Mini Review of Uptone ISO Regen and UltraCap LPS-1 Power Supply Combo

Despite contrary recommendations from my DAC manufacturer and a computer audio-savvy friend, I decided to try the latest Uptone ISO Regen/UltraCap LPS-1 combo. You can see the details of my system on my virtual system page, but for clarity the comparison here involved the following components:

Motorola 7550 dual-band modem/router => Purist Audio Ethernet cable => Aurender N100H server/renderer/streamer => Purist Audio 30th Anniversary USB cable => //insert/remove Uptone UltraCap LPS-1 power supply & ISO Regen// => Exogal Comet Plus DAC via USB input.

Music for comparison was a combination of 192/24 and 96/24 hi-rez downloaded files from the Aurender’s HDD and selections streamed from Tidal.

After a week spending a lot of time listening with the ISO Regen/UltraCap LPS-1 combo in my computer audio front end, I decided this afternoon to remove it from between my Aurender and my Comet DAC. I have found that removing a tweak is the best way to see what it is or isn’t doing.

Bottom Line: I greatly prefer the sound of the Aurender/Comet combo WITHOUT the ISO Regen/UltraCap LPS-1. In addition, I brought my golden-eared wife in for the usual "set me straight session". She was in agreement (perhaps less adamant). Over the years, she has been spot-on re: cabling/room acoustical treatment/even setting VTA on my TT and I have learned that she is 100 times faster at pinpointing sound differences in the vocal/high-mid ranges and especially at recognizing a lack of refinement that later becomes a burr under my saddle if I don’t heed her observations.

On first/casual listen, the Uptone gear seems to add refinement and a better focal balance between instruments relative to each other, especially instruments vs vocals seem to be more integrated. The lower frequencies seem fuller. However, after more listening with them in the chain, one starts to miss some PRAT and listener involvement. Removing the Uptone gear from the chain immediately reveals the trick: What has actually happened is that a (not insignificant) degree of detail, air, and life has been removed along with any noise that it reduced/eliminated. The music seems slower. The percussive nature of piano is deadened somewhat with less wafting of harmonic aftertones around the instrument and throughout the soundstage.

If one has a system that uses a better digital source like the Aurender (vs noisy PC) combined with a DAC possessing a USB input that has been designed to address noise/isolation/jitter along with quality USB cabling, then the effect of the Uptone device is a takeaway IME. However, I have little doubt that the same effect would benefit an entry level computer front end with PC/Mac and/or lesser DAC and/or poor cabling by eliminating noise artifacts and impedance mismatch.

If I had the choice of a noisy/flat/sterile yet open sound (without Regen) or a somewhat reduced noise floor/more palatable yet ultimately a bit closed-in sound (with Regen), I suppose I would choose the latter. Avoid that sad choice of evils and then it is likely that these devices will do more harm than good. YMMV.

The ISO Regen unit itself is back in the box. I still plan to investigate using the UltraCap LPS-1 with my router modem before returning both.


Interesting finding. I agree that YMMV. Some DACs most certainly will benefit from devices such as ISO Regen, however, most DACs are designed and intended to work well without it. Ultimately it may boil down to individual system vagaries such as the particular jitter level at the DAC input and the robustness of the DAC jitter rejection methodology for the particular jitter coming in.

Thank you for your response.

There is more going on in the noise/component matching realm of computer audio than just jitter. Galvanic isolation and impedance mismatch could even play a bigger role in source/DAC interface issues, particularly when using USB connection. All three (and likely even more) are potential detriments to sound quality and enjoyment of music from digital sources.

Some feedback from Agoner lowrider57 (Thank You) has made me re-evaluate the clarity of the primary point of the above review in terms of the readers’ takeaway. I did not intend to castigate the Uptone products specifically, or even at all, but to communicate that the addition of such devices (of any brand or maker) in the audio chain can actually introduce degradation of sound quality. Up to this point, I had, wrongly as it turns out, held the opinion that the worst possible outcome would be that I would simply hear no change at all.

I have had interest in the Holo Spring DAC since hearing excellent reports on its sound quality from Agoner falconquest. I was re-reading the review linked below this morning and happened upon this statement by Michael Lavorgne when he was describing what he felt to be a positive effect of the Singxer SU-1 with the Spring DAC, but not so with the totaldac:

"This was not the case with the totaldac where I felt the addition of the SU-1, connected via AES, subtracted some of the D1-six’s magic."

Also, rklein made this comment in the user follow up: "I tried the Singxer and ultimately preferred the Holo without it."


So, had I not committed to a few folks here to make with and without comparisons with the ISO Regen/LPS-1 and post my findings, I might well have simply left them in my digital chain once installed and unknowingly suffered a prolonged setback in sound quality, or even more likely, pursued more gadgets to fix what was not broken to begin with but issues that had been unwittingly introduced by adding the ISO Regen.

The chain of such devices in some folks’ systems is truly, er, ponderous (borrowed without permission from Joseph Marley’s ghost). I posit that the money would be better spent on an improved source and/or DAC and/or cables as funds allow rather than more of these potentially problematic devices.

Maybe my remarks will encourage these folks to remove the entire rig of fix-it devices and see if they are suffering from this malady. If they hear a benefit after such exercise in their own systems to their own ears, then it’s all good. If they prefer to return these devices to their chain based on listening preference, then it’s all good. YMMV indeed.

The original post is from a while ago, but I wanted to comment that I had a very similar result using an equivalent -though much cheaper device: the holo audio titanis. I stream from an ASUS laptop to an audiophile 2 (with external PS, aqvox) to nuforce dac80 (upgraded w/burson v5 opamps). I was hoping that an external PS for the Titanis would improve things, but I see Dave used the rather costly UltraCap LPS-1, so not likely. I find the information regarding this kind of devices confusing. Some reviews/comparisons seem to claim that all of them, from the very cheap to the far more expensive ones, make an Improvement. Other comments point to mixed results like the ones Dave claims and I myself experienced. Anyway, I wanted to contribute my impressions to help others make good use of their money.

Btw, I really wanted this thing to work. In fact, I used it for a couple of days, thinking that I had gained quite a bit: warmer, more present bass; smoother overall presentation; no harsh highs. But afterwards, I began to suspect that something was missing. And so it was: considerable detail and energy in the music was lost.