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UltraCap™ LPS-1 LISTENING IMPRESSIONS thread

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Superdad   
Thanks everyone for the quality feedback. Happy birthday to me, order placed!

 

Happy Birthday to you--and thanks for your order. Hope you enjoy the UltraCap LPS-1 as much as everyone else has so far.

 

--Alex C.

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Superdad   

Hi Gang:

 

I generally don't care much about our sponsored forum threads wandering off topic--this place is just a discussion forum after all, and I enjoy ALL of what get posted.

 

But I have decided to take a little more active hand in keeping two new threads on topic--for the benefit of people wandering in from elsewhere. The threads are this Listening Impressions one and the UltraCap™ LPS-1 Operation and Pre-purchase thread.

 

Rather than deleting posts from those threads, at my discretion I will simply move them into this other thread.

 

You are most welcome to continue whatever discussions there. And if the dialog picks up a solid theme, we can make a new thread with that as the subject line and move all those posts to it.

 

Please let me know if you object to any of this in general or in specific.

 

Thanks and regards,

 

--Alex C.

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After having a surgery at the same time the LPS-1 arrived, I haven't had much time to listen critically, or even methodically burn in the LPS-1 feeding a microRendu.

 

That said, I did give it a brief listen when it arrived last week and it was "better," but there were issues. I won't bore you with those. After running pink noise 24/7 for about two days, it improved but still felt a wee bit slow (PRaT seemed off). Another day or so of pink noise, and now my, my my. I think I'll let it settle in some more, but speed is back and both highs and lows are better in comparison to powering the mRendu with the iFi iPower.

 

The mids on my system were a bit lush and that has been tamed a bit, probably relative to improvements in the bass (leaner, lower, more defined), and probably for the better. One test track surprised me by the amount of bass that I hadn't heard before, and by how much I could hear going on as far as the actual notes played--the whole song is now a new experience. I love that in this hobby! Of course, not all tracks benefit as the increased resolution just reveals the recording quality that much more. (I hate that in this hobby! Ha ha ha)

 

So in my setup at least, the improvements across the board result in an emotional enhancement to the sound that I think is easily worth the LPS-1's price. I wish the LPS-1 did 9V so I could get another to power another device too!

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The LPS-1 hasn't made my system sound totally different. My listening impression is that it has removed more low level noise and allowed more low level details in the music to come through. This has made for more relaxed listening, with a feeling of not having to work hard to hear subtleties like inflections in the way instruments are played and vocals are sung, and a sense of more palpable imaging and soundstage. Overall, in a system that already had low noise levels, this is a very nice improvement.

 

And I agree with this impression too. Thanks Alex, John, and team!

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sdube   

The LPS-1 hasn't made my system sound totally different. My listening impression is that it has removed more low level noise and allowed more low level details in the music to come through. This has made for more relaxed listening, with a feeling of not having to work hard to hear subtleties like inflections in the way instruments are played and vocals are sung, and a sense of more palpable imaging and soundstage. Overall, in a system that already had low noise levels, this is a very nice improvement.

 

Concur with Jud. (I had tried to post about this yesterday, but rambled a bit.) The point is that with LPS-1 the actual nature of recordings, what is on them, is clearer -- without homogenization or standardization or editization. And so a louder recording sounds, well, louder and bolder, while more delicate recordings sound that way, too: Mention this because there was some discussion earlier about the LPS-1 making recordings sound louder across the board. This is not my experience.

 

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sdube   
The LPS-1 hasn't made my system sound totally different. My listening impression is that it has removed more low level noise and allowed more low level details in the music to come through. This has made for more relaxed listening, with a feeling of not having to work hard to hear subtleties like inflections in the way instruments are played and vocals are sung, and a sense of more palpable imaging and soundstage. Overall, in a system that already had low noise levels, this is a very nice improvement.

 

Concur with Jud. (I had tried to post about this yesterday, but rambled a bit.) The point is that with LPS-1 the actual nature of recordings, what is on them, is clearer -- without homogenization or standardization or editization. And so a louder recording sounds, well, louder and bolder, while more delicate recordings sound that way, too: Mention this because there was some discussion earlier about the LPS-1 making recordings sound louder across the board. This is not my experience.

