PSA: Be Careful Dealing With Uptone Audio

Just a cautionary note for anyone wishing to purchase anything from Uptone Audio.


Over the past 3 or so years I have owned an ISO Regen, two LPS 1’s and two LPS 1.2’s. When they work they are OK. However, when they do not, you cannot really count on any meaningful support from Uptone Audio – under warranty or not – and even more so if you are not in the US. One of my LPS 1’s failed during the warranty period after less than a year of use. It would not output anything. I contacted Alex Crespi of Uptone who arranged for a replacement. I shipped the faulty LPS 1 back (costly). I received a replacement in about a month. The replacement I received had dings on the case that were not there in the first place. I just chalked it up to shipping issues. Two months later, the replaced unit failed again. It would not light up. It had more than a year left under warranty. I contacted Uptone again who requested I ship it back again for replacement. However, they discouraged it and proposed a credit of US$185 towards the purchase of a new LPS 1.2 in lieu of the warranty on the unit which faltered so quickly after it was replaced. Upon further questioning and correspondence with Uptone, it came to light that they had not repaired the unit I had sent in for warranty replacement with new parts. Instead they had replaced the board with parts culled from used and returned units previously sent in for trade in or repair purposes. In short, the warranty is tantamount to having your unit replaced with a used one which may or may not have been faulty in the first place, which they claim to have “tested”. It is no surprise that the unit faltered so quickly after their supposed warranty replacement then. As such, their so-called warranty replacement is pretty much flawed. Alex got defensive and quoted some self-derived metric about the failure rates of their products being extremely low and put the cause of successive failure in my units down to my bad luck. He also said that I had electrically damaged the unit which is baffling since I had used it only with their supplied OEM Meanwell switching power supply which still works fine up till today. To date, in the last 20 or so years of being in the hi fi hobby, these Uptone products are the only ones to have malfunctioned so badly.


Wishing to cut my losses and to avoid having to ship the faulty unit back to the US at costly charges when the “warranty” replacement would most likely fail again shortly, I paid the remainder towards a brand new LPS 1.2. Alex made it clear that he would not assist with repair of the faulty LPS 1 and I disposed of it.


I received a shipment of the LPS 1.2. However, when I unpacked it, the unit had a clear rattling noise when removed from the box. Upon closer inspection, there was a slight scratch on the front chassis plate and the screws were badly stripped. It was pretty clear that Alex had shipped me a used unit or one that had escaped their seemingly lax quality control. I contacted Uptone immediately and requested that they make arrangements for their carrier to collect the unit from me for return to them and replacement of a brand new unit to me. Alex admitted to their negligence citing size slippages and disparities in their OEM case specifications which caused the misfit and rattling noise and worn out Torx screwdrivers stripping the screws. He was certainly aware of the issues affecting the unit I was shipped. However, he refused to do anything about it. He suggested that he would send me some screws and that I open up the unit myself and mount some electrical tape inside the case to stop the rattling noise. Again, he seemed to be fully aware of the issue and how to fix it. Unfortunately, I am not technically inclined nor do I own a Torx screwdriver. To render those fixes I would have to pay a technician to do so. This is rich considering that I had paid for a new and finished product and was shipped a used and/or damaged one. I wrote back to insist on a replacement unit being sent to me and that Uptone arrange to cover the return shipping costs to themselves. Again, Alex refused steadfastly and got hostile, saying that I was taking advantage of them. How exactly am I taking advantage? I paid full price for a new and finished product – that is all I expect, no more and no less. Alex also stated that he did not wish to lose any money on this sale even though Uptone offers the best customer service possible. His final offer was that I return the LPS 1.2 to them at my own cost and that he would refund me the US$250 I had paid meaning I would have to write off the US$185 credit value on the disposed LPS 1 which he is contractually obliged to repair but had refused to assist me with.


In this whole experience with Uptone, Alex strikes me as someone who is simply full of excuses. He pays lip service to providing good customer service but it is really just marketing talk. When it comes to the crunch, he fails to deliver but instead makes excuses and puts the blame on anyone but Uptone and himself. Outrageously, he even believes in his own self manufactured press. I recall earlier correspondence with him on why the Uptone ISO Regen would disconnect from my DAC for no reason, requiring that I unplug and replug the DC cable from the Uptone LPS 1.2 for it to work again. Not knowing that I was powering it with a LPS 1.2, he began by questioning the power supply I used. When told it was a LPS 1.2, he blamed the issue on the Silanna chip Uptone used in the ISO Regen – after all, it was an Uptone supply and he could not blame that anymore. I mean you manufactured this product, sourced and supposedly tested the parts and then sold it to the customer as a finished product for good money. The sheer lack of responsibility, ethics and professionalism!


As an example of Alex being purely a marketing act, you can see on the Computer Audiophile forum how he derides Sonore’s optical module and Optical Rendu, since Uptone now makes a competing product. Recall, Uptone came into existence making derivative products such as USB fixers and power supplies to be used with Sonore’s series of streamers – the hypocrisy of it all.


I appreciate that others may have had a good experience dealing with Uptone Audio but unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case with me. Uptone strikes me as a bucket shop. There are lots of cottage industries and artisanal products in hi fi and that is fine and good, so long as they are run with honesty, integrity and professionalism and not at the expense of unsuspecting customers. Pete of Triode Wire Labs is a great example of a fine one man show company who provides great customer service. Uptone is definitely NOT - YMMV!

@ianrmack no bitching. If you had read my post about Cardas I was asking for alternate contacts because time was pressing and I hadn't heard back from Cardas. Angela sent an email shortly after apologising for the delay in getting back.

@jaybe no agenda.

Cracks in connectors are pretty different from a device totally not working and an alleged replacement repaired with used parts from another return which failed soon after. Ditto for a supposed brand new unit with faults right out of the box.
Just stating my experience from correspondence with Uptone without embellishment. And as I said YMMV.

It seems that a lot of this happens with Uptone products from the experience of others too.
"I've owned both the lps1 and lps1.2 and though neither have failed on me, your story is not uncommon. Have many friends whose units failed. They sent it back for a new one, and the new one failed as well few months later."

"Same problem with the silanna chip for Regen.
Lps1 send back - new one failed within 2mths
Lps1-2 back in the US still waiting for parts.

Failure rate is quite high.
Have a few frd who encountered problems with mostly lps1 already"

Ha!. In general, if you take the whining, crying, and insult slinging off of here, you would remove a fair amount of content.

No need in acting like this site is a peaceful place that has experienced an assault of negative vibes. That ship has sailed, Karen.
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