UpTone Audio ISO Regen Listening Impressions

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by winders, May 22, 2017.
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  1. winders
    Until I am ready to buy a AOIP box of some type, I will continue to use my computer to play music through my Yggdrasil using USB. My current audio chain is fairly simple:

    2016 MacBook Pro (A+ 3.x) --USB--> Singxer F-1 --SPDIF coax--> Yggdrasil --XLR--> Mjolnir 2 --SE--> Powered Nearfield Monitors

    The DAC, amp, and monitors are all plugged into a TrippLite “PS” power strip. The power strip is plugged into a 2.5kVa Topaz isolation transformer.

    I am still willing to see what I can do to improve the sound. I know the USB signal getting to the Singxer F-1 was not great so that signal could be improved. But, I was not convinced that any of the available USB "decrapifiers" were worth the cost or the effort. I have been intrigued with the what I had been reading about the UpTone Audio ISO Regen unit and the USPCB USB 2.0 A to B adaptor. The ISO Regen provides full power, ground, and signal isolation. The USPCB preserves signal integrity and impedance match between the ISO Regen and the USB device it is plugged into. I had an UpTone Audio LPS on hand to use as a power source for the ISO Regen.

    My new audio looks like this:

    2016 MacBook Pro (A+ 3.x) --USB--> ISO Regen --USPCB--> Singxer F-1 --SPDIF coax--> Yggdrasil --XLR--> Mjolnir 2 --SE--> Powered Nearfield Monitors

    The following comments outline the changes I perceive with the ISO Regen and USPCB in place and powered on for more 15 hours:

    The music and voices emanate from a quieter background.

    The timbre of instruments and voices are a bit more defined. This is even true with bass sounds which tend to muddle together more.

    The bass is more full yet has more detail and clarity. The mids and highs are a bit sharper without being harsher. The overall clarity and detail are a little bit better.

    The soundstage isn’t any wider but I get a sense of more depth and height. Instruments and voices have much better isolation and their locations are more defined. This is the single biggest difference I hear in the music. I could hear this before but not with the laser like focus I get now. Instead of the sound coming from a general direction on the stage, I get a sense of the sound coming from a very specific location on the stage. The effect is subtle but it gives me a much better sense of being at a live performance.

    The best analogy I can come up with is that with the ISO Regen, LPS-1, and USPCB in place versus what I started with is like comparing two photos of the same scene. One slightly out of focus with a color filter in place while the other is perfectly in focus with no filter. You can tell that both are of the same image. But, with the slightly out of focus image, you can’t quite see all the detail. Parts of the image are blurred together and some of the colors aren’t quite right. It’s pleasing to the eye until you see the perfectly focused image. You immediately realize what you were missing. You see all the details and the colors look better and more natural. It’s like a veil has been lifted from your eyes.

    The differences I hear are nothing more than subtle. It’s when you take them as a whole that you realize how much the listening experience is enhanced. The clarity and detail improvements along with the voice and instrument isolation on the soundstage make for a much more realistic and better sounding listening experience.
    Last edited: May 23, 2017
    kazsud likes this.
  2. ScareDe2
    Are you saying that even with an expensive DAC like the Yggy you can still get benefit from cleaning the USB signal? That DAC should already do that for that price! You are giving an argument that spending more money to upgrade USB DAC is useless.
  3. Superdad
    We have clients who use our products with $50K DACs. USB signal integrity is a real thing that affects the USB PHY of every DAC or DDC.
  4. ScareDe2
    Hence the priority to clean the signal before even thinking of spending more than $500 for a DAC. How sad I would be to pay for a $50k DAC and find that I am not even satisfy with the sound. Also, there are many "decrapifiers" avaliable. It's a torture to figure what we need.

    There are the iSilencer3, iFi micro iUSB3.0, Intona, iFi nano iUSB3.0, Uptone Regen, Wyred 4 Sound Recovery, iFi iPurifier2, iFi iPurifier (discontinued), Orico A3H4, Audioquest Jitterbug and indeed the Wyrd from Schiit, just to name some. What can we do!??
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
  5. elan120
    If I can only have one, I would go with IsoRegen.