 

Sorry, I meant to say that "more delicate recordings sound delicate"

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sdube   

I am using an Uptoned dedicated Mac Mini (16 GB Ram, 2 TB SSD) on JS-2, and the JS-2 also feeds (9v output via a custom three way cord) an iFiUSB 3 into a Regen into a LPS-1 that feeds a final, second Regen. So, Mac not mR, and JS-2 as feeding the LPS-1. Earlier, I was using the JS-2 on the second Regen, without the LPS-1. (My system is in the signature below.) Trust this helps.

sdube, are you using a mR, and what were you using as a PS before the LPS-1?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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Priaptor   

Just my updated experience. Got my LPS-1 for my uRendu for my MSB Diamond V. Was running it both DLNA and tried Roon endpoint and didn't like it as much compared to my Caps/Jriver/CoreTechKaiaLPS/Jcat combo. Roon endpoint mode really didn't do it for me.

 

Just switched to NAA without any upsampling of HQPlayer a totally different setup obviously compared to my T&A DAC DSD and it truly is wonderful. Not a huge quantum improvement of the Caps above using JRiver or Caps with NAA but any improvement is welcome and this seems like the ticket for me. The LPS-1 has been burning in since Friday.

 

Much happier today with this purchase as this was my last iteration before listing it for sale. Really excellent and probably the very first time I have heard anything top my Caps/Jcat/KaiaCoreTechLPS combination.

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gstew   

My set of impressions will be quite different than anyone else’s so far. As stated in my sig, I am a died-in-the-wool DIY’er. ALL of my gear is either DIY’d or highly modified (with a long list of additional mods to try on EACH piece of gear when I get time).

 

I don’t have a Regen or uRendu. I’ve tried to keep ALL USB processing out of my computer music setups, opting instead to use I2S-fed DIY or DIY-ish DACs (such as the various Raspberry Pi DAC Hats) to minimize processing and produce a simpler chain.

 

I purchased two LPS-1, with the intention of trying them with the following setups:

 

1. Raspberry Pi -> Allo Kali reclocker ->

 

... A stock Allo Piano DAC (1 LPS-1 powering both the Kali and Piano)

 

... A largely stock Collybia MamboBerry DAC (1 LPS-1 powering the Kali, the other the Mamboberry)

 

... A very modified HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro (know herein as the HFBD+P, with the Kali powered by a DIY linear and the 2 LPS-1’s supplying the separated 5v and 3.3v regulators on the HFBD+P)

 

... A somewhat modified Soekris DAM DAC (with 1 LPS-1 powering the Kali)

 

2. SDtrans384 SD Card Player -> another somewhat modified Soekris DAM DAC

 

All of these elements AND the music source computer and networking are powered from pretty good-quality DIY’d linear supplies, with up to 9 involved (LMS Server computer, switch, wireless router configured as an access point, sending and receiving FMCs, the R-Pi, and 1-3 supplies for the Kali reclocker and DAC as appropriate.

 

I’ve only gotten through the R-Pi sourced setups so far.

 

In EVERY case the LPS-1(s) in the chain produced an improvement. The least amount of improvement was with the Kali->Piano DAC and one LPS-1 (tho I have not really spent much time trying to get the best sound out of the combo yet), a very good amount with the Kali->Mamboberry (2 LPS-1) and the Kali->Soekris DAM DAC (1 LPS-1), and an unexpected and surprising jump with my modified HFBD+P (tho not being fed by a Kali on the R-Pi, so far I have been unable to get this DAC and a Kali to work together).

 

In ALL cases I got darker backgrounds, increased treble sweetness and bass definition, and more lifelike reproduction, especially in the mids. All of these improvements expressed also as increased density and complexity, apparent in both simple recordings as more instrument body and tone and in complex recordings in the ability to distinctly hear and separate all the different elements in the recording while not losing any musical coherence.

 

PRAT and tunefulness also improved, key performance parameters to me. Related to that, musical excitement, urgency, and drama was enhanced, especially during dense and high-volume passages where the sound sans LPS-1 would be have become subtly confused and compressed. This was actually apparent both at low levels and during crescendos, but most marked during loud passages.

 

And what I heard from the HFBD+P was FAR beyond my expectations. No, it does not beat the much more expensive DIY Soekris DAM DAC. But it comes DARNED close in many parameters and beats or equals ALL other digital sources I have around including my VERY modified Sony HAP Z1-ES. That cliché’ of hearing new things in every recording pretty well describes it.

