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Thread: Taiko Extreme

  1. #1
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    Taiko Extreme

    We are proud to announce that Suncoast Audio is now a Taiko Audio dealer. Selling a world class Roon Music Server with our selection of world class DACís, just makes sense.

    Our demo Taiko Extreme arrived this morning. We have it breaking in with the MSB Select II + ProUSB + Shunyata Sigma v2 USB (waiting on our Omega USB).

    It arrived well packaged, well padded and double boxed on a pallet. Like others have commented, the build quality is exceptional, itís very heavy and ultimately built like a tank. It just screams a quality product.

    We even had success selling the product before our demo arrived. This is clearly a world class product audiophiles desire.

    Our demo is fully pimped out with dual AES/EBU, 24TB of PCIe storage and more.




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    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, Esoteric, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Rega Turntables and Electronics, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stillpoints, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, Vivid Audio Loudspeakers, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
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  2. #2
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Looks beautiful. Canít wait to get more information.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Job INTegrated.

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    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), Job 250 Monos, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos. Absolute Audio Labs PCF 25 amp (improved First Watt F7 super clone)

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  3. #3
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Looks nice and very well built. Way, way overkill for my needs. I will never fill the 2TB drive I currently maintain.
    Jim

    D'Agostino Momentum M-400's & HD Pre-amp
    Wilson Alexandria X2 Series 2 speakers
    Digital: dCS Vivaldi DAC, Clock & Upsampler
    Analog: SME 20/3 with Esoteric E-03 Phono
    Transparent Opus Speaker Cable & Interconnects & Opus Power Cords
    Power Cords on Digital: Shunyata
    Power Conditioner - Shunyata Everest

  4. #4

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    MSRP?
    Anthony
    Analog: VPI CLASSIC 3/Ortofon A95> ASR Basis Exclusive HV---->

    Digital: Antipodes CX> CARY DMS-600 DAC/Streamer---->
    ...........Cary 306 SACD PRO Disc Player---->

    ===> Cary SLP-05 (Ultimate Upgrade edition)----> Clayton M-300----> MARTIN LOGAN SPIRES

    [Synergistic Research/Nordost/Wireworld/Furutech/SRA/Adona/Stillpoints/Track Audio/GIK Acoustics]

  5. #5

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by still-one View Post
    Looks nice and very well built. Way, way overkill for my needs. I will never fill the 2TB drive I currently maintain.
    Storage is configurable and just a small part of what the Extreme brings to your system

    I've has mine for 8 months. Its amazing.......

  6. #6
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by asindc View Post
    MSRP?
    Starts at 24k Euro.


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    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, Esoteric, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Rega Turntables and Electronics, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stillpoints, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, Vivid Audio Loudspeakers, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
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  7. #7
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    Taiko Extreme

    Did I read someplace they are introducing a mini?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    Source Analog: Kuzma Stabi R w/4point 11 arm | Kuzma 50 Cartridge
    Source Digital: Aurender N10 | Brinkmann Nyquist MK II
    Amplification: Dan DíAgostino Momentum HD and M400ís | Boulder 508
    Speakers: Wilson Alexias
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  8. #8
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Great addition Mike. With the kind of gear you play with, the Taiko Extreme seems very appropriate. I was a bit surprised why you haven't gotten to it yet

    Please post you impression when it breaks in completely - they have some Duelund and Mundrof caps which takes forever to breakin. I would be very interested in a comparison with other high-end server like the Aurrender W20SE, etc.

  9. #9
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by UltraFast69 View Post
    Did I read someplace they are introducing a mini?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    yes, there is a mini in the works. And also TAS - Taiko Audio Server currently in beta. Its supposed to rival Roon.

  10. #10

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by UltraFast69 View Post
    Did I read someplace they are introducing a mini?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    Emile at Taiko discussed the potential for designing and manufacturing a mini but there is no clear commitment at this point because of the huge demand for the Extreme.
    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> Lampizator Big 7 MK2 DAC, Oppo UDP-203;

  11. #11
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    A file server delivered on a pallet. It feels like 1975.

    Seriously, it looks like the perfect solution for power users.
    Gary
    Main: Lumin A1, Accuphase E-650, Tannoy Canterbury GR, Shunyata, Audience
    Secondary: Lumin M1, Linton Heritage, Shunyata, Audience

  12. #12

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by Devg View Post
    yes, there is a mini in the works. And also TAS - Taiko Audio Server currently in beta. Its supposed to rival Roon.
    TAS in alpha right now. Mini on the back shelf

    TAS reported to be far superior sonically to Roon. Not a rival at all.......

  13. #13

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    i've had the pleasure of running the taiko extreme since mid summer. i posted my detailed impressions along the way on a different forum (where there were more taiko owners). mike, if its okay with you i can either link to it or copy paste and drop em here. let me know, would love to get the word out on this enigmatic piece of gear

    i should add, the tl;dr take away (and i'll have updates when i get around to some new cables): if you want the best in digital, look no further. i could not imagine this would make a difference and i was pretty taken aback. i'm getting soundstage height on my rig that matches the height i've heard from tall speakers like the raidho d5.1. the sound is bigger and more immersive than ever and, frankly, i don't have a single draw back. it was worth the dice roll. as far as reccomending it, i would say that for a well put together system this is an upgrade worth looking at before a new amp or new speakers. however, to me, it's like reccommending someone buy a magico m6 or mbl 101xtreme...no doubt they will be excellent but the price makes it a tough rec. there are two analogies i like to describe this piece. one from me and one from a more vinyl inclined listener.

    me: the taiko is like the separates of the server world while everything else is an integrated. you just have more room and performance to squeeze IF that's the path you want to go down
    vinyl: think of the taiko like the TT, the usb cable like the tonearm, and the dac like the cart

  14. #14
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by Skanda View Post
    i've had the pleasure of running the taiko extreme since mid summer. i posted my detailed impressions along the way on a different forum (where there were more taiko owners). mike, if its okay with you i can either link to it or copy paste and drop em here. let me know, would love to get the word out on this enigmatic piece of gear

    i should add, the tl;dr take away (and i'll have updates when i get around to some new cables): if you want the best in digital, look no further. i could not imagine this would make a difference and i was pretty taken aback. i'm getting soundstage height on my rig that matches the height i've heard from tall speakers like the raidho d5.1. the sound is bigger and more immersive than ever and, frankly, i don't have a single draw back. it was worth the dice roll. as far as reccomending it, i would say that for a well put together system this is an upgrade worth looking at before a new amp or new speakers. however, to me, it's like reccommending someone buy a magico m6 or mbl 101xtreme...no doubt they will be excellent but the price makes it a tough rec. there are two analogies i like to describe this piece. one from me and one from a more vinyl inclined listener.

    me: the taiko is like the separates of the server world while everything else is an integrated. you just have more room and performance to squeeze IF that's the path you want to go down
    vinyl: think of the taiko like the TT, the usb cable like the tonearm, and the dac like the cart
    Or just post your comments here.


