EtherREGEN Audiophile Ethernet Switch - Video and Audio Review

DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
edited April 10 in Going Digital
Introduction

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Figure 1. EtherREGEN A and B port sides. Photo from UpTone Audio website.

An audible improvement in clarity, detail, and spatiality was achieved by placing a Cisco SG110D-08 Ethernet switch ($100 list price, $36 street price) between my two channel stereo system's digital music player and NAS, thereby isolating them from the wireless access point they were previously connected to. Based on those results, I began looking for a formal solution for a noise-reduced, audio grade Ethernet switch. That search lead me to the UpTone Audio's EtherREGEN audiophile Ethernet switch ($649). I was intrigued by the concept of an Ethernet switch designed specifically for computer audio, rather than a modified data communication switch. Ethernet is an inherently low noise transmission protocol that provides excellent noise filtering for data communications. However, the electrical noise that get past standard Ethernet noise cancelling techniques can negatively impact the performance of high resolution computer audio and computer video systems.

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Figure 2. Cisco SG110D-08 Ethernet switch under evaluation in May of 2019. The Cisco switch's performance was improved by replacing its switch mode power supply with a TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply. A blue filter was placed over the TeraDak LPS's LED to tone down its brightness.

Basically, the EtherREGEN is an Ethernet switch with filtering apparatus that addresses noise modes that affect audio (and video) quality. Video performance is parenthetically mentioned because the EtherREGEN is marketed strictly as a computer audio device. The EtherREGEN's design is based on an "Active Differential Isolation Moat ("ADIM"), which filters noise between the input "A" ports and the single "superclean" "B" output port.

This evaluation was conducted over a six week period. On the day of the EtherREGEN's arrival, after a warm up of three hours, a "sneak peek", "quickie" listening session was conducted before taking it to the home theater system. I was very impressed by what was heard.

The top center of the EtherREGEN’s case reached a constant temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit when idle. The temperature ranged from 116 to 126 degrees Fahrenheit when working. Temperatures were measured by a Fluke model 561 infrared thermometer.

UpTone Audio recommends a break in period of 100 hours. I heard an improvement in clarity, detail, bass performance, and tactile sensation after 24 hours of playback. I did not perceive further improvements in these areas with additional hours of playback.

A lot of information pertaining to the environment and circumstances of this evaluation are provided. Results are summarized in the "Discussion of Video Results" and "Discussion of Audio Results" sections.

Video Trials

The home theater system is configured as follows:

Video files are served from a Synology DS918+ NAS to an Oppo UDP-205 universal disc player. The video display is an LG OLED65E8PUA 65” OLED television. The television has not been professionally calibrated, but has been tweaked using recommended settings found online. The DS918+ and UDP-205 were connected to an Amped Wireless AC 2600 Athena-EX range extender via generic “Cable Matters” brand (Amazon) Cat6a Ethernet cables. The range extender also provides wireless connectivity to my home’s 5 GHz wireless network. The Oppo player is connected to the OLED TV via an AudioQuest Cinnamon HDMI cable. The Oppo’s stock internal switch mode power supply was replaced with an upgrade Oppomod linear power supply. The home theater system is served by two dedicated 20 amp AC circuits. All electronics are fed ultra pure AC power by a PS Audio P5 AC regenerator and a PS Audio P10 AC regenerator.


"So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
"Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
"Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
"Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
Post edited by DarqueKnight on

Comments

  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    Experimental Setup

    A Nikon D800 36.3 megapixel digital camera was placed 49” from the center of the TV screen. Multiple pictures of the paused first scene from the ultra high definition Blu-ray disc “Alien Covenant” were taken with various equipment configurations. The first scene of the movie is a tight close up of the character David’s eye at 00:01:17. I often use this scene to evaluate differences in digital equipment performance. The lens was a Nikkor 24mm-70mm zoom lens. All pictures were taken at ISO 1000, with an exposure of 1/100th second at F3.2.

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    Figure 3. Camera setup

    In one experiment, picture quality differences from the following six equipment configurations were evaluated (Ethernet cables in each case were Amazon Cable Matters Cat6a):

    1. DS918+ NAS with its stock switch mode power supply; NAS and Oppo player connected to the Amped Wireless range extender.
    2. DS918+ NAS with a TeraDAK DC-200VA linear power supply; NAS and Oppo player connected to the Amped Wireless range extender.
    3. NAS and Oppo player connected to a Cisco SG110D-08 8-port Ethernet switch, with the Cisco’s stock switch mode power supply. An Ethernet cable was connected from one of the Cisco’s ports to one of the Athena range extender’s ports.
    4. NAS and Oppo player connected to a Cisco SG110D-08 8-port Ethernet switch, with the Cisco’s stock switch mode power supply replaced by a TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply. An Ethernet cable was connected from one of the Cisco’s ports to one of the Athena range extender’s ports.
    5. NAS and Oppo player connected to The EtherREGEN switch, with the EtherREGEN’s stock switch mode power supply. An Ethernet cable was connected from one of the EtherREGEN’s ports to one of the Athena range extender’s ports. The NAS was connected to one of the A ports. The Oppo player was connected to the B port.
    6. NAS and Oppo player connected to The EtherREGEN switch, with the EtherREGEN’s stock switch mode power supply replaced by a TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply. An Ethernet cable was connected from one of the EtherREGEN’s ports to one of the Athena range extender’s ports. The NAS was connected to one of the A ports. The Oppo player was connected to the B port.

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    Figure 4. Left - picture with NAS and stock switch mode power supply. Right - picture with NAS and TeraDak DC-200VA linear power supply.

    There were drastic differences in detail, color saturation, and clarity between pictures with the NAS's stock switch mode power supply and replacement upgrade linear power supply.

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    Figure 5. Left - picture with Cisco switch and its stock switch mode power supply. Right - picture with Cisco switch and TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply.

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    Figure 6. Left - picture with EtherREGEN switch and its stock switch mode power supply. Right - picture with EtherREGEN switch and TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply.

    In these small, lower resolution pictures, the differences, particularly the perception of depth, among the images in figures 5 and 6 are not as apparent as when looking at the video display or at the original, higher resolution pictures. Examining enlargements at pixel levels provides more insight. Figures 8 through 10 show the differences in a section of the rim of the eye’s iris. The specific section is shown in figure 7.

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    Figure 7. Section of pixel level comparisons for equipment configurations 1 - 6.

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    Figure 8. Left - NAS pixel level detail with stock switch mode power supply. Right - NAS pixel level detail with TeraDak DC-200VA linear power supply.

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    Figure 9. Left - Cisco switch pixel level detail with stock switch mode power supply. Right - Cisco switch pixel level detail with TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply.

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    Figure 10. Left - EtherREGEN switch pixel level detail with stock switch mode power supply. Right - EtherREGEN switch pixel level detail with TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply.

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    Figure 11. Worst to best: Left - Pixel level detail, NAS with stock switch mode power supply and Oppo player connected to wireless range extender. Right, NAS with TeraDak DC-200VA linear power supply and Oppo player connected to EtherREGEN with TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply. The overall result of using equipment with increasingly better electrical noise abatement was a picture with increasing detail, depth, sharpness, and color accuracy.

