Science Thread: Review of Audioquest Jitterbug and Uptone Regen USB Conditioners

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,070
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It is unreasonable to demand members to respond to measurement based opinions with meaurement based opinions. Because those who are unable to provide them (measurements) may lack those measurements) because they lack the skill and equipment to perform them. Life is unfair that way.

How can a lay person respond to this with measurements?
methinks this whole 'objectivists in the midst of subjectivists' marriage is approaching irreconcilable differences.

(1)a product gets undressed with measurements (by the forum owner, no less), (2)common sense dictates defenders (both resident and stake holders from the outside) rush in to defend both objectively and subjectively (how can they not?). (3) the special status of this sub-forum gets tested for it's wildly naïve charter (4) name calling breaks out. (5)chaos.

deja vu all over again......in honor of our dear departed Yogi.
 

rbbert

Active Member
Dec 12, 2010
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Actually, I think common sense now dictates ignoring this whole forum (the Measurement Based one, that is)
 

Superdad

New Member
Apr 22, 2015
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Let's not forget "my pet rock" made the inventor rich as well.
You best look in the mirror for the direction of those shortcomings.
I feel certain that once John Swenson has figured out how to operate his hard drive, all will be revealed, measurements galore.
Where is the subjectivist sandpit, I'd like to go and poo there
MOD: this is the last warning. This is not a forum where we speak to each other this way. Continued argumentative rants will not be tolerated folks.
Well at just over 1700 sales, he's surpassed Jim Jones's 909 recruits with his religion so far. Quite impressive.
Lack of education is the reason for the popularity of these trinkets.
Or perhaps we can't measure them because we can't really hear them.
==========================================



Hi Adam et al

...you can start a thread here as long as there are rules followed and no ad hominem attacks

Hi Steve:

Forgive me, I am new here. Just stopped by to enjoy my product being singled out (despite there being many varieties of gear that sounds different but for which general purpose measurements fail to correlate to what is commonly heard).

However, despite this being a "moderated" forum with some supposed rules of decorum, it appears that crude and ad hominem attacks are permitted, provided they are launched from the right side of the fence.

Frankly it is disappointing that Amir, as one of the founders and administrators of this site, and with commercial interests in the business , did not exercise the common courtesy of contacting us to: a) Let us know that he was planning a measurement review; b) Ask for input in appropriate use, testing and theory of operation.

Granted, What's Best Forum is not a "magazine," but with most audio reviews being online these days, what really separates a "publication" from a "forum" anyway? I suppose it is the integrity to serve both the readership and the firms that produce the products in an honest and respectful way. There is not so fine a line between journalism and tabloidism.

[Of course none of the rather inconsequential, extremely low level little spikes that showed up (probably due to hook up, connections, PS, etc.) have any meaning in relation to the sonic benefits 1,800+ people hear with the REGEN in their systems. And BTW, the REGEN, not designed as a panacea to all of the ills of USB, does effectively and audibly address them enough to cause a stir with a range of well-known DAC manufacturers, prompting them to either develop similar products or to take a much closer look at their existing USB inputs. We knew from day-one that the REGEN would paint a target on our backs. Luckily we are not standing still.]

I'm off to the RMAF show now, so I'll leave you all to your arguments.

Thanks and regards,

Alex Crespi
UpTone Audio LLC
 
Sep 30, 2015
3,131
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==========================================





Hi Steve:

Forgive me, I am new here. Just stopped by to enjoy my product being singled out (despite there being many varieties of gear that sounds different but for which general purpose measurements fail to correlate to what is commonly heard).

However, despite this being a "moderated" forum with some supposed rules of decorum, it appears that crude and ad hominem attacks are permitted, provided they are launched from the right side of the fence.

Frankly it is disappointing that Amir, as one of the founders and administrators of this site, and with commercial interests in the business , did not exercise the common courtesy of contacting us to: a) Let us know that he was planning a measurement review; b) Ask for input in appropriate use, testing and theory of operation.

Granted, What's Best Forum is not a "magazine," but with most audio reviews being online these days, what really separates a "publication" from a "forum" anyway? I suppose it is the integrity to serve both the readership and the firms that produce the products in an honest and respectful way. There is not so fine a line between journalism and tabloidism.