 

Finally, pay a lot of attention to my AC power, with a PS Audio P10 regenerators powering the output side of my setups (the LMS source computer and all of the networking up to the final FMC are on a different AC circuit with its own AC filtering, but no regenerator). I also have a lot of filtering strategically scattered around my home to reduce incidental noise on my AC, including a large number (20 or so) of various parallel filters around the house AND clamp-on filter chokes on the power cord of any household appliance/power supply that might produce noise. Over the years I’ve implemented this regime, these measures have made incrementally good improvements in my systems’ sound AND reduced the differences between noisy AC line times (mid-days, weekdays) and clean times (late at night, weekends). With the LPS-1(s) in the setup, I got most of what I consider primo weekend late evening/early morning sound during weekday afternoons and evenings, all by itself a nice benefit.

 

I’m sold. Actually, I’m buying, I plan to get 2 more LPS-1’s in the near future, which will allow me to increase the number of applications (like using all 4 to provide the three supply rails on a Soekris PLUS either the preceding Kali reclocker or SDTrans384 player OR with 2 sets of LPS-1s in series to provide +-14v to a solid state phono stage).

 

All in all, a VERY worthwhile investment!

 

Greg in Mississippi

 

P.S. Break-in was apparent, with the setups sounding sweeter, more dynamic, and denser after a few days of run-time on the LPS-1s. OTOH, I did have some low-level buzz in my setups in certain circumstances (not when configured for listening however), so I am re-purposing some older higher-current linear supplies to feed the LPS-1s instead of the supplied Meanwells. I’ll post more on this in the troubleshooting thread when I have some time to play with various configurations more and diagram the setups.

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_JL_   

I received mine yesterday and have tested it briefly. Even w/o run-in I am pleasantly surprised by the improvements the LPS-1 bring when compared to my KECES LPS. I tried using it to power Regen, Adnaco fiber USB Hub, and the uRendu. On the Adnaco USB hub and uRendu the LPS-1 shows the most significant gains. Improvements in clarity, air, detail retrieval, and so on are very apparent as reported by other fellow members here.

 

Alex/John: You definitely have a winner here. Congratulations!

 

Now one question: I tried switching output voltage (e.g., from 7V to 5V and vice versa) without removing the input power and in one occasion (when switching from 5V to 7V) the output dropped to ~1.3V and stuck there. After unplugging/replugging the input power the unit resumes normal output at 7V. So is 'hot-switching' not supported or there is any issue with my unit?

 

And one wish: would be great if other voltages can be supported, e.g., 9V and 12V, without cascading multiple LPS-1's.

 

Thanks.

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romaz   

 

And one wish: would be great if other voltages can be supported, e.g., 9V and 12V, without cascading multiple LPS-1's.

 

As an alternative, the soon to be released Vinnie Rossi Mini PURE-DC-4EVER supply that I saw running at RMAF will have 9 and 12V output capability with 2.5A continuous output but will cost twice the price ($795 preorder price until the end of the month and then $995 after that). Output cannot be switched by the consumer, however. It has to be factory set to any value between 3.3V to 12V at the time of purchase. Original owners will be entitled to send it back to Vinnie to have the output changed (will require firmware update and minor hardware change) without cost.

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I received mine yesterday and have tested it briefly. Even w/o run-in I am pleasantly surprised by the improvements the LPS-1 bring when compared to my KECES LPS. I tried using it to power Regen, Adnaco fiber USB Hub, and the uRendu. On the Adnaco USB hub and uRendu the LPS-1 shows the most significant gains. Improvements in clarity, air, detail retrieval, and so on are very apparent as reported by other fellow members here.

 

Alex/John: You definitely have a winner here. Congratulations!

 

Now one question: I tried switching output voltage (e.g., from 7V to 5V and vice versa) without removing the input power and in one occasion (when switching from 5V to 7V) the output dropped to ~1.3V and stuck there. After unplugging/replugging the input power the unit resumes normal output at 7V. So is 'hot-switching' not supported or there is any issue with my unit?

 

And one wish: would be great if other voltages can be supported, e.g., 9V and 12V, without cascading multiple LPS-1's.

 

Thanks.

