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

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With the industrial version of the Intona, use of a VBUS isolator on the output side yields a very noticable SQ improvement with the Auralic Vega DAC. Despite the fact that the Vega does not need +5 volts, this behavior is consistent, with just a straight cable or with a generic hub, REGEN and now the Intona device.


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FWIW : That is not my experience about such things. As a matter of fact it is the other way around - what's generally perceived as mediocre recording, often is about less hassle applied to the (digital) chain and that now being better and therefore more difficult to let excel. Think e.g. better dynamics because of less compression, while better dynamics first require a playback chain which can follow.

 

It could be tough to discuss what's a mediocre recording and what is the better one. This is because often we can not know. What I do, is always putting the mediocre ones aside for later revisiting, like for when an Intona comes about. ;)

I thus explicitly observe the worser ones and see with what (future application) they may improve. Now :

 

It may be fairly easy to have consensus over the older recordings sounding worse. Think 60's or early 70's. Still this is not so as over time I learned that they sound the best (so better than today's) if only first the playback chain improves.

Of course all is logic if we see how compression etc. molests, that is, if we disregard the so much other stuff involved (read : it surely is not about compression only).

 

Usually when such a thing happens (better recordings start to sound even better while the mediocre ones show even more failure) something else is not right.

Of course you'd need to know me a bit more to believe in that without a million posts about it ...

 

Peter

 

I couldn't agree with you more, Peter. :)


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FWIW : That is not my experience about such things. As a matter of fact it is the other way around - what's generally perceived as mediocre recording, often is about less hassle applied to the (digital) chain and that now being better and therefore more difficult to let excel. Think e.g. better dynamics because of less compression, while better dynamics first require a playback chain which can follow.

 

Well, I'm talking about the delta. Great recordings just became greater and made me feel mediocre recordings more mediocre.

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With the industrial version of the Intona, use of a VBUS isolator on the output side yields a very noticable SQ improvement with the Auralic Vega DAC. Despite the fact that the Vega does not need +5 volts, this behavior is consistent, with just a straight cable or with a generic hub, REGEN and now the Intona device.

 

 

Hi lmitche,

 

From my experience with my PC and the Phasure NOS1, all I have tried in the USB chain was always removed, due to degradation in SQ. And I could list what I have tried, starting from the PCIe USB card up to the NOS1.

 

What works for one may not work for someone else. It is with this in mind that I made a suggestion. It's not a rule, but from my experience (and apart from the Intona (industrial version)) it always sounded better without other components on the path.

 

So, maybe different components, different results ?

 

Regards,


Alain

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Does the intona require a Psu or it takes the 5v from the incoming usb? If that's the case, would it benefit from a aqvox to replace the incoming power with a lpsu

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Does the intona require a Psu or it takes the 5v from the incoming usb? If that's the case, would it benefit from a aqvox to replace the incoming power with a lpsu

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

 

I just tried this just a few hours ago with a Playback Designs MPD-3, it was a disaster, HQPlayer couldn't see the DAC. Removed the 5V power and all was good. The Intona takes power from the 5V bus and according to Windows is drawing 0mA, well that's Windows.


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I just tried this just a few hours ago with a Playback Designs MPD-3, it was a disaster, HQPlayer couldn't see the DAC. Removed the 5V power and all was good. The Intona takes power from the 5V bus and according to Windows is drawing 0mA, well that's Windows.

 

Funny, I had no problem injecting 5+ volts power with the AQVOX connector into the Intona. It works fine.

 

I tried using the REGEN to do the same, and that failed to sync.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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Hi lmitche,

 

From my experience with my PC and the Phasure NOS1, all I have tried in the USB chain was always removed, due to degradation in SQ. And I could list what I have tried, starting from the PCIe USB card up to the NOS1.

 

What works for one may not work for someone else. It is with this in mind that I made a suggestion. It's not a rule, but from my experience (and apart from the Intona (industrial version)) it always sounded better without other components on the path.

 

So, maybe different components, different results ?

 

Regards,

 

Hi Alain, LOL - yes of course, but it is a bit tough for me to label the Sbooster VBUS isolator a component. It's more like an very short USB extension cable with one lead (pin 1) disconnected.