[Of course none of the rather inconsequential, extremely low level little spikes that showed up (probably due to hook up, connections, PS, etc.) have any meaning in relation to the sonic benefits 1,800+ people hear with the REGEN in their systems. And BTW, the REGEN, not designed as a panacea to all of the ills of USB, does effectively and audibly address them enough to cause a stir with a range of well-known DAC manufacturers, prompting them to either develop similar products or to take a much closer look at their existing USB inputs. We knew from day-one that the REGEN would paint a target on our backs. Luckily we are not standing still.]

I'm off to the RMAF show now, so I'll leave you all to your arguments.

Thanks and regards,

Alex Crespi
UpTone Audio LLC

I suppose since you don't have this forum in your back pocket it's alright for people to share their opinions around here.

Although you always boast about sales figures to backup your end, I was just making the point that selling people on something is no proof that the product is worth buying.
 

Whatmore

New Member
Jun 3, 2011
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Alex, you've quoted me twice in your complaint about ad hominem attacks. Perhaps you could tell me what your issue is with my second comment.

As for my first, to be clear, whilst I might have been provocative , I was was questioning why the measurement haters felt it necessary to come and foul this thread. Please don't flatter yourself that I was having a go at you in particular
 
Sep 30, 2015
3,131
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I think Bruno Putzeys said it best:

"It is difficult to classify BS once it's reached the total nonsense
threshold. The sad thing is that it takes engineering skills to build this
product (otherwise there would be no sound) but this is then used to pursue
an unverifiable goal. Essentially they built a machine to perform a
religious ritual.

The technical point that should be put across is that the USB clock is never
used to generate the audio clock anywhere. Even changing the frequency
(within the specs permitted by USB) would have zero effect on the actual
conversion rate. Modern USB audio is asynchronous. The DAC has its own clock
and will simply request new data when needed. The USB clock only regulates
the transmission of those packets of data, but has no influence whatsoever
on the rate at which the DAC operates. If the USB clock speed is low, the
DAC will simply, on average, request slightly more audio samples per USB
packet."


This is why my take on it is it's all in the power supply powering the chip close to the USB input that's giving the illusion of enhancement. That of course combined with expectation bias. Tweaking the EQ settings a bit may accomplish the same goals.

Better yet buy a DAC that has better interface options. Or at least an USB interface done right.
 
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mansr

New Member
Sep 20, 2015
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I think Bruno Putzeys said it best:

"It is difficult to classify BS once it's reached the total nonsense
threshold. The sad thing is that it takes engineering skills to build this
product (otherwise there would be no sound) but this is then used to pursue
an unverifiable goal. Essentially they built a machine to perform a
religious ritual."
Reminds me of Douglas Adams' Electric Monk.
 

mansr

New Member
Sep 20, 2015
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0
Frankly it is disappointing that Amir, as one of the founders and administrators of this site, and with commercial interests in the business , did not exercise the common courtesy of contacting us to: a) Let us know that he was planning a measurement review; b) Ask for input in appropriate use, testing and theory of operation.
Outside the audiophile cult, reviews/tests done without involvement of the manufacturer or other interested parties are seen as the most trustworthy. Letting the manufacturer dictate test protocols is sure to raise every red flag there is.
 
Sep 29, 2015
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Alex I am sure we are all looking forward to seeing those measuremtnts, hard drives can be tricky can't they!
Keih.

Since this is a scientific thread. Can you please provide measurements of your amazing hubris??? Or is there no test equipment available that can record such extreme levels...
 
May 30, 2010
13,900
3
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Portugal
It is unreasonable to demand members to respond to measurement based opinions with meaurement based opinions. Because those who are unable to provide them (measurements) may lack those measurements) because they lack the skill and equipment to perform them. Life is unfair that way.

How can a lay person respond to this with measurements?

I would expect that, once the starting waves settle, a measurement based forum will completely avoid comments on subjective aspects and focus on debating just measurements. But IMHO only a very few people in WBF can comment with knowledge those measurements. Besides I can not see what they can "debate" about electronics and signals if the main trend seems to be that everything decently designed and manufactured since long is already perfect. YMMV.
 
Aug 6, 2015
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Central FL USA
Alex, you've quoted me twice in your complaint about ad hominem attacks. Perhaps you could tell me what your issue is with my second comment.

