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Uptone ISO Regen Review and Measurements

amirm

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Mainly because over the years I've heard gear - headphones, mainly - that measured basically identical to each other, but sounded vastly different.
I don't know how to parse "basically." :) No two headphones measure the same. Even within the same brand and model they would not do so due to cups, pressure on head, etc. Just wear a headphone and put pressure on the pads and the sound will drastically change.

But let's say they do. My comments are focused around electronic products. Here, we are talking about an electronic device. So I would not use your experience with headphones regardless of how valid they may be.
 

Frank Dernie

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I would add that whilst sound stage is not super important for me but instrumental timbre is, and is the reason I chose my normal speakers 20 odd years ago.
Since the timbre of an instrument comes from the magnitude of the various harmonics added to the fundamental I have always assumed that low harmonic distortion and an even frequency response would be required to preserve timbre, and harmonic distortion to change it. Could be wrong of course.
 

amirm

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My point isn't that the science/measurement part isn't useful or accurate. My point is that the entirely of music reproduction (and all that is audible) is not fully measurable in my experience.
Here is the key thing: measurements can NOT reveal what is not there. The brain however, is happy to manufacture what is not there. Science has shown that consistently and trivially.

For that reason, proper listening tests have controls that keep the brain at check in mis-evaluating two different products. Once there, measurements absolutely show if there has or has not been a difference in sound reproduced.

Expanding, your brain is incredibly good in choosing what it hears, and what it doesn't. When you compare gear for example, you get into diagnostic mode and invariably hear detail that was always there but discarded before by the brain (in the process of enjoying music). Just as well the brain can choose to not hear the same detail when listening to another gear due to extraneous factors. This is called hearing elasticity. Just play a song twice in a row with nothing changed and you can easily perceive different detail in each run.

When we perform controlled tests, we make sure you don't know what is what. That way, the brain can't apply different rules to different equipment. When done this way, we always find measurable differences if there are audible differences.

Again, these measured differences may not reveal preference if the results are such. But they do show a difference. In the case of ISO Regen or other tweaks like it, we can't find measurement differences. Seeing how our instruments are much more accurate than hearing, that data is quite conclusive.
 

DonH56

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Like I said, Im not here to debate. You guys carry on
So, you're here on a science-based forum to claim the science is wrong, measurements don't matter, we don't know what we're hearing or talking about, and there's nothing to debate? Why are you here? Seriously, that sounds like an attack, but I am really curious what you are wanting out of this site and its members? Just validating in your mind that we're all idiots and moving on, or is there actually something of the science you find interesting? Was there anything in Amir's last post that helped?
 
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So, you're here on a science-based forum to claim the science is wrong, measurements don't matter, we don't know what we're hearing or talking about, and there's nothing to debate? Why are you here? Seriously, that sounds like an attack, but I am really curious what you are wanting out of this site and its members? Just validating in your mind that we're all idiots and moving on, or is there actually something of the science you find interesting? Was there anything in Amir's last post that helped?
omg lol...actually I just happened to find out that Amir - who I'm assuming is the same Amir from AVS that I used to interact with - had his own audio forum. God forbid I actually express my current opinions on things without ten people taking it as me "claiming science is wrong" or "measurements dont matter". Pretty absurd conclusion. You're right though, this definitely isn't the sort of forum that I would have much interest in, but not because it's science based. Won't make that mistake again.
 

DonH56

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omg lol...actually I just happened to find out that Amir - who I'm assuming is the same Amir from AVS that I used to interact with - had his own audio forum. God forbid I actually express my current opinions on things without ten people taking it as me "claiming science is wrong" or "measurements dont matter". Pretty absurd conclusion. You're right though, this definitely isn't the sort of forum that I would have much interest in, but not because it's science based. Won't make that mistake again.
Well, this is embarrassing... I read your quote below and substituted the word "is" for "isn't". My bad, brain fart, and I am sorry I had completely the wrong context in mind when I posted. The rest of the back and forth I only skimmed but I made a fundamental mistake right off the bat.

I don't disagree. But that's not really getting at my point. My point isn't that the science/measurement part isn't useful or accurate. My point is that the entirely of music reproduction (and all that is audible) is not fully measurable in my experience.
I think it is measurable, but may be very complicated to do so, and in many cases what are the proper test signals and how to interpret the results are major problems/unknowns. It is easy to show that our instrumentation far exceeds our hearing, less easy to show how the brain handles the information, and at times hard to show exactly how the measurements relate to what we hear. Especially when the variables get complicated; if the electrical signal at the speakers is perfect to beyond the limits of our hearing, we still have to contend with how the speakers reproduce that signal and how it is affected by the room and everything in it.

