DAC Regenerator and Reclocking Devices


Hi,
Recently I've been looking at a few different devices to upgrade my signal between my Mac and my Ayre QB 9 DAC DSD. SOtM makes a reclocking / regenerator as does Ideon Audio and IFI. The IFI micro 3.0 is apparently the newest of them and looks like a great price when compared to the SOtM tx USBultra. The Ideon 3R USB Renaissance is the more affordable and was engineered strictly for sound quality. Does anyone have experience with these devices? Also, I want to mention that I've been adding Akiko Audio tuning sticks and tuning chips and I prefer their additions so far. Some good orderly direction would be greatly appreciated. 

goofyfoot
I’m currently breaking in a SOtM tx USBultra in combination with their SMS-200Ultra Ethernet-to-USB streamer, SPS-500 DC power supply, and SOtM-modified D-Link Ethernet switch with a clock link to the SMS-200Ultra. The clocks in all of these are slaved to my SRS Perf-10 rubidium master clock. Life is good. I think SOtM has thought through Ethernet-to-USB playback as well as anyone.
Thanks dgarretson, I have no doubt that your digital solution is optimal but I'm afraid that this solution is currently beyond my reach financially. I would like to simplify my choice to one cost effective device if at all possible.  
In that case you may want to add the ISO Regen to the list.  There are a few reviews out there that compare it favorably to the USBultra.
dgarretson, thanks. Have considered the Regan as it has a good price point for sure. Do you know anything about the new ifi micro 3.0 or Ideon Renaissance?
Hi Dave,

Why all the intermediary devices? Are you sourcing from PC/Mac? Educate me please sir.

Dave

@goofyfoot From reviews it appears that the new ISO Regen is better than the old Regen. I have not tried any USB regenerator except for the similar functionality integrated into the Sonore microRendu.

Dave,

Prior to SOtM, I was using a microRendu as an Ethernet end point, networked through a Cisco EN switch to a QNAP TVS-882 i5 NAS hosting Roon. Running on that i5 core, the Roon DSP engine upsamples and filters all sources to DSD128, then across EN through SOtMs to USB into Esoteric K-01X. The mR people don’t recommend an in-line regenerator, as the mR reportedly integrates features of the Regen. The SOtM people recommended the combo of all four pieces for the full SOtM experience... As I already had a 10mHz rubidium clock, the ability to synchronize to the master clock was conceptually appealing. Once it’s all broken in, to weigh up the relative contributions to performance I’ll begin subtracting components from the chain. This will include comparing the SOtM DC power supply to my Hynes SR7.

All I can say so far is that the improvement of synchronizing all clocks to several PPB precision is obvious.

Thanks Dave. I will be greatly interested in your findings when you start subtracting devices from the chain and also your other comparisons.

The SOtM line is interesting to me but I find it to be a little confusing to understand the options from their website.

Best to you Dave,
Dave

Many good ideas on this thread:


https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-the-sms-200-and-microrendu/http://
Much appreciated Dave. That link should keep me busy for a while ;)

Dave
dgarretson, the SOtM option is costly and I'm not sure why there needs to be two USB  inputs for two different devices but aside from that, do you believe (to the best of your ability) that it is far above its competitors in effectiveness and well worth the cost? 
I'm sorry Dave, it's still breaking in, so maybe you could answer that question at a later time.
Thanks for patience. It’s early. I’m also experimenting with USB cables for SOtM. The mR doesn’t need a USB cable, as that unit is supplied with a hard adapter that directly couples the mR to the DAC. There are a fair number of variables in this comparison.
Dave,
I did read a review about the ISO Regen and that made me think about purchasing the Regen and then work towards adding the SOtM USBultra. I also read a recommendation for the Regen linear power supply. Anyhow, the recommendation about getting the ISO Regen first seems enticing. But I still want to know more about the Ideon and ifi devices before making a decision. Both the Ideon and ifi get good reviews however reviews are limited. The review that I read in 6 Moons about the SOtM was critical but incomplete.
Do you know anything about the new ifi micro 3.0 or Ideon Renaissance?
Hi goofyfoot,

I have had the iFi Micro 3.0 for some time now with it connected between the Aurender 100H music server and the Esoteric N-01 dac(silver Oyaide usb cable from the Aurender to the 3.0 and iFi’s own Gemini bihedral usb cable from 3.0 to dac’s usb input).

