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Article: UpTone Audio EtherREGEN Review and Comparison

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An hour, well-spent! Thanks to Rajiv Arora for a great review and very interesting reading. Not that I needed proof (the EtherREGEN speak for itself), but to me, the mysteries of digital audio is no longer that mysterious...


UpTone JS-2 LPS > Mac Mini (UpTone MMK+Audirvana 3.2 - ER A-side) > UpTone EtherREGEN (JS-2) > WD-NAS (SMPS - ER A-side) > AirPort Extreme (Apple SMPS - ER A-side) > Sonore UltraRendu (LPS-1.2 - ER B-side) > UpTone IsoREGEN (LPS-1.2) > Hegel HD25 DAC > Conrad Johnson PV10 (Tube) > QUAD 405-2 > SoundLab Dynastat Electrostatic/Hybride Speakers > (Cables from AudioQuest/PS Audio/Transparent/Nordost)

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And right out of left field, Melco with the S100 for the win?! 

 

Nice review. And I'm also happy to read some positive feedback on that Melco switch. Good for them. And good for the eR in all ways. 

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For a case using the Stylus “Buffer queue to RAM” feature, the review states the following:

 

Even with no music data flowing in the buffered case, the switch still makes a difference. Moreover, the magnitude of the difference wasn’t significantly greater in the Roon Server case.

 

This finding - of the switch making a positive impact on SQ even when no music data is flowing through it - also held when I compared the eR with its competitor switches. 

 

I do not wish to challenge Rajiv's observations here, if this is what he has observed and heard then he is correct to report.  What I am wondering is what the likely mechanism is here?  Has anyone come up with a theory that covers this scenario?


Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, Paul Hynes SR4 (x2), Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection.

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5 minutes ago, Confused said:

What I am wondering is what the likely mechanism is here?  Has anyone come up with a theory that covers this scenario?

 

See the Q&A on page 5 of our paper, where John talks about buffers.

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Off topic. You still own the Cavalli and looks like you have a Dave now. Have you changed on the Hugo TT 2 + upscaler as a main headphone rig?


Furutech GTX-D>J River 26>Curious USB>Chord Hugo TT2>Meze Emyrean Copper Cable>Meze Empyrean Headphones>my ears>audiophile brain

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33 minutes ago, KDinsmore said:

Off topic. You still own the Cavalli and looks like you have a Dave now. Have you changed on the Hugo TT 2 + upscaler as a main headphone rig?

 

Yes, I've moved from TT2 to a DAVE.

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I just read the review. Awesome Rajiv! Very thorough and methodical. For fun, I ordered the Startech SFPs you mentioned, to see if I can take things a little further. Is there any particular single mode cable you would also suggest?


SonicTransporter i5 > EtherRegen > opticalRendu (all three powered by Uptone JS-2) > Ayre QX-5 DAC > Ayre KX-R Twenty Preamp > Ayre MX-R Twenty mono amps > YG Kipod Signature Passive speakers.

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1 hour ago, Ultrarunner said:

I just read the review. Awesome Rajiv! Very thorough and methodical. For fun, I ordered the Startech SFPs you mentioned, to see if I can take things a little further. Is there any particular single mode cable you would also suggest?

 

Not really. I used these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0099S4MZI

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3 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

Not really. I used these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0099S4MZI


Nice thing about that choice is they acknowledge using Corning fiber.  They don’t say which variant but this seems a good choice.  I’m using this as well and after a brief search didn’t see any other option that would be obviously better for relatively short runs of single mode.  


For longer runs there is a ClearCurve fiber that has some advantages as far as installation.  There’s also another type of Corning fiber that’s optimized for multimode called InfiniCore.  The fiber that Sonore sells to use with their multimode SFPs uses this fiber.  Excellent choice for their multimode SFPs, but probably not a good choice for single mode’s longer wavelengths.


Digital:  Innuos Zenith Std Mk2 > 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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I so appreciate the diagrams–better than pictures alone, and leagues ahead of video. And the playlist, too. Thank you again, @austinpop!


