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
I’d accept both arguments but please keep in mind that these
are MY THOUGHTS, IN MY SET UP AND TO MY EARS.
My PC set up
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
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
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
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
I tried a few combinations as they had favourable reports
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
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
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
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
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.
(Nice green floral work surface by the way. (Heat / solder resistant...?)