 

I can't opine on the benefits, if any, of the Intona "industrial" device yet. I haven't had the time for proper testing. The system does sound different with, then without. My vote is still out. I made a change in my system earlier this week that yielded the largest step change improvement in my system, ever. Because of this, I am having difficulty separating the benefits of this prior change from any benefits coming from the addition of the Intona box. Time will tell.

 

Anyway, in my one man audio universe as a rule the Vega ALWAYS sounds better WITHOUT the VBUS connector delivering power. YUMV.

Edited by lmitche

nuckleheadaudio.com

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Hi Barry,

 

Just thinking... If the Intona already cleans the power already, maybe you may not need the Vbus isolator ? If you feel like it, you could test with and without the Vbus Isolator just to see if you really need it ? It's not a matter of price, since the Vbus is not expensive, but it has to do with all the connections ("ins" and "outs") that you have in the chain between your MacBook and the MSB dac... The idea is to have 90 ohms as much as possible in the chain, but the more connections you have, the more the probability that the impedance will be changed throughout the signal journey...

 

Just an idea of course... :)

 

Regards,

 

Hi Alain

 

I'll certainly try this, without the Intona I was surprised at how much of a positive difference cutting off the power along the Lightspeed Harmonic made. Alex from Uptone thought the power running through the cable acted as an antenna which might pick up noise (this might occur whether the power was cleaned up by the Intona or not).

 

Regardless, I appreciate the advice and will try this as ears are the final judge of any of these improvements.

 

I'd love to be able to use the Intona alone, but alas with the MSB DAC this is not to be (sight...).

 

Regards

Barry

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Hi Alain, LOL - yes of course, but it is a bit tough for me to label the Sbooster VBUS isolator a component. It's more like an very short USB extension cable with one lead (pin 1) disconnected.

 

I can't opine on the benefits, if any, of the Intona "industrial" device yet. I haven't had the time for proper testing. The system does sound different with, then without. My vote is still out. I made a change in my system earlier this week that yielded the largest step change improvement in my system, ever. Because of this, I am having difficulty separating the benefits of this prior change from any benefits coming from the addition of the Intona box. Time will tell.

 

Anyway, in my one man audio universe as a rule the Vega ALWAYS sounds better WITHOUT the VBUS connector delivering power. YUMV.

Hi Lmitche,

 

Well yes the word "component" was not the right word for the VBUS isolator :) Sorry :)


Alain

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Hi Alain

 

I'll certainly try this, without the Intona I was surprised at how much of a positive difference cutting off the power along the Lightspeed Harmonic made. Alex from Uptone thought the power running through the cable acted as an antenna which might pick up noise (this might occur whether the power was cleaned up by the Intona or not).

 

Regardless, I appreciate the advice and will try this as ears are the final judge of any of these improvements.

 

I'd love to be able to use the Intona alone, but alas with the MSB DAC this is not to be (sight...).

 

Regards

Barry

Hi Barry,

 

I understand the situation...

 

I will probably try the Sbus isolator myself (where did you order it ?). I am not sure if it will work here, since there seems to be a handshake between the PC and the NOS1 first, even if the NOS1 does not use the 5V...

 

Don't forget to leave your impressions, even if you do dot hear a difference :)

 

I am about to get a OS-ramdrive that will allow to load Windows all in RAM (from the SSD drive), then remove the SSD, so less spiky draws in PC. I am eager to receive it :)

 

Regards,


Alain

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Hi Barry,

 

I understand the situation...

 

I will probably try the Sbus isolator myself (where did you order it ?). I am not sure if it will work here, since there seems to be a handshake between the PC and the NOS1 first, even if the NOS1 does not use the 5V...

 

Don't forget to leave your impressions, even if you do dot hear a difference :)

 

I am about to get a OS-ramdrive that will allow to load Windows all in RAM (from the SSD drive), then remove the SSD, so less spiky draws in PC. I am eager to receive it :)

 

Regards,

 

Hi Alain, brief detour on the topic, if I may. Can you say what the OS ramdrive product is, or where to get it? I have been looking for this as well.

 

Thanks.

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For those of you following the misadventures with the Mutec MC-1.2 and the Intona on windows, the good news is, the Intona is finally working, in a way, with the Mutec. Most driver installs work, but this one didn't work out so kindly.

