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UpTone Audio EtherREGEN Listening Impressions


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2 hours ago, _JL_ said:

 

Updated Impressions After Run-in

I have my ERs running continuously for a couple days so it's time to reassess it. Previously I found connecting the uplink to the SFP port sounds better than the normal A port. This turns out to be due to (lack of) run-in. Now I realize that the ER fresh out of the box sounded rolled-off in the treble (which is consistent with some other members' reports) and was not as transparent as the SFP port. After run-in it changes significantly - it now sounds smooth and resolving. The difference between the A port and the SFP port is now very very slight, with the SFP port perhaps a bit brighter but the A port is smoother and quieter.

 

Now I prefer the normal A port over the SFP port running copper Ethernet for the uplink. I wonder if the SFP cage has the same isolation transformers as the normal A ports? Perhaps Alex/John can shed some light on this.

 

I'll revisit this once I receive the fiber SFP modules.

 

Internal Clock vs External NewClassD NeutronStar-2 10Mhz Clock

The NS2 clock is powered by a KECES DC-116 LPS at 12V. A short matching 50-ohm coaxial cable is used to connect it to the 50-ohm version ER. The NS2 clock has a few days' continuous run-in.

 

The two clocks do sound different but the difference is very small after run-in. The NS2 clock has a slightly more lit-up treble than the internal clock which can be appealing in darker sounding systems. In comparison, the internal clock is smoother, have a deeper soundstage, and slightly better resolution. This suggests that the internal clock probably has lower noise floor than the external NS2 clock.

 

I'm not sure if more run-in will change things but at this point I found the internal clock to be a better and simpler option.

 

Cascading ERs

So I tried this again, using two configs. First is with the Internet uplink, Roon ROCK, and link to the second ER all on the A side. Second is with the Roon ROCK moved to B side. In both cases Roon exhibited some connectivity issues. When it works I can't really say if there is any difference at all so I think the ER is working as intended, at least in these two configurations.

 

In retrospect I should have tested linking the upstream ER's B port to the downstream ER's A port. Maybe next time once I receive the fiber SFP modules.

 

Removing Other Devices from A Side

I tried removing all other devices (ATV-4K, AV Receiver) except for the uplink from the ER's A ports to see if that will improve the sound. I did some back-and-forth comparison and honestly the difference is so small I could have imagined it so I think the ER again is working as intended!

 

Summary

So the key findings here are: (a) run-in is a must before serious comparisons can be made; and (b) the ER performs exactly as predicted by Alex/John - practically immune to upstream and concurrent connections in the A ports, and superb internal clock performance.

 

Congratulations to Alex/John for a fine piece of well-engineered component!

 

Nice to have confirmation on what many of us have experienced so far.

Have you or do you plan to test an LPS or two in lieu of the supplied power supply?

Steve Schaffer

Roon Nucleus/ WD USB Drive / dCS Vivaldi Upsampler  / dCS Vivaldi DAC / dCS Vivaldi Clock / Spectral DMC-30SV preamp / Spectral DMA-500 monoblocks / Wilson Audio Alexia Series 2 speakers / Shunyata Denali - DPC6 - Sigma Ethernet / Synergistic Research Galileo interconnects / Uptone EtherREGEN switch

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On 11/19/2019 at 1:25 AM, matthias said:

 

Can you try to bypass the Cisco with the ER that means to connect the Cisco to a A-port of the ER but have no series connection of both switches regarding your signal coming from Qobuz?

Thanks

 

Matt

@matthias I'm trying some configuration variations.   The first being with and without the Gigafoil filter before the eR.   However, when I disconnect ethernet on any track, the buffer keeps playing until the end of the track.  (this is different from previous tests, where the buffer played usually just a few seconds).   So, this begs the question, for this particular test, am I only hearing a cached version of the track?   