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    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, Esoteric, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Rega Turntables and Electronics, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stillpoints, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, Vivid Audio Loudspeakers, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
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  15. #15
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    I will say this so far: Iím beyond impressed. I wasnít expecting THIS kind of impact.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, Esoteric, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Rega Turntables and Electronics, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stillpoints, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, Vivid Audio Loudspeakers, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
    Phone: 941-932-0282
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suncoast-Au...1105178279194/

  16. #16

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    I will say this so far: Iím beyond impressed. I wasnít expecting THIS kind of impact.


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    sounds good re posting my comments here. i'll have a small breather with the holiday next week. it's pages of text - i went all in on it! in the meanwhile, i'm happy to answer any questions here or over dms.

    re your findings...100% agree. no hyperbole and that's why i called it enigmatic: 1's and 0's how could it be different. i moved from mbpro, to metrum ambre, to rockna wavedream net (which has a specialized clock for the rockna dac i have), to the taiko...each step was better but the really scary leap was from the rockna to taiko. out of the box they sounded very similar and i was a bit miffed about that. as the taiko burned in (mundorf caps take a while as we all know) the sound opened up like crazy. everyone who has heard it in my system has said the same thing: immersive.

  17. #17
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Does it come with a syringe and vaccine solution (double doses)?
    ~ Bob ~
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  18. #18
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthStar View Post
    Does it come with a syringe and vaccine solution (double doses)?
    Its a steroid in a syringe which auto-injects as soon as you hit the play button. No vaccine needed.....

  19. #19
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    I will say this so far: Iím beyond impressed. I wasnít expecting THIS kind of impact.


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    Not surprised Mike. I am sure the dynamics have exploded many folds with the rest of the top-notch gear you have. Though remotely anything close, my diy server is based on similar principals and I can only imagine what you would are witnessing. I can't afford the Extreme now or even in future but I can say that the Taiko guys (Emily especially) have taken the music sever to whole a new level.

  20. #20
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    I am surprised I haven't seen any updates to this thread recently. What is going on with this product?
    Jim

    D'Agostino Momentum M-400's & HD Pre-amp
    Wilson Alexandria X2 Series 2 speakers
    Digital: dCS Vivaldi DAC, Clock & Upsampler
    Analog: SME 20/3 with Esoteric E-03 Phono
    Transparent Opus Speaker Cable & Interconnects & Opus Power Cords
    Power Cords on Digital: Shunyata
    Power Conditioner - Shunyata Everest

  21. #21

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Here are some thoughts I put together over the summer. Posts following below:

    What does the world's most Extreme music server do in a sound system?

    I wanted to start this with a big shout out to Tom @ Thx Stereo for making this possible. Tom is the dealer who sold me my first pair of hifi speakers (some dynaudios) and we quickly became friends. Sounds cliche, but we regularly discuss audio and non audio stuff and I probably text with him more than I do with my gf lol. He asked me if I knew anything about Taiko Extreme. I told him I had heard about it on whatsbest and read a good portion of the thread. It seemed like an amazingly engineered product but $25k-$30k usd for a server is too much for my blood. I bought my rockna wavedream NET from him back in November and my rockna wavedream sig se from him a year before that. I am very happy with this digital front end (all my listening is digital - I'm on the younger side for this hobby: 29. I have been ripping mp3's since I was 7 years old. Vinyl is confusing, digital is simple ). On the server side, I had been doing macbook/computer to dac via usb for years. Then I got roon and a metrum ambre to go with it. Woah. Not only super convenient but it sounded better. Then I got the wavedream NET and it was one of my few "night and day" audio experiences. Tom was urging me to give the extreme a try: "why not bro, life is short". Tom was eager to try an extreme himself so in the process of ordering one, he ordered one for me as well. I told him I didn't want to spend this kind of money on my rig at the moment and he said "don't worry about it - pay me later". Damn, not only is that generous but how could I refuse.

    I paid him for it but he also mentioned that he's willing to take it back if I don't like it or feel that the system changes were not up to the $ spent. That's a very personal note so regardless of what I do at the end of all this, I acknowledge that others may find the system changes to be worth 2x, 3x, 100x more than the price of the Taiko. Different strokes for different folks. Different techniques for different freaks. In the spirit of honesty and transparency, I received an offer on my rockna over a dm. I have a hand shake agreement with the buyer for a sale in late september if I decide to keep the Taiko. The buyer is gracious in his understanding that this is an opportunity for a great audio experiment and, ideally, a type of review/experience report that the audio community does not get too often. I am not taking shots at dealers or reviewers but a true owner's experience has always served me well and hopefully I can give back to the community this way. I also wanted to do this differently than the standard review. I plan on giving regular updates of the good, bad, and ugly. We are used to reading reviews after a few months or a year of ownership so this is hopefully this method is an interesting, new perspective. Also, for many of us, buying an expensive piece often leads to a barbell system where not everything else is up to spec but the plan is to fix that down the line. On my end, I think my gear is up to snuff but not so much the cables and network optimization. Will the taiko clearly best the rockna with no optimization? What optimization is working well? How does the sound change over the first few weeks and months? Am I just experiencing something different or is this truly better? These are all questions I have and hope to answer. This is a bit like a journal but feel free to ask questions and please excuse any half formed thoughts or typos.

    My system:

    Torus AVR the second largest one before the wall unit -> rockna wavedream NET -> rockna wavedream sig se -> soulution 721 -> symphonic line kraft 300 (mk3 model - most recent) -> magico s5mk2.

    I was running a wireworld loom until I got some new components which are on stock power cables. Why? Well, I wanted to get them set up and burned in and then continue with my loom but instead of buying cables and a rack I ended up with a Taiko instead lol. I know I outlined my situation above but mentally I've parceled away the money so I'm going to stop buying audio stuff for a little bit and then recable.

    I have done no network optimization due to a mix of lack of time, lack of interest currently, and a desire to let others figure out what works first. I have a verizon fios 1gb line but otherwise stock parts from them. I was going to buy a new ethernet cable, but same issue as outlined above.

    The taiko is sitting on the floor, plugged directly into a separate outlet and not the torus. I'm using a $5 amazon basics usb cable, a stock power cable, and a stock cat6 that came with an xbox. This is not optimized at all but I just wanted to get this running. Also because of the price delta between the Rockna Wavedream NET, which I adore and has synergies (such as a specialized clock) with the dac, I basically want to make sure the delta in performance is high enough that it makes sense for me to start optimizing around the Taiko. I know some readers may dismiss my take aways because of this, but ultimately, this is what I need from the Taiko to justify the cost. The fit and finish is gorgeous, it's incredibly heavy, and we all know how well engineered it is. For some, that is enough to buy it - for me, I need need need to make sure the delta in price makes sense as I would take a minimal degradation in performance in order to redeploy the capital into something more responsible.

