AQ Jitterbug Measurements

dallasjustice

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#1
JA published analog jitter measurements using the AQ jitterbug. I don't think the article is online yet since I just got the magazine in the mail yesterday.

JA's measutements showed no significant difference with the j Dunn jitter test. The ONLY repeatable differences were shown at inaudible levels whilst measuring the crappy AQ dragonfly. Two other more expensive DACs showed no difference.

Of course, many will say that JA's measurents don't matter because:
1. He didn't have specialized gear made by Tektronix designed to measure USB packet noise.
Or
2. Measurements don't matter because "I heard it."

Those who advocate the first objection may have a point. But I don't think it's very strong since listeners don't listen in digital. IMO, the burden is on the proponent claiming that a jitterbug can improve sound if that's what they are claiming. I've read all kinds of subjective opinions on various fora about the jitterbug, Schiit wyrd and the Uptone Regen. The claims being made are getting comical. I read one guy say that his bass had improved so much that he had to turn his sub down by 4db after interposing a USB regenerator. If that were true, it would be easy to measure these difference in the analog domain. Turns out, measurements once again prove elusive.

Is this a case of mass hysteria? Is everyone claiming to hear huge differences suffering from placebo effect? What do you think?

Michael.
 
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Andre Marc

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JA published analog jitter measurements using the AQ jitterbug. I don't think the article is online yet since I just got the magazine in the mail yesterday.

JA's measutements showed no significant difference with the j Dunn jitter test. The ONLY repeatable differences were shown at inaudible levels whilst measuring the crappy AQ dragonfly. Two other more expensive DACs showed no difference.

Of course, many will say that JA's measurents don't matter because:
1. He didn't have specialized gear made by Tektronix designed to measure USB packet noise.
Or
2. Measurements don't matter because "I heard it."

Those who advocate the first objection may have a point. But I don't think it's very strong since listeners don't listen in digital. IMO, the burden is on the proponent claiming that a jitterbug can improve sound if that's what they are claiming. I've read all kinds of subjective opinions on various fora about the jitterbug, Schiit wyrd and the Uptone Regen. The claims being made are getting comical. I read one guy say that his bass had improved so much that he had to turn his sub down by 4db after interposing a USB regenerator. If that were true, it would be easy to measure these difference in the analog domain. Turns out, measurements once again prove elusive.

Is this a case of mass hysteria? Is everyone claiming to hear huge differences suffering from placebo effect? What do you think?

Michael.
Very timely and interesting post.

First, the Audiquest Jitterbug. You are correct, the John Atkinson's measurements, and let's repeat, that, HIS specific measurements showed not much benefit.

However, SUBJECTIVELY, he CLEARLY heard a positive difference.

I have the UpTone REGEN, and the Schit Wyrd. btw, and and I have a Jittrbug on the way.

I can tell you for sure the REGEN and the Wyrd improve the sound.

But..let's get to the next part.

Yes, absolutely, some of hysterical claims on various forums have been over the top for sure. Totally agree.
I personally think there is a lot of shilling going on. So I am with you on the fact that these devices are being
sold based on numerous subjective opinions.

However, before you write all these products, off, please give them a listen. I think operating under the premise
that everything can be measured is 20th century stuff.

BTW, Jesus from Sonore is sending me the SOtM USB HUB, which competes with the REGEN, and their LAN filter/isolator.
 

dallasjustice

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#3
It sounds like you believe a few of the more hysterical claims made about the USB hubs mentioned herein were made by folks suffering from simple placebo effect. How do you know with any certainty that your opinions aren't placebo enhanced just the same? Or are you saying these outlandish claims are made by flat out liars and fraudsters who are trying to help the manufacturers sell a few more boxes?
Very timely and interesting post.

First, the Audiquest Jitterbug. You are correct, the John Atkinson's measurements, and let's repeat, that, HIS specific measurements showed not much benefit.

However, SUBJECTIVELY, he CLEARLY heard a positive difference.