Sys Stuff Schiit Yggdrasil A2+SR UEF Black, W4S Remedy/Uptone LPS-1.2, Linn LP12/Hercules II/Ittok/Denon DL-103R, Naim 250 DR, PSB, Elac, Uptone Audio ISO/EtherREGEN, Silnote Audio/ZenWave/Transparent Audio cables 

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Very impressive review. I'll be ordering an eR in due time for sure.  I've been enjoying their Iso Regen for some time.

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1 hour ago, Johnseye said:

Rajiv,

 

I received an ER and another LPS-1.2 the other day (thanks Alex!).  The LPS will likely power the new Arris modem Nennon and Roy were recommending.  I have that in house, but am taking one step at a time.

 

I won't go into a lengthy discussion here, but like you I have a TLS and sNH-10G.  I didn't wait for burn in.  Replacing the sNH-10G I could hear the difference out of the box.  I can only hope it gets better.  The TLS, which was upstream, will get moved elsewhere in the house and now I need to decide what to do with the sNH-10G.  I'm using its taps for my NUC so that creates a dilemma, but I am also looking at a server rebuild and that could make its placement more flexible.

 

I have been testing fiber (with Planettech MGB-TLX Mini GBIC LX Module - 20KM) with both switches.  Also moving the placement of the NAS around in the chain, with fiber and without.  A side and B side.  Comparing direct USB to NAS to Qobuz.  A lot of variables and not enough time put into listening yet. 

 

Thanks for your review.

 

Keep us posted on your findings, John!

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Thank you, Thank you....

 

Wow...  This review is quite an achievement. Although I don't read a million reviews, - this review has to be one of the best, and most thorough, and well explained and described product reviews that I've ever read. 

 

I think that this should be required reading for any other writer/product evaluator in high end audio....

 

Congrats, - this is quite simply amazing!

 

 

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Rajiv, a truly great review, thank you. I found it thoughtful, empirical,  helpful and educational. 

Quick question - is it right to assume the SOtM switch you used in the comparison contained the internal clock, silver wiring and Evox capacitors, and the external clock input? 

 

Thanks again! 
 

joe

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57 minutes ago, jtrelin said:

Rajiv, a truly great review, thank you. I found it thoughtful, empirical,  helpful and educational. 

Quick question - is it right to assume the SOtM switch you used in the comparison contained the internal clock, silver wiring and Evox capacitors, and the external clock input? 

 

Hi Joe,

 

Yes you’re correct - the SOtM switch had all those features. Apologies if the price is incorrect. I’ll get that fixed.

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When making the Copper vs. Fiber comparison in austinpop's review, the diagram shows copper connection into the sNH-10G and out from the EtherRegen in both conditions, the difference being that in one case the two routers are connected with either copper (cat 6 cable) or optical cable, is that right? Would the better sound quality reported with connecting the switches via an optical connection due to the galvanic isolation? Would there be a benefit in running the audio on an optical network throughout and if so what components would be needed to achieve that?


Custom built silent Media PC, Synology DS415+ NAS -> SoTM sms200Ultra/sps500  -> TAD DA1000 DAC/preamp and Bryston 4BSST2 power amp -> Harbeth SHL5 speakers and Velodyne DD10+ subwoofers. PowerQuest Carbon USB cable, Chord Company Chorus interconnects, Chord Company Signature speaker leads, Clearer Audio Silver-Line power leads

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Once again, Rajiv, a great, highly valuable review.

 

I found a derivative benefit to be the comparison of PSUs.

 

I'd be curious where the Mojo-Audio Illuminati fits in. I've had great results. It (or the lesser Joule V) compared better than every PSU I tested, including the top end ($1900?) Sonore. If you could get your hands on one i'd be interested in your opinion vs the top end Paul Hynes. I've never heard the Paul Hynes, but others have said they prefer the Illuminati. Given the lower price and greater availability of the Illuminati it could could be worthwhile for readers to know about it.

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2 hours ago, jtrelin said:

Once again, Rajiv, a great, highly valuable review.

 

I found a derivative benefit to be the comparison of PSUs.