 

 

The main problem was the installation of the Mutec Windows driver on Windows 7 (which is suported), or my PC's USB controllers' config. On Windows 10 MBP Boot camped, the Intona and Mutec worked right away, surviving several reboots and the driver sticking quite well. That's fine for Windows 10, my music server PC support ended for Win 7, and no drivers are available for Windows 10, so I cannot upgrade.

 

 

So am stuck for the moment on Windows 7, the install didn't work right away with the Mutec 3.2 drivers from the Setup.exe. After a lot of experimentation, used the add new hardware wizard HDWWIZ.exe and selected the Have Disk options, to add in a new audio component in Sound, video and game controllers. This method narrows down select the driver by manual selection, rather than an online search which was useless and bombed every time. By including the driver in Sound, video and game controllers, means the Mutec will be available in HQPlayer as a verified end point. Often the Mutec would end up in the root of Device Manager with no ! and it's pointless to install there. I found best results when Norton Auto protect was off.

The driver would be installed in the correct place in Device Manager, however still had a !. Running the Mutec setup.exe again now worked correctly, with the Mutec appearing in Sound.cpl properly. On reboot, the driver still stuck, hooray! I listened to regular test music for an hour to prepare for the next step, to add in the Intona 7054.

 

 

For USB cabling, used the 0.5m Lindy USB cables for host and device. On a reboot, the Mutec wasn't detected, surprise, surprise. Added in the Mutec as per above procedure and it worked after a few times of uninstall, add new hardware, installing.... during one of the restarts, changed the Lindy short cable to a Nordost Blue Heaven 1m USB cable on the input to the Intona. Installing the driver worked for this cable, so left the output of the Intona with the 0.5m Lindy cable as is.

 

 

Now getting quite late in the day, listened to the regular test music on LCD-3 + Phonitor 2 supplied by RME ADI-2 DAC's TRS outputs, and noted these changes when the Intona 7054 was connected:

 

 

- Increased volume, particularly the bass

- Bass is far better defined and tighter

- Upper treble instruments are clearer to be distinguished, there are instruments or sounds that are now discoverable

- Easy to focus on (vocal) vibrato techniques (Jefferson Airplane - Triad MFSL)

 

 

Now, are the changes due to the Nordost USB cable in situ or the Intona or a combination. It's too hard to change the input USB cable again, since it means lengthy re-installs of the driver. I remember initial posts from users of the then (new) Regen, in that volume had increased, similar to a loudness function on an amp. The results are striking the same chord here with the Intona Based on the observations, as to the degree, well it's certainly eye opening. It is not possible to listen to music without the Intona from a USB system from now on. That's the result on headphones, in the next few days will try on speakers. I'm expecting stage height to be at least the same if not higher.

 

 

The next phase is to procure a Windows 10 PC, looking at the Lenovo m93p, small footprint PC to avoid the driver drama and maybe some minor SQ improvements as a bonus, and leave the Win7 PC as a file/server audio DAW. The US site lists Win8.1 although other countries offer Win 10 plus 16GB RAM, strange.


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Hi Barry,

 

I understand the situation...

 

I will probably try the Sbus isolator myself (where did you order it ?). I am not sure if it will work here, since there seems to be a handshake between the PC and the NOS1 first, even if the NOS1 does not use the 5V...

 

Don't forget to leave your impressions, even if you do dot hear a difference :)

 

I am about to get a OS-ramdrive that will allow to load Windows all in RAM (from the SSD drive), then remove the SSD, so less spiky draws in PC. I am eager to receive it :)

 

Regards,

 

Hi Alain

 

The Vbus isolator was ordered from a US Sbooster dealer. This was Pro Audio LTD.

 

i emailed [email protected] and dealt with Brian Tucker.

 

regards

Barry

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Hi Alain

 

The Vbus isolator was ordered from a US Sbooster dealer. This was Pro Audio LTD.

 

i emailed [email protected] and dealt with Brian Tucker.

 

regards

Barry

Hi Barry,

 

I felt I was quite lazy to ask without having done my homework, so I got back to the main website and got another dealer (also in the US - there is not enough space for dealers in Canada haha), where I ordered it. I will report after I have the chance to play with and without.

