Lately, however, I turn around, somehow more than often the topic refers to digital audio complexity. I’m getting more and more inquiries about the different aspects of setting up the digital front-ends and the related paraphernalia. As I have written many times lately, we have reached a point where everything that has to do with the reproduction of music through digital consumption is important. And not just on the periphery.

It is no longer a matter of trial and error. Many of us who have been involved with computer audio in one way or another started out playing with different combinations of built-in, or off the shelf or aftermarket parts. The results were of varying degrees, for many of the reasons. Many lost their interest in the search for perfection, but a few discovered some degree of sonic nirvana. As you can read on, it takes an enormous amount of time to reach the sonic sweet spot, and with all of the unknown related to software, it takes even longer to contain it.

As has been proven recently, having the basic or even deeper knowledge of computers and parts is no guarantee to build a high-end audio server with a satisfactory result. Those who are more closely connected to the SGM Extreme or Taiko Audio know that a number of computer-savvy hardcore audiophiles ended up with the SGM Extreme even though they have built their own over specced and state-of-the-art music servers. But why…

If someone has taken the time to play around with Roon’s, Clock Master Priority where everyone, regardless of the server, seems to hear the difference easily, then afterthoughts about the software influencing should not be too controversial.

The trigger for this special article was a recent software tweaking of the Taiko Audio SGM Extreme music server.

A few days ago I followed Bok’s tip and tried different settings of the Ethernet. What at first sight seems to be a causal adjustment of little or no importance, has turned out to be a major sonic shift. I dug deeper but felt lost in an endless universe, and Bok came to my rescue with his established and sonic proven settings.

The difference in sound was in the order of magnitude of the change from one type of preamplifier to another. Think of the level of a solid-state preamplifier compared to a tube preamplifier. Two different, not exactly opposite settings caused the variance that amazed me. How can an Ethernet network setting affect the sound this way! Even theoretically, it shouldn’t be what you would say about the sonic effects in the real world… But to stay sane, I have done a lot of critical listening. Again and again. No placebo effect!

This, of course, opens up new territory and clearly points to something peculiar: the software! We are already mentally prepared and acceptable for the hardware changes and the resulting sonic differences. But software!?

Continue reading here.