Timbre is fairly easy, and in fact adding a little low-order harmonic distortion can "improve" timbre in some trials. Spatial factors are more complex to measure and analyze and where I think there is room for more research -- but I dropped my AES membership years ago and so there may be a wealth of new knowledge about which I am ignorant. I am aware of research for Olive, Toole, and others showing how listeners prefer some reflected sound and good off-axis response, something initially a little foreign to me coming from panels (more directive than conventional speakers) and highly-deadened rooms (for various reasons).
 

March Audio

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In...my...experience.
With respect your uncontrolled subjective experiences are worthless in the wider scheme of things. Perform a controlled test/comparison and I will start paying attention.
 
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With respect your uncontrolled subjective experiences are worthless in the wider scheme of things. Perform a controlled test/comparison and I will start paying attention.
Neat, thanks for the tip. I was under the impression that my opinions had broad scope and mass appeal. I had no idea they only pertained to me personally. You've really taught me something. You guys are all so welcoming and respectful here, I'm just overwhelmed.
 

RayDunzl

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how does one reliably measure timbre and soundstage?
Timbre is the amplitude of the components of the harmonic series associated with the fundamental.

Soundstage is a manifestation in the brain as it correlates the amplitude and phase of the sound entering each of its ears, and "imagines" how what it hears might (for lack of a better word) look.

There's nothing unmeasurable there, but the interpretation of the data collected could be difficult.

The electrical measurements between devices should be relatively easy to compare. Add a pair of speakers in a room and a listener with an imagination and... good luck.
 
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Frank Dernie

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Neat, thanks for the tip. I was under the impression that my opinions had broad scope and mass appeal. I had no idea they only pertained to me personally. You've really taught me something. You guys are all so welcoming and respectful here, I'm just overwhelmed.
Well welcome to the forum. There is no doubt that there are innumerable pedlers of foo in hifi, and the majority of fans seem to believe them. My guess is that most people are not technically minded and drop that side of their education very young, so things that have no possibility of being true get sold on by good marketing as plausible.
On top of that there are certain demonstration "tricks" which can be used to demonstrate the "superiority" of, for example, an expensive cable.
This is a science based forum, if you really want anybody here to consider any conclusion you put forward it really will have to be the result of a plausible experiment under controlled conditions.
There are shed loads of hifi forums for people who believe the hifi eqivalents of fairies and santa clause, this isn't one of them.
People have mainly tried to answer your questions using science and logic.
Yes there is no "timbre analyser" which gives a direct output in timbre globules, neither is there a stereo-imageometer giving measurements of soundstage depth and width in mega-parsecs. However the electrical signal coming out of a device is the only link between it and the next link in the chain. If this doesn't change any apparent change in sound is imagined, expectation bias or placebo effect. There is no other plausible explanation, whatever is written on other sites and in magazines, there just isn't.
 
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This is a science based forum, if you really want anybody here to consider any conclusion you put forward it really will have to be the result of a plausible experiment under controlled conditions.
.
Lol...okay I give up. This is my last post, and then Im out. I was going to just lurk and observe, because Ive valued things Amir has pointed out and shared with me years ago on AVS, but this is just a bit much.

In NO WAY am I trying to get anyone to “consider any conclusion” that Ive put forth. I simply shared some feedback on where I AM in this hobby based on MY EXPERIENCE. Its not an attempt to persuade, to say “you’re wrong”, or anything of the sort. I value the objective AND the subjective, and Ive built some pretty enjoyable audio systems taking this exact approach. Ive been participating on audio forums for nearly 20 yrs, and this is seriously the nuttiest group of responses Ive ever encountered. At least one person admitted they simply mis-read my post and then responded in a completely reasonable manner.

Pretty ridiculous.

Good luck with the forum, Amir.
 

DonH56

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Lol...okay I give up. This is my last post, and then Im out. I was going to just lurk and observe, because Ive valued things Amir has pointed out and shared with me years ago on AVS, but this is just a bit much.