 

I am actually playing with different adjustments with the software. With the Intona, I am still amazed at the musicality that it adds. I am eager to try the incoming Windows 10 as it will be on the OS ramdrive.

 

Ah...Will it ever end ;)

 

Regards,


Alain

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Now getting quite late in the day, listened to the regular test music on LCD-3 + Phonitor 2 supplied by RME ADI-2 DAC's TRS outputs, and noted these changes when the Intona 7054 was connected:

 

 

- Increased volume, particularly the bass

- Bass is far better defined and tighter

- Upper treble instruments are clearer to be distinguished, there are instruments or sounds that are now discoverable

- Easy to focus on (vocal) vibrato techniques (Jefferson Airplane - Triad MFSL)

 

 

Now, are the changes due to the Nordost USB cable in situ or the Intona or a combination. It's too hard to change the input USB cable again, since it means lengthy re-installs of the driver. I remember initial posts from users of the then (new) Regen, in that volume had increased, similar to a loudness function on an amp. The results are striking the same chord here with the Intona Based on the observations, as to the degree, well it's certainly eye opening. It is not possible to listen to music without the Intona from a USB system from now on. That's the result on headphones, in the next few days will try on speakers. I'm expecting stage height to be at least the same if not higher.

 

 

You are also likely to find with some material, that the wideband HF noise decrease results in an apparent decrease in volume, often with a noticeable decrease in harshness with some female voices ,while still having more "air" around them,while loud percussive material sounds louder, apparently due to the low level upper HF harmonics being "unmasked".

It's as if the dynamics have further improved !

Much of my listening is also via headphones, but when listening via speakers, ensure that any running A/C or fans are turned off.


"If you can't hear the difference between an original CD and a copy of your CD,

you might as well give up your career as a tester. The difference between a reconstituted FLAC and full size WAV is much less than that, but it does exist. - Cookie Marenco"

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

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You are also likely to find with some material, that the wideband HF noise decrease results in an apparent decrease in volume, often with a noticeable decrease in harshness with some female voices ,while still having more "air" around them,while loud percussive material sounds louder, apparently due to the low level upper HF harmonics being "unmasked".

It's as if the dynamics have further improved !

Much of my listening is also via headphones, but when listening via speakers, ensure that any running A/C or fans are turned off.

 

So the wideband HF noise is being modulated on the USB carrier and masking itself as actual signal when the DAC decodes, that's where you're coming from? Is the wideband noise artefacts from the PHY, or just common mode stuff that rides along from the host or both?

 

I would expect, in theory, this to apply to DSD, but listening so far is Redbook with some hires, all upsampled to 192k as far as content is concerned.

My guess at the volume would be at least 1-2db.


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So the wideband HF noise is being modulated on the USB carrier and masking itself as actual signal when the DAC decodes, that's where you're coming from? Is the wideband noise artefacts from the PHY, or just common mode stuff that rides along from the host or both?

 

I would expect, in theory, this to apply to DSD, but listening so far is Redbook with some hires, all upsampled to 192k as far as content is concerned.

My guess at the volume would be at least 1-2db.

 

I would expect that it is mainly coming from the host, as I get the same when using a Regen with a low noise non SMPS with USB storage, when saved with the Regen in line, and then played back with the Regen inline, either from the PC via System Memory and an Asus Xonar soundcard via Coax SPDIF, or when plugged into a USB input of my Oppo 103 DAC with the Regen in line again, then via coax SPDIF into my main system. Unless the Regen is in line for playback as well, I don't get the improved dynamics that you describe. With existing material on the USB memory stick that wasn't saved there with the Regen in line at the time, I don't get any worthwhile benefit using the Regen for playback, but the same material that was recorded with the Regen in line is markedly improved as you described.

I took the USB memory stick and Regen along to a friend's place and the results were exactly the same from his Oppo 95 via Coax SPDIF and finally B&W 800 speakers.

Go figure !!!


"If you can't hear the difference between an original CD and a copy of your CD,

you might as well give up your career as a tester. The difference between a reconstituted FLAC and full size WAV is much less than that, but it does exist. - Cookie Marenco"

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

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Gentlemen, what would you recommend me to upgrade next: 1) to buy SBooster PSU for my existing Regen or 2) Intona? Asking since it's still not that clear for me all the differences between these two devices (Regen vs Intona) in terms of the sound impact. Basically I failed to find any conclusion regarding which one is the best sounding device.


