The past week has been filled with encouragement from friends and supporters of the Kickstarter campaign. Funding has reached almost 150% after a single week. Thanks to everyone backing the writing of the book and the production of the demonstration files. If anyone has any specific topics, demo tracks, or audio samples they want to see me tackle…just let me know. Other than the doubts expressed about my skills as a recording engineer by a novice engineer at CA and within a few comments on this site, everything is going great.
So why would I want to revisit the whole Regen thing and the major push back that I got from several audio writers? Because there’s some additional information…some very rigorous analysis…over at the What’s Best Forum by the site’s founder and administrator Amir.
He is careful to point out that his analysis is located in the SCIENCE section of the forum. He didn’t focus on a subjective listening evaluation and then report on his perceptions. Instead, he did a variety of analyses using his Audio Precision and posted the results in the article. Amir’s approach is to be applauded although I’m sure that the subjectivists will continue their crusade and continue to push the non-scientific approach to better sound. And I know it has its place…what we hear is all that really counts. But I for one like to know that what I hear has some reasonable and rational basis in the science of digital audio recording and reproduction.
You can read the article and review his plots by visiting the WBF at Review of Audioquest Jitterbug and Uptone Regen USB Conditioners.
Amir wrote the review because he was curious. He admits to being an amateur reviewer. He included the Audioquest Jitterbug in his review…another piece of equipment that I haven’t yet had the chance to explore but which falls in the category of an unnecessary audiophile tweak for me. And Amir’s conclusions support this belief.
The stated purpose of these types of products is to correct or clean up the digital information on the USB bus as it heads from your source to DAC for conversion. There is every possibility that the data and power on a USB bus is less than perfect…that is surely the case. And it’s the noise in the transmission of digital data that the Jitterbug and Regen try to address. But wouldn’t a quality DAC clean up the incoming data without the need of these units?
Amir states, “I sure hope anyone buying a DAC is getting one where the designer knows very well that these issues exist and has already put the few cents or dollar or two worth of parts that these products have. As such, I personally don’t expect any high-end DAC to benefit from these products. If any do, I would question the DAC company before resorting to dangling a device like this in front of them.” Sound familiar?
I’ll let you read Amir’s very well written conclusions but essentially he agrees with my assessment of these devices. Here’s the quick of it, “Simply put, there is no good news here. Both devices degraded the performance of the DAC a bit and did nothing to improve it. There are reasons for this that I won’t go into but let’s be careful in using our intuition that when something is ‘filtered,’ it is always good. That is not how this interface works.”
So do I feel vindicated? No, this is not a competition. I felt confident in my assessment before and I’m pleased that a careful analysis using a very rigorous procedure and expensive Audio Precision software didn’t contradict my position. The sad part is that it will not cause the other side to change their position…which is unfortunate.