While streamed audio is extremely good, there’s always a nagging sense of something a little more that can be extracted from a spinning disc.
|A good primer on Abstract Art...|
It’s a bit of an abstract property but the SGM Extreme just sounds ‘right’ whatever you play. The order and structure of the music are as you expect they should be, rather than ‘almost’ how they should be. This is something more than accurate tonality, wide dynamic range, precision, vocal articulation, detail, rhythm or any of those regular characteristics. In part because you can get pretty much all of those things to a very high degree from the most basic level streaming. It’s just that the SGM Extreme simply raises the bar on every aspect of music by several notches.
[Seriously folks, what else can you expect from TAS and Hi-Fi+ when at the top, the CEO of the publishing company, Lee Scoggins, is clearly a name-dropping Industry salesman who apparently loves Synergistic Research nonsense. He even believes that AudioQuest Diamond Ethernet cables (not even HDMI!) improves the picture quality of his Samsung TV playback (1:42:29). "I don't know why that is, but it works!", he says. He comes across as a guy who would say and do anything to make a sale. A man who has been banned at places like AudiophileStyle for basically being a shill for MQA for example. Audiophiles, this is the level of intellect and maturity managing these publications.]
Intel i7-11700 CPU 8-cores, 16 threads with UHD Graphics 750 (US$325)
- fast with CPUMark of ~20700
- 2.5-4.4GHz, only 65W TDP
ASUS Prime Z590M-Plus microATX motherboard (US$170)
- plenty of USB ports including USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type C
- M.2 for higher speed storage, HDMI output for multichannel audio
32GB DDR4 3600 DRAM (2x16GB Corsair Vengence LPX - US$150)
- 32GB is overkill for any audio streamer/server, but inexpensive
WD_Black SN750 SE 1TB M.2 (US$100) storage for OS
- 1TB for Windows 11 install and Roon would be plenty
- Sure, get 1TB Optane-accelerated if you want; I don't see the point
Crucial MX500 4TB 3D NAND SSD x 2 for 8TB music storage (2 x US$400)
- Crucial SSDs are based on Micron chips, should be reliable for years
- plenty fast SSD, low latency, low power and 8TB is a great start
HDPLEX H5 passive cooling case + 400W HiFi DC-ATX+HDPLEX 300W linear PSU
- US$1100; nice looking 18lb box, supports up to 95W TDP CPU, linear PSU
|As you can see, I found no value in keeping this rip 24-bit since the noise floor is high - dithered down to 16-bits. Discussed in the "post hi-res" article awhile back.|
Notice that I always label as "channels bit-depth/sample rate" as in "4.0 16/48". This is the opposite of Roon's "48kHz 16bit Quad" ordering displayed.