Uptone Audio Regen, hands on experiences...

Coming very soon!


  • I'm waiting! :-)
  • I'm just waiting on shoom.

    We have both tested it and have NOT consulted each other on this subject at all. We wanted our reviews to appear as close to simultaneously as possible, keeping our findings independant from each other. As soon as he's ready to post we'll both reviews up.

    We might completely disagree!
  • I'm good to go so drop me a PM Chris

    We've no discussed our findings to allow for differences of opinion to happen without the conformity pressure that can sometimes go along with such things.

    We are both aiming for a more balanced discussion.
  • What? At AudioChews, seaside home for the unbalanced? It'll never work.
  • edited May 2016

    A jaded old been around the block a few times hifi hack I may be and well used to listening to the latest big noise products only to be disappointed by overhyped but average sounding kit.

    They gather dust as we speak.


    I do try to take a relaxed view of new gizmo’s to avoid that sinking feeling of being had once the shiny new wears off.

    Alan (Sondale) was kind enough to offer me a listen to his Uptone Audio Regen which has been making quite a bit of noise recently on the computer audio scene. I’m always more than happy to listen with an open mind and let my own ears decide.This is what I have done here.

    BTW I don’t do blind testing as the last time that happened I tripped over the dog and hit my head on the speaker box J.


    I plugged in the Regen and played some tunes.

    But first just a little advice to anyone wishing to try.

    Both the Regen and the IFI Purifier 2 benefit from a warm up. I had the Regen plugged in and gently playing music for a couple of hours before serious listening commenced (forum recommends 100 hours min). Plugging in and having a 5 minute listen may miss the point and not get to the best sound.

    I tried not to read too many previous posts and reviews but have read some in the past and it seems that most love the Regen and some hear no difference.

    I’d accept both arguments but please keep in mind that these are MY THOUGHTS, IN MY SET UP AND TO MY EARS.

    The Kit

    My PC set up


    And software


    DAC wise it’s this ATM

    WaveIO into Buffalo3/Legato (he’s a hot dog)





    At the moment

    Pre is a muses volume control (W/O op amp) into DCB1 (Charcrofts in the signal path) because I’ve had it for years and know its sound signature well (it’s an old friend).




    Power amps are Colin’s amazing SECA mono blocks with BG NP coupling caps and TQ blue internal speaker wires.

    PMC FB1+speakers and TQ black / Klots IC’s and TQ Black speaker cables.

    So here’s a sound snap shot in time with the supplied SMPS.

    It became apparent on listening that the soundstage grown quite a bit W/H/D as had body and tonal colour. The sound seemed  more ‘’in room’’ and the sound lost most of the glare and top end fizz that I find with digital replay what-ever player used (I tend to filter it out over time but going back to Vinyl shows it up a little). The hard emphasis on S, T, P and SH sounds where well controlled for a change (Jriver) and had a more ‘’real’ ’quality which really did give me a little kick of surprise. The bass while of equal weight seemed to go way down lower and seemed to have more life and verve (more tuneful). Bass clarity was also noticeably better losing some of the blur and tubbiness which became apparent when swapping back to neat USB.

    Micro detail is also improved which leads me to believe that Uptone’s PSU implementation and use of top quality regulators is doing its thang well. It’s not that I’m hearing so much more but the presentation is so much clearer and at the same time easier on the ear than with my previous set up.

    I have the IFI Purifier 2 which I’ve read others state to be equal to or better than the Uptone.

     It really kills me to say this.


    Not in my set up.

    The IFI does improve the sound in the ways that I’ve mentioned above but the changes are not as obvious or clear cut to my ears.

    I found the Uptone more akin to a DAC upgrade in a  ‘’my god is my WaveIO/Buffalo/Legato really that good’’ way. It sounds obviously better with the Regen in place. Like-wise with my other DACs (TP OPUS/IVY, DAM and IFI DAC2) which all benefited from the Regens clarity.

    The IFI Purifier 2 still represents GVFM but TBH the Regen is quite a bit better. (sorry Torsten)

    What I generally listen for with ‘’Digital replay’’ products is their ability to move the sound closer to my Vinyl replay set up (NAS space deck Graphite heavy mod, Rocsan Tabriz Z1 (cardas wired), speedbox SE PSU, Lyra Dorian, Paradise phono stage).

    The Regen seems to do that making digital replay more musical and tonally satisfying which is no bad thing and shows a little more of what digital can do if left unpolluted buy poor PSU implementation and packet noise.

    I tried a few combinations as they had favourable reports elsewhere.

    Regen –IFI and reversed. Regen – Audioquest Jitterbug IFI-Jitterbug but none sounded as good as the Regen on its own.

    The real acid test for me is what happens when I removed the Regen.

    TBH I was underwhelmed by the comparatively flat, grainy, barebones and tonally grey sound that I heard with straight USB feed which was a step back to my ears. The Regen adds a level or two of refinement producing a large, fleshed out sound with bags of detail which I found hard to do without once heard in my system.

