Any benefit to an EtherRegen?

I had an Uptone Audio EtherRegen device before getting my Bartók streaming DAC and Vivaldi clock. It was a relatively simple matter to mount the EtherRegen ahead of the Bartók and although I can’t hear profound benefit from it, it also seems worth using.

There’s a long thread over at Audiophile Style on the subject of whether to add an external clock to the EtherRegen. Given the complexity of things the Bartók does to the incoming Ethernet signal, I’m wondering whether either or both devices provide improved sound quality or merely depleted audio budget.

I am a UK dCS Vivaldi owner and bought an Uptone Audio EtherREGEN, when we first went into lockdown in March 2020.

I had become interested in upgrading my network, the previous winter and a good friend loaned me an AQVox switch and AQVox silver ethernet cabling to try out!

I re-clock the EtherREGEN from one of the 75 Ohm outputs on my Mutec Ref 10 SE-120 reference clock, as I do the dCS stack, via the Master Word Clock external BNC reference clock input.

My network has evolved over time and now consists of TP-Link AC2800 router > Sablon Audio 1m ethernet cable > Latest Sonore Optical Module Deluxe FMC > Finisar AOC 1m fibre optic cable > EtherREGEN > Sablon Audio 1m ethernet cable > dCS Upsampler.

The TP-Link router is grounded via a USB socket and powered by it’s own 12v Plixir balanced LPSU. The Sonore Optical module Deluxe is powered from a 5v Plixir balanced LPSU and the EtherREGEN is powered from it’s own 12v Coherent Systems QP1 LPSU,

The network is utterly stable and I don’t suffer from dropouts, only an inky black background, from which music emerges, whether the source is Qobuz Studio, internet radio or streaming files from my Melco N1ZH/60 EX.

IMHO, attention paid to network components will reduce noise to the lowest possible and I regard the Uptone EtherREGEN as a worthy contributor to that aim.

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I had one and even got a power supply for it, the only difference i could tell was how hot the little switch ran.
Removed it, put the normal cisco switch back in and noticed nothing different

I believe a very good way and cheap way to isolate it is to use a small lenght of optical cable and one or two of the converter boxes as this seems to be the new way

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In the similar line, I recently added Innuos PhoenixNet to my Windows based source and the difference it brought in is good enough to keep it as long as I use computer as a source to my music system.

I also tried this on a dCS Network Bridge and it does bring in positive improvement there too.

Paying attention to source that includes network components is very important because per my experience, the downstream components perform as good as your source.

Though slightly off topic but I recently added a Sean Jacobs linear power supply to my computer and that made me think that that should have been the first investment I should have done on my music system.

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I have been using EtherRegen for 6 months and despite the fact that as one of my colleagues noted it is quite hot, in my opinion it is a significant element improving the sound of my DCS Bartók … It is worth using a good power supply such as Plixir or Farad with the ER. Also read the instructions on the ER to properly power it. It’s also a good idea to use a 10mhz clock with ER. I only have a Chinese clock for 100 USD and the improvement is audible. I think a clock from a reputable company like Mutec can improve the sound even more.

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I think i read on hear somewhere that adding a clock to a switch is pointless as the dac will re clock it anyway ?

The audio going through a switch is asynchronous to the DAC - it’s buffered to at least some degree (it may only be a few tens of milliseconds but it’s still buffered) before being played unlike S/PDIF which is a stream and is (generally) played in real-time.

(Yes, we do have a buffer for S/PDIF audio too that enables us to examine what is coming in and hence handle things like changes in sample rates and bit depth cleanly but that is different to buffering network data.)

It is very rare that Ethernet audio is actually “streamed” (in the real meaning of the word) where the audio data is sent completely in real time.

If you look at the actual network activity (using something like Wireshark) that goes on when playing audio from - say - TIDAL then the currently playing track is generally pulled down within the first few seconds of starting playback of that track … with quite often the next track in the playlist being pulled too so that if you skip forwards then playback of that track can start immediately - after that it’s in the buffer and played from there.

Phil

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Cheers phil

I am sure i am not the only one that’s still not sure if it will or won’t make a difference after your reply.

Indeed, was just going to ask the same question. :smile:

I do argue that adding a clock to 10mhz to EtherRegen audibly improved the audio quality I had without a clock. I understand that I should rather not believe my ears but the rational arguments of people who are more familiar with the technique of audio streaming. Skeptics Greek philosophers would be delighted that their claims are valid after almost 2,500 years. Perhaps I should see an audiologist. However, if it turns out that the ears are healthy, maybe a visit to a psychiatrist because I am delusional or hallucinating . Fortunately, I do not have to do blind tests because I am a blind person !

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I haven’t tried that specific unit in that specific scenario in your specific system so it would not be possible (or right) for me to comment as to what effect (if any) it might have within your own setup…

…plus of course your own hearing might well be far better than mine and so I may well miss something that is a night and day difference to someone else - an ex of mine from some time ago couldn’t tell the difference (apart from the fact that it went louder) between the system that I had at the time and her Sony Micro System that she had at home so it would be extremely presumptuous of me to tell anyone else what they should be hearing.