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    Ethernet Cable Trials in Home Theater System

    Prior to this experiment, two Ethernet cable trials were conducted in my two channel stereo system. In March of 2019, the five Ethernet cables shown in figure 12 were evaluated with the cables plugged into a wireless range extender. In May of 2019, the experiment was repeated with the placement of the Cisco switch between the digital source components and the wireless range extender. In both trials, no difference in any aspect of stereophonic performance was heard with a change of Ethernet cable. Improvements in clarity, detail, and spatiality were heard with the Cisco switch.

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    Figure 12. In March and May of 2019, five Ethernet cables were evaluated, with no perceived difference in audible or tactile sensation among them. Left to right: AudioQuest Cinnamon Cat7 ($100 - 5 feet), Bluejeans Cable Cat6a ($18.50 - five feet), Amazon Cable Matters Cat6a ($3.40 - 5 feet), Synology stock Cat5e cable that came with the NAS ($0 - five feet), Belkin Cat5e ($1.87 - five feet).

    Ethernet cable trials were conducted again in March of 2020 with the five cables shown in figure 13. An Amazon Cable Matters Cat6a cable ran from the NAS to one of the EtherREGEN's "A" ports. Another Amazon Cable Matters Cat6a cable ran from the wireless range extender to one of the EtherREGEN's "A" ports. The cable between the EtherREGEN's "B" port and the Oppo's Ethernet port was the only change. The NAS and EtherREGEN stock switch mode power supplies were used in the Ethernet cable trials.

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    Figure 13. Top to bottom: Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy CryoSilver Cat8+ ($599 1.25 m), AudioQuest Vodka Cat7 ($450 1.5 m), AudioQuest Cinnamon Cat7 ($100 1.5 m), Blue Jeans Certified Cat6a ($18.50 5 ft), Amazon Cable Matters Cat6a ($3.40 5 ft).

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    Figure 14. Pixel level pictures, left - Amazon Cable Matters Cat6a, right - Blue Jeans Certified Cat6a.

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    Figure 15. Pixel level pictures, left - AudioQuest Cinnamon Cat7, right - AudioQuest Vodka Cat7.

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    Figure 16. Pixel level pictures, worst to best, left - Amazon Cable Matters Cat6a, right - Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy CryoSilver Cat8+.

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    Figure 17. Pixel level pictures, side by side. Left to right: Amazon Cable Matters Cat6a, Blue Jeans Certified Cat6a, AudioQuest Cinnamon Cat7, AudioQuest Vodka Cat7, Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy CryoSilver Cat8+.

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    Figure 18. Were it not for the EtherREGEN's 100 Mbps output limitation, I would have ordered a second unit for my home theater system.

    The EtherREGEN had great performance with DVD and Blu-ray source material. On 4K material that exceeded the 100 Mbps limitation, the audio would drop out, but the video would continue unscathed. The audio would return immediately after the bit rate fell below 100 Mbps. The intro theme of "Quantum of Solace" spent a significant amount of time above 100 Mbps, which meant frequent and annoying audio dropouts. But of course, I was using the EtherREGEN for a purpose it wasn't designed for.

    Discussion of Video Results

    Picture quality, particularly the perception of depth improved significantly as I went from the wireless range extender, to the Cisco switch, to the EtherREGEN. Improvements in color rendition, fine detail, and dynamic range were easily discernible. Improvements in these areas were extended when the switch mode power supplies of the Synology DS918+ NAS and EtherREGEN were replaced with linear power supplies. In the audio area, the clarity and detail of dialog was closer to the sound of actual people speaking in front of me. The rumble and growl of low frequency effects was more finely detailed, and there was greater tactile sensation from the front stage. On Blu-ray movies with well-recorded surround tracks, I found myself noticing more information and details in the side and rear channels. A thicker, more immersive sound stage was realized with multichannel music.

    Further improvements, in both home theater audio and video performance, were realized with better Ethernet cables. The exception to this was the AudioQuest Cinnamon cable. It outperformed the Blue Jeans cable in audio performance, but the Blue Jeans cable outperformed the Cinnamon in video performance. Compare figure 14-right to figure 15-left and the second and third pictures of figure 17.

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    Figure 19. The Cisco SG110D-08 Ethernet switch was moved from my two channel system to the home theater system. Its stock switch mode power supply was replaced with a TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply.

    Audio Trials

    The digital front end of my two channel stereo system consists of a Bryston BDP-3 digital player, Synology DS718+ NAS, dCS Puccini word clock (master clock), and dCS Debussy DAC. The BDP-3 does not have a word clock input. However, the Puccini word clock is able to lock on to and synch the BDP-3's output via USB cable connection. Therefore, both the digital player and DAC are locked to the same master clock.

    Most music files are in DSD64 format. All vinyl records were converted to DSD64 format with a PS Audio NuWave Phono analog to digital converter and VinylStudio software. Three 20 amp AC circuits serve the two channel system: one each for the Pass Labs X600.5 monoblock power amps, and one for the source components. Each AC line is terminated with a PS Audio Soloist SE in-wall passive power conditioner. The power amplifiers are plugged into the wall. The source components are powered by a PS Audio P10 AC regenerator. The NAS's stock switch mode power supply was replaced with a TeraDak DC-150VA linear power supply. The EtherREGEN's stock switch mode power supply was replaced with a TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply.

    Critical listening evaluation of the EtherREGEN commenced after over four weeks and over 500 hours of playback had been logged.

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    Figure 20. Block diagram of two channel stereo system digital front end.

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    Figure 21. Revelation Audio Labs split leg USB 2.0 cable. After the USB connection between the BDP-3 and the U-Clock has been set up, the power signal is typically not required any longer. Separating the audio signal wires and power signal wires allows the power leg, and its associated electrical noise, to be disconnected.

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    Stereophonic Evaluation Methodology

    My critical listening methodology is based on the sensory science concept of descriptive analysis. It consists of:

    1. Repeated listening to the same familiar, well-recorded, songs.
    2. Mapping the placement and relative size of sounds, voices, and instruments
    (sound images) in the sound stage.
    3. Making notes of the quality and characteristics of the sound images within the sound stage (image weight, tactile sensation, sound level, clarity, detail, articulation, etc.).
    4. Comparing before and after listening notes and sound stage maps and noting differences, if any.

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    Figure 22. Lateral sound stage chart.

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    Figure 23. Aerial sound stage chart.

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    Figure 24. Example of completed sound stage charts.

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    Figure 25. View of two channel stereo system from listening position.

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    Figure 26. The room is 21 feet by 17 feet, with speakers along the long wall. The listening position is 12 feet from the front plane of the speakers. The digital player is controlled via its Internet interface by the docked tablet computer on the table.

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    Figure 27. Amplification and AC regenerator.

    Discussion of Audio Results

    Even with standard computer-grade Ethernet cables, the noise isolation provided by placing the audio components on a separate, dedicated Ethernet switch provided improvements in stereophonic holography, more ambient information retrieval, and deeper, more articulate, and more tactile bass. This was true with the Cisco SG110D-08 switch, and is true to a much greater extent with the EtherREGEN switch.