    My musical preferences:

    I tend to listen to rap, hip hop, electronic, and a bit of pop. I'm always open to new music in different genres and dabble in some classical and jazz when the mood hits as well as music from India (particularly ghazals as I grew up listening to them). Within hip hop and rap, I vary from modern trap to more rhyming/"bars" focused artists such as Kendrick or J. Cole. I definitely value a great beat over great lyrics but when a master wordsmith absolutely "bodies" a beat, it doesn't matter what the beat is because the timing, pace, intonation, and tempo shifts all showcase the genius of the artist. I love listening for samples from other works and references to other artists/older works - these are often described as "interpolations"

    Within electronic, I was a big trance head for years. I listen to trance less so now and when I do it's usually psytrance (artists such as simon patterson). But I love me some good techno (boris brejcha and aes dana come to mind) - I wasn't a huge fan until I went to Awakenings festival in the netherlands in 2018. I love future garage and wavepool as well because of the ebbing and flowing deep bass and vast soundscapes with ghostly samples. I'll listen to a little house or older dubstep here and there but it's not really my speed

    My listening biases:

    Resolution, space, speed take first preference. Tonal density matters more to me now that it did before because I am at the point in my audio journey where I have realized that the upper echelons of gear don't require one to sacrifice body for detail and air. I do like a bit of richness in vocals but my ears are particularly sensitive to speed and most gear described as "rich" is often slow to my ears. Dynamics are extremely important as I like a first row presentation that pops out at me but I also realize that modern music can be dynamically limited so often it's not a fault of my system but a fault of the recording.

    Day 1: Out of the box, goddamn is this thing heavy...but also very pretty. After hunting down spare cables in my closet I got it plugged in and running. Set up was easy enough, but I'm not sure if I need to mess around with the software at all. Emile kindly messaged me on whatsapp (honestly, this kind of service makes the price palatable) and told me play around with Asio vs. Jplay. I started with Jplay then switched to Asio where it stayed most of the day. I'm not sure I hear much of a difference between the two but I need to sit down and listen more closely after everything opens up a bit. There is certainly something interesting going on, the sound seems bigger and clearer but I'm still a bit apprehensive and nervous about the expenditure. Let's see where this goes. My plan is to listen to this for a week or more as I get accustomed to the sound and as, in my experience, most ss devices sound better when left on for days.

    Day 2: worked late into the night, woke up tired and slow. made some coffee and as per ritual, threw on some tunes while checking emails. i started with a track I play often. Darci - Come Around. A small, somewhat unknow artist. The lyrics/rhyming are meh, but the beat is clean, layered, and atmospheric. My friends and I refer to this as "chillcloud" - easy listening but atmospheric and leaning towards the darker persuasions. Chillcloud music has been the soundtrack to many a spliff . Now, I will say that I'm one of the lucky one who can experience synesthesia through music. It doesn't happen often but for whatever reason, when I hear this track I see a shade of purple that I've never seen anywhere else. You can find magic in the most random of places.

    I've heard about all the details one can hear in this track off my CIEMs (64Audio A18T) so I'm not expecting to hear anything new but there is a sense of space that I haven't heard from this beat. The stage is massive and all encompassing. The Kraft brought this aspect out of the magicos and the Taiko seems to give the Kraft more space to work with if that makes sense. The bass digs deep and while very resolute, I notice the lowest octaves are one-note. This could be a fault of my room, something upstream, the recording, or lack of break in on the Taiko - I guess this will be revealed in due time. There is a density and flow to the vocals that, while I've heard before, is enhanced to a new degree.

    The closest I can liken it to - for my fellow big watt Class A amp owners - when my system plays for an hour or two it hits this level of flow and dynamics. It doesnt sound bad on track one but this quality is enhanced through a listening session as the lower mid to lower treble range opens up and the dynamic shading from that peak to trough becomes apparent. The Tiako is able to bring this out on track 1 and with more clarity and tonal color than I've heard before. At least, I'm attributing to this Taiko and not the use of usb or something else. Some may disagree with this conclusion but in the past when I changed inputs on my dac, I didn't hear this level of difference.

    A track like Lykke Li's Last Piece is a great showcase of this. A minimal beat that builds and she brings so many vocal ranges and tempos to the table. The song itself varies from visceral to ethereal but that lower mid to lower treble range (in this case it would be lower treble to lower mid as she lowers her voice to harmonize with the beat) and this variation creates something beautiful as I have a weakness for modulating female vocals. it's a great way to test a speaker system's speed as it needs to be able to shift tempos quickly. On the resolution side, particularly as it relates to inner details, Alina Baraz's Maybe is beautifully put together track with and exceptionally deep sustained bass note and her high pitched vocals with smoky reverb. I honestly find the beat in this track distracting in the last third of the track and tend to skip the track around there. Today I noticed an added sense of air to her vocals and that smoky reverb I referred to earlier had greater presence offering a more ghostly sound. I prefer it this way and would not classify it as slow or anything like that.

    Last track before I stop listening (it will keep playing in the back but I need to put down some code today): Burial's Archangel. As always Burial brings a ghostly atmosphere and beautiful samples. This is my favorite Burial track and I go through long spells of listening to only future garage or wavepool (Volor Flex, Ofdream, Craset, and Pensees being my favorites in that genre). This is room boundary shattering space. I've heard something like this once before when I had Dynaudio 1.4LE's with a modest Arc stack. They were on the short wall and as monitors imaging was a strong suit. I currently have my speakers on the long wall and tweeters are about 4ft away from the wall behind them. I certainly have a front row sound out of preference but I'm hearing deeper into the back of the stage and above my head as well. Oh what the hell, one more track can't hurt: Sorrow - Want U Back. Little xylophone synth dancing with the bass line. Ignore the earlier vocals, they don't add anything to the track but the way that bass ebbs and flows is gorgeous. It starts with a big punch on the bass note that rolls and waves down to lower octaves. It stops short of the octaves where I am hearing "one-note"-ness. There is a lot of texture to the bass and for me I see waves forming in front of me (attribute this back to the synesthesia) - particularly when the later (and preferable) samples of what sounds like indian female vocals with their high pitched modulations kick in. Fine, one more, Normani and 6Lack's Waves. A sexy track with Normani's emotion packed voice contrasted by 6Lack's more gruff, staticy rnb - more of what I was hearing above. Normani is able to dance around the beat in the pre chorus and the system is able to follow before delivering a viscerally deep bass line on the chorus. That gave me some goosebumps, waves of them if you pardon the pun.