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2 hours ago, _JL_ said:

So the key findings here are: (a) run-in is a must before serious comparisons can be made;

 

For whatever reason, it always takes a new piece of gear a very long time to settle into my setup.  The eR is no different.  In fact, it reminds me of burning in my previous DAC -- there are periods when the sound is sublime and times when it doesn't sound very good at all.  Overall, now more than 130 hours of playing music, the peaky highs (seems others have the opposite problem) are gradually reducing.  I will probably give it 200 hours (arbitrary limit) before deciding if it is going to work with my DAC (which is my streamer/Roon endpoint too).  

Mola Mola Tambaqui / Kubala-Sosna XLR / Mola Mola Kaluga / KS biwire / B&W 803 D3

Ethernet:  iMac/Roon > ... in-wall 5e ... > Sonore opticalModule [Sonore 5V LPS] > UpTone EtherREGEN + Cybershaft OP13 [UpTone JS-2 LPS] > Tambaqui ( = DAC/Roon Endpoint/preamp)

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Played music for about 40 minutes last night. Time is at a premium lately. Overall my system sounded great. However I did get to a few songs I know very well and they seemed to have attenuated highs. Presentation could be described as crisp/hot.

 

With all the lost connections I probably only have 72 hours of burn-in so far via Qobuz/Tidal. I'm kind of adverse to overly bright so hopefully this settles down

 

I'm really happy Alex/John have found the cause of the connectivity issues.

SYSTEM: Ghent JSSG360 Cat6a > EtherRegen/Farad Super 3 > Ghent JSSG360 Cat6a > Zenith MKII SE > Phasure Lush 2 > Innuos Phoenix > Phasure Lush 2 > PS Audio Directstream Sr DAC > Ayre K-5xe MP Preamplifier > Conrad Johnson MF-2500a > Vandersteen Quatro Woods

POWER: AQ (Niagara 5000/Tornado/Hurricane)/Audience AU24 SE LP/Triode Wire Labs/Shunyata (Python/Venom 3)/Nordost Blue Heaven/Audio Sensibilities Sig Silver DC 

CABLING: AQ (Earth/Go-4 Dbl Bi-Wire)

ISOLATION: IsoAcoustics/Herbie's/BDR/PS Audio Powerbase

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9 hours ago, stevebythebay said:

Nice to have confirmation on what many of us have experienced so far.

Have you or do you plan to test an LPS or two in lieu of the supplied power supply?

 

I have been using the UltraCap LPS 1.2 to power the ER. I will try using a more ordinary LPS (KECES) to power it later to see if it makes any difference. Hopefully not then I can repurpose the UC elsewhere. Otherwise I'll have to get another UC for my second ER. Bad for the wallet.

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19 minutes ago, _JL_ said:

 

I have been using the UltraCap LPS 1.2 to power the ER. I will try using a more ordinary LPS (KECES) to power it later to see if it makes any difference. Hopefully not then I can repurpose the UC elsewhere. Otherwise I'll have to get another UC for my second ER. Bad for the wallet.

 

Alex and John maintain an LPS makes no difference. That's from people with vested interest in making a sale. 

 

Out curiosity, I powered mine with LPS-1.2. If there was an improvement, I couldn't pick on it. I'd say, unless you suffer from a severe case of audiophile nervosa, don't spend any money on it. 

 

Stereo

[Genelec 1032C x 2 + 7360 x 2] <== [MC3+USB x 3 <-- REF10] <== [AERIS G2] <== [EtherRegen x 2]
Chain switchable to [Genelec 8331 x 2 + 7350]


Surround

[Genelec 1032C x 3 + 8431 x 2  + 7360 x 2] <== [MiniDSP U-DIO8] <== [Mac Mini] 

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My most recent listening was done comparing my set up with no eR and with the eR (copper in to B side and optical out from A side).  

 

It's definitely not a strong difference, but I consistently hear a bit more clarity with the eR and optical.   Subtle, but good.

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Earlier this year I had compared a few tracks played off my NAS to the same tracks streamed from Tidal and Qobuz. I was a little surprised that the files off my NAS sounded better.  Here’s what I wrote to a few friends back then:  “To my surprise there was an obvious degradation when playing a streamed version relative to the NAS version - and it didn’t matter if the file was streamed from Tidal or Qobuz:  the CD rip played from my NAS sounded better - as if a veil had been stripped away.  I wonder how much the EtherRegen might help here.“
 

Now please take this with a grain of salt as 1) there have been many changes in my system since that discovery and 2) I only compared three tracks tonight - but I struggled to detect any differences between tracks played off my NAS relative to the same track streamed from Qobuz.  
 

