XDMS is our ultimate server, player, and controller solution for the Extreme Music Server. Written entirely from the ground up and 100% developed in-house, XDMS replaces TAS and offers a truly superb alternative to Roon.
I have been a proponent of TAS since the very first Alpha version as I have always felt the SQ to be superior to Roon. With XDMS I can tell early adopters of TAS that they will be gobsmacked as to how good the SQ is. I can say unequivocally that the SQ of XDMS is the best digital sound I have ever heard in my system. The sense of presence and ambiance was always a you-are-there-moment. The feeling of being up close and personal with the performers was staggering. The dynamics, immediacy, decay timbre, and tone was as perfect as anything I have heard to date.
The bass on XDMS is immediate, tight, and explosive and the midrange was exquisite and to die for. I have many demo tracks that I have used habitually over the years to future different aspects of the music and each time I played one it was the best I have ever heard. For instance, my go-to track for deep bass to separate the men from the boys is Depeche Mode, Welcome To My World. The first minute of that song will be all you need to know how tight or how loose and floppy your bass is. This was the best I have ever heard it. Or for the male voice, I always tend to use that of Leonard Cohen in his later years as it is difficult for a system to capture that gravel-toned voice. Playing “You Want It Darker”. I felt Leonard was in the room with me. For Female voice, I continue to use Annette Askvik singing Liberty. The tone of her voice with XDMS brought goose bumps and the instruments’ interlude was simply superb. The timbre of the woodwinds was as good as I’ve ever heard.
In summary, I would say to everyone that the wait was well worth it even though there are several more weeks of coding before all of the page buttons become operational. The SQ also is promised by Emile and Ed to become even better in the next few months with the release of the switch and the new ethernet card along with whatever discoveries Emile has made along the way. As Ed said to me, this project became far more complex and challenging than was expected but at the end of the day, I am betting on the Taiko team to bring everything to fruition.
My biggest kudos, compliments, and accolades are pouring out to the Taiko team. Oh, and did I say that Roon should truly become a thing of the past for Extreme users. Plus Idagio was a welcome surprise to which I subscribed.
XDMS brings life to the music that makes the hair on your arms stand up while your feet are stomping on the floor. It is that good!
Steve Williams, 12-09-2022
I’ve had a functioning version of XDMS on my Extreme and XDMS control app on my iPad for a couple of days. Steve W’s comments on sound quality are right on the mark. He wasn’t exaggerating — the improvement in SQ over Roon and TAS are both significant and immediately obvious. From the first track that we played after Ed performed the installation, even at lower-than-normal listening levels (my wife was upstairs watching a movie so I had to keep the volume down) the sense of vibrancy, energy, and most importantly, emotional involvement were and continue to be profound.
One of the most striking attributes of XDMS that I am hearing at any listening level is the sense of clarity and transparency. This, coupled with a palpable shiver of musical energy in the room combine to give well-recorded tracks an almost “lit from within” kiss of realism. This transparency is not purchased at the cost of tilted up frequency response or lack of body — there is plenty of texture, tonal saturation, and weight. Bass lines are wonderfully deep and articulate with plenty of power when the music calls for it.
Perhaps because Taiko have found new ways to minimize the impact of digital noise, a wealth of musically relevant low-level detail and ambiance is brought to familiar tracks. Familiar voices sound more realistic and in-the-room than I’ve ever heard and phenomena such as reverberation tails and light cymbal taps fade out longer into a natural silence rather than being truncated by an artificially dead digital-zero signal level.
All of this adds up to a very emotionally involving experience, very gratifying, and very, very addictive. Over the last couple of days, it would be no exaggeration to say I’ve been living on a couple of hours sleep in-between listening sessions. I can’t wait to put on my favorite music and revel in the emotional connection.
Given what I’ve seen and heard, the public release of XDMS will prove itself well worth the wait when they finally have the UI smoothed out enough.
To give a sense of the magnitude of improved sound quality I’m hearing, I’d liken it to a major and expensive component-level upgrade. For the amount of emotional involvement, it engenders in my music, it’s beyond putting a price tag on. And yet amazingly enough it is going to be free to Taiko Extreme owners.
Hats off to Emile, Ed, Wilson, and all the Taiko team!
Steve Z, 12-09-2022
I’m very grateful to Ed who installed XDMS on my Extreme and helped fix a few bugs or issues that arose after the installation. Here are my quick impressions.
