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Installed the UpTone JS-2 LPS Today WOW!

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Today I received my UpTone Audio JS-2 LPS to replace my current SMPS for my custom built C.A.P.S. Right out of the box the JS-2 provided increased clarity due to the noise floor dropping another 1000 fathoms which also contributed to a more focused attack and extended decay on cymbals and the like. Bass has more slam with focus and with proper tonality. Soundstage has increased in both width & depth. I also noticed the mids to have a more natural sound to them which enhances the engagement with the performance. Another words I feel I have a virtual vinyl turntable without the short comings of vinyl playback.

 

Signal Path:

Custom C.A.P.S./JRMC v20 > Bel Canto REFLink Asynchronous USB Converter > ST Glass Fibre Optic > Bel Canto DAC3.7 > PASS Labs XP-20 > PASS Labs XA160.5 > Martin Logan Summit Xs

 

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wdw   
Today I received my UpTone Audio JS-2 LPS to replace my current SMPS for my custom built C.A.P.S. Right out of the box the JS-2 provided increased clarity due to the noise floor dropping another 1000 fathoms which also contributed to a more focused attack and extended decay on cymbals and the like. Bass has more slam with focus and with proper tonality. Soundstage has increased in both width & depth. I also noticed the mids to have a more natural sound to them which enhances the engagement with the performance. Another words I feel I have a virtual vinyl turntable without the short comings of vinyl playback.

 

Signal Path:

Custom C.A.P.S./JRMC v20 > Bel Canto REFLink Asynchronous USB Converter > ST Glass Fibre Optic > Bel Canto DAC3.7 > PASS Labs XP-20 > PASS Labs XA160.5 > Martin Logan Summit Xs

 

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gorgeous stereo and set-up.

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Superdad   
What are the specs? How many rails?

Price?

 

UPTONE AUDIO JS-2 DUAL-OUTPUT, CHOKE-FILTERED LINEAR POWER SUPPLY

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* Dimensions--9.0 inches wide x 9.1 inches deep x 3.3" tall (with feet).

 

* Weight--10.5 pounds; 14 pounds in its full double-box shipping cartons (shipping dimensions 14"x14"x9").

 

* Line operating voltage--100V to 240V, user selectable from the outside (you flip over the fuse holder and change the fuse amperage; it ships set, and with the right fuse, for whatever country you reside in).

 

* Included AC power cord--Volex 2 meter, 16AWG, shielded cord (USA mains plug, but you can cut and attached an appropriate local plug; it is a good heavy and shielded cord, so adapting it is worthwhile).

 

* Included DC power cable--

5-foot, shielded, star-quad; 4 conductors of tinned, stranded 18AWG; paired at the connector that makes it about a heavy 15AWG. Gold/copper/brass Oyaide 5.5mm x 2.5mm DC barrel plugs at both ends (Upon request I can terminate one end with a 2.1mm version of the Oyaide connector in case you need that size at the device end). The difference this cable makes (mostly in the bass)--versus a 2m 18AWG shielded sample I had on hand--was a minor surprise.

Although the JS-2 has two separate DC output jacks, I can only afford to include one of these custom cables in the base price of the supply (plus each one takes time to make--and I dislike soldering cables). I also sell this unique cable separately for $45--only to JS-2 buyers.

(I also offer for $10, a nice factory-made, 1-meter, 16AWG shielded cable with DC 5.5mm x 2.5mm jacks, so I think only the first 100 JS-2 units will come with my custom cable. After that we will include two of these pre-made cables and just offer the fancy one as an upgrade.

(Here is a link to a site that sells a nice assortment of adaptors to go from 5.5mm x 2.5mm plugs to other sizes: C Series Connector)

 

* Construction--

All stainless steel hardware; High quality, carefully specified circuit parts and electromechanical items. Low intensity amber front panel power-on LED. Individually assembled and tested. Four-year, no questions asked warranty (excludes shipping costs after 90 days).

 

* JS-2 supply specs--

Two independently adjustable, separately regulated outputs; Voltage choices are user set from the back panel: 5V, 7V, 9V, or 12V.

Guaranteed current capability is 5 amps continuous at any voltage setting.

 

The unit has ample reserves and can deliver instantaneous current of about 10 amps. Even a variety of attached devices won't draw much continuous amperage (my i7 Mac mini idles at 0.8A and peaks at start up and during heavy processing at barely 3A). The JS-2 outputs are thermally protected, and each one has a "fault" light next to it (all that happens if you exceed the continuous current capability of the supply is the light comes on and the output voltage sags a little until the regulator cools a bit).

