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EtherREGEN: All posts about firmware moved here


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8 hours ago, incus said:

There are many things to take away from this episode in the ER's brief but already illustrious history. Yet there is one thing that hasn't been mentioned within this context very much which may help explain some of what is going on, and that is burn-in. It's a very real thing for this device. 

 

Prior to any awareness of the bugs and the connectivity issues that the new firmware was created to address, I would say I possessed at least 3 and possibly even 4 different sonic iterations of the EtherREGEN. By this I mean that after about half an hour, the sound of my unit changed from being a bit lifeless and straightforward and not offering any special acoustic advantage over my old SOtM switch to quite suddenly blooming into life with a full-throated and detail-saturated tone that reminded me very much of when I first owned a Mutec REF10 and went through the process of burning it in. A "big pipe" someone called it and that was very accurate for me at the time in terms of where I found myself in the EtherREGEN burn-in process. I enjoyed the up-front presentation and increased depth of the sound-stage but I also harbored some quiet reservations about whether I could ultimately live with this addition to my playback chain long term. I ended up selling the REF10, after all, for much the same reasons; everything I listened to through the REF10 shared the sonic signature of that device, regardless of genre or quality of source, I could hear it. And this bothered me in the end, because I knew I was hearing the component and not the music. 

 

Then after about 70-80 hours, the etherREGEN changed again. It was similar to going from a copper power cable to a silver one. Or from vinyl to tape.  The bombast receded. The frequencies aligned better.  The pipe was still big but it was smoother along the inside edges, like it had been polished.  The details sparkled a little more. The soundstage stabilized. More ambient cues emerged. A kind of calm settled over the music. I wondered if this was source dependent but then noticed that this wasn't about the quality of the recording - that information was there no matter what; bad recordings were bad and good were good - but I felt a touch closer to whatever was there in that source, like there was less  between me and the recording now.

 

Another interesting thing happened about this time, as well.  I had another big revelation for my playback chain. I felt like things had become a little too smooth, what some might call "hifi" and I started to examine each component in my desktop system to see if the etherREGEN might be to blame. After much experimentation, I decided to try my Chord Hugo TT2 *without* the M-Scaler practically for the first time since I bought the pair together.  And I was quite impacted by what happened. I realized that the M-Scaler, as great as it was, was very much imparting its own sound on the music. Very much in the  manner as the REF10, although nearly the opposite in terms of effect. The M-Scaler had a way of dulling the inner edges of things, flattening and smoothing tones that at times was very agreeable but resulted in a slight homogenization of the signal. Put another way, without the M-Scaler, there was simply more difference between sources. I would hear the quality of the source better. I could discern the various components and cables in my playback chain better.

 

Finally, after about 120 hrs - right as I became aware of the connectivity issues with the etherREGEN and the subsequent fix - my etherREGEN entered a final stage of 'becoming' what it was ultimately to become. A final level of ease, openness, purity, calm, silence, accuracy of tone, and overall balance come out - to such an extent that the etherREGEN essentially erased itself. This is a very important point to stress. At that stage in the break-in process, listening to the same material again and again, I began to doubt my ability to "hear" the etherREGEN anymore. It was right around then that I made the switch to V2. And the process of burn-in was more or less complete. This is not to say that when I remove the etherREGEN I can't immediately tell it's not there. I can. But when it's in and I settle into listening for a while, each recording comes to me with so little adulteration, each musician, each producer, each venue 'speak' to me in such a clear way, that I could conceivably argue in that moment that the etherREGEN is doing "nothing." I could certainly say the etherREGEN is NOT doing what it did before.

 

So my point is - this process has made it VERY hard to pin down the "sound" of the etherREGEN. It has evolved - and evolved to the point where I have trouble describing what exactly it does - except allow me to hear better into the music. AND it's perhaps possible that this is at least in part what has brought some listeners to the conclusion that something changed with their units with the V2 upgrade. I would very curious, in other words, to know where people were in the the break-in process when they made the switch. The results of my personal experience also imply that the etherREGEN may, in some circumstances, force its owner to reassess even highly-resolving and highly-acclaimed components. In other words, the etherREGEN may reveal things about one's playback chain that are actually NOT what one thought they were and NOT actually to one's liking.

 

Anyway, the major take-aways are this:

1) Burn is very real with this device and took me through many stages before it more or less settled where it is now. During this process the sound of the etherREGEN changed many times and pinning down its 'sonic signature' is now very difficult for me to do.

2) The EtherRegen allowed to me get rid of my Hugo M-Scaler because it allowed to hear how that device was influencing the sound I was hearing.

 

I will follow up later with some other interesting observations about:

1) Using a Farad 7V PSU in place of an LPS 1.2 on the etherREGEN and how this further "erased" the etherREGEN from the music.

2) Testing of different servers and software to learn that the effect of upstream 'devices' through the etherREGEN still matters quite a bit, although decidedly less than downstream devices, which corroborates what I have said above because essentially ALL components are revealed more by the etherREGEN - whether upstream or downstream...

