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Which one to buy: UpTone USB REGEN or Intona USB Isolator?

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My intona industrial is working fine. i have a WD external hard drive attached to my imac and when the imac is in sleep the HD continues to operate quietly in the background and the intona's light flickers occasionally indicating it is in standby. intona have told me this is normal. when i wake the imac i get a string of messages saying the harddrive was not ejected properly. this does not happen when i switch the computer off and on again. there is no harm being done as the hard drive and intona are working as intended. i have the mac and HD plugged into a mains conditioner/master slave surge socket with the imac as master. ie the othe devices only operate when the imac is on. not really a problem but can someone explain why the HD is behaving like this? many thanks

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A big shout out to Daniel at Intona.

 

My Intona stopped sync'ing in my chain, despite all attempts. After some email troubleshooting, Daniel declared my unit defective. Even though my unit is a month past the warranty expiry, he shipped me a brand new replacement, that arrived in the US in 4 days, and is working perfectly.

 

These guys are a class act, and I cannot praise them enough!

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Just to let everyone know im ugrading to a metrum musette dac where ill be using coax in. ive decided to put my intona industrial for sale to fund this. pm me if interested.

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I was ready to buy a SOTM TX-USBhubEX but now I'm in doubt about choose it or intona industrial. Some of you guys had the chance to compare both?thanksAndre

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I was ready to buy a SOTM TX-USBhubEX but now I'm in doubt about choose it or intona industrial. Some of you guys had the chance to compare both?thanksAndre

 

On a pure technical note to the SOTM TX-USBhubEX, I cant find information that it is galvanized USB like the Intona. It does have 5V cutoff, but it seems on the other hand it needs power like a DC or battery pack, while Intona uses the 5V from each side to power the circuitry.

SOTM TX-USBhubEX has a low jitter clock, but I cant find which one, so personally I would take that information with a grain of salt (since they dont state which oscillator they use), while Intona has stated which oscillator they use and its performance too. Even Regen states which oscillator they use!

 

To me, SOTM TX-USBhubEX seems similar to Uptone Regen, but I cant find which Oscillator they use to really compare on a technical level.

 

Do note, that Crystal Oscillators like the one in Regen degrade over time. It has a aging property, while the Oscillator in Intona doesnt have aging property since it is supposed to be for industrial use.

 

I am very very happy with the Intona.

 

My next step is USB to AES/EBU with a 1ppm oscillator on the AES port (Gustard U12) and compare that with the Intona USB, and even using Intona in front of the Gustard U12.

 

Also I do measure FFT differences with and without Intona.

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On a pure technical note to the SOTM TX-USBhubEX, I cant find information that it is galvanized USB like the Intona. It does have 5V cutoff, but it seems on the other hand it needs power like a DC or battery pack, while Intona uses the 5V from each side to power the circuitry.

SOTM TX-USBhubEX has a low jitter clock, but I cant find which one, so personally I would take that information with a grain of salt (since they dont state which oscillator they use), while Intona has stated which oscillator they use and its performance too. Even Regen states which oscillator they use!

 

To me, SOTM TX-USBhubEX seems similar to Uptone Regen, but I cant find which Oscillator they use to really compare on a technical level.

 

Do note, that Crystal Oscillators like the one in Regen degrade over time. It has a aging property, while the Oscillator in Intona doesnt have aging property since it is supposed to be for industrial use.

 

I am very very happy with the Intona.

 

My next step is USB to AES/EBU with a 1ppm oscillator on the AES port (Gustard U12) and compare that with the Intona USB, and even using Intona in front of the Gustard U12.

 

Also I do measure FFT differences with and without Intona.

 

Sotm usb hub can be upgraded working with a linear power supply (like hdplex) it is supposed, for all I ever read, to improve still more sound quality.

But I'm inclinated to go with Intona if the difference is not too big.

