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  1. #1
    Sophomore Member james45974's Avatar
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    W4S and other USB fixers (non curated)

    OK, I'll bite to start a new thread.

    I realize that there are other threads available but feel free to discuss any of the available USB fixers and new ones when they come out including:

    Wyred 4 Sound Recovery
    Uptone Audio Regen
    Audioquest Jitterbug
    Schiit Wyred
    Intona Isolator
    etc,......

    A disclaimer on my part, I do not own any of these products but am in the market shortly, hello tax refund!

    I have seen other CA members talk a little about ripping CD's with these products and how there are benefits to ripping to a thumb drive attached to a product like the Regen, for instance. Has anyone tried this in detail?
    Jim

  2. #2
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    I just wanna say a hearty "thank you" for starting a non-curated thread. Open thought and dialogue....great idea.

    My off-piste query about this kind of thing concerns how 'revealing' your other equipment needs to be before any of these gizmos have any positive effect? Are we talking about a situation where you should really only bother with this kind of tweakery if you've got $20,000+ worth of equipment already piled up in your music room?

  3. #3
    Masters Level Member sandyk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldBigEars View Post
    I just wanna say a hearty "thank you" for starting a non-curated thread. Open thought and dialogue....great idea.

    My off-piste query about this kind of thing concerns how 'revealing' your other equipment needs to be before any of these gizmos have any positive effect? Are we talking about a situation where you should really only bother with this kind of tweakery if you've got $20,000+ worth of equipment already piled up in your music room?
    Likewise. The curated threads read more like many manufacturers forums, where any non favourable reports or awkward questions quickly disappear.
    My understanding is that even owners of stock standard Mac Minis are reporting improvements with the Uptone USB Regen and the Intono USB Isolator, with the rest of their gear ranging from relatively inexpensive to expensive. My own experience however, is that the USB Regen improves markedly when using a good Linear PSU or a battery derived PSU, compared with the supplied Meanwell 7.5V SMPS supply.
    Last edited by sandyk; 02-14-2016 at 08:31 PM.
    "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"

  4. #4

    W4S and other USB fixers (non curated)

    At least they are affordable enough to try. I have a feeling that future DACs will incorporate USB fixers inside.

  5. #5
    Junior Member AlainGr's Avatar
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    From my experience (but I can only talk for myself) is that the Intona USB Isolator (galvanic isolation) (industrial version - I did not get the regular version, but it should do the same) the Intona is a "must" but beware if your dac needs the vbus (5V), since the amperage may not be enough...

    I use it with a PC and the NOS1 Phasure dac.

    It has opened everything. The results are hard to describe, as it seems to cure a lot of things, mostly the "pollutants" that happily ride with the signal...

    But it does not exclude the utility of other components (Regen, RUR, etc...). For me it is enough, but all you can do it experiment on your own system to see to what extent it shows its prowess

    I do not thing it is necessary to have an expensive sound system to appreciate the results.

    I actuall took a Sotm PCIe USB 3 controller card from the drawer to send clean 5V with a JS-2 at the Intona. For the moment it is under evaluation (again)...
    Alain

  6. #6
    Junior Member ElviaCaprice's Avatar
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    Sounds like there's a lot of factors and small improvements that can benefit one's system. Like, does the Intona work best with an adapter out of the USB port from the PC/MAC? With an audiophile USB card? Is that all I need or can a Regen also improve the system chain? If battery operated? No 5V? Jkenny mod? If yes, to the Regen, then also an adapter from Intona output to Regen?

    So far, from others reports, I've concluded that the Chord Hugo DAC benefits from the Intona regardless of optimized streamer/PC. It's just a question of how much the Regen (w/Jkenny battery mod) can add without subtracting from SQ? And which connectors are best.
    (JRiver) Windows 10 optimized (HDPlex 100W LPS)(HDPLEX Hi-Fi 250W DC-ATX) => PPA V2 USB (LPS-1) =>(USB Adapter) Intona =>(Supra USB No 5V No shield) Regen(LPS-1) =>(USB Adapter) Ifi Nano iDSD LE =>(Nordost White Lightning) Outlaw Mono block 2200 =>(Nordost White Lightning) Magnepan Mini

  7. #7
    This was a good discussion too.

    Did We Overhype USB Audio And Overlook Possible Pitfalls?

    You will benefit from USB cleaners even on a lower budget system since it lowers the overall irritation level.

  8. #8
    Senior Member One and a half's Avatar
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    Thanks James for starting the thread. Easier to speak the mind, than to speak in a stifled tight framework.