 

I'd be curious where the Mojo-Audio Illuminati fits in. I've had great results. It (or the lesser Joule V) compared better than every PSU I tested, including the top end ($1900?) Sonore. If you could get your hands on one i'd be interested in your opinion vs the top end Paul Hynes. I've never heard the Paul Hynes, but others have said they prefer the Illuminati. Given the lower price and greater availability of the Illuminati it could could be worthwhile for readers to know about it.

 

If I can get my hands on one for a few days it would be interesting. Maybe someone can lend me one?

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Many thanks for the detailed and most informative review. ıt has really been helpful. I have already purchased the Ether regen and waiting for the shipment to arrive when I read your review. I have a question for your upstream addition suggestions to EtherRegen. I have two possible scenarios which can be implemented. First is ordering Sonore OM and make a fiber connection to the EtherRegen which you reported to produce improved SQ. But there is also the possiblity to add a Second audio grade switch instead (Possibly a second Ether Regen) and make a fiber connection between these Switches (using Planet SFP). What would you suggest ?.. Do you think two switch combination will be a significant improvement to the "Sonore OM + Switch" combination ?  And most important in your opinion would you think it would be worth the extra money spent between the "Two Switch" and "Sonore Om + Switch" alternatives ?.

 

Many thanks in advance

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On 3/10/2020 at 10:49 PM, austinpop said:

 

Thanks!

 

 

Yes, exactly right.

 

Much appreciation of your review from here in the UK, too!

 

I have two chained EtherRegens powered by a Sean Jacobs power supply and it's all working very nicely.

 

I am, however, considering adding a Mutec Ref 10 to improve things further.

 

Would I be right in saying from your experience this might not be the best approach and that I would save space (I don't have much) and money if I bought a Melco switch instead?  I have spare 12V rail in the power supply I could use for it.

 

Many thanks again, Mike

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14 minutes ago, Ponkbutler said:

 

Much appreciation of your review from here in the UK, too!

 

I have two chained EtherRegens powered by a Sean Jacobs power supply and it's all working very nicely.

 

I am, however, considering adding a Mutec Ref 10 to improve things further.

 

Would I be right in saying from your experience this might not be the best approach and that I would save space (I don't have much) and money if I bought a Melco switch instead?  I have spare 12V rail in the power supply I could use for it.

 

Many thanks again, Mike

 

Prescriptive advice is dangerous in audio, and I find it's even more so in the network part of the chain, as this tends to be very system- and house-dependent. So here are just some thoughts:

  • I would be hesitant to spend that much on a REF 10 only for switches. It makes more sense if you have other gear with reference clock needs so you can amortize it over the rest of the chain.
  • Do experiment with fiber somewhere in the path. I find I like it between the 2 switches, using the Planet Tech MGB-TLX Mini GBIC LX transceivers
  • The eR/Melco combo certainly sounds very good here. 

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On 5/18/2020 at 5:03 PM, austinpop said:

 

Prescriptive advice is dangerous in audio, and I find it's even more so in the network part of the chain, as this tends to be very system- and house-dependent. So here are just some thoughts:

  • I would be hesitant to spend that much on a REF 10 only for switches. It makes more sense if you have other gear with reference clock needs so you can amortize it over the rest of the chain.
  • Do experiment with fiber somewhere in the path. I find I like it between the 2 switches, using the Planet Tech MGB-TLX Mini GBIC LX transceivers
  • The eR/Melco combo certainly sounds very good here. 

 

Many thanks for your prompt and helpful reply. I am also hesitant to buy the Mutec just for the switch/es particularly in the light of understanding you found the Melco with quality linear power supply to be comparable to the ER with the same LPS and Mutec clock. I surmise that there will be advances if not with the Melco, at least with future switches, that surpass the ER or other switches offering the possibility of an external reference clock connection so that the Mutec may not be the best purchase in the long term (and that's leaving aside the amount of room it requires).

 

I will certainly try the fibre with Planet Tech MGB-TLX Mini GBIC LX. Which cable would you recommend?

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