Phil

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Hi Robert,

One thing that is so easy to lose track of is that this is a hobby … and all hobbies can be something that you lightly dip your toe into or you dive into and immerse yourself.

It should be something that makes YOU happy and what anyone else tells you you should buy or should hear doesn’t matter - I try not to tell people what they should do in these kinds of instances (and of course we don’t generally specifically recommend or discuss 3rd part products anyway) … so if you like your system with pink network cables in it or with a Quad Ranging High Fluxrate Flange Multiplexer installed in it then what anyone else thinks doesn’t matter.

I replace my network cables every time I re-stack my system because I like to use cables that don’t have pre-existing bends in them in the wrong places - does it make my system sound better, hell no, but does it make me feel better, of course it does.

I put IEC leads in the oven at 70 degrees for an hour when I buy them just to soften the outer sheath enough so that I can straighten them and get the kinks out and then hang them from the upstairs bannister so that they can cool nice and straight so that they then coil nicely just as I want them to. Does it make a difference to how they perform, of course not but it makes me happy.

I’ve had a fair few audiophile switches, network cables, USB cables etc. pass through my hands over the years - some of them you think “That’s actually rather cool and I like it just for what it is”. Do I use any of them? It doesn’t matter whether I do or not as long as my setup makes me happy and keeps me engrossed when I listen to it - let me put it this way, my other half is working this weekend and the kids are at their dads until Sunday evening so that means it’s just me, the dog and the cat and I get a free pass to spend Saturday and Sunday just enjoying listening to music.

Phil

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Phil, I hope my statement didn’t offend you and wasn’t too rude. I approach myself with a great sense of chumor and I wanted to show that I have a lot of distance to my hobby. Anyway, the use of EtherRegen and a 10mhz clock in the audio path made me feel happier and maybe I like the music coming from the speakers more. And this is what it is all about to provide joy to yourself and others. I am also open to arguments and do not restrict myself to dogmatic convictions. Psychoacoustics is still an evolving field, human perception is subject to so many variables and is so subjective that we can just differ. And the fact that we are different is the best. I apologize to all colleagues who may have felt offended by my statement.
Best Regards Robert

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Absolutely not and it wasn’t in any way at all…

I don’t think anyone could have taken any offence at anything you wrote there - I thought it was insightful, light-hearted and absolutely spot on in that the things that we enjoy can’t always (and don’t need to) be rationalised to anyone other than yourself.

Phil

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Got these at Amazon to chill it out a bit, although the manual says the heat is nothing to worry about.

If anybody can recommend a source for a suitable clock that doesn’t cost more than the Ether Regen itself I’d be glad to hear about it.

I have an EtherREGEN and like it. It allows me to run fiber to my system and easily connect my Bartók to my network. I feel like the system benefits from the EtherREGEN, although, I’m not sure by how much. I think the sound seems less “grainy” when the Bartók is connected to the B side vs the A side. This is enough evidence for me to say it’s doing something for me and I want to keep it l. I just ordered a Teddy Pardo power supply to upgrade the included power supply as I have heard some benefit from this.

There is an entire thread on the audiophile sponsored forum about adding a clock to EtherRegen:
Generally, there are two cheap solutions: the Chinese clock from Aliexpres and the other one is the clock from AfterDark.

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Found it, thanks!

Perhaps this would be better served for starting a new thread, but I think it is relevant. Hence, I will place it here

In this review, a fairly reputable reviewer uses an EtherRegen in combination/ series with a Nordost QNET and an Apex Rossini source. In the end, with the combination, he noticed great benefit.

I question whether both would be needed, and also wonder why, rather than employing a more expensive power supply to eliminate electrical noise, he didn’t simply plug in the standard power supply to his Stromtank (it is pure off-the-grid battery power for those unfamiliar with it). In any case,I thought it might be an interesting read for those in this thread.

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Regarding audiophile switches:
I simply do not understand how these could make a difference compared to a clean chain (ie a good switch). I can understand how any analog interconnect, digital SPDIF, or USB cable (the USB Audio 2.0 protocol is NOT error correcting) could produce sound differences. But Ethernet is not only differential (ie common mode noise does not get through) but it is also error-correcting and asynchronous (ie source clock is not used), so I don’t understand how this can make a difference. Nonetheless, I will try for myself, maybe I will learn something.

Regarding linear power supplies:
A switch-mode power supply actually produces high frequency noise itself, so it could matter even if your AC is perfect. Again, Ethernet communication is differential so the common mode noise does not get through so hard to understand why it matters but well… Maybe it introduces switching noise in the mains, I don’t know… Maybe a test is in order.

I personally use optical networking to my Rossini via an SFP-Ethernet bridge (ROBOfiber, generic). I mostly switched to this because I wanted to keep my Rossini protected in case there was a surge in the networking (eg from lightning). I power this bridge with a linear power supply simply because I had one lying around unused (an Ultracap LPS). Do I hear a difference? I have not done an A/B compared to a regular switch, but I should say I did not notice a difference when I added the optical bridge.

There’s some chatter that lower ethernet speed introduces less switching noise in the component - both EtherRegen and QNet have 100m ports for streamers. Connecting the Rossini using the “Loop” port forces the connection to be 100m so I tried this. I should say I don’t hear a difference from that either.

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