 

Since the supply has two outputs, people ask how much total load they can put on it. In other words, since either output can deliver 5A continuous, does that mean you could in theory plug a full 5A into both outputs and get 10 amps out of the supply? No, it does not, because the power transformer and inductor are not rated for that. So the guideline is: any voltage combination, and any amperage combination that does not draw much more than 5-6 amps total between the two (We have run a steady 5V/3.4A from both outputs simultaneously for one hour, so that's 6.8 amps--yes the unit got hot! And at the 7V or 9V setting the JS-2 can run continuous at over 7 amps! But at 5V or 12V the max will be 5A). In real world usage you really won't have to worry about any of this. A music server computer on one output at 12V and whatever variety of DAC, headphone amp, or hard drives, etc. you want to load up on a single voltage on the other output will work fine. Just use common sense. (But don't go by the ratings of the wall warts and SMPS bricks you are replacing as those are often over-speced to stay cool.)

 

* Unique features--

Large DC choke (inductor) filtering is really the heart of the design, so I'll let John Swenson explain its benefits succinctly:

"The 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 to the regulator. Fancy discrete regulators do well at blocking the high frequency components, but add cost and complexity to a PS. My approach is to use a properly designed choke-based supply whose ripple is a perfect sine wave, no high frequency components, thus a traditional regulator works very well. The discrete regulator is not needed to deal with the high frequency components, since there aren't any."

 

One output has what we are calling a pseudo-Kelvin-sense line. Basically, when the little slide switch is set towards the SENSE line's SMA connector jack, the JS-2 ignores what voltage that jack's blue rotary switch is set for, and it gets the voltage set by a pair of resistors at the far end of the SMA cable (A 5-foot thin coax cable made with male-to-male SMA plugs comes with the JS-2). What this feedback circuit does is not only compensate for the resistance and voltage drop in the DC power cable, but also assures that the voltage at the device responds instantaneously to sharp current demands. This really works, and I can hear the effect with the Mac mini DC board with sense resistors on it (The mini takes 12V, same as one of the regular switch settings; so if I flick the sense switch quickly, the computer does not hiccup and we can compare the effect of the Kelvin sense circuit.) Is the beneficial effect as big as our choice to use an R-core transformer or what you hear from good computer OS optimizations? No, not really. But we built it in anyway, and I bet if someone wanted to put the JS-2 10 feet away from the computer, then the sense line would really shine.

Besides, this circuit also allows for an infinite choice of voltage setting from DC Output #2--well any voltage from 1.25V up to about 14V. The intention, aside from including the sense jack and resistors on the optional Mac mini DC-conversion/Linear Fan Controller Kit, is to offer little 1-inch 'Sense Cubes' to be used with other computers, small DACs, headphone amps, etc. These will have a female DC jack and female SMA jack on the side, and either a DC plug or jack (undecided) on the other side as output. Inside will be a tiny board with resistors to set the voltage.

 

* Custom, electrostatically shielded 100VA R-core transformer--

This was a costly design choice, but a really good one. Just powering the computer, the difference--between the R-core and a toroidal transformer in the bass was shocking. And in comparisons powering a DAC or other audio-signal-handling component, the sonic benefits ranged top-to-bottom, cymbals and piano to deep bass. Plus R-core transformers, due to the gapless construction of the core, are dead quiet.

 

* Price--

JS-2 with power cord, 1 custom DC cable, 1 SMA coax cable, US$925 plus insured shipping anywhere in the world (US Postal Priority Mail or custom quoted FedEx "Great Rates"--to some countries a cheap as postal service, but faster).

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dpsugasa   

Awesome system. I am a Bel Canto user also. I was under the impression, that by using the reflink the noise created by the music server power supply was less of an issue. I take it from your post that you believe upgrading the power supply still has material benefit?

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jtwrace   

Although the JS-2 has two separate DC output jacks, I can only afford to include one of these custom cables in the base price of the supply (plus each one takes time to make--and I dislike soldering cables). I also sell this unique cable separately for $45--only to JS-2 buyers.

 

Would you supply the end user with the parts list? I love soldering whenever I can to pay for my Metcal solder station I had to have. :-)

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Superdad   
Would you supply the end user with the parts list? I love soldering whenever I can to pay for my Metcal solder station I had to have. :-)

 

Well my cable is just a pair of Oyaide DC2.5G plugs (nicely made and the only ones possbible to use for the large gauge wire I use), and the Belden 9418 shielded, star-quad cable I chose.

What makes it tricky is that pairing up the 18awg conductors (red/black, green/white is proper for this one) results in about a 14.7awg conductor. And for the ground side, I tie the shield at one end (left side of the printing, connect to the PS for those that have my cable already), so that is even bigger. Add in how closely stripped these all have to be to use the strain relief band and fit into the plug shell, and the fact that the wire insulation is not high-temp rated, and I can promise that first attempts will not be pretty.

