered in the design stages and rejected.

 

The matrix DDC appears only to have Toslink out, not SFP or ST glass. I am not sure Toslink is the best optical choice?

 

I guess they are going for the best USB audio implementation in their products.

 

Audiophiles pretty much got rid of Toslink years ago. Plus, it has very limited bandwidth. 


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23 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Audiophiles pretty much got rid of Toslink years ago. Plus, it has very limited bandwidth. 

 

24/192 is fairly common, the last versions of Apple computers with Toslink will do that, so "very limited" isn't quite right. Theoretically unlimited as far as audio is concerned since it is fiber optic, but you are right that many devices are limited to < 192K by design. It does however have a reputation for high jitter. I am making an educated guess that is only because the designers put no effort into lowering it. The end result is as you say, Audiophiles abandoned it long ago. 

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Two system iterations ago, my reference was NUC end point (battery) to ISORegen (LPS 1.2) to Matrix Audio to toslink to DAVE. Getting mains isolated was the last extra icing on the cake (DAVE is particularly good at dealing with jitter, so I didn’t have that wrinkle to deal with). Absolutely loved it. 
 

it wasn’t until I got the tX-USBultra that I found something better. The clock in the tX tipped things in its favor I think. 
 

Even compared with the tX, the USB implementation in the Extreme is way ahead of the game.  It would be very interesting to hear Extreme USB direct vs Extreme USB to Matrix Audio, just to hear the real impact of the DDC

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18 minutes ago, ray-dude said:

Two system iterations ago, my reference was NUC end point (battery) to ISORegen (LPS 1.2) to Matrix Audio to toslink to DAVE. Getting mains isolated was the last extra icing on the cake (DAVE is particularly good at dealing with jitter, so I didn’t have that wrinkle to deal with). Absolutely loved it. 
 

it wasn’t until I got the tX-USBultra that I found something better. The clock in the tX tipped things in its favor I think. 
 

Even compared with the tX, the USB implementation in the Extreme is way ahead of the game.  It would be very interesting to hear Extreme USB direct vs Extreme USB to Matrix Audio, just to hear the real impact of the DDC

 

I don't want to labor the point but why offer an allegedly outmoded toslink interface on their DDC in the first place and why not offer an SFP optical out on their extremely expensive server.

USB audio may have been chosen as simply superior in their view (and it may well be). It would be interesting to find out their reasons.


Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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This thing is build bullet-proof, anti-shock, anti-vibration, anti-virus. 

The price is build like heart attack.

Looking forward for more organs damage; lungs, blood vessels, liver, goldbladder, etc. ... all in music heavens, the other side of life. 

 

Ray dude, do you wear white gloves when you remove the top cover? 

...A mask? 

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3 minutes ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

 

I don't want to labor the point but why offer an allegedly outmoded toslink interface on their DDC in the first place and why not offer an SFP optical out on their extremely expensive server.

USB audio may have been chosen as simply superior in their view (and it may well be). It would be interesting to find out their reasons.

 

There is that very intriguing square cut out on the back of the case.  I have to assume (wish?) that is for some future I/O option (and presumably to a DAC, otherwise it would more likely be in a PCIe form factor).  **COMPLETE** speculation on my part (absolutely no inside knowledge, other than going "huh" when I saw the optional port on the back panel and the spare power connector on the interior), but I think all of us would LOVE a no compromise interface standard to connect a server to a DAC.

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5 minutes ago, Axial said:

Ray dude, do you wear white gloves when you remove the top cover? 

 

 

Surgical mask, with sterile clothes draped around the surgical field ;)

 

 

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11 hours ago, ray-dude said:

I hope you enjoy the albums, and please share your favorites!  (I'm always keen to find a new favorite in Todd's catalog)


Hi Ray:

Here is a link to one of my favorite MA Recordings CD.  

https://www.marecordings.com/main/product_info.php?products_id=56&osCsid=ile1b52cogbu8g8mcqvc2rcfg6

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11 minutes ago, Superdad said:


Hi Ray:

Here is a link to one of my favorite MA Recordings CD.  

https://www.marecordings.com/main/product_info.php?products_id=56&osCsid=ile1b52cogbu8g8mcqvc2rcfg6

 

I absolutely ADORE that album Alex!  Murakkaz Ah Ya Muddasin is absolutely magical, transports you to a completely different time and place.

 

If you like that album, you should definitely give Maria Ana Bonbone "Senhora da Lapa" a listen.  I did not know about Fado before this album, but it convinced me that I must have been Portuguese in a previous life.

 

With all this well deserved love for MA Recordings, anyone with a vague interest in Todd's work should snag the MA on SA compilation:

 

https://www.marecordings.com/main/product_info.php?products_id=108

 

It has a SACD layer with an incredible collection, but then the redbook CD layer has an incredible collection of different songs.  Basically two albums in one, and a wonderful sampler of the catalog. (if you purchase the SACD and don't have a SACD player, please drop a PM...we'll take care of you)

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Yes, +1 for the MAonSA (MA Recordings on SACD) sampler.  It's like almost 3 cds as the SACD 2 channel layer is like 76 minutes in length, then a unique redbook layer.  We put a Todd recording on one of our NativeDSD samplers but I could never convince Todd to release those DSD128 Korg-based recordings on NativeDSD....oh well. 

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From your mouth to Todd's ears Ted!  I would love to hear those tapes, even if raw and in need of remastering.  The recordings are so magical and real, they don't need anything added to them.  Alas, Todd would have the unenvious task of (re)mastering all those recordings.  All that being said, I would be first in line to prepurchase any part of his catalog that Todd decides to go back to the master tapes for.

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On 5/19/2020 at 10:49 PM, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi @bbosler,

 

I received my Extreme 3 days ago and spoke with Emile via WhatsApp as he helped me with setup and configuration.

 

I was previously using a NUC/Euphony Stylus server so I am not familiar with Roon.

 

I asked him about the Roon update issue and he reassured me that it has been resolved.

 

As I understand it, most Extreme users use JPlay as an output for Roon.

 

It seems that particular Roon update did not work properly with JPlay but it wasn't apparent initially and the sound degradation was attributed to Roon itself. 

 

Clearly after further examination, the issue was discovered and hence the retraction.

 

As I use a Chord DAVE like @ray-dude, Emile configured my Roon output with Chord ASIO driver.

 

I can attest to the fact that the improvement in sound is very clear and NOT due to expectation bias even cold out of the box.

 

Hope this helps.

 

G


PH SR7 > MacMini+Uptone MMK Mod > Audirvana 3.2 > re-clocked D-LInk switch/LPS1.1 > sMS-200Ultra/LPS1.2 > tX-USBUltra/PH SR7 > Chord BluDave > Focal Utopia(Norne Silver) or Voxativ 9.87/ Stereo REL G1 Mk II

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