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Uptone ISO Regen Review and Measurements

Thomas savage

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I'd like to thank Amir, I admire his tenacity and determination in the face a good deal of criticism and ridicule from others he persevered with his objective analysis in a commendable fashion.

I can understand those with a personal and commercial interest being defensive given the results of some of these tests , that's only natural . It takes a lot to set up a company and put your own money where your mouth is, it's easy for folks like me and others that have nothing invested to pour scorn on people's endeavours but we should remember this is people's livelihoods that can be effected so we have a responsibility to be as objective as possible and understand that some will feel under attack in a personal and professional way and we should make allowances accordingly.

But in the end of the day we as a forum have a responsibility to get to the truth ( objective truth) about the effectiveness of audio products and it's my hope we carry on doing this in the vein shown in this thread.

I think it's gone well and as a manager of the content here I'm happy ( more so than in the microrendu thread where we made mistakes, I made mistakes) ,so thanks to everyone involved, amir , our members , those just reading and of course @Superdad for taking the time to register and participate.

Cheers .
 
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amirm

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Thanks everyone and Alex. A lot was at stake here than the little dimensions of this AC mains issue. The entire integrity of the test setup was put in doubt. And for nearly a year and half no less dating back to other testing. Therefore it required the investment in time to dig into it.

I also want to thank members of Computer Audiophile forum which provided suggestions which eventually led to new measurements that focused the problem area. And to their forum owner, Chris, for allowing this weird, cross forum communication and bit of rock throwing to go on to get to the bottom of this.

The problem I now have is what to do with no less than four (4) hubs I ordered from Amazon to further test their interactions with USB that is supposed to arrive on Monday!!! :D
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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Now that everyone is ok that the SMPS is a Chinese schiit ( called placebo when it's an American product).
Can somebody explain the regeneration stuff :p
Do you mean USB regeneration by the Uptone? For that, you should look to them, but with a very strong sense of skepticism, as their process fails to "measure up". And many of their fan boys elsewhere have created fictional, hand waving accounts of its significance and alleged sonic superiority.

I doubt anyone here places any credence in the concept or sees it as at all useful, especially now. The answer, as is clear, is to get a decent DAC in the first place, and then USB regeneration by an outboard box is both unnecessary and likely detrimental.
 

Superdad

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I doubt anyone here places any credence in the concept or sees it as at all useful, especially now. The answer, as is clear, is to get a decent DAC in the first place, and then USB regeneration by an outboard box is both unnecessary and likely detrimental.
Well since we are now far from the only company offering hub-chip-based USB "regeneration," perhaps a new thread can be started that examines the concept in depth--in a more brand-agnostic way.
Unless you and BE718 just can't get enough of making fun of me and my clients. :eek:
 

Jinjuku

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Well since we are now far from the only company offering hub-chip-based USB "regeneration," perhaps a new thread can be started that examines the concept in depth--in a more brand-agnostic way.
Unless you and BE718 just can't get enough of making fun of me and my clients. :eek:
You aren't being singled out. Heck Archimago and Mark Waldrep have had cease and desist letters sent to them.
 
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Well since we are now far from the only company offering hub-chip-based USB "regeneration,"
Perhaps other companies are following the marketing success of Uptone ;)

perhaps a new thread can be started that examines the concept in depth--in a more brand-agnostic way.
Perhaps replacing your DAC with a better one is more sensible ? :)
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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Well since we are now far from the only company offering hub-chip-based USB "regeneration," perhaps a new thread can be started that examines the concept in depth--in a more brand-agnostic way.
Unless you and BE718 just can't get enough of making fun of me and my clients. :eek:
I am not making fun of anybody, least of all your clients. But, you and all the other guys pushing variations of this glorious "concept" have failed and failed to prove that it is worth anything. Worse, you have gone into deep denial of the data, made false accusations, played the poor victim card, etc. That is not funny.

If your clients want to buy it, I have no sympathy for them, but I am not laughing at them. I pity them in their ignorance.