 

Indeed a great review, thanks a lot! Some time ago I was thinking about buying an Hugo M-scaler, glad I didn’t. I think Superdad should place this in the listening 👂 tread. It belongs there! Hopefully austinpop will give us his thoughts soon too.

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@incus and @Ehsu very intriguing posts.

 

So you're saying that etherREGEN allows your recordings and other components to show their true character.  That is very high praise.

 

I rather doubt that any kind of measurements would reflect your reported experience.  Some of us don't worry about that and just enjoy the ride.

NUC7PJYH/AL --> Berkeley Alpha USB --> Jeff Rowland Aeris --> Jeff Rowland 625 S2 --> Focal Utopia 3 Diablos with 2 x Focal Electra SW 1000 BE subs

 

i7-6700K/Windows 10 Version 2004/HDPLEX 300W/HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX --> EVGA Nu Audio Card --> Focal CMS50's 

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1 hour ago, rickca said:

So you're saying that etherREGEN allows your recordings and other components to show their true character.  That is very high praise.

Hi rickca;

well, it is a praise but also a curse. I realized this revealing nature because I was searching for answers to why sometimes I don’t connect with some familiar music after update. I’m usually a music first audiophile. I buy musics that I like not because how good it sound. I buy Hi-Fi components so I can enjoy my music collections more. 
so now I can only enjoy the very well recorded 500 albums instead of 2000 albums for example. Although, I must say I will enjoy those 500 albums much more than before. Other 1500 albums? I’ll end up pushing skip next button.... so it can be a curse. 
I’m even more confident with this explanation now after comparing the sound to my much less capable system at 1/30th of the cost of my main system. It is much less revealing system but loves to boogie:-). I still enjoy my music very much there after the update. I could not hear any veil or much differences to v1 ( from memory ) because there was much less information being presented to me in the first place! 
my next project will be trying to find out why I felt the streaming video has less punch and less  “pop” effect after update. I thought it was a part even more obviously affected by the update. I will report back if I find an answer there. 
 

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1 hour ago, simon_pepper said:

Application of the update was straight forward and well documented.  I understand that in-the-field firmware updates was never planned, hence the USB port being internal to the device - anyway it means we were allowed to open and view the actual PCB - nicely done and densely populated.

Thank you Simon.

 

1 hour ago, simon_pepper said:

Back in the system and all port responding - initial listening, I still have the soundstage space, and additional clarity over the unmanaged Cisco 5-port the EtherRegen placed. Is there more? I think so, however system is now playing the new Pink Floyd album and it all sounds mighty fine across the range, with good transient behaviour and fine detail resolution. So no issues here.

Nice.

 

1 hour ago, simon_pepper said:

Now if John has found additional scope on the PHY layer of the A-ports, is there any such opportunity for the B-port?

The very new, very special Ethernet protocol converter/PHY which sits just 2mm behind the 'B'-side RJ45 is not being programmed externally. Rather we use "strapping" resistors to set certain functional parameters.  And as far as I know (John may know differently--his is VERY intimate with that chip's 125 page datasheet) there are no PHY parameters to adjust.

 

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2 hours ago, simon_pepper said:

I was away on a business trip last week, so applied the firmware update this Sunday afternoon, after my system had been powered backup & warmed up after a week away etc.


I had not experienced any network drops with my Naim NDS network player (Streamer/DAC), UltraRendu running the SonoreUPnP Bridge for Roon connectivity, RPi2 running Asset R6.4 UPnP server, as ‘native’ UPnP server as backup playback path. There is also a ATV Gen3. None of these devices has any reported EEE issues. So the application of the firmware was purely to avail of the performance upgrade to the PHY layer for the ‘A’ ports.

 

Application of the update was straight forward and well documented.  I understand that in-the-field firmware updates was never planned, hence the USB port being internal to the device - anyway it means we were allowed to open and view the actual PCB - nicely done and densely populated.

 

Back in the system and all port responding - initial listening, I still have the soundstage space, and additional clarity over the unmanaged Cisco 5-port the EtherRegen placed. Is there more? I think so, however system is now playing the new Pink Floyd album and it all sounds mighty fine across the range, with good transient behaviour and fine detail resolution. So no issues here.

 

I have also placed a 20mm think Cork board under, and being 150mm x 150mm it is a perfect size for under the EtherRegen case, if not going on a shelf. My EtherRegen is behind my two Aavik tables. I have one of these boards under my NUC based ROCK server as well, sprayed black. If anyone is interested these Cork boards are on Amazon UK.

 

Now if John has found additional scope on the PHY layer of the A-ports, is there any such opportunity for the B-port? Or maybe a further optimisation of both PHY settings now the initial connectivity problems re. EEE protocol are solved.

 

Keep up the good work, and ignore the ‘bits are bits’ crowd, network optimisation and reduction of noise into the Streamer/DAC is obviously important and can have a significant impact.

 

As an example I understand Melco units are being configured as just network buffers, between a networked Roon Core & Music Library and the Streamer/DAC - that solution is at a different price point to the EtherRegen based approach, but still providing isolation between different IP traffic streams.

 

Simon

I use Audirvana for buffering; is there a difference?