    With the progression from the Cable Matters cable, to the Blue Jeans, to the AQ Cinnamon, to the AQ Vodka, to the RAL, increasing clarity, detail, and sound stage depth were heard. The qualities that separated the RAL from the other four was the RAL’s greater conveyance of tactile sensation, greater sense of three-dimensional space, and greater image weight. Unlike the other Ethernet cables reviewed, the RAL cable initially caused a small loss in image weight, clarity, and detail. Those losses had disappeared after 48 hours of playback. RAL recommends a break in period of 250 hours prior to critical listening. Further improvements in image weight, bass performance, clarity at the rear and sides of the sound stage, and tactile sensation were realized when the Blue Jeans Ethernet cable between the NAS and the EtherREGEN was replaced with the AQ Vodka cable. Since the RAL outperformed the Vodka, a second RAL Ethernet cable was purchased.

    On Gregg Karukas' "Healing Song" ("Heatwave" CD), Gregg Karukas' piano notes acquired a more percussive quality and there was more sustain and decay of the notes. Kirk Whalum's tenor saxophone notes acquired an enhanced clarity and enhanced "reedy" quality with more vibrato. There was more detail in the background percussion instruments.

    On E.S. Posthumous' "Isunova Pi" ("Cartographer" CD), the thunderous bass notes at the beginning were more thunderous, with greater vibration against my legs and chest. The drum beats were placed about 2 feet further back in the sound stage, yet produced more tactile sensation. There was more vibration from bass notes coming through the seat and armrests. The choir had greater detail and there was more separation between the choir and the other sound images.

    On Sheila E and The E. Train's "Bahia" ("Heaven" CD), the bird chirps at the beginning were "faster", more detailed, and the echoes of the chirps were more defined. The electric bass had more weight and growl. The electric piano notes had more weight. The clarity and detail of vocals was enhanced as evidenced by more chest and breathing sounds.

    On George Howard's "Diane's Blues" ("Attitude Adjustment" CD), electric bass notes acquired more rumble, growl, and articulation. The principle instrument, the soprano saxophone, had more space around it and the notes had more of a "reedy" edge. Drum notes were more articulate and produced more tactile sensation.

    On Isaac Hayes' "Cafe Regio" ("Shaft" soundtrack CD), I was drawn to the sound of the tambourine while in another room. This is a song of average recording quality that I do not use for critical evaluation. It is part of one of the playlists used during the break in period. The tambourine had greater space around it, sounded louder, and the sounds of the individual metal jingles ("zills"), and the natural decay of those metal jingles, was very clearly defined.

    On Sonny Rollins' bebop classic "Strode Rode" ("Saxophone Colossus" SACD), this marked the first time I heard true depth in a mono recording. As with previous listenings of this song, all the sound images were confined to the center of the sound stage. The difference now was that, rather than everything being jumbled together in a "big ball" in the center of the sound stage, Rollins' tenor saxophone was in front. Behind him was Tommy Flanagan's piano, which was wider than the other three sound images. Behind the piano were Max Roach's drums. Behind the drums was Doug Watkins' double bass. All instruments had increased image weight. Even though the musicians were all playing at a fast pace, individual notes were clearly articulated within individual images and were clearly distinct from the other instruments.

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    Figure 28. Snakebitten...twice. One RAL Ethernet cable was great. Two were fantastic. I didn't mind the snake bites though, because the snakes enhanced the production of Such Good Sound.

    The EtherREGEN's manual states (page 7):

    "If you are going to hear a difference with an Ethernet cable, it will more likely be with the 'B'-side cable. This is also a good one to keep short."

    Unfortunately, for my long-suffering wallet, I heard a difference between Ethernet cables on both the "A" and "B" sides.

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    Associated Equipment - Home Theater System

    LG OLED65E8PUA OLED TV
    Oppo UDP-205 Blu-ray Player With Oppomod Linear Power Supply Upgrade
    Bryston BDP-1 Digital Music Player
    Synology DS918+ NAS With TeraDak DC-200VA Linear Power Supply
    Yamaha CX-A5100 Surround Sound Preamp/Processor
    Adcom GFA-565se Power Amp (325 Watts Per Channel/4 Ohms)/Front Speakers
    Adcom GFA-565se Power Amp (325 Watts Per Channel/4 Ohms)/Center Channel Speaker
    Adcom GFA-565se Power Amp (325 Watts Per Channel/4 Ohms)/Surround Speakers
    Polk Audio LSiM 706C Center Channel Speaker
    Polk Audio LSiM 707 Front Speakers
    Polk Audio LSiM 702 F/X Surround Speakers
    SVS PB12 Ultra/2 Subwoofer
    PS Audio P5 AC Regenerator (Plasma TV, Blu-ray Player, Tivo, Digital Music Player)
    PS Audio P10 AC Regenerator (Preamp/Processor, Power Amplifiers)
    PS Audio AC-5 Power Cords For AC Regenerators
    PS Audio Statement SC Power Cords For All Electronics
    Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy Cryo-Silver Dual Conduit USB Cable (BDP-1 To UDP-205)
    AudioQuest Cinnamon HDMI Cables (UDP-205 To CX-A5100, CX-A5100 To OLED TV)
    Douglas Connection DCF-92 Speaker Cables, Front, Center Speakers
    DSR Silverline (Amp To Wall), Monster UL/CL3 (In-Wall) Speaker Cables, Surround Speakers
    Blue Jeans LC-1 In-Wall Subwoofer Cable
    Blue Jeans Cat6a Ethernet Cables For NAS And Oppo Blu-ray Player
    Cisco SG110D-08 Ethernet Switch For NAS And Oppo Blu-ray Player With TeraDak DC-30 Linear Power Supply
    Signal Cable Silver Resolution XLR Interconnects (Preamp To Power Amps)
    Two Dedicated 20 Amp AC Circuits Terminated With PS Audio Soloist SE In-Wall Passive Power Conditioners
    Salamander Synergy Quad 30 Audio Credenza
    Dell Venue Pro 11 7140 Docked Tablet Computer For System Control
    Logitech Harmony One Remote

    Associated Equipment - Two Channel Stereo System

    Bryston BDP-3 Digital Player
    dCS Puccini U-Clock word clock
    dCS Debussy DAC
    Synology DS718+ Network Attached Storage With TeraDak DC-150VA Linear Power Supply
    Pass Labs XP-30 Three-Chassis Line Level Preamplifier
    Pass Labs X600.5 Monoblock Power Amplifiers (1200 Watts Per Channel/4 ohms)
    PS Audio PowerBase Isolation Platforms For DAC, BDP-3, U-Clock, And P10 AC Regenerator
    22 Pound Granite Slabs For Coupling Source Components To Isolation Platforms
    Black Diamond Racing Isolation Mini Pits And Mk IV Cones
    AudioQuest Sky Gen2 XLR Interconnects
    AudioQuest Everest Speaker Cables
    Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy CryoSilver Digital Coaxial Cable - RCA connectors
    Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy CryoSilver Digital Coaxial Cable - BNC connectors
    Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy CryoSilver USB 2.0 Dual Leg Cable
    PS Audio PerfectWave AC-12 Power Cords
    PS Audio PerfectWave P-10 AC Regenerator
    Polk Audio SDA SRS 1.2TL Loudspeakers (Heavily Modified)
    Salamander Synergy Triple 30 Audio Credenza
    Dell Venue Pro 11 7140 Docked Tablet Computer For System Control
    Logitech Harmony One Remote
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • JayCeeJayCee Posts: 963
    edited April 12
    I'll start by saying, Raife, another nice review...and very timely. I've been looking forward to this since you stated one was in the works.