     It’s a tough life and sacrifices must be made except in audio world. Going back to UN regenerated plain vanilla USB just disappoints me too much after listening to the glorious Regen. The IFI does put a little magic back into the sound but not as much as the Regen (which is double the price).

    So I bit the bullet

    I’ve been more than impressed by the Regen and parted with some cash.

    I placed an order with Item Audio and @ £171.40 it feels like money well spent to my ears and cheaper than spending on a better DAC.


    Which arrived within 6 days.

    verdammt und ExplosionJ

    It works :-)

    IMHO it makes music sound better in my rig and going back to the IFI Purifier 2 or plain USB was tougher than expected.

    The smooth musicality the Regen delivers really does move the sound achievable from my modest set up to a whole new level of refinement and detail.

    Well done Uptone.

    BTW I pressed my Trichord power block into service with the SMPS which came with the Regen. It’s an isolation transformer which usually ends up powering something in my digital chain. The Buffalo/Legato/WaveIO draws 1.5A so a little too much for the Trichord. But it does nice things with the Regen.

    In conclusion.

    Anyone wanting to squeeze a little more from USB audio should seriously consider the Uptone Audio Regen which has given my longstanding DAC of choice a new lease of life.

    For those who are more restricted budget wise the IFI Purifier 2 gives some of but not all of the Uptone’s goodness at a lower price point.


    Both good products IMHO.

    But don’t take my word for it. Try for yourself.

    The above products can be tried over 30 days with a full refund available if unhappy.

    What could be better?

    Thanks for the listen Alan it’s most generous of you.

    Have you tried a linear supply on the Regen yet? I’m itching to do that but with my unit and not yours.


  • I've just found out you can't copy paste from Word or PDF. Grrrrrrrr!
  • The following are my personal impressions of the Uptone Audio Regen's effectiveness in my
    system(s) and to my ears. As for my set up I feel that is irrelevant as everyone's will be different.

    Sondale very kindly lent Shoom and me his Regen to try on our systems so grateful thanks to him.

    I initially had problems getting the Regen to function properly in my work system. On consulting
    with the helpful lads at Uptone I reinstalled my DAC's drivers with the the Regen in line and the
    problem was cured. I won't go into the theory behind the Regen's function as this has been
    hammered out very clearly on the net, or simply look at their website.

    So firstly, does the Regen change anything for me when used as intended, immediately in line
    before the USB DAC? At this point it is good to mention that warm up is very important, the Regen
    takes at least 20 minutes to come on song.

    As most of my listening is done on headphones, this is where I started and the very short answer
    to the question is yes! Reading from my notes I've jotted down "silences more obvious; better flow
    to music; slightly larger scale; nuances clearer". Voices also took on a far more natural tone with
    more discernable inflection.

    The very first things to hit me were, however, the much better defined bass with greater solidity
    and the sweetened HFs, giving better clarity without harshness. Some tracks that were otherwise
    a little "hot" in the HFs were now far more listenable.

    Trying on better equipment at home I experienced a greater pronouncement of the
    aforementioned which I found both surprising and pleasing, having expected quite the opposite.

    Moving on to loudspeakers, again the first thing I found was the tidied up bass, solid and more
    articulate, then noticing the broader and taller soundstage, followed by that lovely sweet treble.

    Final testing was turned towards the even more contentious subject of ripping CDs and the quality
    thereof. I am already a convert to using better power supplies for ripping to both SSD and flash
    drives to improve this process. For this purpose I made "identical" rips from CDs to .wav files with
    and without the Regen directly before the USB input for the drive. These were played back
    (sporting identical checksums) with the Regen replaced to the DAC input.
    Very much the same qualities appeared on the Rips with the Regen in line. The non-regen
    recordings sounding a little blurred, rough and lacklustre by comparison.

    I have uploaded two examples to Filemail, they will be available for the next 5 or 6 days if you
    wish to download them. Their names give no clue as to which version has the Regen so you can
    PM me after you have listened and I'll confirm which track is which.


    The only negative point I have is in my particular systems (remembering the DACs involve DIY) I
    had a notable increase in the amount of tracks that failed to play. I usually experience just the odd
    one on a rare occasion that then plays on second attempt, with the Regen I could see several in a
    few hours (mixed file types).

    Anyway, the Regen is now disconnected for the last time and packed up ready to return home and
    I miss it already, time to open the wallet!
  • Interesting Chris and especially your comments on CD ripping which I may try for myself.

    I'd like to just remind people again that we've not communicated our thoughts on the Regen and the surprise for me how similar our findings are especially given system differences.

    Maybe a more general goodness is at play here.

    When you've your own Regen shall we do some Linear PSU experiments?

    Y'know that I've been playing with that already but company would be even better.

    Nice review BTW.

  • Thanks both for that.

    I'm a bit gutted that I don't use USB for my DAC :-(
  • Was that something to do with the drivers?

    let's see if there is a solution out there somewhere so at least you have the choice.
  • Yup. No one has got the M2Tech driver to work with Linux and/or the RPi.