I have the UpTone REGEN, and the Schit Wyrd. btw, and and I have a Jittrbug on the way.

I can tell you for sure the REGEN and the Wyrd improve the sound.

But..let's get to the next part.

Yes, absolutely, some of hysterical claims on various forums have been over the top for sure. Totally agree.
I personally think there is a lot of shilling going on. So I am with you on the fact that these devices are being
sold based on numerous subjective opinions.

However, before you write all these products, off, please give them a listen. I think operating under the premise
that everything can be measured is 20th century stuff.

BTW, Jesus from Sonore is sending me the SOtM USB HUB, which competes with the REGEN, and their LAN filter/isolator.
 

Joe Whip

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#4
This is an interesting thread to start. I too have the Schiit Wyrd and have had it for over 6 months. You will note that Schiit does not claim that it makes your system sound better. Personally, I think it improves the sound of my system a tad, but wouldn't bet $10 on it. However, it does do what it is advertised to do and why I bought it in the first place, namely to bypass my Mac Book Air's power system to eliminate drop outs. I may get one drop out of every 20 hours of listening and for that, I am very happy. As for the Jitterbug, I read JA's article. I have one on order as I have one spare USB slot on my computer. My SSD is hooked up via Thunderbolt and the other USB to the Wyrd and then the DAC. I frankly doubt that I will hear a difference with the Jitterbug connected to the open USB but for the money, I figured I would give it a try. It I hear an improvement, not just a difference but and improvement, great. If not, I am sure a local audiophile will take it off my hands. It is due to arrive here on Tuesday. I will pop it in and see if I hear an improvement with files I am very familiar with. That shouldn't take very long.
 

dallasjustice

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#5
Thanks for the thoughtful response.

I DID think it was interesting to see JA's DAC noise floor graph where he compared his Mac Book Pro powered off battery versus plugged in. The MBP USB is much less noisy when plugged in. There was a pretty large difference and it was MUCH bigger than the barely measureable jitterbug effect on a garbage DAC.

This is an interesting thread to start. I too have the Schiit Wyrd and have had it for over 6 months. You will note that Schiit does not claim that it makes your system sound better. Personally, I think it improves the sound of my system a tad, but wouldn't bet $10 on it. However, it does do what it is advertised to do and why I bought it in the first place, namely to bypass my Mac Book Air's power system to eliminate drop outs. I may get one drop out of every 20 hours of listening and for that, I am very happy. As for the Jitterbug, I read JA's article. I have one on order as I have one spare USB slot on my computer. My SSD is hooked up via Thunderbolt and the other USB to the Wyrd and then the DAC. I frankly doubt that I will hear a difference with the Jitterbug connected to the open USB but for the money, I figured I would give it a try. It I hear an improvement, not just a difference but and improvement, great. If not, I am sure a local audiophile will take it off my hands. It is due to arrive here on Tuesday. I will pop it in and see if I hear an improvement with files I am very familiar with. That shouldn't take very long.
 

Andre Marc

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#6
It sounds like you believe a few of the more hysterical claims made about the USB hubs mentioned herein were made by folks suffering from simple placebo effect. How do you know with any certainty that your opinions aren't placebo enhanced just the same? Or are you saying these outlandish claims are made by flat out liars and fraudsters who are trying to help the manufacturers sell a few more boxes?
I'm not sure I understand your attitude. I specifically made a point to agree with our opinion that many of the claims about these products are suspect. I then said I heard an improvement with two of these products. How on earth does that correlate with me believing the "more hysterical" claims? You seem to have an unrelenting agenda to disprove that anything that can't be measured can't work. If you had put aside that agenda, you would not ask me if I was a victim of the placebo affect, you would have asked me specifically what I heard.

I am a skeptic's skeptic, and I can easily say I am no sucker. I ask you, do you have any interest or intent to try these products? If not, you are just wasting bandwidth.
 