 

I buy the Belden cable a few hundred feet at a time, and I import the Oyaide plugs from Japan. Buy that stuff by the foot or the piece and you will pay more than I am charging for the complete cable. Then again, I am not presently offering the cable to anyone but JS-2 buyers, nor am I reselling the raw wire or plugs (the latter would be a violation of my agreement with Oyaide as they have a USA importer for retail channels).

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Awesome system. I am a Bel Canto user also. I was under the impression, that by using the reflink the noise created by the music server power supply was less of an issue. I take it from your post that you believe upgrading the power supply still has material benefit?

 

Most difinently!!! Worth every penny!

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If I may ask, why would one prefer this over, let's say, for example, an HDPlex LPS at three times the cost? I assume very few have tried both, so I guess I'm looking for a specs comparison at this point.

 

I like the design utlizing a chock-based filter. The craftsmanship is elite! Incorporating this LPS is one of the best upgrades I've experienced with my system.

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Would this work for a sb touch, or would it be overkill?

thanks,

drmike

 

Yes it does significantly improve the SB touch, both using its internal DAC and as a source for an external DAC. But it does cost a lot more than the Touch does.

 

You can also use it to power a Touch and an external DAC, that combination can be really good.

 

But the Touch on its own powered by the JS2 is getting into the territory of some pretty decent DACs.

 

I personally use a JS2 with a Touch and an external DAC.

 

John S.

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hopkins   

I have a single JS2 setup with the following equipment:

- from a single jack on 12v I power a Nuforce Icon HDP and an Alix board running voyage Mpd

- from a single jack on 5v I power both a Raspberry Pi and an SSD. The Pi acts as my NAS (just activated samba on Raspbian)

I have a Schitt Wyred between the Alix board and the Nuforce. Found it improves the SQ.

 

Now I am just waiting for the Regen, which I also plan to power from the JS2 :)

 

Am very happy with that setup. Sounds pretty damn good.

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Superdad   
I have a single JS2 setup with the following equipment:

- from a single jack on 12v I power a Nuforce Icon HDP and an Alix board running voyage Mpd

- from a single jack on 5v I power both a Raspberry Pi and an SSD. The Pi acts as my NAS (just activated samba on Raspbian)

I have a Schitt Wyred between the Alix board and the Nuforce. Found it improves the SQ.

 

Now I am just waiting for the Regen, which I also plan to power from the JS2 :)

 

Am very happy with that setup. Sounds pretty damn good.

 

Wow Stephane, you are certainly making good use of the JS-2 powering all those devices! That's great as it is exactly what we intended.

Thanks and regards,

--Alex C.

 

P.S. Our "USB Regen" device is heading into production very soon. Now just a matter of getting the PCBs and the customized enclosures delivered from the vendors. Hopefully less than a month. Discussion of that product is ongoing over in this thread: http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f10-music-servers/uptone-audio-regen-22803/

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Superdad   
if used with a sb touch, does it come with the appropriate plug for the touch?

thanks,

drmike

 

Indeed it does. I just verified that the SB3 and SB Touch both use a 5.5mm x 2.5mm DC barrel connector, and that is the exact size of the plugs on the custom cable we ship with the JS-2. (Though I also stock the 5.5mm x 2.1mm size of the Oyaide barrel plug for those that need it, and I occasionally will make a custom configured cable for a JS-2 owner.)

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Superdad   
If I may ask, why would one prefer this over, let's say, for example, an HDPlex LPS at three times the cost? I assume very few have tried both, so I guess I'm looking for a specs comparison at this point.

 

Hi:

Sorry to be slow in reply to your question. There is no doubt that the HDPlex is a fine unit and a fantastic bargain at its price. It is astounding what they can build things for over in China. The truth is, my total parts cost (including the cables and packing) for the JS-2 is a few dollars more than the retail price of the HQPlex. That does not include any of my 5 hours labor and testing, the $50 per I give John Swenson as royalty on his design, or the 3-4% PayPal charge I absorb.

 

As for the performance and features of the JS-2 itself, there are some significant differences--aside from the flexibility of user-adjustable output voltages and 5A capability at all voltages. While I will avoid criticizing the bargain HDPlex, I can't say positive things about their choice to use $1 bridge rectifiers, but I applaud their use of an R-core transformer (just as we do; through we have ours shielded, and 25% of my R-core cost is in shipping the darn things over from China).

 

Maximum and peak current ratings are no problem, and our units are rather close in that regard. But when one talks about measurements (as I think SandyK was bugging me for over in the other JS-2 review thread), that becomes VERY problematic because a single figure for noise/ripple is a pretty meaningless measurement.