In NO WAY am I trying to get anyone to “consider any conclusion” that Ive put forth. I simply shared some feedback on where I AM in this hobby based on MY EXPERIENCE. Its not an attempt to persuade, to say “you’re wrong”, or anything of the sort. I value the objective AND the subjective, and Ive built some pretty enjoyable audio systems taking this exact approach. Ive been participating on audio forums for nearly 20 yrs, and this is seriously the nuttiest group of responses Ive ever encountered. At least one person admitted they simply mis-read my post and then responded in a completely reasonable manner.

Pretty ridiculous.

Good luck with the forum, Amir.
One thing to remember is how, without immediate visual and aural feedback (e.g. expressions and tone), posts get interpreted through the transfer function of the reader and it is easy for things to quickly spiral out of control. Many, perhaps most, of us have dealt with "snake oil audio" for many years and are both aggravated and weary at the constant onslaught. Add to that there has been a rash of recent posters who appeared to be mainly trolls, and a moderate poster gets caught in the net, immediately being put on the defensive and the posts on both sides just go downhill from there.

I have no idea how to handle situations like this, I'm an engineer and not a psychologist (should ask my son the counselor), but it may be worth everyone (myself included) counting ten and hitting the reset button.

FWIWFM - Don
 

solderdude

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This is very surprising to me. I have a background in psych and typically am very wise to the placebo-type issues with audio...I have not done blind abx testing, mainly because I don't prefer to turn my hobby into a science experiment, but the ISO regen with the stubby connector and LPS2 PSU sure seemed to make a difference to my ears. I'm really shocked to see the measurements not indicate *anything* going on.

I've always battled within my mind re: objective vs subjective. I tend to always fall on the side of science, but on the other hand, it doesn't make sense to me that *everything* audible is measurable. I really don't know what to make of this, because this was quite a stark contrast when I first installed this thing. There is a possible confounding variable, however, in that I did upgrade to a different amp (Woo Audio WA7 with tube PSU) within 30 days of adding the Iso Regen...but I felt I had accounted for that.

Very odd.
* Reset button pushed *

It is not surprising that the device seemed to make a difference to your ears.
All we can say here that, most likely, the device has not been AB tested blind (as you already stated).

The ISO can make a difference in some cases. Not in sound quality but in suppression or removal of weird noise(s) due to a ground loop.

The fact that 2 things changed (one of them adding euphonic distortion) doesn't help with the assessment of the situation.

I totally understand the desire not to turn enjoying music into testing with rather flawed measuring equipment (the brain).
The brain should be used to enjoy reproduced music, not to analyze equipment.
I do that myself as well, unless I really need/want to know something and try to get rid of biases.
The ability to account for various biases is heavily underestimated by humans. Especially those that feel they can take them into account.

Most folks analyze with crappy/unreliable and fallible equipment (acoustics, ears, brain, state of mind, time).
I would not recommend to draw any conclusions based on personal observations, other than one likes it or not, where the most important bias (KNOWING what is in the chain) is not removed.
Those that insist to test this way might end up in a very expensive shopping spree.
 
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amirm

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Good luck with the forum, Amir.
Thank you and sorry for what happened. I didn't realize who you were either until you explained. Members here (including myself) assume the worst when we are challenged in some of our core values. It is needed very much at times, in others it can be unwelcoming. Hopefully you still hang around and take what you need from the forum.

BTW, I got banned from AVS for linking to my technical articles. They called them spam. There are much worst places out there... :)
 
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As the USB REGEN made a BIG difference in lowering my noise from by USB (computer) output to my Korg DC-DAC-10R, perhaps it is more effective dirtier systems (I.E> Computer-based players) then top notch players like the Mytek? I know that is still not up to the marketing that claims improvements even on that level. But, especially as I bought it used (cheaper), I am happy with it.
 
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I really don't mean to indulge in a bash fest of anyone, and possibly I cover this in the another thread if so I'm sorry but I find this situation extremely curious. There are few out there (AFAIK) with more experience and background in building DAC's than Mike Moffat, I was aware of his work with Theta going as far back as the 1980s. How does this happen that a $79 component can exhibit such superior numbers in the area of noise?. Did he focus his time and available $money in other areas that left these shortcomings as a matter of decided compromise?
I don't get it.
I think it's partly trying to hit a price point, while keeping manufacturing in the USA. Engineering also includes making sure your product can hit a particular price point.
 

Vovgan

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"there comes [....] the time where you give the ridiculous a chance. " So here I am, doing a listening test to see if the ISO Regen makes an audible difference.
That was a good one, chief! )) And thanks for sharing the link to Cosby’s performance.
 

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