Andre Marc

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#7
This is an interesting thread to start. I too have the Schiit Wyrd and have had it for over 6 months. You will note that Schiit does not claim that it makes your system sound better. Personally, I think it improves the sound of my system a tad, but wouldn't bet $10 on it. However, it does do what it is advertised to do and why I bought it in the first place, namely to bypass my Mac Book Air's power system to eliminate drop outs. I may get one drop out of every 20 hours of listening and for that, I am very happy. As for the Jitterbug, I read JA's article. I have one on order as I have one spare USB slot on my computer. My SSD is hooked up via Thunderbolt and the other USB to the Wyrd and then the DAC. I frankly doubt that I will hear a difference with the Jitterbug connected to the open USB but for the money, I figured I would give it a try. It I hear an improvement, not just a difference but and improvement, great. If not, I am sure a local audiophile will take it off my hands. It is due to arrive here on Tuesday. I will pop it in and see if I hear an improvement with files I am very familiar with. That shouldn't take very long.
Concerning the Jitterbug, why do you doubt you will hear a difference? As I noted above, I come from the disbelieve all claims school, so understand the mind set, but the fact that Gordon Rankin helped design the product makes me doubt it is snake oil. He does not deal in snake oil.
 

Joe Whip

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#8
First, in response to Dallas, I use my Mac Book Air plugged in. Seems to work better. As for Andre's comment, I am not sure that after stripping out the power from the USB cable that the Wyrd already does, that the Jitterbug will do anything. I am NOT claiming that it is snake oil. Do you see that anywhere in my post? Trust me, I will give it a VERY careful listen and report my findings, good, bad or indifferent. I have been an audiophile since the 80's. I have seen a ton and tend to be skeptical. if the thing arrives on Tuesday, I will listen that night and report back Wednesday.
 

Andre Marc

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First, in response to Dallas, I use my Mac Book Air plugged in. Seems to work better. As for Andre's comment, I am not sure that after stripping out the power from the USB cable that the Wyrd already does, that the Jitterbug will do anything. I am NOT claiming that it is snake oil. Do you see that anywhere in my post? Trust me, I will give it a VERY careful listen and report my findings, good, bad or indifferent. I have been an audiophile since the 80's. I have seen a ton and tend to be skeptical. if the thing arrives on Tuesday, I will listen that night and report back Wednesday.
Hey Joe:

Actually I was not implying you called the Jitterbug snake oil, that was more of a general statement, not aimed at you.

As mentioned, I too have gotten a good laugh at some of the (expensive) tweaks that have come and gone over the years.

My original intention was to just establish you would listen with an open mind. BTW, I am not the biggest fan of Audioquest..far to much
product churn, too many lines, and their Ethernet cables are a rip in my opinion. However, I try to judge every new product on its own merit.

The UpTone REGEN is probably one of the most hyped products in recent memory, but I have to say it really does work...on both a $499 iFi DAC and a $6000 Simaudio DAC.
 

dallasjustice

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#10
You didn't answer my question and I'll happily answer yours. I ordered a Regen today. When I get it, I'll measure it with RMAA and my Lynx Hilo. I'll also listen to it. I prolly won't make any definitive claims about it though.
I'm not sure I understand your attitude. I specifically made a point to agree with our opinion that many of the claims about these products are suspect. I then said I heard an improvement with two of these products. How on earth does that correlate with me believing the "more hysterical" claims? You seem to have an unrelenting agenda to disprove that anything that can't be measured can't work. If you had put aside that agenda, you would not ask me if I was a victim of the placebo affect, you would have asked me specifically what I heard.

I am a skeptic's skeptic, and I can easily say I am no sucker. I ask you, do you have any interest or intent to try these products? If not, you are just wasting bandwidth.
 

Orb

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Thanks for the thoughtful response.

