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jtwrace

Uptone Audio Regen

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wisnon   
Do you have one that you can post who the manufacturer is? Is it really that good? Low ripple?

Sure,

 

the blurb is here:

http://ifi-audio.com/wp-content/uploads/data/USBPowerTechNote.pdf

 

Its unbranded, chinese made and model numberHR-1220 9v 1.5amp

 

I think this Regen device may work well in concert with the IUSB and iPurifier. At least its worth a try.

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Superdad   

Its unbranded, chinese made and model numberHR-1220 9v 1.5amp

 

Well that's the same case style, and in modest quantities the above can be sourced from China for $4 each (plug freight). But there is nothing to verify that its insides are the same as what AMR/iFi specs for their private label model and which I recall them claiming was a lower noise unit.

 

While I don't look forward to it, I may have to order in a bunch of different wall-wart and little tabletop types to both measure and listen to. And I just realized that if I supply a wall plugin "wart," I'll have to stock them in the various world plug styles. Or get the kind that offers snap-on plug plates. Hmm… the little tabletop kind with detachable mains cord is starting to sound like a better plan. We'll see.

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tranz   
Do you have one that you can post who the manufacturer is? Is it really that good? Low ripple?

 

A while back I took a scope and EMI meter to comparing the IFI wallwart with a $60 bench LPSU. The LPSU won. And the AC noise and EMI field of the wallwart are not fun either.

 

If you are going balls out anyway, might as well get an aftermarket LPSU for the Regen. Not sure if it is worth the extra expense for Superdad to find a better one if we end up tossing it anyway.

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jtwrace   
A while back I took a scope and EMI meter to comparing the IFI wallwart with a $60 bench LPSU. The LPSU won. And the AC noise and EMI field of the wallwart are not fun either.

 

If you are going balls out anyway, might as well get an aftermarket LPSU for the Regen. Not sure if it is worth the extra expense for Superdad to find a better one if we end up tossing it anyway.

 

Right. I have multiple DIY LPS here but I wouldn't mind building a DIY Swenson kit.

 

I built one of these from BHL for a specific piece to run some relays. It's actually very quiet. Not bad for the money either. For this piece it was strictly to not pollute the AC lines and get rid of the switcher. All I did was use a different transformer and change one resistor for 12Vdc.

 

Another very well respected power supply. http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/group-buys/258340-gb-salas-reflektor-d-power-supply-digital.html

Edited by jtwrace

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jabbr   
Right. I have multiple DIY LPS here but I wouldn't mind building a DIY Swenson kit.

 

I built one of these from BHL for a specific piece to run some relays. It's actually very quiet. Not bad for the money either. For this piece it was strictly to not pollute the AC lines and get rid of the switcher. All I did was use a different transformer and change one resistor for 12Vdc.

 

Another very well respected power supply. GB for Salas Reflektor-D Power Supply for Digital - diyAudio

 

I think the main point of the DIY Swenson is the input filter inductor which prevents noise from traveling back into the AC ground. There are modifications of the Salas which also use input inductors. The Salas has impressive noise levels. The shunt design provides a more constant current which lowers the needed size of the inductor.

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Superdad   
I think the main point of the DIY Swenson is the input filter inductor which prevents noise from traveling back into the AC ground.

 

Actually that is really the secondary purpose of the choke in John's PS design--though it, and the RC snubber he puts on the secondaries both do an excellent job of that.

 

The primary advantage over a single large C filter is that the remaining ripple is pure sine wave, which makes the regulators job MUCH easier. A traditional cap only filter (transformer, diode bridge, big cap) produces raw DC with a sawtooth riding on top. That sawtooth produces lots of high frequency components that the regulator has to deal with.

 

Traditional regulators do very well at low frequencies, but have lousy characteristics at high frequencies which means a fair amount of those high frequency components from the cap only filter get through the regulator. Those discrete regulators do well at blocking the high frequency components, but add cost and complexity to the PS.

 

As long as we are talking about power supplies, allow me to pass along a few more of John's opinions. Most cheap linear supplies are frequently worse at these goals than good switchers, but some switchers are REALLY bad. Since there is so much variability between PS implementations it's hard to make generalizations.

 

There is a group that has latched onto "lab supplies". There is no guarantee that a lab supply will be any better either. John has measured some lab supplies that inject just as much noise back into the mains as other supplies. And some are very good. But just going to eBay and getting the cheapest "lab supply" you can find is not going to guarantee good results.