The difference with the 3.0 in and out of the chain is indeed night and day, the 3.0 elevating sytem performance to a whole other level.

I find it to be a truly indispensable component for my usb audio set-up. Reviews have placed this higher than the Regen products. Also, a very big bang for the buck.

J. :)
Thanks Jon,
I’ve been having results with the Akiko tuning sticks and tuning chips however I’m looking for a product that will flesh out the sound and render a greater analogue image. My digital source is detailed and transparent, even holographic but there exists a degree of digital edginess. The newest version of Audirvana Plus is a blessing of sorts but I am still ramping up the resolution to achieve better presence.
The attractive thing about the ifi is that it’s affordable and it’s a well regarded device all by itself. Thanks again for the feedback!
The 3.0 will most certainly flesh out your system sound very nicely. It did for mine making it sound balanced throughout the frequency range. Also, the soundstage opens up in all dimensions. But the one trait that I have come to value most about the 3.0 is the musicality - lots of foot tapping and head bobbing every single time.
Lastly, no more digital edge, hash, glare, etc.

Enjoy the music!
And at $400.00 it's not such a risk. 
Any other ISORegen reports?
Singxer SU-1 $400

A review for your edification and reading enjoyment.

Cheers,
The Uptone Audio Regens are excellent devices for the money. I have been using the older USB Regen along with 2 Audioquest Jitterbugs on a Mac Mini for streaming Tidal. The difference with and with out these two devices are quite obvious. Money well spent if you are on a budget.
Cheers,
Tim
Hi Tim,

Considering the purchase of an Uptone Regen. What is the difference between the USB Regen and the ISO Regen? Is it only the accompanying power supply? What power supply do your use with your Regen?

Of course, any helpful responses from anyone with appropriate experience are welcome and appreciated on the Uptone Regen and/or similar devices.

Dave
Uptone claims the ISO Regen is vastly superior to the older USB Regen. It would be hard for me to explain the differences to you, but it's more than just the power supply. If you go to their web site, they can explain it to you much better than I could. I haven't tried the ISO Regen, but would have no doubt it is better than the older model. I use the standard power supply that came with my USB Regen. The older version is still availaable, I believe. I think it is about $185. The ISO is $325, I think.
Hi Tim, I did visit the Uptone website before posting and it remained unclear to me re: the differences between the past vs current USB Regen and the current USB Regen vs the ISO Regen (excepting the power supply in the latter case, which has two options, an switching power supply (better than the switching power supply with the USB Regen??) or a linear power supply).

Read a very positive review of the current ISO Regen (vs Schiit, etc) but the reviewer considered the upgraded LPS-1 power supply essential and even recommended one from another supplier. $175 (USB Regen) quickly becomes $325 (ISO Regen) which quickly becomes $655 with Uptone’s linear power supply, which quickly becomes ???? with another manufacturer’s power supply...

See my dilemma?

Dave


Dave,
Your dilemma seems to be the same as mine. I'm not sure however that anyone can get around suggestions for improvements when it comes to these devices. I'm leaning towards this ifi micro-iUSB 3.0 given the reviews that I've read and the claims that it does more within a single device than its competitors. However, connecting the ifi to the Up Tone linear power device would be a way of pushing the sound quality even further, as I understand it.
Thanks for the feedback goofyfoot. Let us know which was you go and your impressions.

After experiencing fantastic results with the Purist Audio Ehternet cable, I decided to go with their 30th Anniversary USB cable in lieu of a regen type gizmo (at least for now). Will report back on how that works out vs the Curious USB cable I currently prefer.

Dave
Dave,
I was clearly in error when I talked to you about the Regens. It was awhile back when I visited their web site and I obviously didn't digest their description of the ISO version properly. They do describe the newer version as a considerable upgrade. I believe you can purchase the ISO Regen as is without upgraded power supply. All I can tell you as is, even the basic USB Regen as is produces what I thought were dramatic differences to the Mac Mini. So much so, that I couldn't listen to Tidal streaming without it. You can take it to whatever limits you prefer with the upgrades. I say again, I don't think you would be disappointed with even the basic USB Regen.
Sorry for any confusion,
Tim
Hey Tim, we good. My situation is somewhat different. I use an Aurender server/renderer/streamer in lieu of a Laptop/Desktop "PC-type" source. All are computers, but the claim to fame of the former is that the storage is optimized for audio (HHDs/modem-routers feed the signal to SSDs (cache) before output), and noise is greatly reduced compared to the former. The opportunity then becomes more of modifying the sound vs (so much) eliminating noise.

