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

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21 minutes ago, bbosler said:

 

Not at all, but to Alan's point.. if I paid that for a car I would expect it to come with the ideal tires. The only variable for tires would be the road conditions, but that analogy fails as the conditions in his living room are not changing.

 

If a $26K server is so profoundly affected by the choice of cables or Ethernet switches or whatever then there is a problem with the server. If it is so profoundly affected by an ethernet switch then it doesn't work properly.

 

All the attributes that I heard before with the EtherREGEN are back - increased speed and control (especially for bass), more subtlety and detail, awesome openness and sense of space

 

That should have been dealt with in the design and implementation. If my $1K NUC or Mac Mini is better with a  $640 EtherRegen then I accept that, it makes sense to me. If I paid $26K and it was I would be pissed.

 

That said, I have no problem with anybody spending whatever they want playing around with this stuff. I get it. I see it as somebody who has the means entertaining themselves with their disposable income. 

 

 

My 2 cents: 

The road analogy actually works pretty well. While the individual domestic conditions do not change drastically (apart from e.g. daily power fluctuations), globally the circumstances vary greatly. Power grid in rural areas vs inner city grid, PowerLan in the house or not, number of shared networks / access points, all variables that affect the final outcome. There is no one size fits all solution (=ideal tires) which will be best everywhere, Ray has found his optimal settings (so far) through an incredible systematic approach, however that does not necessarily mean his current solution will be the best in everyone's system.

 

Cheers!

Christoph 

 


Consultant to Taiko Audio

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31 minutes ago, bbosler said:

 

Not at all, but to Alan's point.. if I paid that for a car I would expect it to come with the ideal tires. The only variable for tires would be the road conditions, but that analogy fails as the conditions in his living room are not changing.

 

If a $26K server is so profoundly affected by the choice of cables or Ethernet switches or whatever then there is either problem with the server, or it should come with whatever it needs to work properly. And yes, if it is so profoundly affected by an ethernet switch then it doesn't work properly.

 

All the attributes that I heard before with the EtherREGEN are back - increased speed and control (especially for bass), more subtlety and detail, awesome openness and sense of space

 

That should have been dealt with in the design and implementation. If my $1K NUC or Mac Mini is better with a  $640 EtherRegen then I accept that, it makes sense to me. If I paid $26K and it was I would be pissed.

 

That said, I have no problem with anybody spending whatever they want playing around with this stuff. I get it. I see it as somebody who has the means entertaining themselves with their disposable income. 

 

 

 

Every component in a system is dependent on the quality of the input signal.

 

So the best speakers sound better when you drive them with a better amplifier.

 

Same for the Extreme: When the Extreme gets a better input it will sound better.

 

This is not at all a fault of the Extreme, it is something called the Source First principle.

 

Matt

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1 hour ago, matthias said:

Every component in a system is dependent on the quality of the input signal.

 

So the best speakers sound better when you drive them with a better amplifier.

 

 This thing is designed and sold as the "Extreme" which to me means no stone unturned in the pursuit of perfection. If you believe the hype then there is no "better amplifier." This is the best.

 

so I will say it again and let it go since we will obviously not come to a consensus here... It has one job, take the ethernet input and output the best USB stream it can possibly produce. The fact that it fails to do this means it is not properly designed. The fact that it can be profoundly affected by adding a $640 ethernet switch to the input says to me it is not properly designed. If  optimizing the network signal is required for optimal performance then the designer should have that taken that into account. So regarding the packets of ethernet data it is receiving it should  deal with that and be immune to what comes before.

 

So yea, I just said the same thing 6 different ways

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Audiophile Style ... that's $26,000 Music Server Style for sure.

The component is extremely well build and so is this top notch review.

 

This is peanuts for high heeled shoes. 

For casual readers (AS) it demands a dose of reality, a balance of perspective, a double look @ our bank statement. It's normal, we don't wear high heeled shoes...nowadays we wear masks and collect stimulus cheques. 

 

There's nothing stimulating about the Extreme's price of entry.