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getting new intona for hugo. is there any likelyhood and putting aside all the positive effects of the intona that it can interfere with the finely tuned sound signature of a dac like chord hugo. ie making the dac sound different to the manufacturers intention, possibly as the dac was not intended to operate with an intona type device?? cheers mk

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getting new intona for hugo. is there any likelyhood and putting aside all the positive effects of the intona that it can interfere with the finely tuned sound signature of a dac like chord hugo. ie making the dac sound different to the manufacturers intention, possibly as the dac was not intended to operate with an intona type device?? cheers mk

 

The Intona unit is transparent in the setup, it can't fail the setup, if anything it helps the DAC with timing the packets together with the DAC on a general notice. For Hugo specifically, you have to look through the Intona thread for users who used Intona with the Hugo Dac. Some DAC's already have galvanized usb input and 5v cutoff on the USB input itself before feeding data to the DAC board like Hegel DAC's, so the Intona doesnt get power on the DAC side. This is why some people didnt get it to work with some DACs and some DACs feed 5V just fine to the Intona unit.

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Or you can try Ideon Audio 3R. A friend of mine ditched his intona & Regen for one of these

 

I just checked their spec page, I cant see galvanization, and neither the oscillator type mentioned for re-clock, and it needs a power supply which reintroduces noise from the power net.

 

3R USB Renessaince

The new rumoured Uptone is supposed to have a capacitated psu = kind of a short battery for power that gives stable current, a Crystal 1ppm oscillator to reclock like the regen, and galvanized USB. This is all in one box.

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I just checked their spec page, I cant see galvanization, and neither the oscillator type mentioned for re-clock, and it needs a power supply which reintroduces noise from the power net.

 

3R USB Renessaince

The new rumoured Uptone is supposed to have a capacitated psu = kind of a short battery for power that gives stable current, a Crystal 1ppm oscillator to reclock like the regen, and galvanized USB. This is all in one box.

 

Then what better thing than wait for the supposed things to materialize

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1) how does the intona feed a clean 5v supply to some dacs. linear internal psu maybe?

 

2) i understand the 5v is for usb powered dacs, a mains powered dac does not need 5v from intona? just handshake.

 

3) with the chord hugo which is battery powered even when the charger is plugged in, does this affect the benefits of intona because charger comes after intona? does it utilise the 5v from intona or is it just a handshake again. confused here? hugo is not usb powered but still a portable with a battery.

 

 

4) is the intona compatible with micro usb ports. i will check also with daniel. was the intona even designed to output to micro usb..umm?

 

 

5) is there any better device on the market now or does intona still lead the way? uptone device?

 

 

6) transparent intona means zero effect on dac sound signature.?

 

 

7) if the intona is bidirectional and asynchrous dac clock is master controlling communication of data packets to and from the computer this works downstream with intona. but with upstream how can the reclocking of the data by intona work upstream and not interfere with the asynch. control of the dacs clock. never understood this. ok so this requires more than a yes or a no...lol

 

 

yes/no replies much appreciated. learning fast here.

thanks to all. mk.

Edited by musickid

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1) how does the intona feed a clean 5v supply to some dacs. linear internal psu maybe?

2) i understand the 5v is for usb powered dacs, a mains powered dac does not need 5v from intona? just handshake.

3) with the chord hugo which is battery powered even when the charger is plugged in, does this affect the benefits of intona because charger comes after intona? does it utilise the 5v from intona or is it just a handshake again. confused here? hugo is not usb powered but still a portable with a battery.

4) is the intona compatible with micro usb ports. i will check also with daniel. was the intona even designed to output to micro usb..umm?

5) is there any better device on the market now or does intona still lead the way? uptone device?

6) transparent intona means zero effect on dac sound signature.?

7) if the intona is bidirectional and asynchrous dac clock is master controlling communication of data packets to and from the computer this works downstream with intona. but with upstream how can the reclocking of the data by intona work upstream and not interfere with the asynch. control of the dacs clock. never understood this. ok so this requires more than a yes or a no...lol

yes/no replies much appreciated. learning fast here.

thanks to all. mk.

 

I had a huge learning curve the last year too.. I just saw my own question in this thread 4th of april last year asking about expencive usb cables and about the Intona unit..

