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Superdad

ISO REGEN Listening Impressions (kicked off with some measurements)

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Altabay   
8 hours ago, Altabay said:

 

I have Anker battery.  That should be close enough to your Teknet?  I can try it out tonight and compare to the dual LPS-1 setup.

 

@tboooe, I have some interesting news for you.  There was a fairly noticeable collapsing of sound stage to between the speakers when I changed the ISO REGEN power from LPS-1 to 5v Anker battery.  LPS-1 was set at 7v, and I wonder if the battery voltage was too low to get the most out of ISO REGEN.  I went back and forth a couple of times to be sure of the sound stage change.  I didn't test, but I almost feel like ISO REGEN on 5v battery is similar to no ISO REGEN at all, in my system.

 

I went back to LPS-1 for ISO REGEN, then inserted regular (amber) REGEN in front of it, powered by the Meanwell PSU.  Sound stage was similar, but the music became subdued and less lively, the veil effect if you will.  The sound with computer directly to ISO REGEN over the no name external hard drive USB cable was clearly superior.  Very interesting result, because I was expecting the extra REGEN to make little difference.

 

Based on these, I strongly encourage you to try the dual LPS-1 setup.

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Daudio   
1 hour ago, greenleo said:

I think the difference in SQ should be pretty obvious.

 

It is not a matter of thinking. It is a matter of listening. And each of us is different, so you must do you own.  :)

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zerung   

My Regen and the Intona was sold early to allow for the Iso Regen to replace them.

I have the LPS-1,JS-2, other LPS feeding the MRendu>IsoRegen>Dac. The IsoRegen still to be burnt in.

The overall sound is more better presented due ot a more deeper background or perhaps artefacts removed (The graph perhaps shows the reason?) allowing for the music to be more defined and suspended.

 

My system is not meant to be analytical, etc. More laid back and very airy. This Iso has helped sonically quite a bit.

Financially the inversion of the Intona/Regen (Sold) to Iso Regen (With the wonderful discount offered) has been extremely  positive. Happy camper!

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Jud   
9 hours ago, Doak said:

One way I could gauge how well things were working and how good the setup was, was how far down the singer's gullet I could hear, and if their voice appeared to emanate from a mouth, throat, chest, etc.

 

This is very much along the same lines as I think - whether it's just a disembodied voice, or there's a singer there.

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Jud   
10 hours ago, Altabay said:

 

Is this conjecture or did you test and hear a difference from using USPCB on the input to ISO REGEN?  I suppose I can do a similar experiment by inserting a regular REGEN before ISO REGEN.  I'm hoping ISO REGEN makes everything before it irrelevant.

 

I put my USPCB on the "upstream" side of the Regen because my DAC takes a USB female "A" input rather than the typical USB male "B."  As I've already noted, to me the USPCB was a significant improvement over a $135 USB cable I've owned and liked for years (the Mapleshade Clearlink Plus, which to me was itself far superior to the $275 Audioquest Coffee it replaced).

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tboooe   
4 hours ago, Altabay said:

Based on these, I strongly encourage you to try the dual LPS-1 setup.

Exactly what I was afraid of!  Aside from soundstage collapse, did you notice any decrease in sound quality though?  It seems like with the Anker powering the IsoRegen the sound was the same and it was just the soundstage that changed?

 

BTW, thank you so much for taking the time to do this little experiment.

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lmitche   

Hi Alex,  Just wanted to leave a quick note to say thanks for the opportunity to beta test the ISO REGEN. Now that the production model is here I am really enjoying it. As it's been a few weeks, I am definitely noticing it improve with time.  As you know, I have an Adnaco USB solution powered by an LPS-1, so am running the ISO REGEN powered with a second LPS-1 and with the GI turned off.  In this mode the benefits of the SI and improved clock upgrade from the beta version are very enjoyable.  The ISO REGEN removes what I would best call glare delivering an even more lifelike sound then with the Adnaco alone.  I have found several older tracks that have suddenly become much more listenable because of the improvement brought by the ISO REGEN. My system has never sounded better.

 

I am working on a second configuration that may raise SQ even further if I can get Windows to cooperate, stay tuned.

 

Thanks again for the amazing sound quality tat both John and yourself have enabled in my home.