But the music has to be extremely stimulating I am extremely sure of that ...

 

I marvel @ the build quality...It's something I'm able to do, and I admire the words translating from the review...It's something I'm able to do too. 

If I could I would, but it's somehing I'm not able to afford today. 

Tomorrow? You never know...perhaps after the storm (pandemic)? The US stock market have climbed 30% from its low. NASDAQ is back up to where it was @ the top. 

Good time to invest in a fake market? It defies all logical conventions and principles as if this world didn't make any sense. ...Like if our foundations were built on slush and sinking mud, illusions boosted by falsified data from an invisible beautiful woman riding a white horse that doesn't exist.

 

Nobody knows what tomorrow might bring, we only go by today, the music playing...in audiophile style, our style...high heels or not. 

 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, bbosler said:

It has one job, take the ethernet input and output the best USB stream it can possibly produce.

 

The Extreme does exactly this and better than any other device I am aware of.

According to your posts you seem not to understand Source First, so I makes no sense at all to discuss this further.

 

Matt

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40 minutes ago, matthias said:

seem not to understand Source First,

 

of course I do, it can't control what is being fed to it. my point is... if the $640 device can deal with the feed, this $26K device should be able to do so even better. Ethernet is pretty well understood. Packets of data. Re-read my post.. this device has but one fundamental job, it is just an ethernet based Roon server, take data in through the ethernet port  and output the same data via the USB port. It can't even do that one job properly. I'll stand by my analysis. A $26K ethernet server  is not properly designed if profoundly affected by the ethernet feed. 

 

40 minutes ago, matthias said:

The Extreme does exactly this and better than any other device I am aware of.

 

just curious, how do you know that? based on this review or do you have hands on experience with it and the other servers out there? And to get just a little bit snarky, or do you buy into the idea that "it is the most expensive so it must be the best" mentality that we see here quite a bit? My apologies in advance if you do not, but many of the reviews here follow clearly along those lines.

 

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, fas42 said:

I suspect you will lose a lot of the magic, unless you have gone through a great deal of optimising of the area between DAC and speakers, via amplifiers, already ... 😉.

 

Would be interesting to find out, of course. 🙂

 

Frank, when all the crazy is less crazy, I'd love to hear what you're hearing...we seem to be striving to summit the same mountain from different routes...

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On the last day of Extreme Week, and my new Sablon Audio King power cord has arrived.  The loaner Prince cable is long gone so I can't compare directly, but I LOVE what I'm hearing (again).  Thank you Mark!!

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2 hours ago, bbosler said:

 

of course I do, it can't control what is being fed to it. my point is... if the $640 device can deal with the feed, this $26K device should be able to do so even better. Ethernet is pretty well understood. Packets of data. Re-read my post.. this device has but one fundamental job, it is just an ethernet based Roon server, take data in through the ethernet port  and output the same data via the USB port. It can't even do that one job properly. I'll stand by my analysis. A $26K ethernet server  is not properly designed if profoundly affected by the ethernet feed. 

 

 

just curious, how do you know that? based on this review or do you have hands on experience with it and the other servers out there? And to get just a little bit snarky, or do you buy into the idea that "it is the most expensive so it must be the best" mentality that we see here quite a bit? My apologies in advance if you do not, but many of the reviews here follow clearly along those lines.

 

 

 

 

You may want to start a discussion in the forum if you want to dig into servers and protocols in general. This space is for discussion of the review and Extreme server. 


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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I thought the Extreme was a Music Server, and reviewed by a musicophile well served? ☺️

 

A discussion about it and comparaisons seem advanced knowledge fairness...yes. And in particular for the Extreme build quality and extreme asking price. 

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9 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

This space is for discussion of the review and Extreme server. 

 

Sorry if I am off topic. My overall point is very simple... sorry if it got lost in the race car tire analogies.

 

that point is... the Extreme is not taking it to the extreme and is  inherently flawed if it needs help dealing with the data coming in through the ethernet port.  What amazes me is nobody seems to be concerned about that. They willingly accept that at $26K it is profoundly improved by adding a $640 device to the front end. Is that on topic?