 

1. Intona doesnt feed the dac, it uses the 5vbus from the dac to power the DAC side of the USB galvanization. Basically there are 2 boards inside the Intona unit. With a galvanization chip between them, no current is transferred between the boards. Any 5vbus noise is coming from the dac itself. The computer powers the PC side inside the Intona unit, and the DAC powers the DAC side of the Intona unit.

 

2. the 5vbus is not for dac's so to say, its used for charging cell phones, and usb hub's and mouse's and harddrives etc.. the DAC unless its a small dac that only gets power from the 5vbus. In such case the DAC doesnt get power from the 5vbus with the Intona unit, a powered USB hub is then necessary after the Intona towards the dac, which again leaks noise from power lines into the 5vbus. (according to Uptone's own comments).

 

3. Chord Hugo, I dont own the unit, but if it provides 5vbus power on USB it can power the DAC side of the Intona unit. (The Hegel DAC's Ive reviewed and owned did not provide 5vbus towards the Intona unit).

 

4. qood question. The first thing I thought about this was the fact that a cell phone doesnt give current on 5v out to drain the battery does it, atleast not the amount of power Intona needs to operate ? then I went for my living room to my setup and plugged my Samsung S6 edge to the intona, no light on the PC/phone side using a usb hub between. (I know using the HUB works as Ive been using it without power connector on the DAC side a few times to see if it works without power). Then I connected power to the hub, and power lid on the Intona, but no sync signal and phone played out on the phone speakers not the DAC. So I guess not.

 

5. Some people are claiming using the Uptone regen after the Intona towards the DAC gives a better sound. I have not tried this, as the Uptone regen needs power supply too, and I dont want to purchase a 400 dollar power supply for the small regen to give it clean capacitated power. Instead personally I have been looking at similar oscillator as Uptone regen uses (1ppm Crystal oscillator) and found the Gustard U12 to have same oscillator for AES/EBU and spdif! Berkeley usb to spdif converter uses custom oscillators no idea yet what its performance is (I havent found out which type yet!) and this product also uses galvanization on usb. I will get a Uptone regen locally used here once I get the Gustard unit to do some measurements.

 

6. Transparent Intona means transparent to the system. no driver involved. The sound signature to me improves alot. All details are still there, but the soundstage improves, and bass and lower tones goes from slightly muddy to precise.

 

7. Personally I dont know exactly how this works in full detail, but I have understood it so that the digital bits/samples are timed and sent on the analogue wavelength in a more precise manner than what the USB card on the host computer can do. So basically Intona reads all the data, galvanizes the data and reconstructs the wavelength with power from the DAC itself on a as perfect can get wavelength with its non-degrading oscillator. This is exactly what Uptone regen does too. If you dont add power to the signal (like a usb hub) after the Intona towards the DAC, the only noise is created by the dac itself!

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Thankyou very much Manpowre. with regards to hugo and intona it must work because reports are there talking about hugo with intona. i asked because i wanted to double check but still don't understand how intona's works with microusb.

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1. Intona doesnt feed the dac, it uses the 5vbus from the dac to power the DAC side of the USB galvanization. Basically there are 2 boards inside the Intona unit. With a galvanization chip between them, no current is transferred between the boards. Any 5vbus noise is coming from the dac itself. The computer powers the PC side inside the Intona unit, and the DAC powers the DAC side of the Intona unit.

 

Sorry, that is incorrect. No DAC provides VBUS power to an upstream connected device. Both sides of the Intona's single board are powered via the VBUS from the computer.

 

In the below photo you can see the Coilcraft transformer sitting at the bottom, across the moat. This is how they transfer VBUS power across without loosing the galvanic isolation. It is also why their VBUS power (when connected to a standard 500mA limited computer USB host port) is limited to 300mA.

(Sadly, they also place the one clock--which is used for both FPGAs--on the upstream "dirty" side. And then the Silicon Labs digital isolators use add jitter. Hopefully they do some sort of further rechecking in the downstream FPGA, but it must still be based on the clock coming from the upstream side through the isolators.)