Edited by lmitche

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6 minutes ago, lmitche said:

Hi Alex,  Just wanted to leave a quick note to say thanks for the opportunity to beta test the ISO REGEN. Now that the production model is here I am really enjoying it. As it's been a few weeks, I am definitely noticing it improve with time.  As you know, I have an Adnaco USB solution powered by an LPS-1, so am running the ISO REGEN powered with a second LPS-1 and with the GI turned off.  In this mode the benefits of the SI and improved clock upgrade from the beta version are very enjoyable.  The ISO REGEN removes what I would best call glare delivering an even more lifelike sound then with the Adnaco alone.  I have found several older tracks that have suddenly become much more listenable because of the improvement brought by the ISO REGEN. My system has never sounded better.

 

I am working on a second configuration that may raise SQ even further if I can get Windows to cooperate, stay tuned.

 

Thanks again for the amazing sound quality tat both John and yourself have enabled in my home.

Hi Larry, how does it sound with the GI on, for the ISO Regen in combo with Adnaco?  How does the ISO Regen sound without the Adnaco, standard USB output server, GI on.

Edited by ElviaCaprice

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lmitche   
1 hour ago, ElviaCaprice said:

Hi Larry, how does it sound with the GI on, for the ISO Regen in combo with Adnaco?  How does the ISO Regen sound without the Adnaco, standard USB output server, GI on.

Hi Elvia,

 

It sounds close to the same with GI, but eventually it drops the DAC connection.  This was a known behavior on an un-grounded device and the switch was added to work around this limitation.  I guess my efforts at isolation have been successful!

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33 minutes ago, Superdad said:

...I'd venture to say that the impact of the ISO REGEN will greatest for those who simply have a standard computer running a standard USB cable to the ISO REGEN attached directly to their DAC with the included USPCB A>B Adapter.

 

I suspect this is the reason I am not seeing huge differences in specific areas. The Singxer F-1 DDC actually does a decent job of handling the poor USB signal from the computer and does provide some level of isolation from the USB side of the chain. I also have followed John's advice in using a Topaz isolation transformer and low impedance between plugs power strip.

 

However, using the LPS-1 to power the ISO Regen means that the Singxer F-1 DDC is getting the cleanest possible power with no ground loop or AC leakage issues. The ISO Regen with the USPCB provides the best possible USB signals as well. All of that combines to allow the Singxer F-1 to send the best SPDIF signals it can to my Yggdrasil. The result is a musical experience that is a clear step above what I had before the ISO Regen/LPS-1/USPCB combination was employed. No aspect of the sound took a step backwards either. All I hear are improvements.

Edited by Speed Racer

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Superdad   
2 minutes ago, lmitche said:

It sounds close to the same with GI, but eventually it drops the DAC connection.  This was a known behavior on an un-grounded device and the switch was added to work around this limitation.  I guess my efforts at isolation have been successful!

 

Quickly, so that others understand--and understand why we in the end elected to include a switch to jumper the grounds across the isolation "moat":

Larry uses the iFi micro iDSD DAC.  It is entirely bus-powered, and its only connection to "ground" is via its analog output cables--assuming those are connected to a DAC or amp that is itself grounded in some way.  

Larry (and I, with floating AC mains isolation transformers, and in my case preamp, amp, etc., where I have the wire to the ground pin lifted on my power cords) have systems that are quite isolated and "floated."  In such cases it is possible for some sort of EMI static charge to build up (on the upstream side of the isolator chip we think) and then to discharge, causing either very faint ticks (are you listening to vinyl?) or for some DACs a disconnect after some period. 

 

There was a period of about a month--before we realized the cause--where this bedeviled us.  The only way I could get rid of the faint ticks (or disconnects with some DACs) was to put a jumper wire to the two USB jack shells of the ISO REGEN.  (But that defeated the isolation--so why then bother with the expensive chip?!)  What drove me really crazy was that the problem was not consistent from day-to-day!  Seemed to vary with the weather (hmm...).

 

Then one day I touched my preamp and got a light static shock (carpeted room, low humidity--that's always been the case in my "floated" system), and my DAC disconnected at that instant.  "Face-palm" as they say!  I immediately replaced my preamp's ground-lifted AC cable with a normal one and plugged into an outlet with an actual AC mains ground.  Problem cured!