    Coincidentally, back in February, the Uptone EtherREGEN (ER) caught my attention. Several folks on the PS Audio forum made mention of it and I'd also read a few reviews. I followed up with the official ER thread and it really got me contemplating my next purchase.

    https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/57519-uptone-audio-etherregen-listening-impressions/

    Thirty day return policy sealed the deal. I ordered the ER, 14 Mar 20, with the knowledge it was back ordered until 15 Apr. To my surprise, it shipped, 23 Mar, and I've had it in my system since the 26th. So, as of this writing, it's been running for 18 days and has, conservatively, a good 60+ hours on it.

    k7afh7wphjfv.jpg

    I didn't post any findings prior to your review because I wanted to see if your experience mirrored mine. Also, respectfully, didn't want to steal your thunder. In comparison, your core gear (pre, amps, power conditioners, etc.) are different, but we have the same speakers/mods and, working back to the gear, similar approaches to our systems. Your Pass gear is top notch, however, I think my BHK stack is respectable and also worthy of "such good sound" :smile:

    I'm streaming FLAC files via a Roon ROCK server. ROCK is about 15' from my listening room and connects via Cat5e to a Synology RT2600ac router. FLAC streams are transmitted via WiFi to a very pedestrian (read, cheap) Wireless Access Point (WAP). WAP output is handled by a homemade 15' CAT 5e cable feeding the ER "A Side", followed by the ER "B Side" feeding a 3' Cat8 cable directed to the Ethernet input on the PS Audio Directstream DAC (Windom firmware). A slight tangent, I've had several Synology NAS's and first delved into streaming with them. Love Synology. Moving forward, I switched from NAS, for music, to a much smaller and efficient NUC. Haven't regretted it in the least. RAID configured NAS is now strictly for backup and powered down unless doing so.
    Discussion of Audio Results

    Even with standard computer-grade Ethernet cables, the noise isolation provided by placing the audio components on a separate, dedicated Ethernet switch provided improvements in stereophonic holography, more ambient information retrieval, and deeper, more articulate, and more tactile bass. This was true with the Cisco SG110D-08 switch, and is true to a much greater extent with the EtherREGEN switch.

    To the point of this post. I'll leave your comments to speak for both our conclusions. Can't agree with you more! This I'll add...

    Recently, and prior to the ER, I added a Core Power Technologies "Deep Core" to my power conditioning strategy. It's primary purpose is to go after DC spikes and RFI/EMI. Purported "deeper blacks", "quieter background"...pick your preferred audiospeak adjective...in my system it made a very noticeable difference. Add the ER and good goly miss moly, what "floated" out of my speakers before, now just hangs in the air. Most noticeable are, as one example, stereo pans from one speaker to the other. Cool in effect and smooth now becomes downright startling.

    I've always imagined an artist or recording engineer fortifying a song's story with effects. Now, the emotion and "affect" of the "effect" is on another level. Poets of the audio world sound, in my interpretation, closer to what I believe they intended. Pity that, spit balling here, 99% of the world listening to a song graced w/these audio nuances don't know they exist.

    Bottom line is the ER works. A damn Ethernet switch, whoda thunk? There will be many naysayers but that's okay. They make no difference to me when I'm sitting in the sweet spot.
    The EtherREGEN's manual states (page 7):
    "If you are going to hear a difference with an Ethernet cable, it will more likely be with the 'B'-side cable. This is also a good one to keep short."

    Unfortunately, for my long-suffering wallet, I heard a difference between Ethernet cables on both the "A" and "B" sides.

    Thinking I had a month or so to wait for the ER I decided to play around with Ethernet cables. I've run homemade Cat5e, to date. I read of performance gains in the Uptone ER thread w/Monoprice cables, so I decided to jump on a Cat8 sale. Picked up 3' and 20' cables. All be damned if they didn't sound different. Still trying to wrap head around which I prefer but am leaning towards the Cat5. I read the shielding of Cat8 can cause rolled off highs.

    My wife has no patience for my "sit in the sweet spot and listen to a gazillion reference tracks" shenanigans but humored me. I didn't tell her what or why I was having her do it. Swapped from Cat 5 to Cat 8 and she articulated exactly what I was struggling with. Cat 8 sounds detailed but in an almost clinical way and she confirmed this. Another surprise, she actually heard a difference and was able to describe the soundstage of A vs B. First time EVER. Whoda thunk? A damn network cable has a sound signature...and my wife picked up on it.

    @DarqueKnight, any thoughts on Cat8 since you've only tested up to 7? I'm going to order up some Monoprice 6's for comparison.

    To conclude, your review caught the attention of "Superdad", owner of Uptone Audio, in the ER thread:

    https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/57519-uptone-audio-etherregen-listening-impressions/?do=findComment&comment=1042100

    *Edit to add: I don't do much video streaming, so won't use the ER for this, but appreciate your findings. I'm amazed by the images (improvement) you captured.

    John

    @Viking64, TLDR, :wink:
    Speakers: Polk1.2tl's (Uber Mods) Pre/Amp/DAC: PS Audio BHK Signature & 250, DirectStream Cables/IC's: MIT S1Bi-Wire/S1 Balanced +Avel Lindberg 1000VA "Dreadnought" Power Conditioner: PS Audio P15 Power Plant Power Cords: Core Power Technologies Gold, DH Labs Power Plus DIY w/Neotech NC-P301 & P311ends Streamer: Roon ROCK on wifi'd NUC & Uptone EtherREGEN⟿Ω☯☥☮⟿🔊♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    JayCee wrote: »
    @DarqueKnight, any thoughts on Cat8 since you've only tested up to 7? I'm going to order up some Monoprice 6's for comparison.

    The Revelation Audio Labs Ethernet cable is built to Cat8+ standards.
    JayCee wrote: »
    To conclude, your review caught the attention of "Superdad", owner of Uptone Audio, in the ER thread:

    https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/57519-uptone-audio-etherregen-listening-impressions/?do=findComment&comment=1042100

    Yes. I posted this review on the Audiophile Style forum also:

    https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/58910-etherregen-formal-video-imaging-and-audio-review/
    JayCee wrote: »
    *Edit to add: I don't do much video streaming, so won't use the ER for this, but appreciate your findings. I'm amazed by the images (improvement) you captured.

    The visual differences are even more striking when looking at the TV screen.

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • honestaquarianhonestaquarian Posts: 2,890
    edited April 12
    I saw a couple of Cisco gigabit switches on the Clones Audio website with femto clocks installed. One has eight ports and another has twenty four ports. They also make power supplies and music servers.

    https://www.clonesaudio.com/
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    JayCee wrote: »
    I read the shielding of Cat8 can cause rolled off highs.

    I have purchased a second EtherREGEN and installed it in my two channel system at work. The external hard drive enclosure used for music file storage was replaced with a Synology DS718+ NAS.

    I did not experience rolled off highs with Monoprice Cat8 or with Revelation Audio Labs' Cat8+. The highs became more detailed as I went from the Cat5e cable that came with the NAS, to Bluejeans certified Cat6a, to Monoprice Cat8, to RAL Cat8+.

    brp8yivtd4mb.jpg
    Figure 29. Ethernet cables evaluated in work rig, bottom to top: (inside cable loop) generic Cat5e cables that came with Synology NAS ($0), Bluejeans Cat6a ($16-3 feet), Monoprice Cat8 ($7-3 feet), RAL Cat8+ ($599-1.25 meters).