I DID think it was interesting to see JA's DAC noise floor graph where he compared his Mac Book Pro powered off battery versus plugged in. The MBP USB is much less noisy when plugged in. There was a pretty large difference and it was MUCH bigger than the barely measureable jitterbug effect on a garbage DAC.
Maybe there is something about Apple's Mac products, Hi-fi News also measured a large noise difference when comparing a DAC plugged into that (USB) compared to using the Melco N1A as a replacement for the Mac Book.
Big enough improvement on noise to make it worthwile replacing the Mac Book if using USB.
I need to read the review again to see if Paul and Andrew both used Mac products or only one of them did and it goes beyond the Mac product (in theory should be many PC designed systems including other manufacturers).
Here is the original thread I created regarding that interesting performance increase replacing the MacBook with the Melco using USB and noise: http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showt...edia-library-improves-S-N-ratio-of-DAC-vs-Mac
Cheers
Orb
 

Andre Marc

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#12
You didn't answer my question and I'll happily answer yours. I ordered a Regen today. When I get it, I'll measure it with RMAA and my Lynx Hilo. I'll also listen to it. I prolly won't make any definitive claims about it though.
To answer your question, there is no way to know if ANYTHING is caused by Placebo effect without controlled studies. But I trust
my ears, implicitly. I have heard too many speakers and amps that measure "perfectly" that could peel paint.

I still don't quite understand your MO. If you like what the REGEN does, why would you not say so? What exactly are "definitive" claims?
Saying it improves the sound is hardly being "hysterical". And let's circle back, yet again, I agree that some of the online buzz for these products
has been over the top. But where the disconnect seems to be is the fact that operate under the notion you can measure everything. You absolutely can't.

Maybe I am unique, but I have the ability to form my open opinion from direct experience regardless of hype.

I do look forward to your thoughts on the REGEN.
 

dallasjustice

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#13
Andre,
When it comes to products which have no measureable advantage, I have heard improvements. However, I don't view myself as infallible. I know I can fall to the placebo effect, just like anyone else. I do focus on improvements I can measure with a mic. I do gush over those types of improvements. But if there's a chance I may be influenced by placebo, I wouldn't make any definitive claims either way. I wouldn't want someone to waste their hard earned money on my "test."


To answer your question, there is no way to know if ANYTHING is caused by Placebo effect without controlled studies. But I trust
my ears, implicitly. I have heard too many speakers and amps that measure "perfectly" that could peel paint.

I still don't quite understand your MO. If you like what the REGEN does, why would you not say so? What exactly are "definitive" claims?
Saying it improves the sound is hardly being "hysterical". And let's circle back, yet again, I agree that some of the online buzz for these products
has been over the top. But where the disconnect seems to be is the fact that operate under the notion you can measure everything. You absolutely can't.

Maybe I am unique, but I have the ability to form my open opinion from direct experience regardless of hype.

I do look forward to your thoughts on the REGEN.
 

Andre Marc

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Andre,
When it comes to products which have no measureable advantage, I have heard improvements. However, I don't view myself as infallible. I know I can fall to the placebo effect, just like anyone else. I do focus on improvements I can measure with a mic. I do gush over those types of improvements. But if there's a chance I may be influenced by placebo, I wouldn't make any definitive claims either way. I wouldn't want someone to waste their hard earned money on my "test."
While there is nothing wrong with your approach, and it sure sounds good, audiophiles are big boys, and they have the capacity to make their own purchase decisions. In a hobby where people spend thousands of dollars on power cords and vibration control, $50 or $175 on a product that has solid engineering behind it is of little risk.

And make no mistake, the fellow behind the Regen, John Swenson, is highly respected and has high integrity. Gordon Rankin as well.

So with all due respect, you don't have to look out for those poor computer audio guys who may be swindled out of 50 bucks.
 