 

Anyway, I am ordering up a variety of small Chinese tabletop models (you know, the ones with detachable AC cords--might make life easier for folks overseas, plus wall warts are always a pain to plug in). I'm going to try both regulated linears and SMPS. I just need to find out if any of those will sound different or if it is just that my JS-2 is so much better than any possible cheap supply. I am sure that is the case--and really for the Regen it is not huge--but I might as well try a few before I commit for a pile of them.

 

Oddly, one of my concerns is to find a decent one that is not more than 1.5 inches thick--so it will fit in a US Postal Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box. I can send those anywhere in the world with partial tracking and full insurance for $23.50 ($19.50 to Canada, and $5.25 in the US). Wall warts with plugs don't fit and that jumps up overseas shipping by a lot.

 

Have a great week everyone,

 

--Alex C.

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Freann   

Semi related:

Im experimenting with adding a ferrite bead at the dac end of my USB cable. There is a definite change (for the better - needs more testing…).

 

 

My dac is a Ayre QB-9 DSD that has its own 5V power with optical isolation (but needs the 5V for initial “handshake” with the computer).

 

 

What does the ferrite do here? What part of the USB signal is affected?

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Superdad   
Semi related:

Im experimenting with adding a ferrite bead at the dac end of my USB cable. There is a definite change (for the better - needs more testing…).

 

 

My dac is a Ayre QB-9 DSD that has its own 5V power with optical isolation (but needs the 5V for initial “handshake” with the computer).

 

 

What does the ferrite do here? What part of the USB signal is affected?

 

 

Funny you should mention this Fredrik. Just last week I dug out of a drawer some clamp-around ferrites (no autocorrect, not ferrets--those stink!). Tried them years ago on speaker, power, and interconnect cables and hated the results. But Miska was mentioning some positive things he measured with them on USB cables, so I thought I'd give it a try. I too found a minor benefit (nowhere near the scale of the Regen--which I was testing with Geek Pulse, power supplies, etc. in the same session--of course changing only one thing at a time). Miska says the ferrites knocks down some very high frequency hash. John was concern about what band that might be in (I'll ask him about it again), but I did not find that the clamp had a bad effect. Just was not that significant on my USB cables.

 

Here is a link to TDK brand clamp-ons that Mouser sells, sorted by I.D.:

TDK Ferrite Clamp On Cores | Mouser

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Freann   

Interesting.

Like you I hate them on anything analog or power related. But on digital… Mine were taken from an older Audioquest power cable.

 

 

If my little experiment is an small indication of what can be expected of the Regen, sign me up.

 

 

Maybe important: my USB cable is a bit “special”: an Entreq Discover. But I hear an effect on my WW Platinum Startlight too.

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rickca   

Superdad, a couple of questions. Sorry if they are naive, I'm not an engineer.

 

How does the effectiveness of your regen device compare with solutions like the JCAT or SOtM cards?

Would it make sense to use the regen with a Berkeley Alpha USB, or would it be redundant?

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Superdad   

How does the effectiveness of your regen device compare with solutions like the JCAT or SOtM cards?

Would it make sense to use the regen with a Berkeley Alpha USB, or would it be redundant?

 

Hi Rick:

 

Thanks for the good questions.

The short and honest answer with regards to actual sonic benefit of the USB Regen in comparison to a JCAT or SOtM USB card or for use with a Berkeley USB>S/PDIF interface is:

"We don't know." Although every DAC I have tried the preproduction piece with has benefited greatly, I have neither of those USB cards nor a Berkeley unit.

 

The longer answer includes the following points:

 

a) Think of the USB Regen as an external JCAT or SOtM USB card--but out of the electrically noisy computer and PCI bus, close to the DAC, after the USB cable, and with carefully impedance matched output.

 

b) The Regen will likely still benefit computer>DAC connections that use a JCAT or SOtM in part because of factors mentioned in 'a)' and also because we use a very low jitter clock and ultra low-noise regulators to completely regenerate a new USB signal--and for those DACs that use 5V VBUS power for anything, the Regen provides really clean (and ground isolated) power as well.

 

c) While the Berkeley Alpha USB is one of the very best USB>S/PDIF converters out there, its USB input still consists of a USB PHY and an XMOS processor. They do a nice job running the I2S through an isolator and keep a separate ground plane, but non of that is much different than the USB>I2S boards we have played with--which the USB Regen still helps.

 

The primary purpose of the Regen is to increase "signal integrity" to make the PHY's job of decoding the data from the noise easier (read some of Swenson's many posts on this), and to potentially reduce packet noise as well (that is going to happen inside the DAC--typically around the 8Khz USB packet rate, but broadband too--no matter what, but the Regen may help).