As for my first, to be clear, whilst I might have been provocative , I was was questioning why the measurement haters felt it necessary to come and foul this thread. Please don't flatter yourself that I was having a go at you in particular
I also was quoted by Alex while he ignored the very nasty name calling that I had responded to. I was quite surprised that a mod hadn't addressed the matter sooner.
 

dallasjustice

Member Sponsor
Apr 12, 2011
2,090
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Dallas, Texas
Alex,

It is odd you want to praise your 1,800 customers who like their Regen. But when one of those customers doesn't hear an improvement and then wants to have the device professionally evaluated, you claim others are conspiring against you and that you have been singled-out.

Alex, you sold ME the Regen that Amir is testing. He's testing it because I asked him to do it. I asked Amir to test the device due to my apparently anomalous experience with the Regen. I admit I was skeptical of the crazy quilt logical reasons why the Regen supposedly makes DACs sound better. I read Swenson's logic on audiostream and numerous times on Computer Audiophile. None of his engineering logic made sense to me but I had to hear for myself what all the fuss was about. To me, the $175 I paid for the Regen was well worth it. I've learned a lot in this process. I've also been supremely entertained by the responses on various threads.

There seems to be some kind of moral sliding scale to product engineering in hi end audio. It goes like this. The less one charges for a product, the less one needs to ensure accurate representations were made marketing that product. To me, the less expensive worthless tweeks are the most harmful because they end up in the hands of many more folks. Maybe the Regen falls into this category, maybe it doesn't. But saying that Uptone is exempt from making accurate representations about their product because it's only $175, isn't fair, IMO. Enjoy RMAF!

Michael.
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,426
1
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Metro DC
Outside the audiophile cult, ...
twp Letting the manufacturer dictate test protocols is sure to raise every red flag there is.
Fetch me my shooting iron Maw. Dem deres fightin words.
 
Apr 3, 2010
16,022
0
0
Seattle, WA
Hi Steve:

Forgive me, I am new here. Just stopped by to enjoy my product being singled out (despite there being many varieties of gear that sounds different but for which general purpose measurements fail to correlate to what is commonly heard).
Your product was not singled out. I tested both the Audioquest Jitterbug and your REGEN. The measurements were not general purpose either. I measured noise on USB power line. Where have you seen that as general purpose? I also gave your product kudos for doing well there. In your response to me, you post JohnW's eye charts while he was also the one that hammered your choice of power supply and showed graphs of his own damning the product that way. In light of this, I am not clear what you are aiming at.

However, despite this being a "moderated" forum with some supposed rules of decorum, it appears that crude and ad hominem attacks are permitted, provided they are launched from the right side of the fence.
I am travelling and have not had time to police every post. I am disappointed at this outcome. The forum itself has stipulated rules. In my first post, I repeated and expanded on them. We could not have gone to greater lengths to build decorum but it has not worked as well as I like to see. For that, I apologize on behalf of the whole forum.

Frankly it is disappointing that Amir, as one of the founders and administrators of this site, and with commercial interests in the business , did not exercise the common courtesy of contacting us to: a) Let us know that he was planning a measurement review; b) Ask for input in appropriate use, testing and theory of operation.
You talk about personal attacks and then you lead with it in the next sentence? What commercial interest do I have? I don't manufacture, build or sell any of these products. From you or your competitors. I also clearly indicated this work was produced by *me* and not forum: "Note 2: The information in this post is entirely mine and not the position of WBF Forum." So please don't question forum management. I am here to address your concerns for work that I commissioned and published.

Granted, What's Best Forum is not a "magazine," but with most audio reviews being online these days, what really separates a "publication" from a "forum" anyway? I suppose it is the integrity to serve both the readership and the firms that produce the products in an honest and respectful way. There is not so fine a line between journalism and tabloidism.
My work was neither. I take issue with your continued characterization of my work and me. You talk about "crude and ad hominem" and then practice it? I have a thick skin so don't mind but I will point out that you are not practicing what you are asking.

Please note that I don't make a living from any of this. I enjoy electronics and audio systems and investigate their operation routine and publish articles exactly like this both here and in magazines such as Widescreen Review. I presented some facts about the work, gave plenty of notice that there could be mistakes in them and invited counter evidence. You have not provided any such data. It is not my goal, purpose or mission to be journalist. I am sharing data with my fellow audiophiles and enjoy discussing them. Please don't confuse me with other people writing such things.

[Of course none of the rather inconsequential, extremely low level little spikes that showed up (probably due to hook up, connections, PS, etc.) have any meaning in relation to the sonic benefits
Well no. Your device injected some noise into the signal coming out of the DAC. This is unacceptable when it is sold on basis of improving said signals. Yes, the levels are low. But their mere existence is very unfortunate. If I surveyed your 1800 customers I am sure none would have predicted that the device is adding noise and distortion products.
 