Andre Marc

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Andre,
When it comes to products which have no measureable advantage, I have heard improvements. However, I don't view myself as infallible. I know I can fall to the placebo effect, just like anyone else. I do focus on improvements I can measure with a mic. I do gush over those types of improvements. But if there's a chance I may be influenced by placebo, I wouldn't make any definitive claims either way. I wouldn't want someone to waste their hard earned money on my "test."
BTW, I do appreciate you clarifying that you have encountered products that did improve the sound but offered no measurable benefit.:cool:
 

dallasjustice

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#16
I know, at least, Gordon is a good dude. My RF engineer buddy, Pat, would vouch for him. Pat says Gordan has the right gear to measure, which costs about $40,000. Having said that, nobody really knows how a measurement in the digital domain which can only be uncovered with uber expensive research lab gear will actually sound in the wild. There haven't been any tests or studies done on it yet. Also, neither Gordon or Swenson have ever published one graph, even though they claim improvements in the digital domain.

So, just because someone is a good dude, doesn't mean they are infallible either. It's funny that folks have a sliding scale when it comes to this stuff. It's like anything under $200; buy it! If it doesn't work, oh well. For me, $200 is nothing. It's a dinner I have with my wife or whatever. But for a lot of folks that's real money.


While there is nothing wrong with your approach, and it sure sounds good, audiophiles are big boys, and they have the capacity to make their own purchase decisions. In a hobby where people spend thousands of dollars on power cords and vibration control, $50 or $175 on a product that has solid engineering behind it is of little risk.

And make no mistake, the fellow behind the Regen, John Swenson, is highly respected and has high integrity. Gordon Rankin as well.

So with all due respect, you don't have to look out for those poor computer audio guys who may be swindled out of 50 bucks.
 
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Andre Marc

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#17
I know, at least, Gordon is a good dude. My RF engineer buddy, Pat, would vouch for him. Pat says Gordan has the right gear to measure, which costs about $40,000. Having said that, nobody really knows how a measurement in the digital domain which can only be uncovered with uber expensive research lab gear will actually sound in the wild. There haven't been any tests or studies done it yet. Also, neither Gordon or Swenson have ever published one graph, even though they claim improvements in the digital domain.

So, just because someone is a good dude, doesn't mean they are infallible either. It's funny that folks have a sliding scale when it comes to this stuff. It's like anything under $200; buy it! If it doesn't work, oh well. For me, $200 is nothing. It's a dinner I have with my wife or whatever. But for a lot of folks that's real money.
It seems your are getting lost in your own plot. The discussion seems to be a moving target. First your are concerned with "hysterical" online posts, then it went to questioning whether any improvement is a placebo effect, then it went to agreeing that the designer is credible but has never "published one graph".

It seems there will be no end. Like all the other lawyers I know, the discussion has no end game, just non stop left turns. I will say it again. Nobody gives a damn about measurements, and people can make their own purchase decisions. Have you asked the folks here if they are being psyched out into thinking their $10,000 power conditioners, minus cables, are improving the sound. Asked for graphs?
 

Orb

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I think we are digressing and need to be wary how some other threads went recently.
But just to say we do need to be careful in our POVs on both biases and also small differences that seem to be audible, I like how both of you show it is not a simple yes/no situation.
But just to add there are quite a few times it is not a "placebo" (using quotes because it is not really that type of cognitive effect as placebo has a specific physiological mechanism), an interesting example is when Stan Curtis (a well known and very experienced engineer) did an experiment using Discriminant Function Analysis:
Stan Curtis article Hifi Critic said:
I proceeded to measure ten samples of an unmodified amplifier. Various measurements were made of frequency response, the harmonic structure of distortion at various frequencies and power levels; the harmonic structure with different output loadings and so forth.....
I then made modifications to the design that led to a clear improvement in the reproduction of recorded sound (at least to my ears).I then repeated the measurements and yes there were differences but they were what some people might term insignificant, or what my colleagues might describe as "two tenths of b****r all".
But now I undertook the DFA and plotted the results onto a chart. And guess what?
The two sets of results each formed a cluster so that the difference between the two versions of the amplifier was there; a difference based upon objective measurements.
Note, however, that this form of analysis takes note of the measurement in the round. You cannot say sounds better than because it has lower distortion, or more extended frequency, or a faster slew rate. The analysis is far more holistic, and in doing ties in with our subjective analysis which sums the parts to reach a view.
.....
I think it is also time to question those early arguments about the insignificance of measurements. Such statements find their work done with test tones....
Most of the existing literature on listening tends to follow a similar pattern, and simply has little relationship to what I term the holistic experience listening to a musical performance
.