    6p7m321ilhgq.jpg
    Figure 30. Ethernet cable plugs bottom to top: generic Cat5e that came with Synology NAS, Bluejeans Cat6a, Monoprice Cat8, RAL Cat8+.

    8uxga5nefh2m.jpg
    Figure 31. The RAL cable was the top performer, but was cost prohibitive for this system. The Monoprice was selected.

    Full details are forthcoming after my evaluation is complete.

    Office system equipment:

    Bryston BDA-3 digital to analog converter
    Bryston BDP-2 digital player with IAD sound card upgrade
    Bryston BP-26 preamplifier
    Bryston 4B3 power amplifier (300 wpc 8 ohms/500 wpc 4 ohms)
    Synology DS718+ NAS
    PS Audio P10 AC Regenerator
    Polk Audio SDA CRS+ (1989 version) loudspeakers (heavily modified)
    Dell Venue Pro 11 7140 tablet computer, with dock, for digital player and DAC control




    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • JayCeeJayCee Posts: 963
    edited May 8
    JayCee wrote: »
    I read the shielding of Cat8 can cause rolled off highs.
    I did not experience rolled off highs with Monoprice Cat8 or with Revelation Audio Labs' Cat8+.

    I've been running the Monoprice Cat8 for a few weeks. I have 2 lengths...7' (reduced from 20') from my WAP to the "A-Port" of the Regen and a 3' length from "B-Port" to the DirectStream DAC.

    With more time on the Cat8's I've concluded the soundstage comes across entirely different between Cat's 5 and 8. Without getting too technical, my wife and I both agreed the Cat 8 had a fuller (rounder/deeper/taller) and more detailed soundstage but was missing something on the highs. Also, the bass was a bit flabby.

    Did more reading of the EtherREGEN threads and followed the recommendation to disconnect the metal ground shield on the downstream end of the 7' Ethernet Cat8 cable (A-Port). The metal shield is a simple compression assembly covering the plastic RJ45 connector and can be disassembled w/a flat head screwdriver. A bit of electricians tape around the internal braiding prevents it from making contact w/the metal assembly. Reassembled and tried again. Highs back on track and bass tightened up.

    I've had to reset my brain re. the soundstage. Much different presentation but I like it. Still amazing that a damn Ethernet cable can change the presentation of bits.

    When I purchased the 3' cable it was only because shorter lengths were out of stock. Per the REGEN's owner's manual, the shortest possible cable should be on the B-Port. I have a 1' cable on order, the shortest length I can comfortably work from the Regen to the DSD, and should arrive next week. My hope is eliminating 2' will prove additional gains.

    Raiffe, how would you quantify the difference from the Monoprice to RAL Cat 8's? Say, on a 1-5 or 1-10 scale? The RAL's a lot of coin compared to the price of the REGEN. "Monoprice Cat8 ($7-3 feet), RAL Cat8+ ($599-1.25 meters)." Also, did you try/compare disconnecting the shield on the Monoprice?

    Anyone looking to experiment on the cheap...the Monoprice cables can be had for less than $20, depending on length, and have been tried by several folks with good results.

    *Edited to remove redundant info covered in previous post above.
    Post edited by JayCee on
    Speakers: Polk1.2tl's (Uber Mods) Pre/Amp/DAC: PS Audio BHK Signature & 250, DirectStream Cables/IC's: MIT S1Bi-Wire/S1 Balanced +Avel Lindberg 1000VA "Dreadnought" Power Conditioner: PS Audio P15 Power Plant Power Cords: Core Power Technologies Gold, DH Labs Power Plus DIY w/Neotech NC-P301 & P311ends Streamer: Roon ROCK on wifi'd NUC & Uptone EtherREGEN⟿Ω☯☥☮⟿🔊♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    edited May 8
    I did not disconnect the shield on the Monoprice. I will try that.

    The initial trials were done with the EtherREGEN's stock switch mode power supply replaced by a TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply and the NAS's stock switch mode power supply. I have a TeraDak DC-150VA linear power supply on order.

    On a scale of 1-10, and assigning a value of 1 to the generic Cat5e, the Bluejeans Cat6a a value of 2, the Monoprice Cat8 a value of 5 and the RAL Cat8+ a value of 7. I will re-run the trials after the NAS's power supply is replaced. The main differences were in bass definition, image weight, overall clarity and detail, and detail and clarity in back ground instruments such as synthesizers and percussion instruments. I did not hear any spatial differences among the Cat5e, Cat6a, and Cat8. There was more depth with the RAL Cat8+.
    JayCee wrote: »
    Still amazing that a damn Ethernet cable can change the presentation of bits.

    Not really. Those digital "bits" are specialized, but still continuously varying, analog voltage pulses. As such, the information they carry can benefit from electrical noise abatement methods as is the case with analog signals.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • JayCeeJayCee Posts: 963
    edited May 8
    Thanks for quantifying!
    The initial trials were done with the EtherREGEN's stock switch mode power supply replaced by a TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply and the NAS's stock switch mode power supply. I have a TeraDak DC-150VA linear power supply on order.

    Look forward to your findings. Power supplies are also on my radar.
    JayCee wrote: »
    Still amazing that a damn Ethernet cable can change the presentation of bits.
    Not really. Those digital "bits" are specialized, but still continuously varying, analog voltage pulses. As such, the information they carry can benefit from electrical noise abatement methods as is the case with analog signals.

    Definitely the premise for all this and continues to reinforce the "you don't know what you don't know" philosophy.

    A bit more to my story. I ordered 2 x Cat6 and 7 Monoprice cables but only the 1' Cat6 arrived. It went on the B port for a listen but was removed in short order in favor of the Cat8 and was relegated to my ROON server. The Cat7's haven't come in but I anticipate they'll also find different streaming homes after a quick spin.
    Speakers: Polk1.2tl's (Uber Mods) Pre/Amp/DAC: PS Audio BHK Signature & 250, DirectStream Cables/IC's: MIT S1Bi-Wire/S1 Balanced +Avel Lindberg 1000VA "Dreadnought" Power Conditioner: PS Audio P15 Power Plant Power Cords: Core Power Technologies Gold, DH Labs Power Plus DIY w/Neotech NC-P301 & P311ends Streamer: Roon ROCK on wifi'd NUC & Uptone EtherREGEN⟿Ω☯☥☮⟿🔊♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬
  • ThortonThorton Posts: 1,306
    Nice review DarqueKnight. At some point, I’d like to compare the EtherRegan to my Gigafoil. 2 channel only. I was quite surprised by the improvement in sound quality. Right now, I’m using an AQ Vodka but will definitely explore other cable options. Keep us posted if you further experiment with other ethernet cables versus the RAL.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________
    Ethernet Filter: GigaFOILv4 with Keces P3 LPS
    Source: Roon via ethernet to DAC interface
    DAC: Bricasti M1SE
    Pre/Pro: Marantz AV8805
    Tube Preamp Buffer: Tortuga TPB.V1
    Amp1: Nord One NC1200DM Signature, Amp2: W4S MC-5, AMP3: W4S MMC-7
    Front: Salk SoundScape 8's, Center: Salk SoundScape C7
    Surround: Polk FXIA6, Surround Back: Polk RTIA9, Atmos: Polk 70-RT
    Subs: 2 - Rythmik F25's
    IC & Speaker Cables: Acoustic Zen, Wireworld, Signal Cable
    Power Cables: Acoustic Zen, Wireworld, PS Audio
    Room Treatments: GIK Acoustics
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    Two Monoprice Cat8 cables were modified by insulating the shield from the metal shell on one end. On the cable that runs from the B port of the EtherREGEN to the Bryston BDP-2 digital player, the shield was disconnected at the digital player end. On the cable that runs from the NAS to one of the EtherREGEN's A ports, the shield was disconnected at the EtherREGEN end. The EtherREGEN to digital player cable was replaced first.

