Takedown of pricey servers, streamers OCD HiFi guy


Not sure if anyone caught this, but it's quite the take down of some of the very expensive server/streamer stuff out there. It seems logical to me -- especially when he prices out what some of the internal components are -- but this is above my pay grade so I cannot confirm. It's here: https://youtu.be/MMSC9-qQ_K4

Wonder if others agree or disagree with the basic takedown.
8700e65e 845e 4b1b 91cc df27687f9454hilde45
OP, here. Thanks, Mike, for replying to this thread. I enjoy your videos and thought you were posing a legitimate question -- not about whether people have a "right" (funny word) to pay what they want for a piece of gear, but whether others had seen the video and how they assessed the argument you were making.

As usual, the thread went in lots of tangential directions, some of them valuable, but I do believe some stayed focused on your central point -- namely, that some gear that (for it’s high price) should *not* be using inexpensive, off the shelf, computer innards. I’m a newbie, but the point boils down to "there’s sawdust in this expensive meatloaf." And of course you’re not talking about kinda expensive meatloaf -- something that is, say, one or two times the price of a decent product. You’re talking about really really expensive stuff. That detail helps push back on all the (to my mind, ineffective) counter arguments about "R&D, overhead, design, research," etc.

You surely have a busy life, but if you could find the posts which understand and (civilly) address that claim, it would advance the central point in dispute. If you don’t have time, well, peace.
I have been in this hobby a while.  After graduating college in 1980 and replacing my Kenwood receiver and refurbished speakers with a Kenwood integrated amp,  Scott Speakers and a Kenwood DD TT, I felt I had a pretty nice stereo system.  That was it until 1988.  Then I moved up to planar speakers and started my journey into "hifi".  I delved into modifications and tweaks for the next 15 years and slowly worked myself into the "high end hifi" or what I called the big boys club.  Once into the high dollar equipment, I can say that while mods and tweaks of gear is a fun side to this hobby, the high dollar stuff has the goods when it comes to great sound.  I spent the first few months of my recent retirement revamping my stereo system and adding hi res music playback capability which is something that I have wanted to do since about 2011.  I have stuck to vinyl playback all of these years and my vinyl rig has never sounded better with my latest turntable, preamp, phono cartridge and phono cable.  My CD playback today is outstanding and blows away all of my beliefs about the limitations of Redbook CDs.
I am not surprised at all about the current debate and merits of high dollar digital streaming equipment and cables.  I watched a video last night about USB cables.  I was amused by this guy with some expensive electronic measurement equipment arguing that all USB cables are equal.  He showed with his measurements that the only difference in USB cable performance is the length.  He showed shorter is better.  Well, a lot of people already knew that by listening.  His high dollar measurement equipment wasn't needed to tell us that but it is good to know.
 All of this debate about digital streaming reminds me of the same debate that raged in the 1980's about speaker cables.  It's just wire.  "If the resistance is low enough then there is no difference," so said the naysayers.  Once people figured out how to measure and what to measure, specialized speaker wire became accepted.  Same with interconnects and power cables.  I believe that as the digital streaming technology matures we will see what matters and what does not.  To me, the state of digital streaming today is extremely complicated and confusing.  I spent months reading and studying to try and wrap my head around it all.  I have a Marantz Home Theater Receiver that can stream music- sound is ok.  So why does hi end hi res streaming have to be so complicated?
I jumped into music streaming first with a "low cost" solution.  That did not work well at all but I had to try because I was a working man and I'm not going to spend my money without getting perceived value in return.  And before I took the "low cost streamer path" of course I tried streaming into my DAC with my laptop computer.  
Keep in mind that a stereo system is a chain.  Each link in the chain is important.  A good amp paired to poor speakers is not going to shine at its best.  A good turntable paired to a weak preamp cannot sound its best.  Therefore, an average streamer feeding into a high quality DAC and stereo playback system will sound pretty good but it's limitations will be apparent.  That is what I found.  With a high quality streamer, I find MQA file playback breathtaking.  Hi res files are close behind followed by CD quality.  Streaming hi res is outstanding but CD quality streaming is still just a tiny bit less than CD file playback on my system.  These differences were not so apparent to me when streaming through my laptop.  

@tonywinga,

Great post! Congratulations on your retirement, now you can sit back and enjoy the music :-)

I have learned in life that there is no substitute for quality. 
@mikepowellaudio thank you for your response.
@hilde45, Repeating something over and over does not change (or establish) a valid assertion!

"  But I had never heard that there were cheap ASUS parts inside some of the most expensive of them. This, for me, was revelatory."

"  But it's pretty clear if someone is charging enormous $$'s and is putting a cheap Chinese gamer board "

"I see every audio purchase as part of the larger audio budget that I feel contained by. "

The assertion that you are making about the SGM Extreme using ' cheap parts ' begins on shaky ground and falls off fast ( 'revelatory' ).

' cheap Chinese gamer board ' Do you really want to go There ... ? 
Why ... ???
 
Many Custom Build Audio Streamers use ASUS Gaming Boards and are not inexpensive (definitely not 'cheap').

The Extreme utilizes a Server Enterprise Class Board apparently (Sage EEB Server).
Built for Longevity ... also a design emphasis by Taiko.

Motherboard - $ 500
Xeon Scalable x2 - $ 500 - $ 1000 per chip for Gold (Platinum $ 2000) 
x12 A-Grade ECC DIMMs @ 4 Gig $ 500 (wild  guess)
Total of around  $ 3000 (up to $ 5000 already)

@hilde45, do you know what a - Hyper M.2 x16 Card is ... and why it would matter?

Custom Passive Cooling
Aluminum Case / Copper Shield 
Proprietary Plywood 
Uber high cost power supply components 
Reworked Enterprise OS
24 TB of Enterprise Drives
Making everything work / as noted previously
Craftsmanship

 > Your best cost guesstimate  here _ <  

From Taiko website:
"  Ever heard of DRAM refresh?  You should, because it is one of the main reasons why many think fewer and lower speed DIMMs are better for sound quality. "

Do you think OCD Guy even bothered to look before (or after) going off in the video ...

Do I think an interested AGon participant could craft a Custom Audio Streamer / Server for less money and have a High Performance Playback Component ... yes. (not even closely articulated by OCD Guys rant)

SGM Extreme in intended for use as a part of a HiRez Playback System.

Overbuilt Custom Electronics is an endearing quality with a tradition in Audio Recording Production ... now Playback as well.