 

Don't get me wrong, the Intona is effective as a galvanic isolator (I've had one for over a year). But it sure sounds a lot better with a REGEN (powered by an LPS-1 so as not to defeat the isolation) after it. :)

 

intona-07.jpg

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i asked because i wanted to double check but still don't understand how intona's works with microusb.

 

Works fine. You just need either a USB A>microB cable to run from the output of the Intona to your Hugo, or a solid adapter such as this (assuming you can position the Intona and Hugo jacks at the same height):

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TAM0MZW

 

61jQ76eps9L._SL1200_.jpg

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Sorry, that is incorrect. No DAC provides VBUS power to an upstream connected device. Both sides of the Intona's single board are powered via the VBUS from the computer.

In the below photo you can see the Coilcraft transformer sitting at the bottom, across the moat. This is how they transfer VBUS power across without loosing the galvanic isolation. It is also why their VBUS power (when connected to a standard 500mA limited computer USB host port) is limited to 300mA.

(Sadly, they also place the one clock--which is used for both FPGAs--on the upstream "dirty" side. And then the Silicon Labs digital isolators use add jitter. Hopefully they do some sort of further rechecking in the downstream FPGA, but it must still be based on the clock coming from the upstream side through the isolators.)

 

Don't get me wrong, the Intona is effective as a galvanic isolator (I've had one for over a year). But it sure sounds a lot better with a REGEN (powered by an LPS-1 so as not to defeat the isolation) after it. :)

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]33735[/ATTACH]

Thanks alot for that great clarification.

 

I have a Tascam UH-7000 and I replaced the power supply to a MeanWell 12v 30w power supply and got great results. I can barely hear difference on the AES/EBU output powering my Yggdrasil vs the old psu where I could hear a huge difference using AES. On the analogue part the old psu were muddy soundstage. The new psu is definetely not muddy anymore its clear as hell compared to the old psu, and in the beginning I had troubles differentiate my Yggdrasil vs the Tascam UH7000 as a dac, but after listening more I can easy tell the difference.

 

This exercise makes me think towards @Superdad's uptone LPS-1 where the supercapacitors are charged one side at a time with electronics to power things like a dac and especially measurement instruments like ADC. Just the fact that the timing mechanism of my Tascam UH-7000 which apparently has +/- 1ppm oscillator on AES output where there is such a big difference getting a proper power supply, imagine if I powered this Tascam unit with LPS-1. Unfortunately I need 11.2v so the LPS-1 is not strong enough for my usage.

 

Personally I think high end audio is moving towards usage of clean inside power supplies like the LPS-1 in the future, as the with 2-4kUSD gear we can hear and measure differences now.

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basics again,

 

with a mains powered dac after the intona is the isolation provided by the intona compromised here? also if say using a hugo where here Rob Watts has told me as long as the source is isolated there is no further problem. is it the same when using an intona with a usb powered dac? i ask because i know if you insert a regen for eg after the intona due to it being plugged in unless using lps1 is used again intona is compromised. this is very basic stuff but i am not from a technical background. cheers mk

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Since we don't yet have Alex's Iso Regen, I offer up the story of my 'In-iso-Regen' over in my CA BLOG post.

 

It's simple but effective, configuration with some ease-of-use features, is my answer to this threads title question ! (Hint: both) The DIY stuff isn't absolutely necessary but you might like it.

 

P.S. lots of picture for the reading challenged :)

 

 

P.S.S. Discussion on the BLOG only, please.

Edited by Daudio
title

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Sorry, that is incorrect. No DAC provides VBUS power to an upstream connected device. Both sides of the Intona's single board are powered via the VBUS from the computer.

 

In the below photo you can see the Coilcraft transformer sitting at the bottom, across the moat. This is how they transfer VBUS power across without loosing the galvanic isolation. It is also why their VBUS power (when connected to a standard 500mA limited computer USB host port) is limited to 300mA.