 

Of course we all have to wait until the Regen begins shipping. Then lots of people can try it in lots of different applications and hear for themselves what benefits it might bring to their music systems. The price should (I am still waiting on a couple of quotes) be under $200, so it is not as if there will be a nick risk for folks to try it.

 

Best,

--Alex C.

 

P.S. Here is a pic of the USB section of the Berkeley Alpha USB:

(USB stuff all on the left; the isolator--type not known--is hidden under the U-shaped iron lamination stack separating the USB side from the S/PDIF side.)

 

alphausb2.jpg

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YashN   
Semi related:

Im experimenting with adding a ferrite bead at the dac end of my USB cable. There is a definite change (for the better - needs more testing…).

 

What does the ferrite do here? What part of the USB signal is affected?

 

They deal with high frequencies to attenuate them, so they can be beneficial, but you wouldn't want them to attenuate audio content high frequencies.

 

So, basically, do use them on your power leads, but don't use them on the signal leads.

 

This implies that you should separate the power and the signal leads.

 

Miska shared a paper by Intel with some cool implementation to properly shield and filter high-speed USB.

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Superdad   
Time for an update!

 

Indeed it is!

 

Got the final quote yesterday and the order for PCB fabrication/SMD assembly is being place today! I'm crossing my fingers and going ahead with 100 pieces for the first run. Between these and another 100 pieces of the MMK boards, it is a really BIG bank wire transfer--gulp.

 

Unfortunately, China (yes, that's where everyone gets their boards stuffed, but the actual circuit parts are exact spec and shipped over there from Digi-Key) is going on New Year's holiday from February 14-27, so I won't have the boards until early March. That's probably okay since we still need to get the final chassis drawings (end cap openings and silk screen printing) and customization quote. So I hope everything will come together for production units to ship out to all you good folks by mid-March.

 

Should be able to announce the price in the next week or two. Will be under $200 for sure--just not sure by how much.

 

I can't wait to get these out as the positive effect is really easy to hear.

 

Have a great week gang!

 

--Alex C.

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jtwrace   
Indeed it is!

 

Got the final quote yesterday and the order for PCB fabrication/SMD assembly is being place today! I'm crossing my fingers and going ahead with 100 pieces for the first run. Between these and another 100 pieces of the MMK boards, it is a really BIG bank wire transfer--gulp.

 

Unfortunately, China (yes, that's where everyone gets their boards stuffed, but the actual circuit parts are exact spec and shipped over there from Digi-Key) is going on New Year's holiday from February 14-27, so I won't have the boards until early March. That's probably okay since we still need to get the final chassis drawings (end cap openings and silk screen printing) and customization quote. So I hope everything will come together for production units to ship out to all you good folks by mid-March.

 

Should be able to announce the price in the next week or two. Will be under $200 for sure--just not sure by how much.

 

I can't wait to get these out as the positive effect is really easy to hear.

 

Have a great week gang!

 

--Alex C.

 

OK, not everyone gets their stuff done in China btw.

 

For instance, Schitt Audio uses http://www.jaxxmfg.com/ I have about 4 that I've used in my state alone.

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jtwrace   
Indeed it is!

 

Got the final quote yesterday and the order for PCB fabrication/SMD assembly is being place today! I'm crossing my fingers and going ahead with 100 pieces for the first run. Between these and another 100 pieces of the MMK boards, it is a really BIG bank wire transfer--gulp.

 

Unfortunately, China (yes, that's where everyone gets their boards stuffed, but the actual circuit parts are exact spec and shipped over there from Digi-Key) is going on New Year's holiday from February 14-27, so I won't have the boards until early March. That's probably okay since we still need to get the final chassis drawings (end cap openings and silk screen printing) and customization quote. So I hope everything will come together for production units to ship out to all you good folks by mid-March.

 

Should be able to announce the price in the next week or two. Will be under $200 for sure--just not sure by how much.

 

I can't wait to get these out as the positive effect is really easy to hear.

 

Have a great week gang!

 

--Alex C.

 

OK, not everyone gets their stuff done in China btw.

 

For instance, Schitt Audio uses Jaxx Manufacturing, Inc. - Home I have about 4 that I've used in my state alone.

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Elberoth   
OK, not everyone gets their stuff done in China btw.

 

For instance, Schitt Audio uses Jaxx Manufacturing, Inc. - Home I have about 4 that I've used in my state alone.

 

^^^ My thought exactly. If you factor in the shipping costs and delays (be it in shipping time or time required to redesign and implement production changes), I'm not sure China is worth the trouble.