 

Not trying to start a fight, just want to understand where I went off topic so I don't do it again.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, bbosler said:

 

Sorry if I am off topic. My overall point is very simple... sorry if it got lost in the race car tire analogies.

 

that point is... the Extreme is not taking it to the extreme and is  inherently flawed if it needs help dealing with the data coming in through the ethernet port.  What amazes me is nobody seems to be concerned about that. They willingly accept that at $26K it is profoundly improved by adding a $640 device to the front end. Is that on topic?

 

Not trying to start a fight, just want to understand where I went off topic so I don't do it again.

 

 

You've stated your opinion. That's cool. Just don't beat a dead horse over and over. If nobody else shares your amazement and concern, perhaps you can discuss these in a forum topic as they seem to be more about people's willingness to accept things that you do not. We could replace the Extreme with Server A, B, or C and you'd likely have the same issues with people. 


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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59 minutes ago, ray-dude said:

I do believe there are a LOT of trickle down ideas from the Extreme that can help folks improve their systems.  Each piece was taken to an extreme (and the whole definitely feels greater than the sum of its parts), but each piece may be worth a look.  I'm guessing I wouldn't have to take off my mittens to count the folks that may actually purchase one of the beasts after reading this, but I was hoping there would be value in putting it out there as inspiration for folks that are looking to improve their own setups.

 

This generosity of spirit was evident in your wonderful series of reviews.  Thanks for that (and all the time, skill and knowledge needed).  As one who loves simplicity and transparency of sound, I have to admit that I never thought of eliminating the amp altogether and going straight from DAC to speakers:  ingenious!  Thoroughly enjoyed reading the series and learning more about where the state-of-the-art streaming is now.  This monster is indeed extreme, but it isn't called "The end of the line, so don't expect anything further."  


Roon / Mola Mola Tambaqui / Kubala-Sosna XLR / Mola Mola Kaluga / KS biwire / B&W 803 D3

Ethernet:  in-wall 5e > Sonore opticalModule [Sonore 5V LPS] > UpTone EtherREGEN [UpTone JS-2 LPS] > DAC

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3 hours ago, bbosler said:

So yea, I just said the same thing 6 different ways

 

The fact of the matter is that every audio system — whether based on analog or digital sources — is composed of a chain of components, and the overall performance can be compromised by a weak link in the chain.

 

It's all very well to wish that an expensive piece of gear should be immune to its upstream, but it just doesn't work this way. This is why even expensive DACs like a dCS Rossini, a Chord DAVE, an MSB Select etc. all benefit from a device like the Extreme upstream of them. SQ optimization is necessarily an end-to-end endeavor.

 

As for why digital devices can cause SQ degradation, this is way outside the scope of this thread. For one manufacturer's rationale, please read Uptone's white paper here: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0660/6121/files/UpTone-J.Swenson_EtherREGEN_white_paper.pdf?v=1583429386

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44 minutes ago, austinpop said:

it's all very well to wish that an expensive piece of gear should be immune to its upstream, but it just doesn't work this way. This is why even expensive DACs like a dCS Rossini, a Chord DAVE, an MSB Select etc. all benefit from a device like the Extreme upstream of them. SQ optimization is necessarily an end-to-end endeavor.

 

point taken, but where does "upstream" begin? I contend that it should begin with the $26K streamer. Obviously you believe it is further up. 

 

 

38 minutes ago, ray-dude said:

If you have a DAC that is capable of driving 1-2W into a speaker like load (and the Chord Hugo2 and DAVE and TT2 most definitely are), do yourself a favor and give a listen to something like the SAMs in near field.

 

I will definitely consider this. I have 110dB horns so a few watts is more than enough to get them going. If nothing else from Extreme week that is a good take away for me. So forgive me if I missed this, but how do you connect the DAC to the speakers. I see the XLR outputs going to the bass modules and the speaker cables to the full range drivers? How do you connect the speaker cables to the DAVE? Thanks

 

 

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2 hours ago, ray-dude said:

 

Frank, when all the crazy is less crazy, I'd love to hear what you're hearing...we seem to be striving to summit the same mountain from different routes...