(Sadly, they also place the one clock--which is used for both FPGAs--on the upstream "dirty" side. And then the Silicon Labs digital isolators use add jitter. Hopefully they do some sort of further rechecking in the downstream FPGA, but it must still be based on the clock coming from the upstream side through the isolators.)

 

Don't get me wrong, the Intona is effective as a galvanic isolator (I've had one for over a year). But it sure sounds a lot better with a REGEN (powered by an LPS-1 so as not to defeat the isolation) after it. :)

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]33735[/ATTACH]

 

 

http://intona.eu/en/answer/popular

 

Intona Answer Database (FAQ)

 

Find Answer

Answer #1236

 

Is there any customization possible, for example using a better oscillator?

 

What would you expect by using a "better" oscillator?

We measured 12.5ps of RMS jitter on the USB packet clock. A more or less jittery oscillator would not make any difference on this, because of the very low tuned lp-filter in the transceiver's PLL.

We use four clocks in our design, all shifted slightly in phase and affected from natural spread spectrum of the isolator chips and other sources. This really helps to bring EMI down and to spread current peaks – e.g. to lower the packet noise.

If we would tune everything inside to least jitter, this would rise packet noise and also EMI radiation.

One need to distinguish between

 

  • sample clock in an ADC or DAC: low jitter is the most important, because only the right sample at the right time is the right sample
  • transmission clock of a serial system: BER (bit error rate) or eye mask to be specified
  • clock passing integrated logic: setup and hold times to be met

We decided to go for low noise, so spreading clocks and accepting inter-logic-skew was the way to go. Further, clever design of return currents and also a good and low impedance decoupling network of the power supplies are by far more important to meet your needs than looking for the oscillator.

Intona Answer Database (FAQ)

 

Find Answer

Answer #1240

 

Is it possible to power the USB Isolator with a linear power supply instead of the PC USB +5V bus?

 

This would be possible if you use an external adapter cable which does split the supply.

But please note:

Internal voltages are generated by linear regulators. The isolated side is supplied by our own proprietary and very careful designed DC/DC converter followed by linear regulators.

The isolated USB output voltage is generated by the Analog Devices ADP125 linear regulator.

Because of the isolation barrier, this is really always the same low noise independent from host/computer cable type.

 

 

7054_fft_output[1].png

 

Answer #1130

 

Assuming a 1A+ USB supply on the primary side, what is the maximum continuous current that the isolated side can draw?

 

Maximum continuous current that can be drawn from the 7054-based isolators is 500mA. The output voltage will drop if more than 500mA is drawn and shuts down in hiccup-mode at 800mA.

Sustained short circuit-proof: the unit was tested on short circuit for 1 hour and no damage occurred.

 

7054_i_vs_u.png

Edited by Ncore1

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I remember the designer of Hugo said it's best to just use the optical SPDIF input for isolation, so I got myself a XMOS U8 USB to SPDIF bridge with 0.1PPM clock from taobao, cheap ~US$50... it sounds great, I feed it with batteries too; there is a version of same product with built-in linear power supply which I got for a while for testing, but returned it; the simple bus powered version with an USB signal/DC separation cable powered by batteries clearly sounds better.

 

I am looking at intona too because the other tweak I have for noise isolation, an USB/Optical/USB cable, also from taobao, not really cheap, shortest cable is 10M, for US$250... while working great with the bridge above with the signal isolated from PC and regenerated too, but it's kind of too complicated because for best sound I have to feed both end with batteries too, that's a lot of battery DC... But, then again, second thought, if Intona is fed with batteries on both end (with DC separated USB cable), I believe it will sound better too, sign... anyways, it's always like, not until you tried I guess...

 

Another thing worth mentioning is after a long time with Hugo I can say even it is said to be completely battery powered, the DC power adapter still adds quite a bit of noise into the audio. Some people actually prefer that noise though, saying it is "fatter"... but to me, it's kind of congested and fatiguing sound obviously polluted by noise.

 

And, to your Q6, from my experiences, no matter how you feed it, it will always sound Hugo, everything sounds glossy, not in a bad way, of course, or it wouldn't be so popular.

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