UpTone Audio ISO Regen Listening Impressions

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by winders, May 22, 2017.
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  1. Mr Underhill
    Hi TheAttorney,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. Thought I would mention something that took me an age to understand in my own system, although the symptoms slapped me in the face whenever I used to play music = edge. In my case it was grounding. By adding in a microRendu and its SMPS I had a floating ground. I also bought a Border Patrol DAC from the USA and I am not convinced it is grounded through the twin & earth. I simply ran two wires, one from the DAC & one from my Singxer-F1, back to my EAR pre-amp ....voila. Took me ten months to work this out!

    I mention this as what you call 'glare and brightness' sounds similar to what I call edge.

  2. Matez
    Much appreciated, valuable feedback. I've started using galvanic isolation and a reclocker from a different manufacturer and I can say that the sound quality improvement is great. It's quite surprising what still can be done to make USB better.
  3. Krit
    That's very interetesting, I have also read elsewhere on other forums that other people experiences improvement powering the LPS-1 with another linear power supply. Though, I have not try it myself but very interested to do so. It is a mystery to me ones get improvement powering LPS-1 with another LPS, since uptone claimed that LPS-1 is immune to whatever is powering it and it is a true noise isolation power supply.
  4. TheAttorney
    I think the designer (Superdad?) would say something like: The LPS-1 is definitely 100% immune to its feeder p/s because the super caps bank is completely disconnected from its input at the point it is active. And that therefore the only possible other impact could be the noise that the feeder p/s sends back to the mains circuit. I can't confirm or deny that, but my feeder p/s is the iFi 9v, which I find slightly more convenient to use than the Meanwell, but I haven't tried to SQ compare them feeding an LPS-1.

    Anyway, I've done some more comparisons now that I've re-established a reference point in my new location, with some interesting results:

    Having confimed that Laptop USB socket -> Anker USB/ethernet dongle -> ethernet -> mR v1.3 -> USB -> DAC is further improved by inserting an IR after the mR, my next step was to remove the mR to see if USB direct, cleaned up by IR, could rival the more complicated ethernet path. For this test, the IR was powered by the LPS-1 to give it the best chance. So I changed my Roon's zone to output to USB via DAVE's ASIO driver.

    I was surprised that SQ took a big step downwards. And also much quieter - in the order of 8-10dB, which shouldn't be the case with a digital stream. In case the IR was causing this dB drop, I removed the IR, so now had just a USB cable between laptop and DAC. SQ took a further big downturn, to the point it was quite horrible now - and still too quiet. After a bit more investigation I found that I had left Roon's auto volume leveling feature switched on the USB zone. After I switched off the auto volume levelling, the volume went back to normal and the SQ jumped up again, but not to the same level as my mR starting point.

    Going back to my original comparison, it was clear that IR alone was not as good as mR+IR and not even as good as mR alone.
    These were quite obvious differences, with the direct USB path sounding more digital-in-a-bad way, managing to combine the worst of all worlds: sounding both rather muffled, flat and dull, and yet rather brittle and edgy. The IR did improve upon having just a USB cable, but it still fell short of the mR. To put this into perspective, my informal subjective scoring, with 10 for my top reference, would go something like:
    • mR + IR ...........................................10
    • mR .....................................................8
    • IR .......................................................4
    • USB cable alone ................................1
    • USB cable and Roon auto volume ....-2 (minus 2)
    To put this into further perspective, a score lower than 6 would have me strongly considering ditching computer audio and going back to my CD player.
    And a negative score would have me ditching hifi altogether and just getting some ibuds and be done with it. I was shocked how bad this sounded.
    Don't take these scores too literally, it's just a bit of fun to give an indication of my subjective reaction on the day.

    My main conclusions from this (admittedly very brief) comparison are:
    1. If you have a normal laptop or PC, then a direct USB connection to your DAC is a bad thing to do. Very, very bad. If you disagree, then you either have some black magic going on somewhere, or you haven't yet heard what a proper high end system can achieve.
    2. An IR can help the direct USB link, but it can't do it successfully enough just on its own.
    3. Adding an MR can help a lot, and turns yout laptop/PC into at least the start of a high end source.
    4. Adding an IR after the mR further improves this high end source.
    5. Roon auto volume levelling (random tracks or albums all play at similar volumes) is a great idea that I'd like to use, but won't whilst the SQ is so degraded (flat and dull).
    6. I'm still hoping that a suitably tweaked dedicated server will remove the need for all of these little boxes - that's my long term goal
    7. In the meantime I may just upgrade my mR to V1.4 status (super clock added) to keep me happier whilst looking for the perfect server. I don't want to spend lots of money on a uR or those SOtM tri-thingys becuase I'm still hoping I can drop all these little boxes one day.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
    Krit likes this.
  5. auricgoldfinger
    Thanks for sharing your results. The relative performance is exactly what I would have expected. Cheers! :o2smile:
  6. Mr Underhill
    I have tried various PSUs with the LPS-1: El cheapo SMPS; IFI 9v; El cheapo R-Core Chinese LPSU (TeraDak). I was comparing this to my SBooster 6v LPSU. This to power my microRendu.

