The Taiko Audio Extreme Switch and Extreme Network Card work together to minimize internal processing noise and interface noise to achieve significantly enhanced sound quality.
Below is an overview of some of the positive feedback on the new products in the Taiko Audio Server Thread on What’s Best Forum.
The sound is instantly more organic, more natural, and yet retains the edge acuity. It just sounds much more organic doing it. Separation and sense of holography has increased a lot, and microdetail just flows. It sounds incredibly effortless. The midrange also now sounds beautifully expressive.
This is not one of those unnatural ‘popping of details’ type of change- everything sounds very natural, and the music ebbs and flows in a very coherent and balanced way. Then you listen closer and you realize that everything also sounds more detailed and easier to make out (aka clearer, but in the way where it feels you removed a window and saw the real thing). As different singers in a band sing, for example, you can more clearly hear their voice entering the sound stage from different places. The music is layered front to back, north to south, and east to west, beautifully.
As I listen to mainly pop music in redbook, one thing I look for is whether refinement increases- otherwise, my music tends to sound very harsh as it clips. This switch manages to make the music instantly both more dynamic and detailed, while still increasing refinement and not bringing it over the edge. Previously my Melco switches helped tame the harshness, but seemed to subtract some detail, which led me to try and add more and more transparency to counter it. I eventually sold both switches when the OS upgrade came along. This switch is definitely one step above and better.
No-brainer upgrade imo.
My FedeEx man knocked on my door short of breath (and he’s pretty buff). He smiled and asked “What do you have in there, gold ingots?”…I smiled back and said, “pretty much”!
I have never used a switch in my system as I always felt they added coloration to the signal and that was not something that interested me. I said I would only use a switch if Emile brought one to market, for several reasons. First, he would only do it if he felt it would be an uptick in SQ, but most importantly, Emile believes in a neutral and uncolored sound and that for me was the clincher.
As to how it sounds, I am a Fink fan and my go-to track is “Sort of revolution” as the drug set is spectacular. I heard it today as I’ve never heard. I heard things in the deep bass which I have never heard before, along with a beautiful organic midrange that made imaging such that you felt you could touch the singer.
I’ll have more to say later, but the message from me is just how extraordinary Emile is. With this strong growth and consumer satisfaction Taiko will become the global leader in audio streaming. I’m glad to be a part of it.
Steve Williams, 09-03-2023
I first listened to the Taiko Switch/card only vs my two JCAT M12 switches which I have been using. Without a doubt vs the two each JCAT switches that I am used to with the Switch only there was more bloom to the sound. More of a 3D holographic projection with layering and a distinct openness and natural quality to the sound. It was immediately noticeable. Also, individual instruments when they come in have distinct individual dynamics that make each instrument VERY noticeable. Bass had texture.
Voices especially have an uncanny realism to them. It makes previous listening to voices appear that there was a restriction or an outline of a voice. In real performance, there is no restriction to voice when signing. It seems that previously when hearing the restriction around the edges of the voices it made things seemingly focused. NOW, hearing voices is a surreal experience with zero restriction and an openness that I’ve personally never experienced prior. Beguiling!!!
Superlative SQ observations aside with the new network card and switch, it is starting to sink in (ha, call me slow) how revolutionary and relieving Taiko’s full network solution to hi-end audio (network card, switch, router package, not to mention XDMS, BPS, or future pipeline products) will become.
Amazing to watch/hear this evolution in digital audio on this thread. I am sure more accolades will be pouring in.
Listening to “Tanya” from Dexter Gordon’s “One Flight Up.” Such depth to the music and to hear the bass strings vibrate is amazing.
Really enjoying the sound that the new switch and card are producing.
It’s very dynamic, expansive, fuller, better bass, more transparent, etc. but the word that keeps coming to my mind is organic. For those of you who remember adding the Taiko USB card… the switch does something similar but more of it… it’s more impactful.
There is a sense of increased energy in the room, naturalness and ease, weight and tonal/timbral saturation, and texture. Everything seems much more present and visceral — little details I wasn’t fully aware of before are clearer in a very natural, coherent way. No hint of edginess, or rather if any edginess exists it does so as part of the source track and not as system noise. Voices sound so real and present in my room that I’ve spent several hours just queuing up any and all vocal tracks I could think of just to enjoy having singers present in my room singing directly to me.
voices sound so much more realistic and present it is uncanny. Overall, while I had a hard time imagining how an improvement in sound quality was going to manifest itself with the new switch and NIC, what I’m hearing far exceeds any expectations I might have had.
I am speechless with the sound quality. You can hear every instrument very clearly. I am extremely happy with this switch/network card.
Wow! I have to say that this switch is a beautiful thing. Not just in how it looks but in how it sounds. I am not one for gushing ‘night and day’ overstatement, but the one word that keeps coming into my mind is ‘Pure’. What I’m hearing now is just quite simply pure music. Of course, many audiophile terms spring to mind because everything has improved, but this is the first time that I have heard complete purity and it is quite incredible. It is impossible not to be emotionally moved by the sound. Joyous is another word that applies here.