Apr 3, 2010
16,022
0
0
Seattle, WA
My post was not meant as personal attack. Let me explain.

I think it is a valid question to ask in this discussion. If Amir can't show measured differencies in cables (and I do believe he can't), then he has to admit, that the measuring equipment we use, is still not accurate enough. There are still things we can hear, but cannot measure.
Measurement equipment can most definitely show differences in wires. Speaker wires for example can easily interact with loudspeaker impedance and change frequency response. Here is an example from famous Roger Russel's web page: http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm



And these differences can also be used to explain that the tonality of the loudspeaker change.

What I think you are asking about is in other situations were the audio engineering society does not accept any audible differences. Even there, we can easily measure differences between cables. We can't however correlate them with audible effects users report because those audible reports have not been verified. Indeed two people can listen to the same cable in the same system and walk out with two different outcomes. So naturally no correlation can be made.

The situation here is different. We have two *active* devices with electronic parts in them. The manufactures provide clear, technical explanation of why these active parts improve the output of the DAC. They paint a picture of cause and effect which is acceptable in engineering terms. This is not so when someone describes this special cable brings out micro-dynamics and such. Those are not technical explanations that can be put to test. Whereas what these products do, can and indeed was by me, Paul Miller and JA. We have a DAC and a black box. We insert the black box and see what happens. As can happen with active circuits, degradation was shown and no improvement. Mind you, not audible degradation but degradation nevertheless.

Maybe cables degrade electrically and people still buy them. I suspect though most of them are harmless electrically. A fat AC cable as a minimum does as well as a thin one. It has no active components in it to change the output of your DAC in a negative way.

To sum up, it was extremely easy to put the claims of manufacturers to test here. It is an entirely different matter with cables where the claims are not circuit specific and testable as such.

If so, then there is real possibility, that there are things that Regen does improve performance wise, which translate to SQ improvement many of us hear, even though we cannot show that on our set of measurements to prove it. Ergo, it is way too early to say Regen doesn't work, 'cos we can't show that on our set of measurements. And I think this is a position that many ppl posting in this thread had taken.
I don't know that many of you hear improvements. I accept that is the conclusion you have arrived at but it is not a fact. As I noted in my review, I too listened. Having had the negative data in hand would make you think I would be expected to have no or negative performance. Such was not the case. As soon as I inserted the box I thought it sounded better. Knowing the many ways such a test can go wrong, I repeated it a few times and that quickly, the normal cable sounded better than Regen!!! I of course dismiss that as well as I dismiss Regen sounding better.

Here is a philosophical question that needs to be solved. I, like most of you have invested heavily in our computer audio solution. In my case, I have a dedicated $2,000 Berkeley alpha USB to AES/EBU precisely designed to isolate what the USB is doing to what the DAC does. From this article I wrote on it, http://www.madronadigital.com/Libra.../High Resolution PC or Mac Music Servers.html, this is what is in it:



On what basis does this design need help? Unlike Regen it has a quiet linear power supply built-in. It has impeccable isolation of input to output. Its performance is in green here:



(The red is audiophilleo). There are no peaks above -125 dbFS coming out of my DAC fed by this product. How could routing USB pulses through a USB hub designed for computer use have a prayer of improving anything here?

To help Regen/AQ I tested the with a much lower end solution and still found nothing good.

Do you all have such deficient USB implementations in your DAC that you needs help from a $12 chinese power supply and a computer hub? I assure you that you don't.

And the dichotomy of "why does it sound good to me" can easily be solved. I assure you that over time whatever improvement you think this device is making will disappear. You will walk up to your machine one day, notice that great improvement is not there, pull this device out, and have it sound the same or better!
 

Superdad

New Member
Apr 22, 2015
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Your product was not singled out. I tested both the Audioquest Jitterbug and your REGEN. The measurements were not general purpose either. I measured noise on USB power line. Where have you seen that as general purpose? I also gave your product kudos for doing well there. In your response to me, you post JohnW's eye charts while he was also the one that hammered your choice of power supply and showed graphs of his own damning the product that way. In light of this, I am not clear what you are aiming at.


I am travelling and have not had time to police every post. I am disappointed at this outcome. The forum itself has stipulated rules. In my first post, I repeated and expanded on them. We could not have gone to greater lengths to build decorum but it has not worked as well as I like to see. For that, I apologize on behalf of the whole forum.