 

It was very well described in Schiit story (whch is an excellent reading BTW !):

 

Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up

 

I'm not a manufacturer though, so what do I know :)

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Superdad   
OK, not everyone gets their stuff done in China btw.

 

For instance, Schitt Audio uses Jaxx Manufacturing, Inc. - Home I have about 4 that I've used in my state alone.

 

I know. It is just that every time we have gotten domestic quotes for PCB assembly, they either want runs of 500 units or they are several times the price of our Canada/China vendor--or both. But since you mentioned JAXX (I had bookmarked them months ago after seeing mention in Stoddard's very enjoyable blog), I went ahead today and submitted the Regen to them for bid. Would love nothing more than to have our boards made in California. But we'll see. I can't order on the scale of Schiit.

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jtwrace   
I know. It is just that every time we have gotten domestic quotes for PCB assembly, they either want runs of 500 units or they are several times the price of our Canada/China vendor--or both. But since you mentioned JAXX (I had bookmarked them months ago after seeing mention in Stoddard's very enjoyable blog), I went ahead today and submitted the Regen to them for bid. Would love nothing more than to have our boards made in California. But we'll see. I can't order on the scale of Schiit.

I await your results. ;-)

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Superdad   
^^^ My thought exactly. If you factor in the shipping costs and delays (be it in shipping time or time required to redesign and implement production changes), I'm not sure China is worth the trouble.

 

It was very well described in Schiit story (whch is an excellent reading BTW !):

 

Hi Adam:

 

Yes, I have enjoyed Jason's blog/book from the beginning. I got a lot of laughs from it since we lived through a lot of that sort of thing in my Hovland days (a room with $20K of scrapped custom machined chassis parts; not being able to ship due to just one stupid screw being back-ordered--and on and on).

Plus I have learned a ton from him. His recent "expose" of the costs and perils of working with Amazon? Priceless.

 

China can be tricky for chassis and custom stuff, or for complex boards where one may be changing parts and design. But for average stuff with a bunch of surface mount and a few through-hole parts, they are quite good, especially if you work with a reputable and reliable vendor. Such houses take care of all the parts procurement--buying and using only the exact items you specify.

Our turnkey firm, in Canada, analyzes everything (they will even catch mistakes in the PCB design), buys all the parts from Digi-Key or Mouser (whichever is cheaper and has stock), ships them to China where they make and photograph a first article. They test every board, pack them beautifully, and ship them to me via FedEx or DHL. During the process they even send me a link to a detailed tracking system so I know where they are in the manufacturing process.

 

How long does all that take? From the time I send payment to the time I have boards--just 14-16 days! The quality is really great and the prices are hard to beat.

 

I'd love to source more locally and will continue to try. For the R-core transformer we use in the JS-2, the one USA firm still making R-cores wanted 3 times the price of what I pay from China--and that was after shipping from China but without including freight for the USA vendor. And the lead time was 12 weeks as opposed to 3.

 

On the JS-2, the very high quality (finish, accuracy, machining, and printing) chassis I source from Japan costs me close to $160 landed, but I think it is worth it. Yet with a total parts cost of nearly $400 for the JS-2 (including cables and nice packaging, not including $50 royalty to John or anything for my labor), one can see that my costs are higher than the RETAIL price of the various typical transformer/diode/cap LPS units coming out of China/Taiwan. So I stay direct sale and concentrate on providing a flexible, high quality, high performance unit that people will be proud to own for a long time.

 

Still, I am somewhat baffled as to how Schiit Audio manages to domestically produce and sell some of their products for as little as they do. Big capital and economies of scale work wonders. Maybe I'll get there someday. ;)

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Superdad   
Alex,

 

How do you make your drawings ?

 

With the good graces and talents of my dear friend, architect, and talented industrial designer Jeffry Tonkin. He was president of Hovland Company and the sole source and inspiration of everything beautiful that ever came out with the Hovland name. He is definitely stooping pretty low to do the CAD work for my current products, and for that I am grateful. Here is a sample of his capabilities:

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]16855[/ATTACH]

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]16856[/ATTACH]

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Jud   
With the good graces and talents of my dear friend, architect, and talented industrial designer Jeffry Tonkin. He was president of Hovland Company and the sole source and inspiration of everything beautiful that ever came out with the Hovland name. He is definitely stooping pretty low to do the CAD work for my current products, and for that I am grateful. Here is a sample of his capabilities:

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]16855[/ATTACH]

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]16856[/ATTACH]

 

Alex, I get "Invalid Attachment" when I click. Please do attachments that can walk!

 

Thanks.

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