Here is an update on my experiences with the Taiko Extreme in my system. First, it was set straight on the Artesania rack’s Beechwood couplers that are on the Linear Carbon Fiber Arms. The position of these arms can be adjusted wider and narrower while the couplers themselves can also be positioned farther from and closer to each other. I have done some experiments with this and will relay the sonic differences.
First, a little theory
When it comes to the coupling of an audio component to the rack or other furniture, one of the predictable outcomes in audio as I have come to know them, is that equipment tends to sound tighter, more incisive, more articulate, and more precise, the more rigid the support. If the carrier has a tendency to bend, the sound will become rounder, smoother, and more relaxed. For any system and to all ears, there will be a different ideal point between these two extremes but the nice aspect of knowing this is that it can be applied with Artesania Exoteryc racks, as well as the old Finite Elemente Spider racks, and even when placing individual aftermarket feet under a component.
While there are also factors relating to power supplies and reader mechanisms, in general, one should take note of the component’s own rigidity in comparison to that of the support. When the bottom plate is more solid than the support level of the rack on which the component is placed, then the placement of the feet relative to the rack’s sides becomes more important than where they are underneath the component. This is because the rack’s level will bend less easily when force is applied closer to its sides.
With the Artesania Feet
The Exoteryc rack may appear to be very solid, and it is, but its levels will bend a little when confronted with the Extreme’s 45KGs. When initially placing the Extreme on the rack, the Artesania feet were positioned such that they fit in between most components’ own feet. Set up this way, the Extreme sounds great, as described earlier, but I did notice a tendency to sound a little slow and too calm at times. I knew this was due to the rack’s feet but before moving them, I wanted to do another experiment.
Adding a platform
So far, I had bypassed the Extreme’s own aluminum/Tigerwood feet. What if I inserted a platform between the Artesania’s Beechwood feet and the Extreme? I only had a double-MDF board available. Nothing fancy, but it has worked quite well on many occasions. The constrained two layers prevent bending although the characteristic MDF tonality is sometimes still audible. As it was this time. Sure, the Taiko now sounded more forceful but also unnaturally colored, and still arguably a little slow at times.
Repositioning the Artesania feet and linear arms
Besides widening the linear arms, I also opted to move the front two feet one position to the rear side. At the outermost position, the front two feet are supported only on one side. Any other position on the linear arms is supported on both ends. And with the Extreme’s 45 KGs, this really makes a difference.
With the feet widened, there was a MASSIVE increase in bass control and articulation, as well as in terms of the incisiveness and overall dynamic impact. But still, I heard a thickness and coloration in the upper bass, no doubt, induced by the platform.
Indeed, with the platform removed, the coloration was gone while all the aforementioned advantages remained. I’m sure I will gather more experience and of course, the Exoteryc rack is not the only great solution, but I can say with certainty that I have not heard better server performance in my system, ever. Every friend who has visited has been deeply impressed with the Extreme’s performance.
On the matter of TAS versus Roon
As this thread has already neatly illustrated, this is very much a personal matter. To my ears, and in this system, Roon provides the lushest and most organic presentation while TAS provides the tightest and most expressive presentation and I must say that both have their inherent allure. Personally, I favor the more physical TAS presentation. Some might find it relatively dry or technical compared to Roon but I personally feel that Roon is just a little round. YMMV.
Emile tells me that XDMS will offer the benefits of both Roon and TAS. The organic free-flowing lushness of Roon with the clarity and expression of TAS. I can’t wait!