 

As I am sure John and/or I had mentioned very early on, funny things happen when you begin to truly isolate components from one another.  Simple airborne EMI suddenly can't flow around your system (via digital or analog cables) and has no place to "discharge."

 

Most people have more normal systems where components are grounded at places and should not experience the need to put to the red switch up (the isolation bypass position).  But if you ever hear faint ticks, maybe give it a try.  And even if you need to use the switch, the overall goodness of the ISO REGEN design (great clock, 5 state-of-the-art voltage regulators, great signal integrity USB 3.1 hub chip, etc.) will still give terrific performance.

 

--Alex C.

 

P.S.  The symptoms calling for defeat of the isolation are NOT the same as those of a handful of unlucky folks who received a ISO REGEN that should not have passed our Q.C..  Those folks hear static and distortion (and sometimes disconnects if the DAC gives up) resulting from data dropouts (the cause of which is too complicated to explain here).  More boards are incoming, parts are being better screened, and I am setting up a pricey protocol analyzer rig today to more rigorously and efficiently certify every unit that goes out.  And of course we are taking good care of the unlucky few--ahead of other order fulfillment.

 

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On 5/23/2017 at 5:52 PM, Solstice380 said:

My impression is short but infinitely long.  "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"  With the ISOREGEN I was quickly able to let my mind go, stop listening to my already nice sounding system and be drawn into the music.  This product is legit.  It didn't just replace an Amber REGEN plus Intona, it easily surpassed the combo. 

 

Thank you Alex and John. 

Nice review.

 

I have similar USB tweaks to yours (Intona + USB regen). My ISO-REGEN has not arrived yet.

 

Have you ever tried the combo of ISO-REGEN and Intona (i.e. PC - Intona - ISO regen) ? I was told by John that the addition of Intona will degrade the sound but would you mind trying that just for the sake of experiment? Thanks in advance.

 

 

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Altabay   

@Superdad, is it okay to use 9v battery on ISO REGEN?  The chassis says 6-8v, but the description in the product page says 6-9v: "an external power supply in the 6-9 volt DC range is required".  I tried 5v battery and it sounded much worse than LPS-1, and want to test with 9v battery just to round out the experiment.

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Superdad   
3 minutes ago, Altabay said:

@Superdad, is it okay to use 9v battery on ISO REGEN?  The chassis says 6-8v, but the description in the product page says 6-9v: "an external power supply in the 6-9 volt DC range is required".  I tried 5v battery and it sounded much worse than LPS-1, and want to test with 9v battery just to round out the experiment.

 

Yeah, 9V is fine too.  (Upper limit is almost entirely about the VBUS draw of what is plugged into the output of the REGENs--see: https://uptoneaudio.com/pages/usb-regen-questions-and-answers).  Your SU-1 draws only about 100mA from the VBUS, so for example the extra 2 volts dropped by the regulator at 9 versus 7 (to get down to 5V) is only another 0.2 watts (2V x 0.1A = 0.2W)--that's nothing to the 1 amp TI TPS7A4700 reg in the REGENs used for the VBUS out.

 

The 5V battery sounded bad for two reasons:

1) It probably has a crappy regulator (those little chargers are not designed for low noise--or low impedance, or transient response, or... you get the picture 9_9);

2) As previously explained, if you feed 5V to a REGEN its 5VBUS regulator has nothing to regulate, so it pretty much passes through whatever you feed it (with a small V drop along the way).  In the case of the LPS-1, that's still quite good.  Your battery--not so much.

 

So I expect your 9V battery still won't sound anywhere near as good as the LPS-1, but at least the 5VBUS passed to your DAC will be decently regulated since the TI reg will have something to work with.

 

Have fun!

--Alex C.

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On 5/24/2017 at 8:44 PM, greenleo said:

@John and Alex,

 

1st of all, I'm not sure if my enquiry belongs here.  If not, Alex please move it to a relevant thread.

 

I want to check if my understanding of Galvinic Isolation (GI) is correct.

 

1. Say, for a simple system a DAC + an Amp, both AC powered and chassis earthed, there ground (or ground plates) are basically connected through the signal cable.  Hence noises may flow between them.

 

2. If, say, the DAC is powered by battery, it will become floating and there will be no common earth between the two devices.  Hence noises between them may not flow to the other party.