 

First off, unlike an SMPS, a properly designed linear power supply should have basically zero ripple--certainly not at line frequency and not at any particular frequency. All that should be measurable is residual noise. But over what bandwidth? From 0Hz to 100KHz? Or up to 500KHz or several megahertz? And is that under a continuos or varying load?

So not only is comparing a single number between manufacturers meaningless because it depends on the the range and the nature of the load, but actually performing the measurements is difficult simply because the ambient environment (fluorescent lights, other gear, etc.) will creep into sensitive test equipment. Heck, take you cheap multimeter and wave its leads around any gear and you will get a dozen millivolts reading.

 

So the only way to fairly compare noise measurements between two power supplies is to have them side by side and use the exact gear, the exact bandwidth, load etc. And still, I'd rather look at the noise spectrum on an analyzer than distill it down to one pointless number.

 

All that said, what really makes for a great LPS in audio are several things other than noise/ripple. Response to transient loads being number one; rejection of line noise and not putting crap back into the line being two next factors.

 

 

Here are some clear explanations from John Swenson regarding the technical design of the JS-2 in comparison to other approaches:

JS on choke (DC inductor) PS:

"The 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 to the regulator. Fancy discrete regulators do well at blocking the high frequency components, but add cost and complexity to a PS. My approach is to use a properly designed choke-based supply whose ripple is a perfect sine wave, no high frequency components, thus a traditional regulator works very well. The discrete regulator is not needed to deal with the high frequency components, since there aren't any."

 

JS on diodes:

"All diode types except Schottkys emit a burst of ultrasonic noise as they turn off. This noise can go forward into the load circuit AND it can go back into the AC line, and it can also excite the transformer resonance.

The "slow" diodes still have this ultrasonic noise. Schottkys are the only type which do not have this noise.

Schottkys also usually have about half the voltage drop of other diode types and are usually faster.

Which type to use depends a lot on what your supply looks like and what you are trying to optimize for.

With a traditional low voltage design with a large cap right after a bridge you get large current spikes, these produce a large amount of high frequency noise which needs to be filtered by what comes after the cap. In this type of circuit the slow diodes can help cut down on the extent of the high frequencies generated by the sharp high current pulse. BUT they still generate the ultrasonic noise.

 

This is another reason why I like to use the choke-based design. With the choke there is no steep high current pulse, so no disadvantage to Schottky diodes. You get the advantage of no ultrasonic noise, lower voltage drop (so lower power consumption in the diode) and no big massive current pulses."

 

And finally, JS on speed:

"The filters I design also have very fast recovery time. A traditional C-only filter has a fairly slow recovery time. With the C-only if the load presents a large current change (let's say your computer starts taking 3A instead of 1A, then goes back to 1A after a short time). With the C-only filter the voltage across the cap goes down quickly and takes a long time to get back up to the original level. With the choke based supply charge can come from both the cap AND the magnetic field stored in the choke. The result is that the voltage drop is less AND it recovers to the original level 10-20 times faster than the C-only filter. In my designs I carefully tune the filter to provide a considerably lower drop and the much faster recovery time.

 

The result is that the raw voltage presented to the regulator is much easier to work with for the regulator. But shouldn't the regulator make that irrelevant? The problem with the slow response time is that frequently that 2A current spike is not a lone event, there might be a bunch of them in a row. With the slow response the cap can get into a situation where it doesn't recover in time for the next event, and the raw voltage descends rapidly to the point that the regulator temporarily goes out of regulation. With the fast recovery time that is much less likely to happen.

 

This is actually very important for low voltage high current supplies. With any regulated supply the higher the raw voltage is above the regulated voltage the more heat you have to dissipate in the heatsinks. So the tendency is to run the raw voltage fairly close to the output voltage, which means margin for these sorts of short term current spikes is fairly small."

============================

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skolis   
If I may ask, why would one prefer this over, let's say, for example, an HDPlex LPS at three times the cost? I assume very few have tried both, so I guess I'm looking for a specs comparison at this point.

 

I have a similar question: why this compared to YFS mod ( Your Final System)?

thx

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I have a similar question: why this compared to YFS mod ( Your Final System)?

thx

 

I like the guys at YFS and love their USB Data Only Reference cable, but do they lay out what their design philosophy or implementation the way that Alex and John do? It turns out that there's a lot of ringing out of those huge (10+) cap filters they put in the location of the removed SMPS. Then there is the cost issue and the feature set - Uptone JS-2 has 2 clean outputs (voltage selectable) and costs less. Not to mention the primo construction and clean look of the JS-2. Win win win with the JS-2! (Not to mention YFS and Mojo and Core all want to up-sell you on better wiring and cables... I mean, come on, just put the good wire in there to begin with.. Wire can't be the big cost in these units. Sheesh!)

 

Any LPS will, most likely, get you a SQ improvement but the way it gets it is critical to how much you get!

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