Have any of you done similar comparisons since receiving your EtherRegens?

Digital:  Innuos Zenith Mk3 > Shunyata Sigma USB > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Wireworld Gold Startlight > OPTO DX > Shunyata Alpha S/PDIF > Chord Hugo TT2 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps

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3 hours ago, FrankMA said:

 

Same here.  Previously I strongly preferred local files to Qobuz/Tidal.  Dead heat now

So this would be with the ‘same’ files on a local hd direct or thru say a rendu from such local hd ... cf to streaming sites? 

 

mb pro>ethernet / elgar iso tran(2.5kVa, .0005pfd)>consonance pw-3 boards>ghent ethernet(et linkway cat8 jssg360)>etherRegen B-side(js-2)>ghent ethernet(et linkway cat8 jssg360) >ultraRendu A-side(clones lpsu split>lps1.2)>uspbc>iso regen(clones lpsu split>lps1.2)>curious regen link>rme adi-2 dac(js-2)>cawsey cables>naquadria sp2 passive pre> 1.naquadria lucien mkII.5 power>elac fs249be + elac 4pi plus.2> 2.perreaux9000b(mods)>2xnaq12” passive subs.

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1 hour ago, jamesg11 said:

So this would be with the ‘same’ files on a local hd direct or thru say a rendu from such local hd ... cf to streaming sites? 

 

Correct - same file/version stored locally and from streaming services all via my streamer (Innuos MKII SE) 

SYSTEM: Ghent JSSG360 Cat6a > EtherRegen/Farad Super 3 > Ghent JSSG360 Cat6a > Zenith MKII SE > Phasure Lush 2 > Innuos Phoenix > Phasure Lush 2 > PS Audio Directstream Sr DAC > Ayre K-5xe MP Preamplifier > Conrad Johnson MF-2500a > Vandersteen Quatro Woods

POWER: AQ (Niagara 5000/Tornado/Hurricane)/Audience AU24 SE LP/Triode Wire Labs/Shunyata (Python/Venom 3)/Nordost Blue Heaven/Audio Sensibilities Sig Silver DC 

CABLING: AQ (Earth/Go-4 Dbl Bi-Wire)

ISOLATION: IsoAcoustics/Herbie's/BDR/PS Audio Powerbase

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2 hours ago, PYP said:

I'd put money on being able to distinguish my pre-eR system from post-eR system with any recording I know well, and perhaps some I don't.

 

Given your fluctuating experiences with the eR since installing, and the above quote.....have you tried removing the eR and having a long listen to your original setup? Would be interesting, thanks!

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1 hour ago, andresz said:

What I also notice is the step up in the home theatre - the picture is more cinema like and rendered - more involving. Surround Dolby has moved to a new level. It is very ambient, large and small details not noticed before emerge and dissapear. This is a very interesting observation as it effects video as well - predictably I guess.

Exactly what I found too. The improvements were bigger than I expected. Picture has that 3D effect now due to punchier color and higher contrast. Deeper black gave me more depth to the image. More details to the sound as well. This thing is so good!

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4 minutes ago, skatbelt said:

My experiences with the EtherREGEN thus far:

 

Prior to it I already had musicians with me in the room so I expected nothing less than musicians embracing and hugging me with the EtherREGEN in place. Did this happen? The short answer is yes, somewhat, but certainly not out-of-the-box.

 

I came from:

Uptone modded Mac Mini as Roon server powered by Uptone JS-2 > copper ethernet (UTP) > Emo Systems EN-70HD network isolator > copper ethernet (UTP, short cable) > dCS Network Bridge > Chord DAVE > rest of the system.