 

The original design did not support "hot-switching", I spent a lot of work at the end trying to get it to work, I thought I had it nailed. Apparently not!

 

It's just generally better to unplug the unit before making changes. I have not encountered any problems in a lot of testing with hot-switching, but if you want to be sure, unplug first.

 

Higher voltages would would have taken a larger case and cost more, so we decided not to go any higher for the first unit. We wanted to keep the first entry into this technology as inexpensive as possible.

 

If you want 12V you can always buy two!

 

John S.

Edited by Superdad

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Superdad   
I received mine yesterday and have tested it briefly. Even w/o run-in I am pleasantly surprised by the improvements the LPS-1 bring when compared to my KECES LPS. I tried using it to power Regen, Adnaco fiber USB Hub, and the uRendu. On the Adnaco USB hub and uRendu the LPS-1 shows the most significant gains. Improvements in clarity, air, detail retrieval, and so on are very apparent as reported by other fellow members here.

 

Alex/John: You definitely have a winner here. Congratulations!

 

Now one question: I tried switching output voltage (e.g., from 7V to 5V and vice versa) without removing the input power and in one occasion (when switching from 5V to 7V) the output dropped to ~1.3V and stuck there. After unplugging/replugging the input power the unit resumes normal output at 7V. So is 'hot-switching' not supported or there is any issue with my unit?

 

And one wish: would be great if other voltages can be supported, e.g., 9V and 12V, without cascading multiple LPS-1's.

 

Very glad that you--and everyone else--are enjoying the LPS-1 so much!

 

Hot switching mostly works as you have found, but on occasion, with a load present, you can catch it off guard. So not really advised.

 

The programming--and optimizing of it to tolerate production part variations--has been an enormous task. Even as I type this I am coming up on my 12th hour today sitting and testing boards and over-current thresholds and behaviors, sorting boards to be reflashed with one of 3 different firmware complications that John has created with different thresholds.

We can guarantee perfect performance of every board up to 1.12 amps or couple of hundredths above that. Much higher than that an the overcorrect protection will kick in--which is as it should be.

 

Sorry, 9V and 12V would require additional supercapacitors--for which there is no room on the board--and a number of other changes to the circuit.

And if we went there we would want to offer higher current capability, which takes us to larger caps (to keep heat and switching cycles under control), output regulators needing heatsinks, greater physical size and chassis, and a higher current "energizing"/charging supply. Something the size of 1-1/2 JS-2s and a price around $2K.

 

John and I have spoken at length about it, and if there was really demand for 9V/12V at still just 1 amp it could be done in the price range of the present LPS-1. But to be honest we are both pretty maxed out for this year. And besides we are very close with one other major surprise.

 

So thanks to all for buying and enjoying the UltraCap LPS-1. As soon as the last of the October-promised units are shipped off, we will be pausing to move into our new space. It is finally almost ready. I can't wait!

 

--Alex C.

 

IMG_1017.JPG

 

IMG_1018.JPG

 

IMG_1019.JPG

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Superdad   
As an alternative, the soon to be released Vinnie Rossi Mini PURE-DC-4EVER supply that I saw running at RMAF will have 9 and 12V output capability with 2.5A continuous output but will cost twice the price ($795 preorder price until the end of the month and then $995 after that). Output cannot be switched by the consumer, however. It has to be factory set to any value between 3.3V to 12V at the time of purchase. Original owners will be entitled to send it back to Vinnie to have the output changed (will require firmware update and minor hardware change) without cost.

 

 

Yes, Vinnie's unit should also be very nice. If you saw the very large size of the case (looks like 7 x 5 x 9 inches from the photos), that pretty well proves the point I was making about what it takes to scale this tech up.

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_JL_   

John/Alex: Thanks for the explanation on 'hot-switching'. It's no big deal as switching is not needed once the LPS-1 settles in its optimal place.

 

On 9V/12V outputs: I understand one can put two LPS-1 in series to obtain different output voltage combinations, or opt for the upcoming product from Vinnie. My thinking is mainly on cost as the cost of two LPS-1's or Vinnie's offering for that matter, is becoming high compared to the component it is powering and that requires a more holistic thinking in terms of system optimization (unless one already owns mega-buck components).