    I did find that the PSU powering the LPS-1 made a difference.
    I preferred the LPS-1 to the SBooster regardless of energising PSU.
    In terms of energiser I found my preference was: R-Core > IFI > Standard SMPS.

    I also found that the quality of what the LPS-1 delivers in my system is easily improved by changing the DC-DC cable.

    I compared:
    Canare DC04 based cable with Oyaide connectors from eBay;
    A $10 silver/teflon cable as recommended by a chap elsewhere, puchased from eBay, http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-2M...e:g:tJEAAOSwu1VW3XgI; and
    The LPS-1 cable.

    The silver/teflon cable needs to be altered changing one end to a DC barrel.

    I found:
    LPS-1 Supplied cable:
    Sounds detailed, great bass, mid-range lacks tone.

    Canare DC04
    Tone & timbre by the bucketful, but sounds slightly darker - bass heavier, high frequencies sound a bit attenuated. Still preferable to the standard cable.

    Silver/Teflon Cable
    Really very good. LPS-1 powered by an Teradak DC30W. This is a real step up on the SBooster, which has a captive DC cable.

    I have just taken delivery of an ultraRendu. I am ringing the changes on the location of my LPSUs, and currently my LPS-1 is powering a Raspberry Pi 3 that I use to host Logitech Media Server. So I am back to using the SBooster on the microRendu, and now on the ultraRendu. Even so the first thing I noticed was the bass, not just slightly more evident but also the texture. Over the time it has been settling in I have noticed that vocals are a bit clearer, the soundstage is wider and deeper. Positioning within the soundstage is more precise.

    When I get the time I will bring the LPS-1 back downstairs and do further listening; in the meanwhile I am just enjoying some great music.

    auricgoldfinger and sahmen like this.
  7. Whazzzup
    Attorney point 6 is correct.
  8. sahmen
    Thanks for this post... On the strength of it, I just fished out my long-idling Teradak DC30W to replace the SMPS energizer feeding my LPS-1, and I can hear the effect in SQ differences on Ultrarendu/Roon music almost immediately... especially, in better and finer detail retrieval, and overall definition...

    DC-DC Cable : Oyaide/Belden star-quad DC cable sold by Uptone.

    Only one downside to this discovery-- I have to buy another Teradak DC30W to power the other LPS-1 I use with the microrendu in another system... My wallet just gave me a nasty and dirty look, but I think I'll survive it:) Thanks again, and to be fair, thanks to @auricgoldfinger and @Mr Underhill too for bringing up the powering-the-power-supply-with-another-power-supply idea:)
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  9. TheAttorney
    I agree that the DC cable out of the LPS-1 makes a worthwhile difference.
    I use a very short (about 3 inches) home made silver cable (cut from the trailing silver cable of the MCRU (an option extra for the MCRU)), with Oyaide plugs.
    This means that the mR or IR has to be located right next to the LPS-1, but that's no problem for me, and I wouldn't go back to the stock cable.

    I haven't tried any other DC cable, but have briefly tried one of those cheapo no-name hard connectors from ebay China. This could be a contender, but with a brighter sound than my silver cable (that may or may not be a good thing), but it's not a priority for me to investigate that further at the moment. Maybe I'll revisit this one day if my silver cable breaks due to my dodgy soldring skills.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  10. hattrick15
    Can you provide a link to where to purchase this cable? I can't find it on Uptone's site or anywhere else.
  11. sahmen
    True, it seems they still have not set them up on the Uptone Audio site yet for formal official sales yet, but they do have them. You have to e-mail Alex himself at crespi@sti.net, and ask for the Oyaide/Belden Starquad DC cable to get access. It is what I had to do back in July to get my cables, but Alex usually responds promptly to e-mails.
  12. marcus1
    If Alex at Uptone has stated that the LPS-1 is immune to its feeder PS (below), does anyone know why this appears not to be the case and those that have tried a LPS to feed the LPS-1 have noticed an improvement in SQ.
    Is there any 'scientific' explanation for this apparent noise(?) from a SMPS adversely affecting the LPS-1?


  13. sahmen
    I personally don't have a scientific explanation for this, but I readily admit that I too was a little skeptical, initially, about the notion of an LPS requiring the services of another LPS in order to work optimally...(it seemed ironically embarrassing and somewhat self-defeating)... Now though, I am a staunch believer, since i have the incontrovertible proof right before my eyes and can reproduce it repeatedly to my ears simply by swapping the SMPS with the Teradak... I prefer to think that @Superdad was blindsided by his own invention and made the claim you've referred to out of ignorance... At any rate, I wouldn't be surprised if he himself shows up at some point to shed some light on this matter, since he reads these forums quite often.
  14. auricgoldfinger
    John Swenson is the one who suggested that I use the JS-2 to power my LPS-1 because it sounds better on some systems. Apparently, he is aware of this 'anomaly,' but he didn't offer a 'scientific' explanation.
  15. hattrick15
    Thanks for the info.
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