    Compared to an unmodified Monoprice Cat8 cable, there were no differences heard in spatial rendering or mid and high frequency aspects. The bass became more detailed and articulate, with more rumble and growl. It wasn't a huge difference. On a scale of 1 - 10, the improvement was like going from a 5 to a 5.5.

    The NAS to EtherREGEN Monoprice Cat8 cable was replaced next. This time, there were no apparent sonic differences.

    Uptone Audio does not advise against using shield-tied Ethernet cables on the B side of the EtherREGEN (page 7 of the user guide). However, it's always good to experiment.

    guh7ofbsli04.jpg
    Figure 32. Easy. Push back the rubber boot, carefully pry up the metal grips from the cable jacket and the flat grips on the plastic plug. Push back the metal shell.

    hdkepfgbft0n.jpg
    Figure 33. Wrap the metal shield wires as flat as possible around the jacket and completely cover with electrical tape.

    tgr8k7e54xmd.jpg
    Figure 34. Pull the metal shell over the plug, crimp, and pull the rubber boot back on.

    jtmho0dc995g.jpg
    Figure 35. That's better.

    After the NAS's linear power supply arrives, I will redo these trials.


    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • JayCeeJayCee Posts: 963
    edited May 10
    Interesting...there's a distinct difference in my system. As you point out, somewhere in one of the threads Uptone says there's no issue w/using the ground shield on the B side and I haven't disconnected the shield on mine, just the A side.

    Our streaming setups are configured differently. Mine is air-gapped (wireless) from the AP to router, followed by Cat6a to Roon ROCK server.

    From what I read, there's also speculation that power supply (PS) grounding can be a factor, especially if the REGEN ground point is used, but I haven't tried a dedicated ground to mine. Something to do with bypassing the MOAT?

    Your P10 should be providing clean and quiet power. A very nice foundation. I have the stock PS plugged into the CPT 1800 power conditioner and my entire stack is fully balanced from outlet to power amp, to include all IC's.

    Uptone also says upgraded PS's won't yield much, if any gains, to the EtherREGEN. Not the conclusion of other folks experimenting. Hopefully, you have continued positive results with your new PS.

    All this said...the bottom line is exceptional sound. My system has never sounded as good as it does today.

    Thanks for adding your new results.
    Speakers: Polk1.2tl's (Uber Mods) Pre/Amp/DAC: PS Audio BHK Signature & 250, DirectStream Cables/IC's: MIT S1Bi-Wire/S1 Balanced +Avel Lindberg 1000VA "Dreadnought" Power Conditioner: PS Audio P15 Power Plant Power Cords: Core Power Technologies Gold, DH Labs Power Plus DIY w/Neotech NC-P301 & P311ends Streamer: Roon ROCK on wifi'd NUC & Uptone EtherREGEN⟿Ω☯☥☮⟿🔊♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    JayCee wrote: »
    From what I read, there's also speculation that power supply (PS) grounding can be a factor, especially if the REGEN ground point is used, but I haven't tried a dedicated ground to mine. Something to do with bypassing the MOAT?

    MOAT bypassing becomes an issue when powering the EtherREGEN and the B side component from the same power supply (page 9 of user guide).
    JayCee wrote: »
    Your P10 should be providing clean and quiet power. A very nice foundation. I have the stock PS plugged into the CPT 1800 power conditioner and my entire stack is fully balanced from outlet to power amp, to include all IC's.

    The P10 supplies clean and quiet power, but the power supplies of the NAS units are horrible offenders with respect to injecting noise into the signal stream. Replacing the NAS PS's in my home theater and two channel systems yielded big gains in resolution spatial perception.
    JayCee wrote: »
    Uptone also says upgraded PS's won't yield much, if any gains, to the EtherREGEN. Not the conclusion of other folks experimenting.

    Uptone's advice regarding upgraded PS's for the EtherREGEN is generally true for systems that have little to no power quality enhancements.

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    edited May 19
    ***Addendum***

    A second EtherREGEN unit was purchased for my pure overkill two channel stereo system at work. The speakers in this system are a pair of large bookshelf speakers: highly modified ("hotrodded") Polk Audio Stereo Dimensional Array - Compact Reference System + (SDA-CRS+) speakers, 1989 version with the "TL" tweeter modification, modified crossovers, Cardas internal wiring, cabinet modifications, and Dreadnought AI-1 isolation transformer.

    2x7a9ajy8kfs.jpg
    Figure 36. The little stack on the desk: Top to bottom - Bryston BDP-2 digital player, Bryston BDA-3 DAC, Bryston BP-26 preamplifier. Foreground: docked Dell VenuePro 11 7140 tablet computer for controlling the BDP-2 digital player.

    htv7jhiv7lxw.jpg
    Figure 37. Digital source components block diagram. After the USB connection is established between digital player and DAC, the power leg of the USB cable is disconnected for better sound quality.

    bvn0xeoy91ya.jpg
    Figure 38. The big stack under the desk: Top left - TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply for EtherREGEN switch, top middle - TeraDak DC-150VA linear power supply for Synology NAS, top right - Synology DS718+ NAS, Bryston MPS-2 power supply for BP-26 preamp, Bryston 4B3 power amplifier, PS Audio P10 AC regenerator. The foam padding protects the components' corners from damage.

    eos37ae2zg7t.jpg
    Figure 39. The EtherREGEN is placed behind the little stack.

    9zjqzs6ipmps.jpg
    Figure 40. Music files were previously stored on a 5 TB hard drive connected to the BDP-2 digital player. The hard drive was held in a Rosewill RX304-APU3-35B hard drive enclosure. Middle right: TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply for Rosewill enclosure. Rear: Signal Cable MagicPower cord for DC-30 linear power supply.

    950w3098wr5f.jpg
    Figure 41. Replacement music storage system. Front row: Signal Cable MagicPower cord and NAS switch mode power supply. Middle row: Western Digital Red Pro 6 TB NAS drive, EtherREGEN, and TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply for EtherREGEN. Rear: Signal Cable MagicPower cord for DC-30 linear power supply.

    I had to tolerate the NAS's switch mode power brick for a few weeks until the TeraDak LPS arrived. I had planned to use a RAID 1 configuration with two 6 TB Red Pro drives, but one of the drives was defective. The NAS could not access and initialize the drive and the NAS was seeing high internal temperatures in the drive. Western Digital's diagnostic tool indicated the drive had many bad sectors. I decided to go with a single drive JBOD configuration. The defective drive was sent back for a refund.

    wnb04krce8wg.jpg
    Figure 42. Left: replacement TeraDak DC-150VA linear power supply and Signal Cable MagicPower cord for the NAS. Right: the NAS's stock switch mode power supply. The DC-150VA power supply is larger (and heavier) than the NAS: 0.146 cubic feet compared to the NAS's 0.133 cubic feet.