 

Ray, have you ever had the rig go completely invisible, as in, it was impossible to localise the speakers, no matter how hard you tried to detect that it was the drivers in them creating the sound? ... Does this make sense to you?


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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2 minutes ago, bbosler said:

.......where does "upstream" begin? 

 

Streaming:

Qobuz>>>Modem>>>Router>>>Switch(es)>>>Extreme

 

Matt

 

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16 minutes ago, fas42 said:

 

Ray, have you ever had the rig go completely invisible, as in, it was impossible to localise the speakers, no matter how hard you tried to detect that it was the drivers in them creating the sound? ... Does this make sense to you?

 

I have Frank, but only with certain recordings.  Binaural recordings in particular become completely holographic (my setup has point source single drivers as sources...this makes sense).  Sound is evenly spread through a full half sphere, and I'm getting maybe 80-90% of the spatial resolution behind me as I am in front of me, and I hear the entire space the recording was made in.  I am physically there in the recording space.

 

This is only for certain recordings though, and how robust this sense of being in a hologram is is very indicative of whether things are getting better or worse (takes maybe 15 seconds of listening...the effect is very ephemeral for me)  When it is dialed in, it is an experience that is something else (and as a live performance junkie, absolutely crack for my brain)

 

As I say, it seems you're striving for the same summit, but from a different side of the mountain.  Would love to hear what you're hearing and see if there is a 1+1=3 hidden in there somewhere

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2 hours ago, ray-dude said:

 Time to try that giant IKEA bamboo butcher block under a DAC or server?

 

Way ahead of you, and it works well.


No electron left behind...

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28 minutes ago, bbosler said:

I will definitely consider this. I have 110dB horns so a few watts is more than enough to get them going. If nothing else from Extreme week that is a good take away for me. So forgive me if I missed this, but how do you connect the DAC to the speakers. I see the XLR outputs going to the bass modules and the speaker cables to the full range drivers? How do you connect the speaker cables to the DAVE? Thanks

 

The Chord DAVE has both RCA outputs and XLR outputs.  Of the two the RCA outputs are a bit more transparent (couple fewer components in the path).  I have RCA to female banana adapters, and connect those to normal speaker wire.

 

If you just want to experiment, when I first started down this path I snagged some cheapo RCA to banana adapters on Amazon to try.  Once I realized what I was hearing, I made the investment to be able to hear that with Furutech connectors and my preferred speaker cables.

 

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0176WENRA

 

I should note that the DAVE (and other Chord DACs) have the amp section and digital to analog converter section combined (also used for direct headphone output). That makes it extremely stable and performant driving speaker-like loads.  I have not tried this topology with other DACs that may be expecting a preamp-type load on the output.

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31 minutes ago, matthias said:

Qobuz>>>Modem>>>Router>>>Switch(es)>>>Extreme

 

let me rephrase that, where does upstream that we have any control over begin? I obviously have no control over Qobuz and most of us are locked into a Modem or a few that our IP provider dictates. This modem often functions as a router with a switch, so you can run a cable direct from the modem box to the Extreme if you wish. So other than the  choice of ethernet cable into the Extreme, the stream I can control starts at the Extreme.

 

and to A'pops caution about SQ-sapping noise. I don't dispute that. I have an EtherRegen that I use on devices that are not optimized to be music servers like a Mac Mini and a Rossini DAC. I'm sure Apple gave little or no consideration to the SQ of their streaming, and the Rossini is a DAC with a streamer tacked on. This Extreme was built from the ground up to be a streamer and only a streamer. It should be able to handle the noise or whatever the Modem/router/switch throws at it. . I don't seem to be making my point so I'll give up on this 

 

Ray, thanks for the cabling info , now to locate a used DAVE at a good price.. Damn you :>)

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