    All in all, an interesting listen this morning. Clearly the Taiko has improved since yesterday. There is no denying that. There is also no denying that this is an unoptimized set up and Day 2 of a new piece of gear: long road ahead but I am excited to explore further.: worked late into the night, woke up tired and slow. made some coffee and as per ritual, threw on some tunes while checking emails. i started with a track I play often. Darci - Come Around. A small, somewhat unknow artist. The lyrics/rhyming are meh, but the beat is clean, layered, and atmospheric. My friends and I refer to this as "chillcloud" - easy listening but atmospheric and leaning towards the darker persuasions. Chillcloud music has been the soundtrack to many a spliff . Now, I will say that I'm one of the lucky one who can experience synesthesia through music. It doesn't happen often but for whatever reason, when I hear this track I see a shade of purple that I've never seen anywhere else. You can find magic in the most random of places.

    I've heard about all the details one can hear in this track off my CIEMs (64Audio A18T) so I'm not expecting to hear anything new but there is a sense of space that I haven't heard from this beat. The stage is massive and all encompassing. The Kraft brought this aspect out of the magicos and the Taiko seems to give the Kraft more space to work with if that makes sense. The bass digs deep and while very resolute, I notice the lowest octaves are one-note. This could be a fault of my room, something upstream, the recording, or lack of break in on the Taiko - I guess this will be revealed in due time. There is a density and flow to the vocals that, while I've heard before, is enhanced to a new degree.

    The closest I can liken it to - for my fellow big watt Class A amp owners - when my system plays for an hour or two it hits this level of flow and dynamics. It doesnt sound bad on track one but this quality is enhanced through a listening session as the lower mid to lower treble range opens up and the dynamic shading from that peak to trough becomes apparent. The Tiako is able to bring this out on track 1 and with more clarity and tonal color than I've heard before. At least, I'm attributing to this Taiko and not the use of usb or something else. Some may disagree with this conclusion but in the past when I changed inputs on my dac, I didn't hear this level of difference.

    A track like Lykke Li's Last Piece is a great showcase of this. A minimal beat that builds and she brings so many vocal ranges and tempos to the table. The song itself varies from visceral to ethereal but that lower mid to lower treble range (in this case it would be lower treble to lower mid as she lowers her voice to harmonize with the beat) and this variation creates something beautiful as I have a weakness for modulating female vocals. it's a great way to test a speaker system's speed as it needs to be able to shift tempos quickly. On the resolution side, particularly as it relates to inner details, Alina Baraz's Maybe is beautifully put together track with and exceptionally deep sustained bass note and her high pitched vocals with smoky reverb. I honestly find the beat in this track distracting in the last third of the track and tend to skip the track around there. Today I noticed an added sense of air to her vocals and that smoky reverb I referred to earlier had greater presence offering a more ghostly sound. I prefer it this way and would not classify it as slow or anything like that.

    Last track before I stop listening (it will keep playing in the back but I need to put down some code today): Burial's Archangel. As always Burial brings a ghostly atmosphere and beautiful samples. This is my favorite Burial track and I go through long spells of listening to only future garage or wavepool (Volor Flex, Ofdream, Craset, and Pensees being my favorites in that genre). This is room boundary shattering space. I've heard something like this once before when I had Dynaudio 1.4LE's with a modest Arc stack. They were on the short wall and as monitors imaging was a strong suit. I currently have my speakers on the long wall and tweeters are about 4ft away from the wall behind them. I certainly have a front row sound out of preference but I'm hearing deeper into the back of the stage and above my head as well. Oh what the hell, one more track can't hurt: Sorrow - Want U Back. Little xylophone synth dancing with the bass line. Ignore the earlier vocals, they don't add anything to the track but the way that bass ebbs and flows is gorgeous. It starts with a big punch on the bass note that rolls and waves down to lower octaves. It stops short of the octaves where I am hearing "one-note"-ness. There is a lot of texture to the bass and for me I see waves forming in front of me (attribute this back to the synesthesia) - particularly when the later (and preferable) samples of what sounds like indian female vocals with their high pitched modulations kick in. Fine, one more, Normani and 6Lack's Waves. A sexy track with Normani's emotion packed voice contrasted by 6Lack's more gruff, staticy rnb - more of what I was hearing above. Normani is able to dance around the beat in the pre chorus and the system is able to follow before delivering a viscerally deep bass line on the chorus. That gave me some goosebumps, waves of them if you pardon the pun.

    All in all, an interesting listen this morning. Clearly the Taiko has improved since yesterday. There is no denying that. There is also no denying that this is an unoptimized set up and Day 2 of a new piece of gear: long road ahead but I am excited to explore further.

  22. #22

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Day 3/Day 4 - Part 1:

    Due to work I did not have a ton of time to listen but ofcourse the system is playing in the background when I'm not on calls. To that end, nothing particular was standing out - I mentioned in my update yesterday that the space and bass was deff there and that's what I kept coming back to. I do/did, however, feel that the extreme was not revealing it's true character to me. Of course, it's a damn good server out of the box but I wasn't having a mind-melting, system redefining experience.

    Again, that is not a knock on the extreme by any means because I've heard so many amazing rigs over the years at all sorts of prices points, my own rig is quite impressive (but there is always room to improve!), and with my CIEMs I've heard pretty much all the subtle details in my tracks. If anything, I was getting a sense that the Extreme was holding back on me. I was experiencing flash of magic that are hard to describe: it was in the way certain words were inflected mid word or how certain consonants were hit with more force than others.

    One such track was Juice Wrld's Can't Die. RIP Juice Wrld - the world lost a bright musical talent with his passing and I've been spending quite a bit of time with the first half of his posthumous album "Legends Never Die" which was released just a week or so back but I've already listened to a number of times. Posthumous albums are often dissapointing and have the unfortunate tendency of sounding unfinished, hollow, and a last ditch attempt at turning publicity into press but between this album and Pop Smoke's (another future legend lost too early) "Shoot For the Stars, Aim for the Moon" (which I will discuss in more detail in a future post), I've been pleasantly surprised by the quality and emotional rawness of these albums. As a long time fan of both artists I would say that not only am I happy with the albums but I feel the artists themselves would be happy with them as well.

    Back to the track Can't Die. Juice Wrld, for those not familiar, tends to bring a bit of emo flair and singing to trap music. However, his rhyming abilities are top notch (an incredible showcase of this is his 1 hour!! freestyle over classic Eminem beats on Tim Westwood's radio show. Worth youtubing if this is your jam). The track opens with a spacy beat with the classic trap music high hats and rolling 808 bass line. There is a guitar synth which follows the same melancholy but hopeful up-and-down flow towards the edges of the sound stage. The chorus itself:

    Sometimes it feels like I can't die, 'cause I never was alive
    Every day it feels like someone new dies, hope the news is a lie
    This is my version of watching you cry, looking you in your eyes
    This is my version of watching you die, took me by surprise

    caught my attention immediately. The sharp "c" in "can't" followed by "die" and a subtle breath - this pattern is repeated in "'cause I never was alive" but in a more breathy way because the "'c" is hit softly. This all seems like minutae and detail for the sake of detail but, to me, it adds a beautiful complexity to the music and message. It's ghostly especially with the knowledge that Juice is now gone. On top of the simple rhyme of "alive", "lie", "eyes", "surprise" in a "long preamble"-"short clause" grouping of syllables for 4 straight bars, there is now a very apparent rhyme scheme in the delivery and intonation. Woah...that's cool...and that's new to these ears.