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So is the discussion of V1 vs. V2 over? This is my impression :) 

Reading through the latest Feedbacks the V2 (could) support the aim to be „true to the source“ which I love and appreciate a lot. Even if this is something which some aren’t used to. At the end, everybody will love it after hearing what is really IN the record. 

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I received my etherregen about a fortnight ago and experienced drop outs and disconnections  as others did earlier in the thread.

I have now installed the new firmware, the process was pretty straight forward, thank you for the clear instructions.

 

I have  a 2 pc set up - HQp server to NUC Endpoint running HQp’s naa, left running for several hours yesterday and again today without any issues so total success, the fw update has cured the problem!

 

When first installed the ER produced an improvement even though this was marred by the eee issue. Now it has had time to settle down with the new firmware l am able to hear clearly the uplift in sound quality. although I felt the system’s sound was pretty good previously, the ER has enhanced it further - Wider and deeper sound stage, greater transparency, subtle details like the piano action or musician(s) moving during quiet passages are ....less subtle! The music seems to flow with more conviction, hence enhancing connection with the performance. 

 

Overall a a great result. 

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17 hours ago, incus said:

 

Anyway, the major take-aways are this:

1) Burn is very real with this device and took me through many stages before it more or less settled where it is now. During this process the sound of the etherREGEN changed many times and pinning down its 'sonic signature' is now very difficult for me to do.

2) The EtherRegen allowed to me get rid of my Hugo M-Scaler because it allowed to hear how that device was influencing the sound I was hearing.

 


I believe what you were able to perceive as far as the M-Scaler was the harm the RF (generated by the M-Scaler Itself) was doing.  I anticipate will come away with a very different impression if you were to place an OPTO DX between your M-Scaler and TT2.  The OPTO DX is a game changer IMHO.  Feel free to send a PM about this as this is off topic for this thread.

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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OPTO DX ...? Quick overview, please!

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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2 hours ago, Bernstein said:

So is the discussion of V1 vs. V2 over? This is my impression :) 

Reading through the latest Feedbacks the V2 (could) support the aim to be „true to the source“ which I love and appreciate a lot. Even if this is something which some aren’t used to. At the end, everybody will love it after hearing what is really IN the record. 

But I am still surprised why those records I loved sounded bad now? I thought they were quite good before. Maybe I should store the music files away from the NAS? Or maybe ER is showing me the upstream noise somewhere? Maybe the wireless router that NAS plugged in or the router noise? For example, even Tracy Chapman in WAV sounded dull now. And Norah Jones in 24/192 Flac sounded flat! Just shocked with the result still.  

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2 hours ago, jamesg11 said:

OPTO DX ...? Quick overview, please!


An excellent write-up here:  

Details here: https://audiowise-canada.myshopify.com/products/dx-optical-isolation-kit

 

 

 

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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6 hours ago, Ehsu said:

But I am still surprised why those records I loved sounded bad now? I thought they were quite good before. Maybe I should store the music files away from the NAS? Or maybe ER is showing me the upstream noise somewhere? Maybe the wireless router that NAS plugged in or the router noise? For example, even Tracy Chapman in WAV sounded dull now. And Norah Jones in 24/192 Flac sounded flat! Just shocked with the result still.  


What are recordings which shocked you in a positiv manner?

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57 minutes ago, Bernstein said:


What are recordings which shocked you in a positiv manner?

Weird, right? I only mentioned these 2 because these 2 albums were my go to albums for test for years. Voices were a bit lifeless and bass and drums were mellow. I remember drums behind Norah was bouncier before ( even before ER arrived ). If Only by Arthur James was a bit splashy and not making sense. I quite like this album by Arthur and had good time with it before. But I do understand its a modern pop so the recording itself can be average.

Night Like This by Hillary Duff, Momento Magico by Ulf Wakenius, Broken Glass by Rachel Platter, Crimson wedding by Ricky Ho ( a movie soundtrack ) and Tantobushi by Yoshida brothers ( Japanese strings ) were some of the good ones. Dynamic and full of life. Dont laugh at these songs, they were played randomly by Roon for a cruisy Sunday afternoon. I did not list everything Roon played because most others were average or skipped if bad. Not sure if you know these songs but I listen to all kind of different genres. 

I dont have any MP3 files so they are at least 16/44 WAV. No Tidal played yesterday.

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8 minutes ago, Johnnydev said:

John Swenson's "under the bonnet" and "across the years" narrative helped me persist with Firmware v2.

 

A combination of removing a Cisco switch (btw the 1G port as input made a difference), cable experiments (yes - sorry but true) and grounding the EtherREGEN (!) has re-established more than enough body, slam and oomph for me.

 

I can't fault the ER's output. Accuracy is the watchword.

 

Feel free to remove any of my previous posts relating to the Firmware update. They were true at the time and I stand by them. But understandings mutate with experimentation, adjustments and protracted listening.

 

The EtherREGEN opens a remarkable window on music.

 

hi Iving,

I really do not understand that after so many reviews from you, now come with the grounding, whereas this was specifically described in advance?

It has only brought doubt and unrest! 🥵

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