Why should this forum waste any more of its time on this failed concept with a new thread? If you have numerous imitators, it proves little. There were once many manufacturers of lombego pills, too.
 

Blumlein 88

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Well since we are now far from the only company offering hub-chip-based USB "regeneration," perhaps a new thread can be started that examines the concept in depth--in a more brand-agnostic way.
Unless you and BE718 just can't get enough of making fun of me and my clients. :eek:
Why don't you start a thread? You can explain how yours works or explain the concept. It doesn't make sense to me as the DACs I have had hands on seem not to be effected by the upstream USB source. It seems a solution looking for a problem.
 

March Audio

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Well since we are now far from the only company offering hub-chip-based USB "regeneration," perhaps a new thread can be started that examines the concept in depth--in a more brand-agnostic way.
Unless you and BE718 just can't get enough of making fun of me and my clients. :eek:
Perhaps you would assist us in performing a an in depth study of the efficacy of this genre of products? Could be a fantastic marketing exercise.

Im not making fun of your clients, but there is massive technical ignorance in the audiophile community which there is no doubt that the hifi industry takes advantage of.

Lets split this into the 3 areas these products address.

Usb eye pattern
5 volt power supply
Galvanic isolation

I would like to put forward 2 premises first that perhaps we could debate and agree on which to me prioritise the order of examination.

Galvanic isolation can in certain circumstances be beneficial. I have seen measurements, and performed tests myself which demonstrate the issue and its resolution. The theory is uncontroversial, understood demonstrated. So should we leave that to last.

5 volt supply; if noisy and if a bus powered dac has inadequate psu regulation and filtering , a degredation of the dac performance could eventuate. I dont think thats a controversial premise. Considering that only a subset of dacs are bus powered this should be a second priority.

Usb eye pattern. This is relevant to all dacs. Lets look at this first.

I have not seen any demonstrated mechanism for which improving the eye pattern beyond the usb standards committee specs, improves the dac analogue output. I have heard postulated that jitter and indetermination in the eye pattern can cause noise on the dac circuit board ground plane, which in turn makes it way into the dac output.

Alex could you confirm if this is tghe basis for the theory of operation for your Regen? If not please inform us what it is.

Once we have your theory of operation we can define tests to evaluate it. BTW I have access to pretty much the entire range of Keysight test and meadurement gear.

Alex this is your opportunity to demonstrate that this isnt a solution lokking for a problem.
 
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amirm

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Now that everyone is ok that the SMPS is a Chinese schiit ( called placebo when it's an American product).
Can somebody explain the regeneration stuff :p
Sure. This device like the one before it, uses a USB hub. A USB hub silicon normally receives from one channel and then produces 2-4 channels on the output (main reason people use it). Here, it is only used as one input and one output. The idea behind it is to regenerate the USB bus but with better power supply, better clock, etc. That such a "clean" USB signal would eventually result in a USB DAC producing less noise and jitter.

This version in addition uses a USB isolator chip that provides electrical isolation between its USB input and output. Hence the name "Iso" (isolated) Regen.

Our testing so far has not shown any benefit for these features other than in the case of Schiit Modi 2 DAC which seems to have done nothing to reduce noise on USB power.
 
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Why don't you start a thread? You can explain how yours works or explain the concept. It doesn't make sense to me as the DACs I have had hands on seem not to be effected by the upstream USB source. It seems a solution looking for a problem.
Completely agree. Its seems that due to whatever reasons folks (mainly fanboys) outright believe there is a problem with USB to start with and they need to solve it with various trinkets. Amir's experiment and data has been called for as a shame in the name of science, I would say its actually the opposite: its a shame on how things get over-hyped & advertised to make you believe there is a problem under the cover of science :rolleyes:
 
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Sure. This device like the one before it, uses a USB hub. A USB hub silicon normally receives from one channel and then produces 2-4 channels on the output (main reason people use it). Here, it is only used as one input and one output. The idea behind it is to regenerate the USB bus but with better power supply, better clock, etc. That such a "clean" USB signal would eventually result in a USB DAC producing less noise and jitter.
So how does it clean something that is "unclean" to start with ? Does it extrapolate ? A bitstream of data that comes in, the same bitstream comes out, right ? So I am trying to understand, what is it actually cleaning ?
 

