Uptone Audio EtherREGEN review

I've never done a review of any audio product before but felt compelled to share my experience with the Uptone Audio EtherREGEN. I have no relation to the company - I'm just a regular guy with 20+ years off and on in this hobby.

Quick backstory: Based on extensive reading online and my interest in advancements in digital audio, I decided to give the EtherREGEN (hereafter referred to as ER) a try, especially since it has a 30 day trial period. My system is fairly simple - I use an Intel NUC running Roon Rock which serves streams Tidal and ripped CDs over the network to a Lyngdorf TDAI-3400, which in turn drives a pair of Buchardt S400s (these are pretty nice speakers but too soft in the treble region for me and will eventually be replaced). I run a 1m ethernet cable from the router to the ER, then another 1m ethernet cable from the ER to the Lyngdorf. All music listening is streamed through Roon.

I installed the ER in March right as this Covid mess started and immediately relocated my family to a mountain home we have, where we stayed for several months. That blew my 30 day trial away but I wasn't worried about it given everything else going on. When we got back home I basically forgot I even installed the ER so I've been listening to it without thinking about it for a couple months now. I recently remembered it was there so I decided to put my old $15 TPLink switch back in place and remove the ER to see if there was a difference. One thing I hate that people talk a lot about is A/B comparisons because in my experience they don't work. Your ears (or at least mine) become accustomed to sound over time and when you switch something after several weeks or months, you can hear the difference quite clearly. But if you A/B back and forth after seconds or minutes, especially if you A/B/A/B/A/B in one session, it's often very hard to tell the difference because your brain is filling in the missing details. That's how it works for me at least. Anyway, after months of using and becoming used to the sound with the ER in place, the difference was IMMEDIATELY noticeable when I removed it. Literally everything got worse. Yes it sounds like hyperbole and yes I know everyone says their latest new gear or tweak is the greatest ever, but for me the difference was as apparent as when I turn the Lyngdorf room correction on and off (i.e. not subtle). Image separation and soundstage decreased, as did bass impact, midrange clarity, and airiness of the treble. And I definitely can't explain this one and didn't get my SPL meter out but I swear the whole presentation sounded like the volume had been turned down 3dB. There's no way I messed the volume up because all I did was swap the ethernet cable that was going from the router to the ER and moved it from the router to the TPLink. I didn't even turn the Lyngdorf off, I just paused Roon.

I fully expected to hear no difference or practically no difference when I went back to the old TPLink switch. After hearing such a drastic difference, I really felt like I ought to share my experience. I'm no audio expert but I've owned a fair amount of gear over the past 23+ years and I have never put anything in my system that made this much of a difference for under $700. I'd highly recommend if you stream a lot and have any interest to give it a try, knowing you can always send it back in 30 days for just the cost of shipping. The only negative I can say about it is the thing runs HOT - like burn your fingers hot - so be careful where you place it. I believe the manual says 45 degrees C is normal.
@yoby Yes mine stays on all the time. It runs very hot by design as the case acts as a heat sink. That's detailed somewhere in the manual, I recall. When we go out of town I unplug it just because I know it's a waste of electricity sitting there outputting so much heat but otherwise it stays on.
Anyone who puts any stock into ASR wouldn't be trying one of these devices in the first place. 

@andynotadam I know you posted this awhile back but I just ordered an EtherREGEN and the literature on the Uptone Audio website states there's no reason to purchase an external power supply.  Here's the ad 'Of note, UpTone has specifically designed EtherREGEN so that it does not require an external linear power supply to provide nominal performance. Rather, it comes with an UpTone Audio switch-mode power supply specially designed to prevent the passage of high source-impedance leakage current to the EtherREGEN'. 

Have you compared the stock Uptone Audio switch-mode power supply to the the external SBooster LPS you purchased?


Brian ...