    So that's an example of the magic but on a pragmatic sense I was more curious about what's to come as the Extreme opens up. I hit up Emile on whatsapp to learn a bit more about the burn in process. He mentioned that keeping the unit plugged in counts towards the hours for the caps - it doesn't need to be played the whole time. Okay, that's helpful to know and at the time of this writing we're around 93 hours in. I also mentioned to Emile about how I felt the extreme was good but holding back on me and he strongly encouraged me to source a proper usb cable and power cable. I don't want to throw more money in right now with the argument being that my rockna could be bettered with network tweaks and more expensive cables too (though I use a wireworld gold AES cable for it - but if I wanted to move it to usb or something). Anyways,
    something clicked, and I remembered I had a wireworld usb cable in my closet. It's not a platinum line, it's a few years old, and as someone who is not a big believer in cables I was skeptical but figured no harm in trying.

    Color me impressed...I was easily able to differentiate this usb cable from the simple amazon basics one I had grabbed to get the extreme up and running. The wireworld is on the leaner side but not a huge issue for me because the transparency is insane. The highs are a bit edgy and there could be more body but this is a start - I can always buy a platinum one or try out a sablon now that I know it's responding to USB. I'll throw this in the "audio surprises" column. Can the difference be measured? I don't know...but it doesn't invalidate what I started hearing. Roughly, I'd say more speed, more clarity, more details. To quote the esteemed philosopher Matthew Mcconaughey, "Alright, alright, alright".

    Fast forward a few hours, and my gf had gone to bed and my work was done for the day. I should have probably gone to sleep too but I haven't had a late night listening session in a while and I decided to take my opportunity. Late night listening is always really nice as, with the lights off, the brain is really able to recreate the soundstage and there are minimal distractions. In fact the only distraction for me is that bright-as-fuck led on the Torus AVR, pardon my french. Like goddamn, why did they build it with this - I've got to get duct tape or a sharpie to dim that thing. Now things were interesting. I re-listened to Can't Die and there are so many little samples floating around that I was missing. Very intrigued, I decided to listen to some tracks from toronto rapper Tory Lanez who blends a rnb smoothness with rap, dancehall intonations with rugged rhymes. It's been a long week, it's humid and gross (classic NYC summer day), and I want easy listening. Tory also uses a lot of adlibs and vocal samples in his tracks. I cycled through some of my favorite cuts from him: "Luv", "Hillside", "Bal Harbour", "Super Freak", "I Sip". The sheer amount of detail and dynamics being thrown at me is incredible. My brain was being overloaded with detail and, frankly, I was loving every minute of it.

  23. #23

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Day 3/Day 4 - Part 2:

    On the track Hillside, his opening verse brings that dancehall flavor that he has clearly mastered. With his bars start sharply and then slurring through the middle to end in a soft way but the modulations in volume make it quite attention-catching. "Henny in my hands just to feel, yeah" - the "feel yeah" bit just sounds so unconstrained and is popping out of the speakers with force and the use of autotune (i think) causes the two words to really just flow together and hit a really sharp crescendo. While this is happening in the back you can hear a quiet string synth following the bass line perfectly. "Ridin' through the city in the Bando, yeah" - the way "bando" is enunciated "bahhh-n-doughhh, ye-ha". When Wiz Khalifa's verse begins with a drawn out "Cheeeeeeeeel" the song changes from the dance hall vibes to more hiphop while the beat remains. The part of his verse that really had my brain melting was the layers and layers of adlibs, reverb, repeated vocals, and vocal harmonizing in the background. I don't know how many layers exactly but if I heard one 1-2 layers deep in my CIEMs then I'm hearing 3-4 layers deep on the magicos. Woah. Woah, woah, woah. I like listening through Tory's tracks because on top of being chill music, he's mentioned in a few interviews that he's a microphone afficionado. He owns some pretty rare mics and likes to change up what mics he uses in recording so while his voice is recognizable it's had a lot of variety and the intelligent use of autotune allows for him to really bring out his melodies.

    So where do we stand a few days in. Well for one, I'm really surprised at how much detail I had been missing out on. Detail is a funny thing though, once you hear it, it's hard to unhear it and you can _usually_ pick it up in other systems - even a bluetooth speaker sometimes - without much trouble. High end gear makes it easy to hear all the layers with ease which, in my experience, allows the listener to step back from intense focus to hear all the little bits and really take in the musical picture. That's what's important to me here. The little bits and samples I'm hearing aren't detail for the sake of detail but they are adding to musical understanding and enjoyment. These are details I don't ever remember hearing - with focus I could maybe make it out on my CIEMs or the Rockna (i'll have to test both) but the fact that they were making themself readily recognizable with the dull roar of the AC in the room as well is very impressive and I'll chalk that up to the extreme. I need more late night listening sessions.

    Looking forward, after seeing @romaz 's informative post and my conversation with Emile, I think I'm going to let me ears adjust to this new cable as the Extreme continues to burn in. As always revelatory detail now may become "too much" in a week or so, so let's see how this goes. In the next day or two, I'm going to take my Soulution powercord off the Rockna NET and put it on the Extreme. It's the only spare cable I have at the moment. I've avoided/put off ordering cables for a while due to logistics, a potential move/an ongoing house hunt keeping me from buying a new rack (which would inform cable lengths and component placement), and a strong case of millenial burnout (I swear it's a thing!). If I hear a good response to the powercord then certainly some Wireworld power cables will be ordered. I've had a great experience with those and until my newer items arrived I had the full loom so I'd like to go back to that and upgrade my ic's in the process. Most likely I'll stay on the copper side of things as I worry the silver might be a bit too much for my system though the AES on the rockna is silver and was working well. This will also help me determine if I hear a greater difference between changing pc's or usb on the Extreme. I'm excited by what I'm hearing and there is a lot more to go.

  24. #24

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Some assorted updates after

    Why am I so interested in trying USB and AC cables vs. earlier posts where I was remiss to indulge that? I'm coming to a realization about the extreme and that I had been thinking about it the wrong way. With the stock cables I did some back and forth testing between the Rockna and Extreme before I powered down my system. I was really really hard pressed to tell the difference. There was subtle differences in stage width and depth and the rockna was just a little less dynamically explosive. With the Rockna dac (wavedream sig se) + Roon, I was able to set up two zones playing with a short lag. Listening 30 secs on the extreme and then quickly flipping the input from USB to AES, the same song would be playing but now it would be streaming form the Rockna server (and because I lagged it, it would be playing the same section). The Rockna aquitted itself very well and really showed why it's such a top tier server. I was hard pressed to tell the difference. On top of being burned in, it's also important to keep in mind that the Rockna is running a wireworld gold AES cable and a Soulution powercord. Maybe you could squeeze out more performance using i2s or even usb from the wavedream net.