 

3. GI effectively forbids noises flow between interconnecting devices.

 

4. If a system that flows from A to D (say PC to mR to IR to DAC), if B and C are both battery powered, then the noise from the ground plate of each of the devices will be isolated and cannot pass to other devices.

 

I understand IR does more for providing high SI.  I also understand that LPS-1 provides effectively clean DC and takes care of the AC leakage current.  What I really want to know is what GI is for and how it helps in SQ.  Recently I come across with the term "ground loops" and cannot figure out a coherent picture even after reading lots of web pages.  Hence my questions.

 

If John or other members would pm me on these, you're welcome.  I dare not to pm you.  Also I worry if this post would be boring for other members.

Unfortunately a proper response to this thread will take about 50 pages and several days for me to prepare, and I really don't have the time.

 

AND this is the listening impression thread and Alex stated up front that he wants this thread to be focused just on that. The other ISO REGEN thread is a better place for these types of questions. Why don't you repost this there and I will try an upper level answer without too much detail. I have already talked about this in great detail in other posts. There was one specifically on the the difference between traditional ground loops and leakage loops that might be a good response to this.

 

John S.

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Dougster   

Hi just joined up here though have read many of the threads!! I am about to receive the iso regen to try in my system.

 

MacBook Pro > Chord USB cable > Simaudio Moon 750D DAC CD player > Simaudio Amps > Martin Logan Spire plus Velodyne DD12+ Sub

 

Stax 009 earpspeakers.....

 

I am open minded as to what I may find !! The DAC is very high quality and has a very carefully designed USB board.

 

But the thoroughness of the ISO design impresses.....

 

On the other hand the ISO graph looks very impressive, on the other hand that is the input to the DAC of course, and what shall i notice from what comes out of it!!??

 

I am also a fan of EST and shall certainly include that in my comparisons....

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Altabay   
17 hours ago, Superdad said:

 

Yeah, 9V is fine too.  (Upper limit is almost entirely about the VBUS draw of what is plugged into the output of the REGENs--see: https://uptoneaudio.com/pages/usb-regen-questions-and-answers).  Your SU-1 draws only about 100mA from the VBUS, so for example the extra 2 volts dropped by the regulator at 9 versus 7 (to get down to 5V) is only another 0.2 watts (2V x 0.1A = 0.2W)--that's nothing to the 1 amp TI TPS7A4700 reg in the REGENs used for the VBUS out.

 

The 5V battery sounded bad for two reasons:

1) It probably has a crappy regulator (those little chargers are not designed for low noise--or low impedance, or transient response, or... you get the picture 9_9);

2) As previously explained, if you feed 5V to a REGEN its 5VBUS regulator has nothing to regulate, so it pretty much passes through whatever you feed it (with a small V drop along the way).  In the case of the LPS-1, that's still quite good.  Your battery--not so much.

 

So I expect your 9V battery still won't sound anywhere near as good as the LPS-1, but at least the 5VBUS passed to your DAC will be decently regulated since the TI reg will have something to work with.

 

Have fun!

--Alex C.

 

Thanks Alex, and you were right.  LPS-1 >> 9v battery > 5v battery.  For me powering the ISO REGEN with LPS-1 is a no brainer.

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Superdad   
2 hours ago, lmitche said:

Hi Alex, well having finally managed to get Windows to boot from USB, I have now moved to an USB 3 ethernet adapter and hard disk enclosure via the Adnaco USB 3 connection.  The ISO REGEN is now behind the PC stuck into a motherboard USB2 port with the USPCB.

 

This means two different galvanically isolated USB chains, one PC to ISO REGEN (switch in down position) to DAC, the second chain a harddisk and wired NIC port via fiber to the PC.

 

From the first note of playback I could hear room ambience never heard before. Playback is completely glare free.  It's hard to believe there was even more SQ to be gained, but it's here.  WOW!

 

So, you were right! I am now using the ISO REGEN as intended and it is wonderful!  Thanks again!

 

"As intended?"  Really Larry?  I think I should start a new thread just for people like you who find use for our devices in their bizarre and confusing audio systems. xD

 

Just don't try to plug the thing into your cat.  I am not responsive for scratches--even if they were galvanically isolated!

(Can you tell its Friday for me after a very long week? O.o)

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