Wow! The bass rendering is just so much more revealing than I’ve experienced before, which just establishes a pulse and the rhythmic scene like nothing else I’ve ever heard! And I certainly hear deeper into the mix. “Engaging” is absolutely the result! This absolutely is “major component upgrade” level, IME. the SQ uplift cannot be missed, even 10 minutes into power up – – it’s that good! I’m now ~50 hours in from installing things, and I’m hearing piano sound from recordings very well known to me that is just more convincing overall than I have experienced before. Meaty, and differentiated in the left hand, in particular. There is something very special about how the switch and card are helping unravel the bass – lower-midrange. Bravo, Taiko team!
Without a doubt, the Extreme provides a non-diminishing increase in emotional engagement in unprecedented ways. But to me, this is not due to the Extreme alone, but rather because Taiko has relentlessly addressed the historically limiting factor in the digital playback reproduction chain – the high noise floor present in the digital source. And in doing so, the other instruments (e.g., an amplifier), which until now have been held back, are now free to operate farther along their performance curves to create a synergistic, non-diminishing increase in engagement. And it is the system as a whole, in concert, which now (with the new Extreme Network Card and Extreme Network Switch) produces the ear-to-ear grinning/goosebump enjoyment of music- almost like being at the live event itself; where the music just shuts off your left brain and you melt into the musical experience.
Talking about the improved sound with the new switch and card is becoming an unnecessary redundancy. It’s now widely acknowledged as flat-out transformational (although we are indeed a biased group ;)). Emile suggested a ~30% improvement, but he may have been a bit conservative on that estimate.
Here are two “FWIW” observations that crossed my mind late last night:
1) The switch/card does not change the voicing of the system, only the resolution. To borrow from a previous slogan of Audio Research gear many years ago, it is simply a “higher definition” playback tool.
2) The improvement in the information that now gets passed with the switch/card has made me realize, perhaps for the first time, that there may still be a fair number of nuggets yet to mine in the digital data stream which I haven’t fully appreciated until now.
Man, the new switch and the card are a game changer. I never used to spend time listening to music during my work hours. I have been doing just that during my breaks. The sound quality is incredible. There are simply no words to explain the listening experience. After a week almost, man, the new switch + the network card has transformed the listening pleasure. It’s simply pure music. Very fulfilling!
I could be losing my mind but I think this switch gets even better with more hours. I don’t have a clue as to how many hours I have on it. A lot. The openness it provides is off the charts. I sat here listening last night and kept saying one more album. That turned into uncorking a 2nd bottle. Such a natural uplifting presentation.
John T, 08-04-2022
I’ve also noticed that the switch SQ kept improving over about a two-week period until finally reaching its peak. Even without the new NIC card, the switch and DAC cable make a nice improvement in SQ. Overall things sound more analog like. The sound is fuller and has more life to it, leading and trailing edges are getting closer to pure analog. At this level, to me the biggest sign that things have improved is that I am listening to and enjoying more music than ever.
My Extreme Network card was delivered this morning. Just installed it during lunch break. It took me less than 5 minutes to get it installed. Got the new IP address, and played some tracks. The sound quality from a cold armored card… oh my lord.. how is that even possible to improve on the sound quality Emile? This is unbelievable! Excellent job team Taiko!
Up and running with the Taiko switch and NIC, yay! … The increase of bass definition and overall tactility of instruments, and an almost unsettling combination of improved openness and midrange weight is already pretty obvious. I am already quite happy, yet plainly grinning in anticipation of further goodness to come.
I just got the new NIC up and running… What a premium feel it was unboxing it – the sheer weight and appearance of the card just radiate quality (as did the packaging) – the fit/seating is perfect. And then the sound… Amazed at how much better the new NIC (with updated firmware and the hefty copper heat radiator) sounds. VERY impressive work Team Taiko!
I was very impressed at the sense of calm that the switch by itself brought to the system – there was definitely a lowered noise floor but was fully blown away when the new network card finally arrived. I was using the switch with the old SFP card initially. I would say in my system and to my ears, the uptick with the network card AND Taiko switch was probably 3x above the switch alone. The improvement with the card+switch combo for me (both on local file playback and Qobuz) is very dramatic with ambiance retrieval. Despite the lowered noise floor with the switch alone, this did not slam me in the face until the card AND switch were installed and working together. The degree of “atmosphere” rendering has gone stratospheric (haha, pun intended). The sense of place and “you are there-ness” is markedly increased, a harder thing to achieve than “they are here-ness”. I would rate this combo, like some others have, as a significantly bigger step up than the USB card was, back in the day (itself a substantial improvement). Hard for me to go into the music room when music is playing even to grab something as kids and wife wonder if I’ve gotten lost somewhere.
I’ll be honest: when the price was first announced, I was daunted by it. I suspect I am one of the (probably in the minority) Extreme users who are cost sensitive. I was not ready to order on day 1 and thought I’d wait to see what the response was. Naturally, the overwhelming positive response was very compelling. Still, it was not until I heard the switch/NIC combo in @nenon ‘s system in Chicago that I was convinced to order it. Those who know @nenon know that, like me, he’s dabbled in the odd switch or two. 😀 The uplift we heard with the Taiko switch/NIC was well above anything he or I have heard with any of our past switch experiments.