High end audio is sometimes a baffling hobby. On the one hand we readily accept the notion that loudspeakers are so hopelessly flawed that changing them makes perfect sense: dynamics to electrostats, electrostats to dynamics, horns to planars, planars to horns, self amplified to externally amplified–and all along we’re ok with the idea whatever we wind up with can easily be bettered.
But then we turn around and find ourselves amazed, perplexed, sometimes angry, when peripherals matter: cables, Jitterbugs, power conditioners, plugs, vibration devices. Some of us are grateful they exist, others indignant that our electronics are bettered by their presence.
And, of course, I understand the frustration. We always hope this or that piece will be our last–perfection achieved–and yet in the back of our minds we understand we’re not close. But it’s alright and here’s the good news. If it sounds great and musical today, it will continue to do so tomorrow. My 30 year old loudspeakers are a wonderful example of this. They were musical then, they are musical now. But these observations do not negate the idea of making things better. Better power, better cables, better sources, always help any component sound its best.
While at RMAF I moved from the Jitterbug to the Uptone regen–a powered, fancier version of Jitterbug–this thing really works well, best I have yet heard.
The Regen is like the Power Plant of USB. It accepts USB data from the computer, places it into essentially a USB hub, then reclocks the data back out to the DAC. Why should this make anything better? Because computers as sources are noisy, jitter prone devices. Some DACs, like DirectStream, remove jitter fed into them–but that does not mean all jitter goes away. This is because DirectStream is still sensitive to power supply and noise issues, as Ted Smith discussed in yesterday’s post. Well worth the read if you have a chance.
The Uptone Regen, highly recommended for any DAC.