 

Note that this setup was not physically connected to any router or switch. Streaming content and Roon control went over Wifi, setup in macOS via a bridged connection and internet sharing. This setup sounded very good and better than everything else I tried with (grounded) standard and audiophile switches. 

 

Another thing I have to mention is that the audio-part of my system is on a dedicated power line and behind an isolation transformer. So the EtherREGEN to me seemed THE solution to get complete (galvanic) isolation between the computer/network-part and audio-part without having (for instance) optical network components within the audio-part of my system.

 

So with the EtherREGEN I started with:

ISP-router > copper ethernet (STP) > EtherREGEN (powered by second rail of JS-2) A-side / B-side > copper ethernet (UTP) > dCS Network Bridge > rest of system.

+ Mac Mini Roon server powered by first rail of JS-2 > copper ethernet (UTP, short cable) > etherREGEN A-side.

 

I let the system settle for a day or two. Well, sort of, because I had lost connection issues with my Roon server (see the other thread that is quite derailing at the moment). This is resolved for now after disabling EEE.

 

After the two days I did some serious listening. And I found the results disappointing. Especially after all the positive stories I had read in this thread. I thought I heard a slight improvement in the microdetail department but the overall picture was less coherent, restless and no longer flowed the way I was used to. Beforehand I already expected the effect of the EtherREGEN to be not so impactful in my system because the dCS Network Bridge buffers the ethernet stream and does a lot of reclocking duties. One can literally unplug the ethernet cable and unit will play on for few seconds. But I was hoping the extra isolation relative to the Emo Systems isolator would at least bring some improvement.

 

When I had overcome this first setback I started experimenting with bringing that same Emo Systems isolator back into the chain. First between the ISP-router and the EtherREGEN. This seemed to be a logical choice because it would fight potential introduction of noise on the A side of the EtherREGEN. But against my expectation, this further deteriorated the sound quality. The same was true when I placed the Emo Systems isolator between the B-side of the EtherREGEN and the dCS Network Bridge.

 

But when I placed the Emo Systems isolator between my Mac Mini Roon server and the EtherREGEN (so also on the A side): eureka, everything fell back into place! As a result, the system now plays on a higher level on all aspects. Not in the superlative way others are experiencing but nonetheless.

 

What could be the (technical) reason behind this? Is the A-side of the EtherREGEN passing noise thru from the noisy ISP-router to the Roon server? Is the A-side of the EtherREGEN noisy itself and does it effect the performance of anything connected? Anyway, my strong advice - if you own an Emo Systems, Baaske or other type of passive network isolator - is to experiment with this yourself!

Great detail on the setup here @skatbelt, it helps a lot. 

 

The STP cable from the ISP router, most likely carries with it, unwanted noise, since it's coupled to a 'common ground' * directly, or by capacitance (hope not).

By fitting the EMO isolator, it's a transformer type based, so the isolator decouples the shield continuum from the rest of the system, much in the same way as the Jensen hum eliminators work for un/balanced line audio levels.

I would keep the EMO where it is, since it provides protection for high volts on Ethernet systems caused by destructive mains powered events.

Also possible that the STP formed a ground loop, perhaps can be overcome by connecting the ER ground terminal to earth (the same centre point from the IsoTransformer on the secondary) in this way all ground (earth) references are the same for the whole system.

 

The ground loop current or the unwanted noise "injection" is the main cause of loss of sparkle, micro detail and sound stage degradation. With placing the EMO in the right spot (for now), the missing attributes are now restored. This typically occurs with USB, which is difficult to control, but Ethernet can be corrected with simpler measures.

 

Please report back further listening observations.

 

* May not be connected to earth

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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40 minutes ago, One and a half said:

Great detail on the setup here @skatbelt, it helps a lot. 

 

The STP cable from the ISP router, most likely carries with it, unwanted noise, since it's coupled to a 'common ground' * directly, or by capacitance (hope not).

By fitting the EMO isolator, it's a transformer type based, so the isolator decouples the shield continuum from the rest of the system, much in the same way as the Jensen hum eliminators work for un/balanced line audio levels.

I would keep the EMO where it is, since it provides protection for high volts on Ethernet systems caused by destructive mains powered events.