The review I read of the ISO Regen claimed that it put "meat on the bones" (additional harmonic texture) to the resulting sound. This is always a good thing IME, thus my primary interest in the Regen.

You are likely experiencing the benefits of both noise reduction and additional harmonic texture in your application. Good for you!

I appreciate and value your input.

Dave

Hi Dave.
I won't make a purchase until the middle of September at the earliest. The number one issue that I'm hoping to address is noise. Yes, please give us your impression the ISO Regen
Hi Tim,

Sounds good on re:September, etc. I am currently on a path of trying another very good (and returnable) USB cable in lieu of the Regen or other such device to see if that will hit the sweet spot in providing the last vestige of harmonic texture that I seek. 

I too have no immediate plans to try the newer Regen but do not preclude it from possibility in the future.

Will report back re: the USB cable.

Dave
I'm rethinking the ifi micro iUSB 3.0 given a review I read recently stating that it leans towards the cold side, which wouldn't a be good match for my system. Has anyone tried using the PS Audio LANrover? This seems to be a passive device. I'm wondering if or how it does with re-clocking  data.
goofyfoot,

Same here re: "...cold side, which wouldn't be a good match for my system".

Personally, I could do without the reclocking aspect of the Regen but I  suspect it is a part of its sonic influence.

Recent review of ISO Regen on audiobacon.net is singing to us... Looks like the cost of entry is $655 with optional LPS1 power supply plus Zenwave DC cable ($???).

Dave
I am hearing good things about Singzer SU-1...several people swear by this inexpensive device for USB playback.
I may be coming around to the ISO Regen after all and if possible, the LPS-1 power supply. Does anyone know if Audirvana Plus 3 reads the ISO Regen?
shardorne, thanks for also making us aware of the Singxer SU-1.
goofyfoot,

Can't help with your specific application but was told is was confirmed with the factory that my previous Hegel DAC would not work with any type of "regen" unit, so your question is valid, at least in a general sense.

Dave 
Thanks Dave, I should check with UpTone that my Ayre is compatible with the ISO Regen prior to purchase. But I want to use Audirvana Plus also.
Hi shadorne,

Been reading 27 pages of chatter on computeraudiophile.com forums re: the ISO Regen. Several highly recommend using the Singzer SU-1 and the ISO Regen both and all reports of the SU-1 are very positive, with or without the ISO Regen. Good call. :)

Pulled the trigger on an ISO Regen with the optional UltraCAP LPS-1 Power supply after reading that this combo is an audible improvement even with Aurender (owners claim it generates much less noise than PC/MAC).

Will let you and goofyfoot know what I think after it arrives - anticipating two weeks from now.

Dave
Sounds good, thanks Dave.
This measurement test may change your opinion about getting the ISO Regen.


Thanks nordicnorm. I read that already.

Summary:
1) ISO Regen greatly reduced noise in Schiit Modi2 according to author’s measurements
2) ISO Regen had no effect on the signal in some other DACs the author happened to have laying around  according to author’s measurements
3) Author barely listened to ISO Regen yet declared no audible difference
4) Other "scientists" attacked author for being an inferior scientist
5) Author attacked other "scientists" for being inferior scientists
6) Yada, yada, yada

Conclusion: Egos makes these types of blogs useless. Worst among "scientists". Listening is the only way to judge audio devices. 30 day return policy facilitates that.

Dave


👍 ~ Listening is the only way to judge audio devices.
+1 Yes listening is key

However, if a device like this makes a big difference then my logic is "Houston we have a problem" - upon hearing a large difference you need to ask yourself what is severely wrong with your setup and the components selected and which component is it that is not working properly.

My view is that band aids should NOT be necessary if products are all well designed and fully functional to begin with. If a band aid makes an improvement then it points to an issue somewhere - it also begs the question: did the band aid completely fix my problem or only half of the issue?