Going from TAS to XDMS is akin to going to 4k video from HD 1080p – the jump from 360p to HD was a much greater jump, but with 4k you are seeing a lot more information nonetheless. The jump in terms of resolution and musical information (and for equal measure, the lowering of the noise floor) is significant with XDMS – this is coming from an already very detailed digital system (PGGB upsampled files fed into a Chord DAVE). The increase in resolution is most evident in orchestral tracks, XDMS reveals musically relevant details that are masked on TAS.
Roy (Romaz) mentioned that TAS was a tad dry and Roon sounded bloated and smeared. I completely agree. XDMS is somewhere between the two in terms of body and richness, but in my view closer to the TAS end of the spectrum (i.e. “clean” as opposed to “full”). For those who crave ultimate lushness, XDMS is probably not the right direction, but then one has the option of Roon if that were what one desires. However, I do think that XDMS sounds more “organic” and less “digital” than TAS, particularly in the way it resolves transients and decay. Instruments and voices sound more tangible with XDMS (if one can exchange that word with “body”) but without the bloat. This is very much welcome no matter which end of the spectrum of tonality one prefers.
Overall, the improvements to the sound quality are immediately apparent. My wife, who is not an audiophile, noticed the uplift in sound quality even sitting in the dining room adjacent to my listening room.
I’m now on the XDMS alpha. The two Steves did not exaggerate and I agree especially with what Christiaan said. XDMS has the technical precision of TAS (even better probably) but with the fluidity of Roon. There is none of TAS’ dryness but also none of the bloat and smearing of Roon. PRaT is notably better with a fiercer attack and yet there is also a greater ease and more cohesive flow to the presentation compared to either TAS or Roon. You hear it instantly.
Just got the XDMS alpha installed. Holy cow! Must be the single biggest upgrade to the system so far. It’s not a veil that’s been lifted it’s a freaking blanket!
Also, the interface is super snappy, no waiting after pressing a button.
XDMS is up and running! Thanks Ed!
The overall sound of XDMS and the relative jump of SQ over TAS is not subtle. It is instantly noticeable. The overall sound is clear, beautiful, and incredibly coherent. Bass is so well integrated, the best I’ve heard on my system, real density without giving up anything. My biggest observation is music just has such “Extreme” wholeness. Just love it. And the app looks great Ed and @Taiko Audio.
Alex G, 24-09-2022
Oh XDMS! Ed did his magic today, no doubt ‘Extreme’ly late his time. Thank you, Ed, and nice to meet you virtually!
Have just an hour of listening under my belt, but it is CLEAR how their efforts are paying off. All the SQ descriptions above resonate, in particular, lower noise floor, tonal density, the engagement factor, and wow the decay duration. This is particularly clear from the tracks running directly from the Extreme. Additionally, streaming 16/44 off Qobuz sounds BETTER than streaming the same songs Hi-Res on TAS on most tracks, similar on a smaller set.
And frankly, the looks and functionality for me already surpass TAS which I had been pleased with. (Tidal working again and favoriting functions fully operational). Any additional functionality or room furnishings, and of course SQ improvements, will be gravy for me. Thanks again to the Taiko team that we all engage with here and special thanks to the tireless coders/tech folks working so hard behind the scenes as well.
Not much to add after all these excellent reports. Sound quality is a big step up from TAS and Roon. Much better clarity is the first thing I heard. Several curtains have been lifted between me and the musicians. Everything sounds more real and natural. Instruments are much more believable and a big step closer to a life performance in my room. Hard to reproduce instruments like piano or drums sound more real than ever.
A fellow WBF reader asked me if the sound quality delta from TAS to XDMS is bigger than the delta from Roon to TAS. That was a very good question, and so I spent some time switching between Roon, TAS, and XDMS. The answer for me is definitely YES. I hear a bigger improvement from TAS to XDMS than Roon to TAS.
Ed just “loaded me up” this morning. Initial impressions:
This is NOT ANYTHING like any update that has happened with Taiko in the past. Not the USB card, not TAS, not anything.
I do not consider it an upgrade at all. My impression is that I went to someone else’s house to an amazing room with a system MUCH better than my system vs an upgrade to my system.
The bass seems to go down an octave lower. Each voice or instrument is so present, it’s hard to conceive. The textures in voices and instruments are allowed to bloom via the overall presence of the full audio spectrum.
Every track that you play is a revelation. I will never listen to TAS or Roon again!!!
I love the look and feel of XDMS. I feel that it is very responsive and a pleasure to use.
I actually feel like XDMS is like going from listening to MP3s on a system to a 44.1 CD file. It is that vibrant.
There is a very impressive lift in openness and air. The sound stage and that “sitting in a sound hologram” aspect has taken a big step up. Perhaps a bit of loss of density and substance, but I’m really enjoying having that holographic sound field again (a first in our new house…music room is far from optimized right now).
