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Taiko Extreme - my experience


manisandher
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8 hours ago, manisandher said:

I have a gorgeous Taiko Extreme in the house, on kind loan from the UK distributor, Kog Audio. I'll share my experiences here shortly...

 

Mani.

I see you have the Phasure Mach III server as well. Will you be comparing the two? Also, are there any DIY builds in-house for comparison's sake?

 

Looking forward to your experiences :)

 

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13 hours ago, Exocer said:

I see you have the Phasure Mach III server as well. Will you be comparing the two? Also, are there any DIY builds in-house for comparison's sake?

 

It wasn't really the intention, but I think it's inevitable that I'd be comparing the Extreme with what I already have.

 

No, I don't have any DIY builds here worth writing home about. I stopped trying as soon as I received my first Phasure Mach II (which I still have), let alone the Mach III. Having both the Phasure and Taiko here, it's clear that I couldn't get anywhere near the performance of guys who actually know what they're doing. (What is it about The Netherlands and music server know-how?)

 

Mani.

Phasure Mach III audio PC -> HQPlayer/XXHighEnd @24/705.6 -> Phasure NOS1 DAC -> First Watt F5-cloned mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horn speakers

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8 hours ago, manisandher said:

 

It wasn't really the intention, but I think it's inevitable that I'd be comparing the Extreme with what I already have.

 

No, I don't have any DIY builds here worth writing home about. I stopped trying as soon as I received my first Phasure Mach II (which I still have), let alone the Mach III. Having both the Phasure and Taiko here, it's clear that I couldn't get anywhere near the performance of guys who actually know what they're doing. (What is it about The Netherlands and music server know-how?)

 

Mani.

Seriously, there is some magic coming from the Netherlands. 

 

I actually did not know about the Phasure servers until your post. It was enlightening to read the way they describe the "sound" type of each server based on CPU selection. In particular, the 14/28 description of "Puts crazy emphasis on fast transients" sounds very interesting. That being said, one would not be able to simply buy two of those CPUs and emulate this character without careful tuning...

 

Did you go with the 14/28? (This is my last question because I'd rather not interrupt your original intent, to share your experiences with the Taiko Extreme).

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18 hours ago, Exocer said:

Did you go with the 14/28?

 

Yes, my Phasure has a 5120 14/28 CPU.

 

More on the Extreme to follow...

 

Mani.

Phasure Mach III audio PC -> HQPlayer/XXHighEnd @24/705.6 -> Phasure NOS1 DAC -> First Watt F5-cloned mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horn speakers

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Oh, and a massive thanks to Emile too who spent quite a while with me getting things set up as well as possible with my quirky DAC.

 

Mani.

Phasure Mach III audio PC -> HQPlayer/XXHighEnd @24/705.6 -> Phasure NOS1 DAC -> First Watt F5-cloned mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horn speakers

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1 hour ago, manisandher said:

Anyway, I reconnected my trusty Phasure Mach III, and finally upgraded to the latest version of XXHighEnd (after a number of months of meaning to). I’ve been using Roon pretty much exclusively for the last few months because I’ve been playing around with its DSP, so it was really nice to get back to XXHE, which I’ve been using (along with HQPlayer) for over 10 years. What can I say? XXHighEnd is simply the best software player I’ve ever heard. It can do things other software players can only dream of. Full stop. Period.

 

Mani,

 

I am wondering if it would be possible to run XXHE on the Extreme. Did you discuss this with Emile?

Thanks

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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4 minutes ago, matthias said:

I am wondering if it would be possible to run XXHE on the Extreme. Did you discuss this with Emile?

 

Hi Matt, I suspect it'd be strongly discouraged because XXHE imposes its own rather 'strong will' on the OS. In its 'Unattended' mode, it grabs the music files, stores them in RAM, shuts down as much of the OS as possible (including the screen), and starts playback purely from memory. Furthermore, most XXHE users run the whole OS in RAM, with no SSDs or HDDs at all connected to the mobo.

 

And in any event, the Extreme sounds mighty fine without the need of XXHE!

 

Mani.

Phasure Mach III audio PC -> HQPlayer/XXHighEnd @24/705.6 -> Phasure NOS1 DAC -> First Watt F5-cloned mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horn speakers

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2 hours ago, manisandher said:

Roon sounded good, but HQPlayer sounded better. I tried pretty much all the filters up to the sinc filters, but couldn’t get sinc-M to work with the Extreme.

 

The Extreme is quite something, isn't it Mani! I've had mine now for almost 2 months, and it still has the ability to astonish me.

 

I'm surprised by your inability to run sinc-M, as this is my go-to filter of choice, and runs with no issue for me. I assume you're referring to it in the context of PCM-to-PCM upsampling (Filter 1x and Nx), and not for DSD-to-PCM conversion (PCM conversion setting in DSD Source settings).

 

As regards the effect of network and USB, please see my impressions here.

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5 minutes ago, austinpop said:

The Extreme is quite something, isn't it Mani! I've had mine now for almost 2 months, and it still has the ability to astonish me.

 

Hi Rajiv, yes it is.

 

5 minutes ago, austinpop said:

I'm surprised by your inability to run sinc-M, as this is my go-to filter of choice, and runs with no issue for me. I assume you're referring to it in the context of PCM-to-PCM upsampling (Filter 1x and Nx), and not for DSD-to-PCM conversion (PCM conversion setting in DSD Source settings).

 

Yes, PCM-to-PCM.