But that said I do think some tweaks such as some of those room improvement products work because we visually see a difference in the room (shame this test never did get done at Stereophile, but was becoming rather complex to reduce other variables and maintain a controlled environment) - different topic and story for a different thread.
And as I have mentioned in the past, it is possible with the right approach and framework-methodology-experience to overcome these biases (some situations may still be fallible but usually falls outside that approach-experience) - this is actually from research out there although those doing this work are never interested in AES, same as quite a few research labs investigating JND is not interested in AES.

Cheers
Orb
 

dallasjustice

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#19
I think I misread the graph on the MBP. The 1khz sinewave had alot fewer IM products when run off a battery, not the other way around. That makes more sense to me. I guess the A/C supply for the MBP is so bad it's able to cause pretty easily measureable distortion in the DAC.

Of course, I strongly believe taking measurements on a $150 DAC isn't "real world." I've taken alot of measurements using RMAA and my Lynx Hilo's analog input. I've tried a variety of servers and high-end power supplies. I've never seen ANY variation. However, I am working on measuring J test jitter using RMAA. Once I get it working, I will probably start a new thread and show different "tweaks" and how they may or may not have any affect on the analog output of a well designed DAC.

I think the best way to summarize my view on measurements related to digital is the following:

1. Just because I can't measure a change in the digital front-end using analog domain measurements, doesn't mean there aren't any changes. However, the burden of proof is still on those making the wild claims since the analog measurements create a presumptive impression for me, if there are no changes in the analog domain.

2. Just because an RF engineer with a $40,000 Tektronix Lab Research piece of equipment says he can see an "improvement" in USB "packet noise", does NOT mean that anyone will be able to actually hear that "improvement" in the analog domain or there will actually be an "improvement" in the analog domain.

Michael.
 

Andre Marc

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#20
I think I misread the graph on the MBP. The 1khz sinewave had alot fewer IM products when run off a battery, not the other way around. That makes more sense to me. I guess the A/C supply for the MBP is so bad it's able to cause pretty easily measureable distortion in the DAC.

Of course, I strongly believe taking measurements on a $150 DAC isn't "real world." I've taken alot of measurements using RMAA and my Lynx Hilo's analog input. I've tried a variety of servers and high-end power supplies. I've never seen ANY variation. However, I am working on measuring J test jitter using RMAA. Once I get it working, I will probably start a new thread and show different "tweaks" and how they may or may not have any affect on the analog output of a well designed DAC.

I think the best way to summarize my view on measurements related to digital is the following:

1. Just because I can't measure a change in the digital front-end using analog domain measurements, doesn't mean there aren't any changes. However, the burden of proof is still on those making the wild claims since the analog measurements create a presumptive impression for me, if there are no changes in the analog domain.

2. Just because an RF engineer with a $40,000 Tektronix Lab Research piece of equipment says he can see an "improvement" in USB "packet noise", does NOT mean that anyone will be able to actually hear that "improvement" in the analog domain or there will actually be an "improvement" in the analog domain.

Michael.
Well thought out response, sir.

That being said. Addressing your points:

1-What is the "burden of proof"? Secondly, how do you define "wild claims" aside from the guy who said he had to turn down his sub by -4dB?

2-"Just because an RF engineer with a $40,000 Tektronix Lab Research piece of equipment says he can see an "improvement" in USB "packet noise", does NOT mean that anyone will be able to actually hear that "improvement" in the analog domain or there will actually be an "improvement" in the analog domain."

It also follows that it IS possible that there IS an improvement in the analog domain? No? Can't have one hypothesis without the other, no?