Also possible that the STP formed a ground loop, perhaps can be overcome by connecting the ER ground terminal to earth (the same centre point from the IsoTransformer on the secondary) in this way all ground (earth) references are the same for the whole system.

 

The ground loop current or the unwanted noise "injection" is the main cause of loss of sparkle, micro detail and sound stage degradation. With placing the EMO in the right spot (for now), the missing attributes are now restored. This typically occurs with USB, which is difficult to control, but Ethernet can be corrected with simpler measures.

 

Please report back further listening observations.

 

* May not be connected to earth

Wouldn't switching from an STP to UTP also "fix" the problem?  Try a simple Cat6a for all your copper Ethernet to see if that makes things work best.

Steve Schaffer

Roon Nucleus/ WD USB Drive / dCS Vivaldi Upsampler  / dCS Vivaldi DAC / dCS Vivaldi Clock / Spectral DMC-30SV preamp / Spectral DMA-500 monoblocks / Wilson Audio Alexia Series 2 speakers / Shunyata Denali - DPC6 - Sigma Ethernet / Synergistic Research Galileo interconnects / Uptone EtherREGEN switch

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8 hours ago, Superdad said:

 

Nice report Sander (is that right? long day). :D

Please also try powering the EtherREGEN from just the stock SMPS it came with instead of the JS-2 whose outputs have common -VE/0-volt "ground" to each other. Even though both your Mac mini and the power to the EtherREGEN are on the 'A'-side, baed on your report I wonder if your result will change by using a separate supply.

 

Thanks Alex. And yes, you remembered well, Sander it is. Actually this is my given name. My full first name is Alexander...

 

I will try this today and will report back. The reason I didn't do it in the first place was because of the assumption that the standard SMPS would introduce extra switching noise via the power strip.

Roon server (Mac Mini/i7/SSD/16GB/Uptone DC mod/external SDD via firewire/Uptone Audio JS-2 LPS) Streamer dCS Network Bridge DAC Chord DAVE Amplifier / DRC Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 Speakers Lindemann BL-10 | JL audio E-sub e110 Cables CAT6 UTP ethernet, Transparent premium AES/EBU, Nordost Leif Red Dawn analog RCA, Kimber 8TC speaker cables, custom star-quad power cables with Oyaide termination Head-fi and reference Bakoon HPA-21 | Audeze LCD-3 (f) | Audio-technica ATH-M50 Software High Sierra | Roon | Tidal | Qobuz Power and isolation Dedicated power line | Xentek extreme isolation transformer (1KVA, 0.0001pf, balanced) | Vibex one 6R power distributor | Uptone EtherREGEN | Emo Systems EN-70HD network isolator | Jensen CI-1RR isolator

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Listened for about 3 hours last night (pre EEE fix). Had to reboot my entire network (from the cable modem) to get it working first.

 

Wa shocked at how good the below sounded streaming from Qobuz:

 

Rolling Stones   Midnight Rambler  Let It Bleed (50th Aniv Edition)

The Stooges      The Stooges          No Fun (50th Aniv Edition)

 

Phenomenal soundstage. Power. Detail. Felt like I was there live. Maybe these 2019 Remasters are special but these songs have never sounded this good on my system

 

 

SYSTEM: Ghent JSSG360 Cat6a > EtherRegen/Farad Super 3 > Ghent JSSG360 Cat6a > Zenith MKII SE > Phasure Lush 2 > Innuos Phoenix > Phasure Lush 2 > PS Audio Directstream Sr DAC > Ayre K-5xe MP Preamplifier > Conrad Johnson MF-2500a > Vandersteen Quatro Woods

POWER: AQ (Niagara 5000/Tornado/Hurricane)/Audience AU24 SE LP/Triode Wire Labs/Shunyata (Python/Venom 3)/Nordost Blue Heaven/Audio Sensibilities Sig Silver DC 

CABLING: AQ (Earth/Go-4 Dbl Bi-Wire)

ISOLATION: IsoAcoustics/Herbie's/BDR/PS Audio Powerbase

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