    4xur60nl7g21.jpg
    Figure 43. View of speakers from my desk. The room is 11' x 12" with the speakers on the shorter wall. The listening position is 7' from the center of the speaker plane. The loudspeakers are spaced 6'-10" apart center to center

    Computer audio has made my entire music collection, including my digitized vinyl records, available at work. Low level musical detail is very important in this office environment. The EtherREGEN, NAS, upgrade power supply for the NAS, and higher performance Ethernet cables, resulted in a substantially lower noise floor. The lowered noise floor made the music sound apparently louder, although the actual sound level was the same.

    Ethernet Cable Trials

    fox297b848pk.jpg
    Figure 44. Ethernet cables evaluated in work system, bottom to top: (inside cable loop) generic Cat5e cables that came with the Synology NAS ($0), Bluejeans Cat6a ($16 - 3 feet), Monoprice Cat8 ($7 - 3 feet), modified Monoprice Cat8 ($7 - 3 feet), RAL Cat8+ ($599 - 1.25 meters).

    lgf48wt9rz56.jpg
    Figure 45. Ethernet cable plugs, bottom to top: generic Cat5e cable that came with the Synology NAS, Bluejeans Cat6a, Monoprice Cat8, RAL Cat8+.

    Two Monoprice Cat8 cables were modified by insulating the shield from the metal shell on one end. On the cable that runs from the B port of the EtherREGEN to the Bryston BDP-2 digital player, the shield was disconnected at the digital player end. On the cable that runs from the NAS to one of the EtherREGEN's A ports, the shield was disconnected at the EtherREGEN end. The EtherREGEN to digital player cable was replaced first.

    Compared to an unmodified Monoprice Cat8 cable, there were no differences heard in spatial rendering or mid and high frequency aspects. The bass became more detailed and articulate, with more rumble and growl. It wasn't a huge difference. On a scale of 1 - 10, the improvement was like going from a 5 to a 5.5.

    The NAS to EtherREGEN Monoprice Cat8 cable was replaced next. There were no apparent sonic differences with that replacement.

    Uptone Audio does not advise against using shield-tied Ethernet cables on the B side of the EtherREGEN (page 7 of the user guide). However, it's always good to experiment.

    y1f0ahd57l8d.jpg
    Figure 46. In the two channel work system and in the home theater system, breaking the shield tie at one end resulted in greater clarity and detail. It's an easy modification (on this brand of cable). Push back the rubber boot, carefully pry up the metal grips from the cable jacket and the flat grips on the plastic plug. Push back the metal shell.

    16qdpvb4d1o7.jpg
    Figure 47. Wrap the metal shield wires as flat as possible around the jacket and completely cover with electrical tape. The shield wires can also be snipped off and the remaining stub taped over...if you are sure you won't want to revert back to the shield-tied configuration.

    p4ka4rv25or9.jpg
    Figure 48. Pull the metal shell over the plug, crimp, and pull the rubber boot back on.

    gli1btuczzc8.jpg
    Figure 49. Lots of listening notes. The tape measure was used to measure the distance of sound images from the listening position.

    Ethernet Cable Performance Rankings

    cejdpvsdko2m.jpg

    With the NAS's stock power supply, going from Cat5e to Cat6a to Cat8 to modified Cat8, there were improvements in bass definition, image weight, overall clarity and detail, and detail and clarity in background instruments such as synthesizers and percussion instruments. There were no spatial differences among those cables. The RAL cable provided additional clarity and detail plus enhanced sound stage depth.

    With the NAS's upgrade linear power supply, spatial differences, in addition to sound quality differences, among all the cables were heard.

    With the much smaller speakers used in this system, the large improvements in bass performance and tactile sensation heard in the home two channel and home theater systems were not available. The home two channel system has very large full range tower speakers. The home theater system has large tower speakers plus a very large subwoofer.



    Post edited by DarqueKnight on
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    Work Two Channel Stereo System Associated Equipment

    Bryston BDP-2 digital player with IAD sound card upgrade
    Bryston BDA-3 digital to analog converter
    Bryston BP-26 preamp with MPS-2 power supply
    Bryston 4B3 power amp (300 wpc 8 ohms/500 wpc 4 ohms)
    Synology DS718+ NAS
    TeraDak DC-150VA linear power supply for NAS
    Monoprice Cat8 Ethernet cables (shield-broken)
    Uptone Audio EtherREGEN audiophile Ethernet switch
    TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply for EtherREGEN switch
    PS Audio xStream Transcendent XLR interconnects for DAC and preamp
    Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy Cryo-Silver split leg USB 2.0 cable
    Revelation Audio Labs 6pin XLR Power Umbilical cable for MPS-2/BP-26
    PS Audio Premier SC power cords for DAC, digital player, power amp and preamp
    Signal Cable MagicPower cords for TeraDak power supplies
    PS Audio P10 AC regenerator
    PS Audio AC-12 power cord for P10 AC regenerator
    Polk Audio SDA CRS+ loudspeakers, 4 ohms nominal-post modification (1989 version) (heavily modified)
    Douglas Connection CDF92 speaker cable (9 AWG)
    HiFi Tuning Classic Gold fuses for amp, preamp, AC regenerator
    HiFi Tuning Silver Star fuse for DAC.
    Dell Venue Pro 11 7140 tablet computer, with dock, for digital player and DAC control
    Logitech Harmony One universal remote for preamp and DAC

    Revisiting Video

    In the home theater system, a dedicated Cisco SG110D-08 Ethernet switch is placed between the Synology DS918+ NAS and the Oppo UDP-205 player. The SG110D-08 switch's stock switch mode power supply was replaced with a TeraDak DC-30 linear power supply. Improvements in picture and sound were realized by replacing the Bluejeans Cat6a cables with Monoprice Cat8 cables. Smaller improvements were realized by replacing the Monoprice Cat8 cables with shield-broken Monoprice Cat8 cables.

    The initial trial of installing the office two channel stereo system's modified Monoprice Cat8 cables in the home theater system provided some performance improvements. When a pair of Monoprice Cat8 cables were modified for the home theater system, the dangling shield wires were snipped off and the little stub remaining was taped over, since I knew I wasn't going to want to revert back to the shield-tied cable configuration.

    u8flgu2li9kj.jpg
    Figure 50. Scene from "Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith". The stock and modified Monoprice Cat8 cables provided increased rumble, growl, and tactile sensation from the Venator class star destroyer's engine sounds.

    10noyx8smohr.jpg
    Figure 51. Sharper and clearer howl, whine, whiz, and zing as the sound of the Jedi fighters entered the sound stage from the upper right rear and swooped down toward the front lower center.

    Summary Of Results

    Uptone Audio's EtherREGEN audiophile Ethernet switch was evaluated in three of my systems: home two channel stereo system, home theater system, office two channel stereo system.

    The performance of the EtherREGEN was enhanced by replacing the stock switch mode power supply with a linear power supply.

    Replacing the media storage units' (NAS, hard drive enclosure) stock switch mode power supplies resulted in significant improvements in sound and picture quality, particularly in the areas of color rendition, dynamic range, and depth for video, and particularly in the areas of bass definition and articulation, image weight, and three-dimensional spatial rendering for audio.

    Breaking the shield tie connection on the Cat8 cable resulted in small improvements in audio and video.