    With the change of the USB cable, that's when a lot of things started clicking for the Extreme. In my earlier post I mentioned that the highs were a bit edgy, that's gone now and the tonal density is back. My guess is that this has to do with the caps breaking in. This is what I keep coming back to, though. This simple change caused the Extreme to open up. The sheer amount of details and dynamics that are pouring out of my speakers/the music is easily outpacing the Rockna NET. A near-future change of AC cable should hopefully help me determine if AC cable or USB cable is the more important one and from @romaz 's post above, it seems that AC had a bigger impact in his system.

    From a distance, this can read as "audiophool buys expensive computer and spends more money on cables to convince himself it's better than his existing expensive computer. bits are bits and somehow a usb cable is going to make everything click". From a distance, this can seem like "moving the goal post". That's not the case at all - this is about scaling. I think while the rockna sounds great, I may have tapped out the performance of that piece. The Extreme started at this level and looks like there is more to go. Maybe this comes down to windows vs. linux or maybe it comes down to differences in powersupply robustness - which, I think the extreme's powersupply would put alot of big buck amps to shame so that's just a different playing field all together. There is also an argument to be made that the extreme may put my system in a position to showcase the diff between the rockna wavedream sig se dac and other dacs (lampi pacific, totaldac come to mind as ones I would like to try)

    My current conclusion about the two servers is best described with an analogy to more familiar audio products: the rockna is like a top tier integrated (ch precision i1 or soulution 530 come to mind): incredible performance, incredible measurements, show-stopping sound, as well engineered as it gets. The Extreme is like separates: more stuff but ultimately performs at a higher level. For some the difference between betweern a soulution stack or ch stack and the integrateds may not be worth the price difference or the physical heft/space, etc - and that is a-okay. You can still build a world class rig with the top tier integrateds. However, in my experience, the separates bring more to the table - more power, more finesse, more...everything. I'm hearing a nice chunk of that "more everything" with the Extreme and we'll see what better cables do.

    Again, these are just my current thoughts now that I've had some time to listen and, more importantly, some time away from my system to digest my experience. There is still alot more testing, listening, breaking in, configuring, etc to go. I appreciate everyone's patience and suggestions - and as I've said from the outset, my goal is to give an honest experience report and I have no intention of holding back! I also hope to be back with some more of the music focused examples later this week.

    I can, as a computer scientist, absolutely confirm that bits are bits. As a HiFi enthusiast, I can absolutely confirm that servers (and dacs) sound different with some clearly being better than others. That's what has my interest piqued and excited to explore further - and take this to it's extreme, pun intended. However, I can see someone who hasnt experienced the difference between servers, reading what I am writing and rolling their eyes - then again, I doubt those people are reading about the extreme .

  25. #25

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Three-ish Weeks In: Things Are Getting Interesting

    "They say my brain meltin'", The Weeknd croons as he has many time through all variants and evolutions of my system. While he is probably the biggest pop star since Michael Jackson, I've been following the journey of Abel Tesfaye since his early days when he was a drop out, living in a van with a friend and producing a new strain of RnB with ghostly production and dark overtones.

    A far cry from the 90's RnB I grew up disliking. I absolutely abhorred RnB and back when we were mostly at the mercy of radio stations, it was an immediate cause for changing the channel. The Weeknd changed all that with his three initial works: House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence. Legendary underground releases that were then compiled into the incredible Trilogy. The Weeknd of yesteryear was a different artist than the more poppy stuff that gets radio plays today, but the dark themes and incredible vocal performance remained the same. While I prefer his older works, I would say I'm a superfan - a stan if you will and while his style has changed he said he was going to be as big as MJ and he's well on his way. I am happy for his success and deeply respect the mastery he has over his craft. For me The Weeknd was relatable (which is a hilarious statement if you know his catalogue - esp when he states "this aint nothing to relate to" on Kissland) but those are stories for another time and a different time. His works are filled with references to older tracks or tracks that are coming up, clever wordplay, debaucherous nights flowing into hazy mornings - his early albums and most recent ones (After Hours and My Dear Melancholy) weave intricate stories. The releases in between to keep the labels and powers that lack the story telling but deliver great singles that are natural streaming fodder. If you want a real treat at unfortunately low bit rates, check out his live acoustic session on BBC Radio One - it's on youtube and I can't find it anywhere else (or his track D.D on Trilogy/Echoes of Silence, a cover of MJ's Dirty Diana).

    Trilogy is probably my favorite album of all time. I listen to it so regularly it's become a bit of a running joke amongst my friends. Especially as the seasons change to the darker, overcast fall days it becomes a regular weekly staple. With Isaias making its way up the east coast, NYC was set for the storm of the summer (so far..). The skies were overcast and at 10AM my listening area was dark so I took the opportunity to do some "night listening" without the pain of staying up too late. Emails can wait, calls can wait. I need to chill out. My brain, too, was melting and this can solely be placed on the Extreme.

    But, first, some quick maths: I received my Extreme on July 15th and that would put in my possession for roughly 24 days. Of that, I was out of town and had to fully unplug my system for about 5 days. I would guesstimate that I've had the Extreme on (but not always playing) for roughly 19 days, putting it at 456 hours of run time. This is important because out of the box and for the first week or so, I was enjoying the sound but it wasn't wow-ing me as my older posts describe. However, it was clear from talking with Emile and from the helpful posts from other Extreme owners that around 200-300hours is the minimum burn in required to let the Mundorf caps open up and around 1200 hours is when it should settle in. I'm still a ways away from 1200hours but I feel like the 200-300hour mark has passed with notable changes. I also dialed down the gain on my soulution 721 pre to +6 from it's max of +9. This allows me to ride the volume control a little harder (comfortable sound at 35-40 vs. +9 which is comfortable at 25-30), and results in a bigger image. This is not a huge system change for me as I played around with the gain controls a ton last year and have a great feel for what it's doing in my system.

    What am I hearing now: I've been stressing again and again that the detail and dynamics of the Extreme are ahead of what I was experiencing from the tremendous Rockna Wavedream. With an album like Trilogy, unfortunately the dynamic range is constrained so while there is dynamic range in his voice and in the way bass notes are delivered, there is not much to write home about. It sounds alive and present, for sure, but I've had a similar performance on that front from the Rockna - there is only so much magic that uber hardware can pull from a recording. Both pieces deliver an excellent vocal presentation with the Extreme being modestly better due to the presentation, which I'll discuss in more detail below. The details here are what make it interesting. The atmospheric production is one of the reasons this album is a favorite of mine. To that end the Rockna delivers a great performance where the inner details between vocal notes (synths in the back, dubbed vocals, smaller samples woven into the mix) are clear and placed behind and around the vocals as they should be. The Extreme, however, is able to dig deeper on this, especially on the dubbed vocals.