  9. #9
    Junior Member AlainGr's Avatar
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    It is probable that if I was adding another accessory to what I have (Regen, RUR, or else), I would be aware that there could be a potential to defeat what the Intona is doing (isolating up to the dac), unless the following component is powered by batteries ? For me the Intona is a barrier, so there should not be anything between it and the dac.

    But I probably am wrong...

    As for the hard adapters, unless one is know to really be well built (how to verify this apart from getting a few of them ?), I would probably go for a Curious cable (from what I read about its qualities), but again, how will it behave with each different system... And will the Intona suffice to bring power to a dac in need of it...

    Not easy to know in advance...
    Alain

  10. #10
    Junior Member AlainGr's Avatar
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    All need to be taken with a grain of salt, unless a precise question is raised and the answerer has a satisfying response...

    For instance, if a poster listens to rock music, his goal may be completely different from those of another that listens to classical music. The details that one will notice may probably not be the same, so the more the explanations from the poster, the more pertinent the response will makes sense... I forget to mention what kind of music I listen to when I describe my subjective evaluation. And I do not like the "jaw dropping" image or the alike, so my answers can be quite diluted. I understand that the right choice of words may affect how someone receives the answer, but it all comes to trust but even more to experiment.

    I have a lot of accessories that I have bought through time and... Well, they prevent dust from falling deeper...
    Alain

  11. #11

    W4S and other USB fixers (non curated)

    For years I have tried to make USB work and tried many USB cleaners and spent more money than I ever wanted on this shite. Not one DAC I ever tried did not benefit from an USB cleaner including really pricy ones.

    Some of my experience in a nutshell:

    1. The best USB cleaner is no USB at all and avoid USB conversion all together. USB is shite for audio. Optical LAN is the way to go.

    2. My fav cleaner was the Berkeley Alpha. Very expensive but it made USB audio bearable. There is a reason even BADA's reference DAC has no USB input.

    3. Regen Amber is a very cost effective bit of kit and I would recommend anyone forced to go USB to start here. It helped even a >€10K DAC's USB input.

    4. IFI USB Power was another good unit but required an LPSU to shine. It also allowed for the Gemini cable to avoid having data and power run side by side.

    4. IFI purifier (1st gen) is a waste of money and makes things worse

    5. In conjunction with the IFI USB, taping off the ground and 5V at the computer end helped, with IFI providing cleansed 5V and ground.

    Hopefully that will help someone in making a decision. More and more of these bandaids are coming available every week, which really should make you take a step back and really think if you want USB in your sound path at all.

    A little side note, it did not matter what music I listened to, which varies from classical to gabber and everything in between.

  12. #12
    I'm in.

  13. #13
    Masters Level Member sandyk's Avatar
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    More and more of these bandaids are coming available every week, which really should make you take a step back and really decide if you want USB in your sound path at all.
    +1
    Even your typical Linear PSU for these gadgets causes a degree of Earth Loop problems, and it's best to use a battery derived supply which is completely removed from the AC mains supply.
    USB is a cantankerous format too, often seeing devices disappear, and perhaps needing a PC Restart, or even fail with annoying warnings such as "USB Device is not recognised " despite just having worked O.K.
    "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"

  14. #14
    Junior Member AlainGr's Avatar
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    But, but... I do have a dac that I like very much and its input is USB. Yes I know, there are a lot of gadgets to try to cure its flaws, but I must say that I really enjoy what I hear through USB... I would not flush the baby with the bath water... If we are to start by saying "USB is rotten, bad, very very bad...", there will not be much encouragment for comparing different USB accessories that may be of help
    Alain

  15. #15
    Senior Member One and a half's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranz View Post
    For years I have tried to make USB work and tried many USB cleaners and spent more money than I ever wanted on this shite. Not one DAC I ever tried did not benefit from an USB cleaner including really pricy ones.

    Some of my experience in a nutshell:

    1. The best USB cleaner is no USB at all and avoid USB conversion all together. USB is shite for audio. Optical LAN is the way to go.

    2. My fav cleaner was the Berkeley Alpha. Very expensive but it made USB audio bearable. There is a reason even BADA's reference DAC has no USB input.

    3. Regen Amber is a very cost effective bit of kit and I would recommend anyone forced to go USB to start here. It helped even a >€10K DAC's USB input.

    4. IFI USB Power was another good unit but required an LPSU to shine. It also allowed for the Gemini cable to avoid having data and power run side by side.

    4. IFI purifier (1st gen) is a waste of money and makes things worse

    5. In conjunction with the IFI USB, taping off the ground and 5V at the computer end helped, with IFI providing cleansed 5V and ground.

    Hopefully that will help someone in making a decision. More and more of these bandaids are coming available every week, which really should make you take a step back and really think if you want USB in your sound path at all.