    The best sound and picture quality was achieved with Ethernet cables built to Category 8 standards.

    The more electrical noise reduction deployed in a system, the greater the differences in Ethernet cables were seen and heard, and the better the resulting audio and video quality. All three of the systems discussed in these evaluations use AC regenerators, linear power supplies for media storage units, linear power supplies for the EtherREGENs, and a linear power supply for the dedicated Cisco Ethernet switch between the NAS and Oppo media player in the home theater system. The home two channel stereo system is served by three dedicated 20 amp AC circuits. The home theater system is served by two dedicated 20 amp AC circuits. The Oppo UDP-205's stock switch mode power supply was replaced with an Oppomod LPM SE linear power supply.

    If my video media did not include uncompressed Ultra High Definition (UHD) video (commonly, but inaccurately referred to as "4K"), a third EtherREGEN would have been purchased for my home theater system. This is something to hope for in the future.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    edited June 20
    An Audiophile Style forum member suggested the Supra Cat8 ($49 - 1meter) cables as a higher performance alternative to the shield broken Monoprice Cat8 ($7 - 3 feet) cables. I found his advice to be correct.

    Both the stock and shield broken Supra Cat8 cables revealed a little more fine detail and spatial information than the shield broken Monoprice cables. I did not evaluate the Supra cables in my home two channel audio and home theater systems.

    17td0jd3lel4.jpg
    Figure 52. The Supra Cat8 cables come in a resealable plastic case, which is nice in case you want to return them.

    5j9z34ev9b23.jpg
    Figure 53. Distinctive ice blue jacket.

    emcfs555g8wy.jpg
    Figure 54. Each cable comes with a tag denoting the assembler.

    16hn7mmmvf4y.jpg
    Figure 55. Monoprice Cat8 and Supra Cat8 plugs.

    Monoprice Cat8 specs:
    outer shield: aluminum-magnesium alloy braid
    inner shield: aluminum foil
    resistance = 93.8 ohms per km
    capacitance </= 3.3 pF per meter
    conductor size: 24 AWG

    Supra Cat8 specs:
    outer shield: oxygen free 5N pure copper braid, tin plated
    inner shield: aluminum foil
    resistance = 145 ohms per km
    capacitance </= 43 pF per meter
    conductor size: 26 AWG
    conductor material: oxygen free 5N pure copper
    insulation: air injected low capacitance polyethylene
    impedance: 100 ohms

    0oolmxgrphdt.jpg
    Figure 56. The Supra's metal shell is retained by four tabs and is more difficult to remove than the Monoprice's.

    vom4cvc61dha.jpg
    Figure 57. The Supra's metal shell makes contact with the braid shield via a metal tab, shown broken off here.

    tb3zxfpcswoj.jpg
    Figure 58. The metal shell was put back on the plug. I initially was going to use the Supra cables with the metal shell removed from one end. However, I did not like the plug's looser fit in the jack with the metal shell removed.

    mtsz8z8mhiru.jpg
    Figure 59. If I ever want to return the cables to stock condition, plug kits are available for$6.

    c6bc30s7qv82.jpg
    Figure 60. The Supra Cat8 costs 7X the price of the Monoprice Cat8, and facilitated more information retrieval, but it was not 7X better in any aspect of stereophonic performance in my office system.

    Speaking of diminishing returns, I ran across a deal on a pair of 1.5 meter AudioQuest Vodka Ethernet cables. The 2020 retail on these is $600. When I evaluated a loaner pair of Vodka cables in my home two channel stereo and home theater systems, I found their spacial properties to be in a class above that of the other Ethernet cables, except for the Revelation Audio Labs Cat8+.

    ilxvtk1odndh.jpg
    Figure 61. I ran across these while shopping for something else. Purchased from an authorized AudioQuest dealer.

    uy2oansgxpax.jpg
    Figure 62. The Vodkas, like all of AudioQuest's Ethernet cables, are Cat7.

    5hyg7ijr8xpq.jpg
    Figure 63. In the distant future, when I am more dedicated to audio than I am now, I might splurge on some higher performance, higher diminishing returns Ethernet cables for my work system, but for now, these will do.








    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • BlueBirdMusicBlueBirdMusic Registered User Posts: 1,311
    A truly amazing thread, DarqueKnight.

    I loved how you handled the chaff the guys threw at you on the Audiophile Style Blog.

    Jaycee, thanks for posting the link to the other blog.

    Harry

    If the telephone doesn't ring ......... it's me
    Harry / Marietta Georgia
  • JayCeeJayCee Posts: 963
    edited June 20
    DK, more great info.

    I developed a bit of hiss in my pre tubes (hrs related) and just replaced them with dead quiet and quite nice NOS tubes from the 70's. My system, with the ER and Monoprice Cat8 cable, sounds phenomenal.

    Thanks for quantifying the cable differences w/the scales....especially the RAL and power supply (PS) upgrades. "Goes to 11" (Spinal Tap) plus 2! A score of 13 is indeed a new benchmark. Not that it's not within reach but at $599 (plus new PS) that's a hard pill to swallow at this time.

    After reading the chatter about wall outlets in another thread it reminded me I need to change out my AC receptacle, so I bit a big bullet (for a wall outlet) by ordering the Furutech GTX-D NCF(R) Ultimate Nano-Crystal Rhodium-Plated AC Duplex Receptacle. Found a good price and there's a 30 day return window. Should arrive this week.

    Think I'll revisit your findings in the fall when I'm looking for more indoor projects. Thank you, and I hate you (JK), for being such an enabler.
    Speakers: Polk1.2tl's (Uber Mods) Pre/Amp/DAC: PS Audio BHK Signature & 250, DirectStream Cables/IC's: MIT S1Bi-Wire/S1 Balanced +Avel Lindberg 1000VA "Dreadnought" Power Conditioner: PS Audio P15 Power Plant Power Cords: Core Power Technologies Gold, DH Labs Power Plus DIY w/Neotech NC-P301 & P311ends Streamer: Roon ROCK on wifi'd NUC & Uptone EtherREGEN⟿Ω☯☥☮⟿🔊♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬
  • JayCeeJayCee Posts: 963
    Well, couldn't wait until fall for another indoor project. Picked up 2 Supra Cat8 cables. Been running a 2M length from my WAP to ER and .5M from the ER to DSD. Another improvement in low level detail and a couple ticks of bass improvement. Voices, particularly female, are even nicer.

    It's also lowered the sound stage height down to my listening position. Over time, one thing that bothered me about the Monoprice configuration was a feeling of the performance being a bit above me. Think concert and on a stage. Now, it's at eye level. Best way to describe the current sound is balanced and, Ray, I concur w/your observations. Now, hmmmmm, the RAL?....probably going to stop here....for now. I've learned to never say never.
    Speakers: Polk1.2tl's (Uber Mods) Pre/Amp/DAC: PS Audio BHK Signature & 250, DirectStream Cables/IC's: MIT S1Bi-Wire/S1 Balanced +Avel Lindberg 1000VA "Dreadnought" Power Conditioner: PS Audio P15 Power Plant Power Cords: Core Power Technologies Gold, DH Labs Power Plus DIY w/Neotech NC-P301 & P311ends Streamer: Roon ROCK on wifi'd NUC & Uptone EtherREGEN⟿Ω☯☥☮⟿🔊♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬
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