If I find the need for band-aids I feel that the original components are deffficient and I immediately look to replace them because they are the root cause.
Audio devices are manmade, therefore imperfect. ALL OF THEM! Rationalization of reconceived notions toward the sufficiency or insufficiency of measurements to explain things beyond human understanding and, yes, the effect of preconception in either direction prior to even listening is the enemy. Period.

Dave
Yes Dave, I've been around and around with those on forums who make claim that scientific measurements and double blind studies are the only way of measuring sound quality in audio components. However, I think it's safe to say that most consumers of audio equipment do not conduct scientific measurements before buying something. And that this post is heretical by nature towards wanting to refute personal opinions based on a lack of scientific data. So please share your findings freely about the ISO Regen because some of us still want to hear about your experience despite a lack of quantitative data.
Hi goofyfoot,

Received a notice and an apology from Alex that he ran into an unexpected part shortage that will delay shipment of my ISO Regen until next Tuesday.

Baring further delays, I will be sure to post my impressions weekend next.

Dave
Sounds good Dave. As a side note, I'm wanting to know if Audirvana Plus 3 is compatible with the ISO Regen. Does anybody know? Thanks!
@dlcockrum 

I think we read two different articles?

Nowhere in the article I posted did the author state:

"ISO Regen greatly reduced noise in Schiit Modi2 according to author’s measurements"

Now don't get me wrong, I have no dog in this fight. I use a Singxer SU-1 (which I am very happy with).

As a science guy, I disagree with your opinion about scientists. For me, I like hard data. I'm a skeptic by nature.

True, you still gotta hear it with your own two ears. but after +40 years pursuing this hobby, I find confirmation bias explains a lot of what people "hear". 


I would recommend dropping USB out altogether and going Ethernet to AES or SPDIF. The Rednet 3 is highly effective in my setup, liquid and super smoothy, very undigital. The fact is USB from almost any PC or Mac and even many music servers is not great for high end audio. Fixers can help, but I got fed up with a chain of these and various LPS's. Dropping USB was a revelation. Makes me wonder why manufacturers and obsessed with it. My thought on that are not for sonic reasons, rather it is cheap in implement and allows higher than 192K up sampling. I don't like to upsample, so not bothered about that.
@sunseekerespana, 

I couldn't agree with you anymore. Some of my friends have jumped through hoops to get the best possible sound out of USB. 

Like yourself, I have gone the Ethernet ➡️ AES/EBU route and very happy with my setup. 
http://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/uptone-iso-regen-review-and-measurements.1829/page-2

Good morning nordicnorm,

That site tends to reference a lot of other threads as the blogs progress so easy to get lost on one of the many linked bunny trails. Lots of nastiness between scientists in many of the links and apparently this site is in a perpetual battle for supremacy of The Land of the Unicorns with computeraudiophile.com.

The moderator is a hero of duty and patience, best I have ever seen and merits a triple thumbs up. He settles ruffled feathers among contributors in a most impressive way and doesn’t just delete posts when a snowflake cries foul (hint to Audiogon Mod).

No issue with science here, only with "scientists" who are more ego driven than genuinely committed to revealing the whys (read almarg for a true master of logic and science and decorum), scared sh*tless of being proven of knowing less than God, and reverting to romper room behavior when challenged.

Dave

http://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/uptone-lps-1-linear-power-supply-review-and-measurements.1849/

A good article, at least the first few pages minus the sniping from the ever-present peanut gallery.

Re: USB vs spdif (AES/EBU, coax, optical), it depends where the DAC manufacturer chose to focus investment. Some (many?) of the latest DAC builders/sellers seem to be placing their main emphasis on superior USB circuitry. Some have effective galvanic isolation built in. Some even use FPGA technology to eliminate the traditional role of clocks in the DAC (Exogal Comet for example) and thus sensitivity to noise riding on the signal.

IMO, adding a USB to SPDIF converter to run AES/EBU between it and the DAC is not much different than adding the USB gizmos. Counter to Forest Gump’s wisdom ("One less thing."). That is unless your DAC cannot handle USB from your USB-only Linux-based server/renderer/streamer in which case it is likely to be "the lessor of the evils" solution and thus a smart one. The more flexible and expensive SRSs offer multiple output options if one can afford them. :)

Dave