    A little side note, it did not matter what music I listened to, which varies from classical to gabber and everything in between.
    I can agree here a lot.

    1. Can't argue much with that. The Intona has improved USB transmissions a big deal, after living with AES3 for 12 months, it's cleaner, very happy with USB now plus a proper DDC to go with it helps.

    2. no comment, didn't purchase.

    3. Many people have the same reply, so must be good, but didn't purchase.

    4. #1 See 2.

    4. #2 Totally agree, but it was handy to use the USB B to Mini B adapter, the Purifier is boxed up, but the adapter is in use

    5. Ground lift is a big deal with USB, it seems to work better with elevated voltages above ground (earth).

  16. #16
    Junior Member ElviaCaprice's Avatar
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    Yeah, I disagree about USB being shite. USB has come a long way in recent years and is now the superior sounding mainstream means of streaming musical data. But, obviously much care needs to be taken. That's where a thread like this may save some folks a lot of cash and time asking questions and learning from others experiences. Results can be very good, better than anything I've ever heard. I'm always surprised when I reach a new level in SQ never heard before via USB.
    (JRiver) Windows 10 optimized (HDPlex 100W LPS)(HDPLEX Hi-Fi 250W DC-ATX) => PPA V2 USB (LPS-1) =>(USB Adapter) Intona =>(Supra USB No 5V No shield) Regen(LPS-1) =>(USB Adapter) Ifi Nano iDSD LE =>(Nordost White Lightning) Outlaw Mono block 2200 =>(Nordost White Lightning) Magnepan Mini

  17. #17
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    Thanks for creating a new thread without the draconian "censorship" disguised as "keeping the thread on topic".

    Unfortunately, Mr. Zero Self-Awareness who lives on the forum will just self-bump his useless wall-of-text posts/threads. Hopefully, your thread will stay on the first page and people can stop getting mislead and/or incomplete information.

    As for the topic, I tried the Regen, jitterbugs, iFi, and various power supply options. I have yet to try the Intona, but now I'm simply using just the Regen with a LPS. I can't reliably endorse the JB or using the iFi in series...I can't say it hurts, but my initial impressions of modest benefits haven't really stood the test of time.

    One probable reason....Since first trying these devices, I upgraded my DAC and server, so I suspect that had more to do with the diminishing returns than anything.

    I may try the Intona, but a properly designed DAC/server shouldn't benefit much from the galvanic isolation. Sometimes galvanic isolation can cause it's own problems depending on how it's done. Has anyone determined what else the Intona is doing? It doesn't seem like it was designed for audio purposes which may be a good thing.


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  18. #18
    Junior Member Nikhil's Avatar
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    About USB - as the saying goes let's not throw away the baby with the bathwater.

    While USB does have room for improvement it has allowed us to move to hi res DSD and DXD - formats that would not be possible with SPDIF and TosLink. I'm willing to wager that ethernet is going to have it's own share of problems once we start using devices equipped with ethernet ports. Optical networking is the next logical progression in terms of network isolation. I'm pretty sure we're going to hit some bumps there as well when we get to that point. Until then ... let's just enjoy the ride.

    I'm still happy with the Regen in my setup. The Intona looked like a great product. That is until some of us reported connectivity issues just as some users of the RUR have reported. That to me is a serious flaw given that I have to order these things from overseas to where I live. Until those problems are fixed ... I'm out.
    Win 7 Transport + JRiver MC 22 & HQPlayer | Goldmund Job INT | Acoustic Portrait Reference | Green Mountain Audio Eos HX


  19. #19

    W4S and other USB fixers (non curated)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nikhil View Post
    ...
    While USB does have room for improvement it has allowed us to move to hi res DSD and DXD - formats that would not be possible with SPDIF and TosLink. I'm willing to wager that ethernet is going to have it's own share of problems once we start using devices equipped with ethernet ports. Optical networking is the next logical progression in terms of network isolation. I'm pretty sure we're going to hit some bumps there as well when we get to that point. Until then ... let's just enjoy the ride...
    Many are enjoying USB DACs, but they are all improved by cleaner devices.

    But there are now some options appearing such as MSB, Focusrite, NADAC, Linn, etc. where this USB kludge is no longer needed. So my comment really is more for those that are starting out fresh or want to improve upon.

    Now of course it is all in the implementation and system synergy.

    From my own experience, which really also means shite, a streamer DAC which uses the femto clock of the DAC as master, bypasses SPDIF and USB, handles all the formats mentioned with optical LAN feed beats every digital setup I have heard thus far.

    But until these systems become the standard and more affordable an USB cleaner is absolutely recommended no matter how expensive the USB DAC is.