 

Perhaps I should have qualified things a bit. The Phasure DAC is a quirky beast. No upsampling/digital filter. No delta-sigma modulator. But capable of accepting 768k, so perfect for HQPlayer, and of course, XXHighEnd.

 

Best performance is achieved using Kernel Streaming - that's what all the XXHE users use. WASAPI works too, but ASIO is a no go. So using HQPlayer NAA is out. This no doubt limited what I could get to work with HQPlayer. Closed-form-M worked fine, but sinc-M wouldn't. (Interestingly, the Mach III is perfectly happy running sinc-M with WASAPI.)

 

5 minutes ago, austinpop said:

As regards the effect of network and USB, please see my impressions here.

 

Yes, I've already come across this. I don't think anyone has looked into these things in more detail than you have. Thanks for all your effort.

 

Personally, I just don't have the will (or energy) to play around with stuff too much nowadays. Fortunately, I managed to get the Extreme to sound very good after just a little effort. But perhaps I never really heard it in its full glory? Oh well...

 

Mani.

Phasure Mach III audio PC -> HQPlayer/XXHighEnd @24/705.6 -> Phasure NOS1 DAC -> First Watt F5-cloned mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horn speakers

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On 9/23/2020 at 8:12 PM, manisandher said:

The first is a real ‘solidity’ to the sound, something I’d never suspected I was missing. I realise now that every other computer front end up to this point has sounded slightly ‘hazy’ and ‘diffuse’ in comparison. The effect is fairly subtle, but once you’ve cottoned on to it, it’s hard to let it go.

 

The second is the life-like dynamics. Percussive instruments seem to have more force behind them, jumping out of the speakers. Transients have real attack behind them.

 

On 9/23/2020 at 8:12 PM, manisandher said:

Hypothesising, I suspect both of these effects could be due to a decrease in noise getting to and interfering with the DAC as it converts the bits into an analogue signal. (Although the bits themselves are actually analogue, of course 😊.) Who knows how these things really work?

 

Me ? but only a little ? And you too, as it seems ...

 

You definitely did not read my description of the new Lush^3, but it is quite exactly the same was what you there dedicated to The Extreme. In other words ... it is not that.

So how can I have the same description for a new USB cable ? And at this moment of writing I did not "catch" the latest phenomenon of it (which was last night when the description of the Lush^3 was already made) : 20 times or so the speed of the Lush^2 (or Lush^1 for that matter).

But imagine: "20 times the speed", PeterSt claims. It really is that outrageous. Because of this alone you won't recognize any familiar track any more. Voices contain ultimately more than you thought. Synthesizers exhibit their On/Off sound in about all what was bland at first. Grey - which you accepted to be normal - transforms to music. That "Grey" appeared to be huge smear. 

And indeed the solidity. And much more.

 

Strangely enough from minute 1 of listening to the ^3, I have continuously be deliberating how such an opposite which the Mach III is compared to The Extreme, could suddenly so explicitly show an infinite robustness. So in very brief the difference (as you will know it, but others won't) : The Mach III was made for ultimate speed (very explicitly so and the change opposed to the Mach II) and it was done by making the Power Supply (super fast) as small as possible. And well, that this is so, you can see easily (because you hardly can see it - haha). And so I was eagerly waiting for your Extreme Observations. All what I could expect was more robustness (with that tonne of capacitance) and actually not more speed (you don't claim that, but talk about the transients in similar fashion, although I suspect for the lower regions (?).

 

If people are still with me, it is now time for the long story short:

There is so much going on with USB that the sheer 100% sure fact that the USB set up will be different for the MoBo involved, while knowing how crazily much a stupid USB cable alone can do to the sound, that nothing needs to happen or it is just that USB setup making the difference. No 10Kg heatsinks, no fast processor, no tonnes of capacitance, but ... stupid USB.

And so again:

 

On 9/23/2020 at 8:12 PM, manisandher said:

Hypothesising, I suspect both of these effects could be due to a decrease in noise getting to and interfering with the DAC

 

if I had to say it: that.

Day before yesterday was my second day with the cable, and there I noticed the complete quietness (call it blackness) of this cable. Noise is out of the way, and "speed" comes in place, which in the end is just less smear IMO, hence the disappearing greyness. This is how I literally thought. And as you know, I always need to find explanations for matter I usually didn't see coming (although I work with a target).

 

The Extreme will work with an enormous low "noise level", but it reflects USB as a first (and from there on towards the DAC).

The Mach III was never made for an extreme low noise level - actually the contrary so it can be speedy in the power supply, which is Linear, like The Extreme and which is crucial for speed.

(people may now think over themselves what I am actually saying here)

 

I hope this coincides with what you noticed, although you need to wait for the proofing of the text above.

Peter

 

Disclaimer: Of course this summarizes the whole hoopla of USB (cables) in a 1000 times too short text with assumed known facts. But we have and had other threads for that. But for those who don't know, the Lush^2 (and now ^3) is about one thing only : shielding (incoming noise as well outgoing noise).

 

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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On 9/23/2020 at 11:51 PM, manisandher said:

Best performance is achieved using Kernel Streaming - that's what all the XXHE users use. WASAPI works too, but ASIO is a no go. So using HQPlayer NAA is out.

 

NAA 4.x does support WASAPI backend too, just defaults to ASIO. ;)

(and for both, input and output)

 

It comes with a .bat file to launch it. You can edit some of the parameters in that file. Remove "rem" prefix to enable WASAPI backend. Or you can also adjust name of the NAA (necessary if you have more than one in the network).

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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