Blumlein 88

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So how does it clean something that is "unclean" to start with ? Does it extrapolate ? A bitstream of data that comes in, the same bitstream comes out, right ? So I am trying to understand, what is it actually cleaning ?
This is a simple article on eye patterns that is worthwhile. http://www.edn.com/design/test-and-...gram-Basics-Reading-and-applying-eye-diagrams

Unlike other inputs to a DAC, asynchronous USB inputs divorce the DAC from the timing of the input. The input only provides data. If the correct bits gets thru, the DAC uses a local clock at the output and the input makes no difference to the resulting analog signal. In theory the eye pattern of the USB could be squeakly clean or it can be kind of dirty as long as bits are properly transferred it would not matter.

In theory and practice one of the strengths of digital is signals of digital nature can be pretty nasty, noisy or dirty and still get transferred and reproduced very well. Somehow some segment of audiophiles have become fixated on lowering digital signal noises with the assumption it must make the sound they hear better.

As you can see when Amir used strings of substandard USB cables it apparently dirtied up the signal enough the result had errors in it or the noisiness of the USB itself was corrupting the ground of the receiving devices and messing up the clock maybe. Apparently the Modi 2 does nothing to protect itself from this noise. And the Berhinger can reach a point where it too can't cope.

So something like a hub or a Regen can get a very dirty noisy digital signal when it is still capable of reading the digital data. It takes that data, and re-transmits it on downstream in a cleaner form making it easy for the receiving USB input of the DAC to function without being effected by noise.

Of course plenty of DACs don't seem to be effected by the noise of USB at the analog output until it has gotten terribly bad and out of spec. Many audiophiles think if the input USB is cleaner the DAC outputs a cleaner better signal. When in fact until things get pretty bad the signal might be much cleaner and make zero difference to the analog signal we listen to from the DAC.

From there we have testimonials of such USB cleaners making dramatic increases in sound quality while observing nothing different at the output measurements of the DAC. There are DACs like the Modi 2 that aren't well protected on the USB input. They seem to be uncommon however. Most DACs, even down to at least the $79 DAC seem not to need a cleaner USB input as it seems not to make for any improvement that can be measured. So where, and what is happening to create the dramatic sound quality increases reported?
 

Sal1950

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You aren't being singled out. Heck Archimago and Mark Waldrep have had cease and desist letters sent to them.
Shoot, I was threatened in public by Mikey Fremer with the wrath of the lawyers from (drum roll please) The Enthusiast Network. He claimed I had "besmirched his character". LOL
 

Sal1950

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Can somebody explain the regeneration stuff
I don't think Amir will let me get into that here, he claims this is a family oriented site and all that. :cool:
 
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amirm

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So how does it clean something that is "unclean" to start with ? Does it extrapolate ? A bitstream of data that comes in, the same bitstream comes out, right ? So I am trying to understand, what is it actually cleaning ?
No interpolation or extrapolation. All digital data going into Iso Regen come out as exactly the same value.

Any digital signal that is transmitted on wire becomes analog in nature and starts to degrade. Fortunately since the values are only one or zero, we can detect them as such. The hub controller in the Iso Regen receives this signal, converts it back to digital and then retransmits them as analog yet again. In that sense, you get cleaner signal if the implementation of USB is better in the Iso Regen than it was in the computer.
 

Wayne

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Any digital signal that is transmitted on wire becomes analog in nature and starts to degrade. Fortunately since the values are only one or zero, we can detect them as such. The hub controller in the Iso Regen receives this signal, converts it back to digital and then retransmits them as analog yet again. In that sense, you get cleaner signal if the implementation of USB is better in the Iso Regen than it was in the computer.
Is this why USB cables are limited to relatively short lengths?

Also is there a (reasonable) limit as to the number of times the signal can be "cleaned" (converted to digital) and re-transmitted?

Thanks
 
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