    From the list you have, I happen to have ifi iUSB3 Micro, and IsoRegen in my system yield much better result.
    UELong likes this.
  6. Cardiiiii
    Do you think using the iFi SPDIF purifier at the end of the chain will improve the sound further?
  7. bilboda
    Nah , you can use one of those for a general use pc but for music, just don't use USB! Imagine that! Use an ethernet streaming solution or the aes67 rednet variety. I'm cheap, so I have a pi and 502dac shield. Ethernet in, i2s to spdif out. You aren't stuck with USB.
  8. IlluminatiTri
    In my system (Bifrost Multibit and Lyr 2, Audeze EL-8C), I find the ISO Regen to make a huge difference. I used to have a Wyrd, but I got this as a present and it's much better. I tried using both for a while, but I found that the Wyrd was kind of putting a veil over my sound that wasn't there with the ISO Regen, so I took it out and sold it. I don't regret that one at all. The ISO Regen removes so much background noise and provides so much more detail than you'll get even with another decrapifier like Wyrd, not to mention nothing at all. My dad, who has an Auralic Vega DAC and a DNA (Donald North Audio) Amp w/ HE-1000 v2s, also confirms that it improves the background detail in his system.
    kazsud and Superdad like this.
  9. TheAttorney
    As a very satisfied owner of mR+LPS-1 (running Roon Ready), I have been recently tempted by the various ultra boxes from that Korean company, but all this multiple super clocking is getting rather complicated and expensive. But now we have this ISO Regen getting such rave reviews here and at CA, plus the upcoming ultraRendu and mR 1.4 upgrade options, there's a whole new set of toys coming in at a lower price and smaller size.

    It's great to have all these options, but also rather confusing - even if we stick within the Sonore/Uptone camp.
    For example, will IR+mR sound better than uR? Will IR+MR1.4 tip the balance? Is it worth going the whole hog and getting IR+uR? Or I could simplify my network considerably by dropping mR entirely and going for direct USB connection with IR alone?

    Questions like this will hopefully be answered in the next few weeks once the new Rendu models start rolling and receiving feedback.
  10. auricgoldfinger
    My guess is the ultraRendu is essentially the new technology from the ISO Regen added to the microRendu.
  11. Superdad
    Sorry, but your guess is incorrect. :upside_down:
  12. TheAttorney
    Well, whatever is or isn't in the ultraRendu, I could resist the rave reviews no longer and have the ISO Regen on order from Vortexbox UK.
    By the end of July, I'll hopefully know what the IR adds to my stock mR, and what happens when the IR completely replaces the mR. Then I'll have a better idea what to with the mR 1.4 or uR - assuming I don't get too confused with all these 2 letter acronyms in the meantime :smile_phones:
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  13. auricgoldfinger
    As an owner of both the mR+JS-2 and the IR+LPS-1, I'll be very interested in your impressions on the uR.

    I love how the IR+LPS-1 has improved the sound of my system. I have it between the mR and the DAC.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
  14. Sleepow
    I am slightly lost and you guys might be able to help me.

    I want to make sure I get the most of my DAC (exasound).

    Is there a benefit of using the IR and uR at the same time?
    I do not need the server like feature of the uR, but if removing the PC from the chain helps, I can use it. And if I use the uR, is there a need for the IR? Or would they IR be enough to remove all the crap coming down from the PC and thus not benefit from having the uR upstream.
  15. auricgoldfinger
    I own both a microRendu and IR. The rendu is powered by a JS-2 LPS, and the IR is powered by an LPS-1. The uR is a very worthwhile device and does everything as advertised. The IR adds further refinement to the chain and is also a worthwhile purchase. I am happy with both devices, and I would say that they complement each other.

    I'm not sure what you mean by the server like feature of the rendu. It improves upon whatever playback software you are using...HQP, Jriver, etc., and is integrated into the design of the unit. I'm not sure that you can bypass it, and frankly, I don't know why you would do so. If you are intent on avoiding that feature, you may want to forgo buying one.

    I strongly recommend powering both devices with an LPS-1. (Each device requires its own LPS-1.)
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
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