  20. #20
    Junior Member Nikhil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranz View Post
    But until these systems become the standard and more affordable an USB cleaner is absolutely recommended no matter how expensive the USB DAC is.
    +1. Absolutely.
    Win 7 Transport + JRiver MC 22 & HQPlayer | Goldmund Job INT | Acoustic Portrait Reference | Green Mountain Audio Eos HX


  21. #21
    Junior Member r_w's Avatar
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    I have a REGEN amber which slightly helps the Auralic VEGA DAC (fed by Aurender N100) with separation and soundstage but at the expense of ever so slightly hardening the mids.

    My W4S Recovery will arrive either today or tomorrow. Will post an opinion when it's setup.

    If you deploy any of these devices do not use any SMPS, only LPS to power them and ensure that you optically isolate your LAN in any case.

    Also if you can try to drop the 5v rail and even the gnd line, this works for me and delivers the best results.

    PS: I'm interested in opinions of the Intona USB isolator, particularly from those with Aurender players and the VEGA DAC.

    PPS: Given this post alone covers 3 different products, non use of SMPS, data only connection and implementation of isolated LAN, curated threads that cover one product/issue appear to be absolutely daft and counter productive to me.

  22. #22
    Masters Level Member sandyk's Avatar
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    BTW, according to Archimago's measurements, Toslink SPDIF can be virtually identical in performance to Async USB ,without the need for additional USB Regens, Intona USB Isolators, expensive boutique USB cables, low noise external linear PSUs or special internal USB cards.
    The format does however appear to be limited by the quality of some Toslink transmitters and receivers.
    The Well-Tempered Computer
    "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"

  23. #23
    Masters Level Member firedog's Avatar
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    I have a Regen and a Wyrd. Got the Wyrd first. Using it was the first time I felt the USB was as good as the FW on my Mytek 192 DSD.
    Later added the Regen. It's a little better than the Wyrd on it's own. I now run them in series, which I think offers a slight additional improvement over the Regen by itself.

    I'm not going to by the W4S b/c I don't want to invest more money in these gadgets - I'll buy a new DAC sometime first. But the W4S sounds really good on paper, possibly better than the other devices of it's ilk.

    I'd be interested in hearing comparisons from some non-fanboys of W4S to the other USB helper devices.

    USB inputs in DACs are improving: note the recent review of the Audio-Alchemy DAC where Chris' said it didn't need any help on its USB port. That's pretty significant, because till now he seems to have always thought his Berkeley USB to SPDIF converter gave the best results with DACs (at least since he purchased the Berkeley converter). There have been a few other recent DACs where the same thing seems to be true. So USB can be good if the DAC manufacturer is willing to invest the time and money.
    System (in small home office): GIK Acoustics Room Treatments>CAPS4 Pipeline (running Roon + HQ Player, Sonore 12V PS) > SOtM LAN Filter+Sonore microRendu (LPS-1)>Mytek 192 DSD Stereo DAC >Schiit Freya pre>Odyssey Audio Kismet Stereo Power Amp (Khartago Case) >Devore Gibbon Nines.
    Isol-8 Minisub Axis Conditioning/Protection
    Also various SB devices: 2 Touch, 1 Boom, Duet controller.
    And a TT I never use.

  24. #24
    Junior Member Nikhil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandyk View Post
    BTW, according to Archimago's measurements, Toslink SPDIF can be virtually identical in performance to Async USB ,without the need for additional USB Regens, Intona USB Isolators, expensive boutique USB cables, low noise external linear PSUs or special internal USB cards.
    The format does however appear to be limited by the quality of some Toslink transmitters and receivers.
    The Well-Tempered Computer
    The test was for a 16/44.1 signal.
    It also mentioned this at the bottom of the test report

    Be design all this measurements are valid for the implementations tested.
    You can’t generalize and call the results as being valid for all possible SPDIF or USB implementations.
    You cannot use TosLink for hi res DSD or DXD formats.
    Win 7 Transport + JRiver MC 22 & HQPlayer | Goldmund Job INT | Acoustic Portrait Reference | Green Mountain Audio Eos HX


  25. #25
    Senior Member One and a half's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandyk View Post
    BTW, according to Archimago's measurements, Toslink SPDIF can be virtually identical in performance to Async USB ,without the need for additional USB Regens, Intona USB Isolators, expensive boutique USB cables, low noise external linear PSUs or special internal USB cards.
    The format does however appear to be limited by the quality of some Toslink transmitters and receivers.
    The Well-Tempered Computer
    Quoting Archimago is as useless as t#ts on a bull, unless for light hearted entertainment?

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