MacBook Pro + Roon > Airport Extreme > microRendu + mbps-d2s > Auralic Vega > McIntosh MC275 > Yamaha NS-2000

Wired with: High Fidelity CT-1 Enhanced RCA, Revelation Audio Labs, Fadel Art Coherence PC

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Hi,

 

Both are different devices, technically :

1. The Regen is not a Galvanic Isolator but re-generates the USB data;

2. The Intona is a Galvanic Isolator and re-generates the USB data.

 

Ad 2.

This is not stated anywhere but technically will be so.

 

Technically, in my view, the Intona is the better one, assumed that Galvanic Isolation is required to do the (interfacing) job well.

Audibly everybody's "miles will vary" but when the environmental prerequisites for "a best sound" are met, the Intona implies spades of better sound. At least for my group over at Phasure this is so in 100% of cases, so far (think a few dozen).

 

As we can see in this (CA) forum, it is no guarantee that the Intona works out. We can also see that for most the Regen works out, while that too doesn't count for everybody (I am an example of that).

 

I would go for the Intona over the PSU you mention, just because the Intona is a whole different world and which brings a totally different sound. The PSU will (or should) improve the Regen which maybe is a bit odd. Notice that the Intona is powered by USB itself.

 

Regards,

Peter


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Notice that the Intona is powered by USB itself.

 

Regards,

Peter

 

Does the Intona have provision for external power from, for example, an LPSU?


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> router -> 2 Cisco switches connected by optical Ethernet -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Hi,

 

Both are different devices, technically :

1. The Regen is not a Galvanic Isolator but re-generates the USB data;

2. The Intona is a Galvanic Isolator and re-generates the USB data.

 

Ad 2.

This is not stated anywhere but technically will be so.

 

Technically, in my view, the Intona is the better one, assumed that Galvanic Isolation is required to do the (interfacing) job well.

Audibly everybody's "miles will vary" but when the environmental prerequisites for "a best sound" are met, the Intona implies spades of better sound. At least for my group over at Phasure this is so in 100% of cases, so far (think a few dozen).

 

As we can see in this (CA) forum, it is no guarantee that the Intona works out. We can also see that for most the Regen works out, while that too doesn't count for everybody (I am an example of that).

 

I would go for the Intona over the PSU you mention, just because the Intona is a whole different world and which brings a totally different sound. The PSU will (or should) improve the Regen which maybe is a bit odd. Notice that the Intona is powered by USB itself.

 

Regards,

Peter

 

Thank you Peter, Just ordered Intona and will come up here with my observations when have a chance to inject it to my stereo. Menwhile, could you please be more specific when stating "...which brings a totally different sound"? Comparing with Regen? How it differs?


MacBook Pro + Roon > Airport Extreme > microRendu + mbps-d2s > Auralic Vega > McIntosh MC275 > Yamaha NS-2000

Wired with: High Fidelity CT-1 Enhanced RCA, Revelation Audio Labs, Fadel Art Coherence PC

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Thank you Peter, Just ordered Intona and will come up here with my observations when have a chance to inject it to my stereo. Menwhile, could you please be more specific when stating "...which brings a totally different sound"? Comparing with Regen? How it differs?

 

Here's my observation of the Intona . I use a iMac and Schiit Yggy . The Intona definitely improved the audio quality whereas imo the Regen did not . The Regen is a very good device and improves audio on most dacs . I just felt it didn't do much with the Yggy . The Audioquest Jitterbug imo was essentially worthless .

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Much appreciated for your opinion!

Is there any sound improvement you could measure in terms as other users of the Regen does? For example, most of them (including me in my setup) agree that the Regen when it does, improves sound staging, hold the bass under control much better, adds a refinement and relaxes the sound overall.

 

I use my Jitterbug with Dragonfly and yes, it's a bit worthless (refines higher notes while makes the bass a bit wabbly)


MacBook Pro + Roon > Airport Extreme > microRendu + mbps-d2s > Auralic Vega > McIntosh MC275 > Yamaha NS-2000

Wired with: High Fidelity CT-1 Enhanced RCA, Revelation Audio Labs, Fadel Art Coherence PC

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