    A few tracks later we have "The Zone", a classic dark, atmospheric, rnb track that The Weeknd put together with fellow Canadian crooner, Drake (these two have a long and entertaining history that's worth looking into for anyone interested). The vocalizing and harmonizing in the back sounds sharper and more one-note off the Rockna compared to the Extreme. With the Extreme, I'm able to clearly hear the modulations in the harmonizing (as well as some new samples I hadn't heard before - let that sink in, an album I will sometimes listen to 2x in a week, I'm hearing new things without strain). "I can't feeEEehhl a damn thing" echoes through the room. That modulation is new to me. It's subtle but it makes the delivery all that much more interesting. Sure, the Rockna doesn't get the deepest details but it got that modulation as well however the way it's presented is more flat and less layered, more "matter-of-fact" and less "artistic". This is an important distinction and one that I started to dig into more. The Extreme doesn't emphasize the leading edge of these notes (and I've talked about this difference between the two in earlier posts) and because of that, there is more body and ambiance to these sounds.

    To my ears everything sounds more layered because there is that ambiance between the layers in the mix. Especially as this magic trick is produced throughout the spectrum, every note feels bigger. By placing my speakers on the long wall I made my deal with the audio devil years ago to gain soundstage width at the expense of depth. The Extreme isn't getting me that "short-wall" depth back but it's going a long ways.

    I mentioned vocals and dynamics earlier: "Hope you see; it won't mean a thing to me" on The Birds pt. 1 is delivered in an explosive way. Damn, I am grooving now.

  26. #26

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    What else: Now, to be honest, if this was the only difference between the two I would be pretty disappointed. That kind of change is tonal and one that can be found via different cables, dac settings, especially a pre (the soulution is ruthlessly revealing especially in how it places sounds on the stage). I like sharply defined images and the Extreme is able to maintain that sharp delineation without the presentation sounding flat. The Rockna is not flat - it's a comparison thing. Where the Extreme is currently pulling away from the rockna in large strides is soundstage width and height.

    For width, to give an example, if the rockna is placing sounds 3 feet to the left and right of the speaker, on the Extreme it sounds like 5 feet + air. That air is the important part because the same effect I was describing in the section above is happening at the fringes of the sound stage allowing everything to sound bigger. I'm getting lots of moments of that wrap around soundstage and the occasional sample so far out of the stage that it causes you to look around the room. The Rockna's finely defined soundstage edges sound more constrained in comparison but easy best any other server I've heard so color me impressed. Could this possibly boil down to preference? Is this a tonal preference? I'm really not sure and I don't have a good answer but it's a good question. I have a bias towards enjoying soundstage width and, to me, this difference in width is something I experienced when I plopped my Kraft into my system so for my ears the Extreme is building on this synergy. Earlier, I had mentioned the gain change. One of the reasons I preferred +9 is I felt it was more explosive and dynamic. The Extreme is allowing me to play on +6 with similar, if not the same, dynamics. So I'm getting a bigger image with no real loss in dynamics.

    The height of the stage is truly mind melting. I haven't heard this in my room before. The magico s5mk2's are tall speakers and this makes them sound like they are twice the height. One thing I've noticed that you get with the large reference speakers is that sound stage height. I've had the pleasure of listening to the Raidho D5.1 and that was probably the tallest speaker I've heard and where I first noticed how much spatial information regarding height is lost in less tall speakers. One day I'd love to pop by Audio Arts to listen to the Zellaton Statements. They are tall (far too tall for my room and far out of my budget) but I would really like to hear what a tall zellaton can do, but I digress. The Extreme is able to construct a solid soundstage on that axis and the effect is gorgeous. I've had the wrap around effect before from width but never from height so I'm pretty chuffed with this. The height of the sound stage does not impact the vocals/mids creating a 10-foot head situation - it all sounds proportionally correct but like a scene out of CSI, someone said "enhance" on the image the Rockna created. To that end, the Rockna's height would be two feet or so above the speaker and the Extreme is currently running all the way to the ceiling (~6ft above the speaker). Interestingly, that air that I mentioned with the soundstage width, is not there with the height. The fringes of the soundstage on the height side are more sharply defined compared to the width. This has been very entertaining and, simply, eye-opening. So far, this is the part of the performance that I can be hyperbolic and flowery about without feeling like I'm copying text off a product brochure and passing it off as an honest review.

    Next steps: I'm still getting some inconsistent performance. Some days the sound is rapturous and other days its merely good. I think this can be chalked up to many things including burn in and time of day (I live in an apt building and with everyone working from home I'm sure that has changed the electric demand vs. time curve). I'm not really concerned, just looking forward to everything settling in.

    I really really need to transfer some local files onto the extreme but I have legitimately not been this busy since my college days. I'm at a startup currently so there is tons of work to go around making any non-work task feel like a herculean effort. I'm sure you guys know where I'm coming from and can relate. I've also been looking into cables more seriously. VooDoo AC cables seem to have that 6AWG at a reasonable cost so my interest is piqued. I've found some other interesting cables at 10AWG but, messaging with Emile, he mentioned that 8 or 6 would be a very fruitful adventure for me. Much like any other spec we can't judge an AC cable purely on AWG but it was a helpful start as I refine further.

    Oh, and I finally got my Light Dims in the mail. I can't believe I was living without these and voluntarily blinding myself with that damned blue LED on the torus. Ths has been a great buy and since it came with a few pieces I'll probably stick a couple on the router to dim that light too. I would highly rec this to anyone else looking to drown out some unwanted light in their system or elsewhere.

  27. #27

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    About 3 months Later:

    I have been really under water with work so it's limited the time I've had to compile notes and clean them up. So far, nothing much in the sound has changed - I would stick by my older description of dynamics, details, and staging. The sound is an order of magnitude bigger and bolder, but somehow, the speakers sound more relaxed then they ever have before. But it's hard to point to one factor that really is the extreme's powerhouse...it's the interplay between the improved dynamics, lower noise floor, larger staging, and more detail that come together to create a really immersive sound. I am really happy with this piece in my system.

    I plan on updating this thread if I have something really new to add. One thing I have still been meaning to do is buy power cables for my taiko and sl kraft and try out a couple different USB cables. I intended to get to this earlier and the past 2 months have been some of the busiest ever for me so I had to step back from my plans. The time to research and compile a list of cables and make the order has been feeling more like a chore and less like something I'm excited to do so I'll wait till I get the gear itch again and I'll spring for the cables.

    Also, thank you for taking the time to read through my posts and respond, I really appreciate it. Even though I don't have much to share yet, not only do I plan to add to this thread as I learn more, but I am happy to answer any questions you may have about the extreme or my set up as a whole.