You talk about personal attacks and then you lead with it in the next sentence? What commercial interest do I have? I don't manufacture, build or sell any of these products. From you or your competitors. I also clearly indicated this work was produced by *me* and not forum: "Note 2: The information in this post is entirely mine and not the position of WBF Forum." So please don't question forum management. I am here to address your concerns for work that I commissioned and published.


My work was neither. I take issue with your continued characterization of my work and me. You talk about "crude and ad hominem" and then practice it? I have a thick skin so don't mind but I will point out that you are not practicing what you are asking.

Please note that I don't make a living from any of this. I enjoy electronics and audio systems and investigate their operation routine and publish articles exactly like this both here and in magazines such as Widescreen Review. I presented some facts about the work, gave plenty of notice that there could be mistakes in them and invited counter evidence. You have not provided any such data. It is not my goal, purpose or mission to be journalist. I am sharing data with my fellow audiophiles and enjoy discussing them. Please don't confuse me with other people writing such things.


Well no. Your device injected some noise into the signal coming out of the DAC. This is unacceptable when it is sold on basis of improving said signals. Yes, the levels are low. But their mere existence is very unfortunate. If I surveyed your 1800 customers I am sure none would have predicted that the device is adding noise and distortion products.
Amir:
Thank you for your cogent reply. Perhaps I overreacted, but as you acknowledge, this thread has become a bit nasty. That's not my style at all, but I sometimes stoop to the occasion.

As you saw from my post to Steve--after he stepped in with regards to Adam's (still unanswered and valid) questions, I quoted a bunch of less than civil commentary, and wondered what forum moderation really means here. I should not have followed that up with my questions regarding you and your report. The two subjects should not be conflated.

My reference to your commercial interests were with regards to the store you own. You sell audio products. You are in the industry. I am sorry if took offense from my pointing out that fact, and that as you are a leader here I might wish for the courtesy of being informed. Is that "crude and ad hominem?"
You may not wish to be considered a "journalist" (has such become an epithet?), but you publish articles and present facts, so I am not sure what else to call that? And given your standing and the respect you command from some corners, I don't think it unreasonable that you treat your position with a sense of responsibility.

With regards to the SMPS that we include with the REGEN: As I have said (probably here and certainly elsewhere), we neither defend nor apologize for the -110dB and lower high frequency noise spread of the inexpensive, 7.5V/2.93A/22W unit we include with the REGEN. It is better than most, but it is still an SMPS. Many are happy with it and many choose to use a nice LPS with it. We ourselves will be releasing an innovative and affordable 1A 5/7V-selectable LPS early next year.

Anyway, time to get ready for the show. Will you be attending? Can we get together for a drink? I think you would enjoy meeting John Swenson. He might give you some interesting ideas for methods of using your test gear for deeper analysis of some of the most pernicious digital issues. I am sure you don't think that digital audio has been perfected yet…

Best regards,

--Alex C.
 

Superdad

New Member
Apr 22, 2015
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0
Here is a philosophical question that needs to be solved. I, like most of you have invested heavily in our computer audio solution. In my case, I have a dedicated $2,000 Berkeley alpha USB to AES/EBU precisely designed to isolate what the USB is doing to what the DAC does. ...
On what basis does this design need help? Unlike Regen it has a quiet linear power supply built-in. It has impeccable isolation of input to output.
Two quick points (I really have to pack):
1) The Berkeley Alpha's entire USB input stage is USB VBUS powered! They chose not to provide a separate PS for it since it would have added to the cost if they wanted to maintain their galvanic isolation. So right there is point of entry for noise;
2) But wait you say, they use digital isolators that galvanically isolate the USB input entirely. Well first off, just like every other implementation and USB isolation attempt, they isolate the OUTPUT of the USB>I2S conversion stage. And if you study the various digital isolators and how they work, you will see that not only they all add jitter themselves (hence the reclocking flop right afterwards), but they don't isolate ANYTHING that has already become part of the signal! They isolate ground planes, but they have to pass the signal.
Now perhaps you believe that nothing before the isolators matters, or that the PS, jitter, and ground-palne noise of the entire USB>I2S stage is inconsequential. Well such belief would place you in a minority of 1 if you stood in a group of the 30 most relevant practicing DAC designers today.

Anyway, what to wear to the show? What's the weather in Denver--or in those crowded hotel rooms?...