    That's why I went down the S/PDIF route. It sounds really great, so in reality, I'm not too bothered about it.
  • Thorough reviews there. Thank you.
    Sounds like you both felt it offered worthwhile things. :-)
  • You're going to have to get yourself an RPi for that second system of yours, Ben :-)
  • edited May 2016
    It is very surprising how close the two of our impressions are. I will have to cough up now for my own Regen as my work system is sounding rather sad without it.

    Remember we had a play with Furutech USB leads some time ago on another forum? We had different results that time on using very short lengths compared to a standard good quality lead.

    As I was using a longer length this time I decided to have another try.(standard cores, 5v connected) On first try there may have been the tiniest, possibly, really not sure kind of miniscule difference? However, on recommendation (from Alex) I tried removing the 5v core at both ends and replacing it with an external, screened 5v replacement. Now I could definitely hear a small difference there, akin to fraction better focus on a picture. Some of the mega-bucks USB leads are made this way so apart from their asking prices maybe there is a trick there!


    Re the power supply, DEFINITELY. I may even have enough parts in the giggle box to make a nice linear with a JLH PSRR. Colin also mentioned a tricky-dicky PSU on the books, I wonder if it will be the DBs!
  • Hi Chris

    ''It is very surprising how close the two of our impressions are''

    It's the first time that's happened and given our component differences even more of a surprise.

    Yes I still use the furutech and am still happy with it with the 5V disconnected at the PC end.

    I also mae up a very short lead to go between the regen and DAC as my buffalo runs pretty hot I thought i'd keep the Regen a little further away from it.

    the external 5V connection looks like it may be worth a go.

    Is that with the screen connected at the receiver end?
  • Hi Shaun,

    I'll try a 5v disconnected when I receive my Regen. As for the external 5v screened idea, the screen on mine is connected to the normal screen at both ends. It could be worth trying with the screen connected at one end only, you never know, I guess there is argument for either end over the other so you'd need to try each way, I certainly like that format for RCA leads.
  • Why is it that every time I see this thread, I think?:

  • edited July 2016
    I finally got around to making up custom lengths of decent USB cables for my PC-Regen-USB DAC connections at work.
    These also feature the removal of the 5v BUS line for improved isolation from PC nasties on the power lines.

    The cables are not stressed, I've heat formed them for a perfect fit.


    It's very easy to do if you want to try...


    I haven't delved into the wonderful world of an improved PSU for the Regen but that's next on the list.
  • edited August 2016
    Just recycled an old power supply to use as a decent linear PSU for my Regen. As it has a 12vac transformer I've used a larger heatsink on the LM317 reg. because I'm regulating down to 9vdc.
    I also prefer to use ESD1 smd diodes in the rectifier for digital etc. but I'd run out so I've used standard ultra fast on this occasion.

    Note the extra board after the rectifier/regulator, this is a power supply ripple rejector (PSRR) originally taken from a John Lindsey Hood design and tweaked as a project on another forum. These are really useful when you can't design a low ripple PSU yourself (we're not all Wonfors!).

    It'll be breaking in on the bench for the next couple of days (the PSRR large caps take a while to fully form at these lower voltages) before trying out on the Regen itself. (There are many forum threads on the subject with positive results so I'm hoping to obtain the same)


  • Interesting...
    My interest is often piqued by those who know far more than me paying such close attention to PSUs. I've sometimes experienced differences in SQ based on PSU changes, but lack the technical nouce to understand, let alone manufacture, the products involved.
    (Nice green floral work surface by the way. (Heat / solder resistant...?)
  • Docfoster said:

    (Nice green floral work surface by the way. (Heat / solder resistant...?)

    :D I knocked that one up at work and placed the boards on the foam glass-airer to isolate them fron the stainless steel surfaces (eek!).

    I do use similar at home for electronics as well and for the same reason plus work surface protection. You can replace a bit of damaged foam easily but that lovely veneered dining table might be more troublesome (double eek!).

    As for buliding PSUs, I was in the same boat as you just a few years ago but have learnt how on forums! The ones pictured are nice properly printed boards but you learn better by making them on blank boards (perf-board) so you understand what's actually going on and can then fault find as well.
  • edited August 2016
    The trouble I have had with the LM series on National Semi style regs is the dreadful copies which never meet the original spec.
    Also small heatsinks allow the over temp shut down to come in this hot island this causes the constant current shut down in some of the copies , because there dies are to small. So I use a modified drive version which not only runs cooler but allows me on the right heat sink take up to 10Amps.

  • I've not come across that before, interesting tweak.
  • Linear PSU now on the Regen and...

    Holy expletives batman!

    I wasn't expecting such a big jump in sound quality, something rather more subtle. Subtle this is not, somewhat akin to hearing thunder after being used to a bass drum. Everything is much more finely etched, solid, dynamic, tiny nuances shining out and that's just on headphones. I'll be trying on speakers in the coming days.
  • Wowzers! 
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