I keep thinking I’m getting a bit of aggressiveness on the high end, but I can’t quite put a finger on it. I’m not getting any of that digital harshness that I normally associate with things being out of whack in that space.
Definitely, this is serious motivation to get back to tuning my music room. Very compelling and very rewarding.
Very impressive for a first release (to say the least). To have this as an alpha baseline is extremely exciting. Congratulations to the team that took on the herculean task of building a major music server and player from scratch (Audirvana, Jriver, Roon, Squeezebox, and now XDMS…that is pretty rarified company)
Ray Dude, 23-09-2022
I don’t know if my reaction was due to not having gotten much sleep the night before, or having seen Ed’s smiling face on the video call for the first time since having met Ed six years when he installed the then SGM in my house, but listening to the first minute of Mozart’s Requiem brought an instant and overwhelming emotional connection to the music that filled me with tears.
My system was recently repositioned, added an enhanced grounding rod, and made the lengths of the wiring from the panels to the outlet equal…so it was already sounding pretty amazing. But I wasn’t ready for the impact of XDMS!
Ed says this version is roughly only 85% of what’s coming around the corner!!
P.S. Thank you, ED and the rest of the Taiko team for your dedication to customer service and technical advances par excellence!
Thanks to Edward’s great help and setup for XDMS in my extreme on Sunday, it’s such a jaw-dropping improvement in my system, the stage became holographic and everything are 3-dimensional and coherent, especially the details in mid-low frequency, the bass drum and snapping became so clear and (it’s) easy to hear the touch now, Kudos to Taiko team effort to make this happen, I can’t imagine how XDMS can further improve in the coming release, it’s so surreal (a music server) can reproduce this quality.
It has been a while since I posted in WTBF but, this time I couldn’t be silent. Today, after many hours of careful listening and comparing, I can say without any doubt that, in my room, with my system, and through these ears, it’s a huge step up from TAS, my previous reference. Many layers were added to the holographic image so, they are denser. As an example, the stage movements of opera singers/actors are now much easier to follow. So, thank you very much Edward and all the Taiko Team for such successful work!
I’m extremely impressed with the SQ of the new app! To me, the sound is more rounded and has more texture. Meaning less 2D and more 3D, it’s like the notes have more space. I guess the best way I could put it… is if the initial sound was like a sheet of paper, it would have space but it would be linear “flat” with not much depth. Now if you were to ball up that same sheet of paper, you have more depth in that same space, allowing for greater spatial depth and realism. The noise floor seems much lower, which gives me an easier time hearing into the sound stage. Really enjoying what I’m hearing so far. Thanks again, Ed and team Taiko!
First post from a very chronic lurker. Tried to wait and not bother the Taiko Team but the endless favorable comments here on the XDMS put an end to my good manners. Requested and received XDMS Alpha today. My note to Ed on What’s App “THANK YOU!!! This is crazy good. Distinctly bigger step than the firmware last winter. HUGE sound stage and dynamic range. Muddy Waters Folk songs-Amazing, amazing!”
Emile and his team have to be really commended for what they have been able to achieve. The music simply has much more presence and therefore seems more ‘real’, has greater dynamics, more bass, and an expansive soundstage that is simply incredible! It has obviously taken the guys a huge amount of work to achieve what they have and I’m proud to be part of the Taiko community knowing that we have guys that are absolutely committed to delivering the very best sound possible, despite the challenges that come with developing their own software to make the user experience also exceptional… I’m looking forward to the next few months… according to Emile from what Ed has said, will push the SQ even higher (how is that even possible!!!).
I would like to thank Ed for his persistence and patience in getting XDMS up and running with my Extreme… XDMS is sounding marvelous. As good as TAS was, I find XDMS even more emotionally involving. It is fascinating what software development can do to improve digital. The low-level information that now presents itself and the decay of instruments/voices seem to create a soundstage of greater realism. TAS was a good step forward as it created a delicacy in the music and almost eliminated the digital edge/glare. XDMS is a further step in creating a sense of ease and reduction of digital anomalies. Congratulations to the Taiko team. How many of our components improve their ROI over time? And with the projects already in the pipeline, the future looks bright for us Extreme owners!
The difference between TAS and Roon is not subtle! Wow, it’s insanely good! Probably the best analogy is moving from the balcony to the orchestra level in a live performance. There’s a new level of naturalness, timing, reverberation, and fluidity that neither Roon nor TAS has. XDMS is a Game-Changer!!!!