 

IMO the current LPS-1 price point is at a sweet spot where it can pretty much replace all other LPS out there and the improvements can be easily justified. If there is one LPS-1 at 9V/12V @ 1A at about the same price point I'd gladly buy them to replace my other LPS's.

 

> And besides we are very close with one other major surprise.

 

Man you guys keep coming up with surprises I am not sure if my wallet can keep up!

 

In any case I am enjoying my LPS-1 right now and I'm sure you will enjoy your very nice new office soon.

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sandyk   

To further expand on what Alex C has said about the size of a higher output voltage version, but in a simplified form.

 

A typical Supercap has a maximum voltage rating of 2.7V. To increase the output voltage to say 7V, you would need 3 Supercaps in a series combination .

You could choose to use for example,Supercapacitors of 10 FARADS capacitance .

However when you have 3 x 10 FARAD capacitors in series, the total capacitance is then reduced by a factor of 3 = 3.33 FARADS.

To obtain a 10 FARAD capacitance with a 7V rating, you would need 3 paralell banks, with a total of 9 capacitors.

If you wanted a capacitor rated for 12V operation you would need 5 Supercapacitors in series.

However, if you used 10 FARAD capacitors, the total capacitance would then be only 2 FARADS.

To obtain a 10 FARAD capacitor rated to work at 12V would require 5 parallel capacitor banks, with a total of 25 capacitors!

To obtain seamless switching between the charging and on load capacitor banks , you would need to double the number of capacitors.

i.e 18 x 10 FARAD capacitors for 10 FARAD 7V working, and 50 x 10 FARAD capacitors for 10 FARAD 12V working.

Another alternative could be to use much larger value capacitors, but the overall principle remains the same,

You would also need additional control devices, optocouplers etc.

Your PCB size has now become very much larger, with a substantially increased component cost.

Alex

 

Alex C

Please delete this post if I have made any stupid errors.

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greenleo   

9V/12V at still just 1 amp it could be done in the price range of the present LPS-1. But to be honest we are both pretty maxed out for this year. And besides we are very close with one other major surprise.

 

So thanks to all for buying and enjoying the UltraCap LPS-1. As soon as the last of the October-promised units are shipped off, we will be pausing to move into our new space. It is finally almost ready. I can't wait!

 

--Alex C.

 

 

Hi Alex,

 

Is it possible to make a poll to check the demand of the 9/12V at 1 amp? I, for one, would like to see a LPS-1 with 12V at 1A output.

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Superdad   
But it can. [9V] Even 12 V. Just purchase 2. Current is the same.

 

Well not exactly 9V as the available series combinations of two LPS-1 units would be: 6.6V (3.3+3.3), 8.3V (3.3+5), 10V (5+5), 12V (5+7), or 14V (7+7).

 

Though the truth is, virtually all components that one might power in the range of 9V are going to be just fine operating with anything near that (8.3, 10V, whatever). Unless one is directly powering an analog or digital circuit board that does not have any of its own local regulators, the externally supplied voltage is always stepped down internally to what the chips or circuits run on (5V, 3.3V, 1.2V, etc.).

 

An example: Although it calls for a 12V supply, I accidentally had a 7V wart powering my 10-port Cisco Gigabit Ethernet switch for about 2 months. Did not notice it until I was doing some wiring work under my desk.

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But it can. Even 12 V. Just purchase 2. Current is the same.

 

Yes, thank you. However that means I must power just one device. I want/need to power two devices with two LPS-1s. So, +1 to the poll for higher voltages for now.

 

And maybe I'll plug the LPS-1 in at 7v to see if it works anyway as Alex suggested.😊

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Em2016   

Hi all, it seems from my quick skimming over the 2 main LPS-1 threads, that the energizing pack used with the LPS-1 makes zero / nill / nada difference to the performance of the microRendu - whether it is the optional pack that comes with the LPS-1 or a low noise linear PSU that is used.

 

Has anyone had a different experience, i.e.: you heard a difference in the microRendu's performance when swapping out the optional energizing pack that comes with the LPS-1, for a linear PSU to charge the LPS-1?

 

Since the energizing pack is only used for charging, and the charging bank is independant of the discharging bank (for powering the microRendu) then I would assume the standard SMPS energizing pack will be enough and there's ZERO need to use (and ZERO advantage?) with a linear PSU?

 

Many thanks in advance !

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