  28. #28
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Thx for documenting your experience so thoroughly
    Luxman m900u monos, Luxman c900u preamp, Ayre QX5, Ayre Dx5 DSD (Esoteric K01XD on the way), Magico S3s mk2s, 2 REL S812 subs, Speaker cable Shunyata alpha v2, Interconnects, shunyata alpha v2, PCs Shunyaya sigma v2, Shunyata Everest, HRS M3x isolation pads, Critical Mass CS2 footers, 5 dedicated lines and dedicated sound room with ASC tube traps and Viscoustics treatments

  29. #29
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Wow! How did I miss this? Thanks for such a thorough account.




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  30. #30
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    ive had the TAS Alpha software for a month or so, tomorrow getting TAS Alpha v2.

    TAS Alpha definitely a clear step up over Roon. significant in the less processed more immediate type sound. and the changes also pulled Qudoz forward significantly, and improved Roon some too.

    can't wait for the v2.

  31. #31
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Wow! How did I miss this? Thanks for such a thorough account.




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    Looking for your thoughts Mike.
    Jim

    D'Agostino Momentum M-400's & HD Pre-amp
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    Power Conditioner - Shunyata Everest

  32. #32
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by still-one View Post
    Looking for your thoughts Mike.
    Jim, the Taiko Extreme is the Quarterback of our store. Itís running all Roon core duties for all Roon devices in all the rooms.

    Itís located in the large room and connected to the Meitner MA3 currently as we are breaking it in.

    Sonically, the Taiko has such incredible presence and transparency. Like removing a layer between you and the performer. It is so quiet and never hiccups, built like a tank and is a true world class performer.

    We are looking forward to hearing what it can do with their own software.


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    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

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  33. #33
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    this morning 45 minutes ago the TAS Alpha v2 update was completed, which includes a better interface too.

    loads quicker in 'normal' mode, and gives you a choice for a 'gapless' setting so much quicker loading and track transition. still not quite equal to Roon in that way.

    this v2 sounds better.......i've only been listening for 30 minutes so far......so getting a grip on the v2 lift over TAS Alpha v1. at this point i'd just say it's noticeably better.....more pure and less processed sounding. livelier.

    only tried files so far, not streaming.

  34. #34

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Does a product of this caliber benefit those who just stream ? Or only applicable to locally/networked stored files?

  35. #35
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by mdp632 View Post
    Does a product of this caliber benefit those who just stream ? Or only applicable to locally/networked stored files?
    My analysis is ďbothĒ.


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  36. #36
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    How does the Taiko compare to the W20SE?
    Sincerely,

    Calvin

  37. #37
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin View Post
    How does the Taiko compare to the W20SE?
    I own both, but havenít directly compared. Taiko is currently designed for Roon, with their own software coming soon. Aurender runs their own software designed around the principle of ďsound firstĒ. Taikoís software no doubt is taking the same approach.


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  38. #38

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by mdp632 View Post
    Does a product of this caliber benefit those who just stream ? Or only applicable to locally/networked stored files?
    I mostly stream and feel it was worth the cost of entry

  39. #39
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    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by Skanda View Post
    I mostly stream and feel it was worth the cost of entry
    i go back and forth; for the last month with TAS Alpha i've mostly been listening to files since those are my references and i'm investigating this new software. prior to this period i'd say i'm 60/40 in favor of streaming.

    typically i would do a playlist for a session and then let it play, maybe for a few days. with Roon i mixed files and streaming with my playlists. not tried mixing yet with TAS.

  40. #40

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Taiko sounds like an extreme product focused on the optimization of the Roon platform. Roon itself is focused on Tidal and Qobuz. The future of either is still somewhat murky... Both are yet to turn a profit... As much as admire the effort, from my point of view, it is a bit premature to jump into that pool of unknown depths head first...
    Serge

  41. #41

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOctopus View Post
    Taiko sounds like an extreme product focused on the optimization of the Roon platform. Roon itself is focused on Tidal and Qobuz. The future of either is still somewhat murky... Both are yet to turn a profit... As much as admire the effort, from my point of view, it is a bit premature to jump into that pool of unknown depths head first...
    That is not true given that taiko audio has created its own music player which people can use instead of Roon.
    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> Lampizator Big 7 MK2 DAC, Oppo UDP-203;

  42. #42

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by dminches View Post
    That is not true given that taiko audio has created its own music player which people can use instead of Roon.
    Meaning if Roon, Tidal and Qobuz are removed from the equation, I can still listen to Taiko? What did I miss? I have but a handful of downloaded high resolution files I like to listen to. The rest is all streaming.
    Serge

  43. #43

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOctopus View Post
    Meaning if Roon, Tidal and Qobuz are removed from the equation, I can still listen to Taiko? What did I miss? I have but a handful of downloaded high resolution files I like to listen to. The rest is all streaming.
    Yes, you can listen to local files with the Taiko with out Roon. If Tidal and Qobuz go away anyone who relies on streaming will have an issue unless they can access another platform.
    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> Lampizator Big 7 MK2 DAC, Oppo UDP-203;

  44. #44

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by dminches View Post
    Yes, you can listen to local files with the Taiko with out Roon. If Tidal and Qobuz go away anyone who relies on streaming will have an issue unless they can access another platform.
    I see. Thanks. The $30k solution to playing local files is not my cup of tea. Let's hope Roon, Qobuz and Tidal all succeed. I like streaming very much.
    Serge

  45. #45

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOctopus View Post
    I see. Thanks. The $30k solution to playing local files is not my cup of tea. Let's hope Roon, Qobuz and Tidal all succeed. I like streaming very much.
    Understood, but the streaming issue if these providers go away isnít limited to the Extreme. It is an issue for any server. I would be very surprised if some streaming service other than Amazon doesnít survive. There is too much interest in it.
    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> Lampizator Big 7 MK2 DAC, Oppo UDP-203;

  46. #46

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by dminches View Post
    Understood, but the streaming issue if these providers go away isnít limited to the Extreme. It is an issue for any server. I would be very surprised if some streaming service other than Amazon doesnít survive. There is too much interest in it.
    The subscription numbers are not very impressive yet. 3 Million Tidal and over 200k for Qobuz. Roon is not exactly cheap either (but I am a life subscriber and it probably has almost paid for itself over 2 years, I think..) Turning a profit is still a necessary component for future viability as a business model... So far Tidal and Qobuz are not exactly there yet. I don't think streaming will go away. There is no going back to physical media and paying for it. Just not going to happen anymore, that ship has sailed and the masses want their music for nothing. Youtube....
    Serge

  47. #47

    Re: Taiko Extreme

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOctopus View Post
    ...
    I don't think streaming will go away. There is no going back to physical media and paying for it. Just not going to happen anymore, that ship has sailed and the masses want their music for nothing. Youtube....
    I totally agree. There will always be a few diehards that feel better owning physical media but that number keeps shrinking. As far as streaming, Spotify with nearly 150 million subscribers and global reach will survive (even if bought by a big tech company).

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