I’m not a fan of online conversations being split between two different forums. But I wanted to be sure that the Roon community was aware of a pretty awesome sonic upgrade that can tremendously improve the sound quality of their music streamed thru Roon, so am posting this here. I’m happy to see that the Roon community has discovered the excellent UpTone Audio EtherREGEN (aka ER). Wonderful sonic upgrades possible with that. But paired with an AfterDark Project ClayX Giesemann OCXO 10MHz Reference Master Clock (Audiophilestyle Edition 75 ohm / Emperor Signature version) the improvements for me became awesome.
There is a lot of discussion of this over on Audiophile Style in this thread about using an AfterDark clock with the ER. I would encourage a visit.
For myself I took a balanced approach between an ER alone, and cost-is-no-object AfterDark top-of-the-line clock upgrade, and yet the benefits have still been quite significant. Before dragging you thru the technical details, please allow me to highlight the benefits I’ve heard. Your mileage may vary, of course. But I’m experiencing significant additional detail - evidenced by things I’ve never heard before - on familiar tracks, quieter quiets (aka blacker black), dramatic reduction of edgy highs, far more realism - evidenced by listening to music recorded in jazz clubs - and find myself often looking up for the source of some sudden noise, only to realize it was in the recording (sure as heck sounded like it was in my room. LOL). Also, the ease with which the music flows, and most important is just making the music more enjoyable. I know that last one is difficult to qualify. I guess the only way I can do that is to say I’ve listened to Jazz at the Pawnshop for many years, just because of its sonic purity, and its value as a good recording for A/B gear testing. But I’ve always found it somewhat annoying. Grating. But not anymore. Now it’s musical, not grating at all, and thoroughly enjoyable to listen to. It really is much like having a major system upgrade. The changes I made to my system were as follows.
Using the ER in its primary use configuration - network (including Roon core) plugged into its A side, and my DAC (or Roon network endpoint) plugged into the B side. I’m using the UpTone Audio supplied power supply for the ER.
Providing the ER with an improved timing signal is a AfterDark’s middle-of-the-line OCXO Emperor Signature clock, connected to the ER by a BlueJeans 75 ohm Belden 1694A Coaxial Digital Audio Cable (BNC-to-BNC). But where the cable connects to the ER I’ve inserted a Mini-Circuits BLP - 10.7+ Low Pass Filter. The reason why I’m using a filter, and why I don’t care about the resistance mismatch between 50 ohm and 75 ohm parts can be found in a post here by the ER’s designer; John Swenson, and in Audiophile Style discussions here. As for the power to the clock, I’m using one leg of an UpTone Audio JS-2 LPS.
All told, it’s not a cheap upgrade. And as wonderful as the ER is on its own, it has a little switch to toggle it between using its built in clock and an external clock, allowing one to easily test the difference. Just a little A/B testing with that switch (and the requisite ER reboot) demonstrates in no uncertain terms how important that clock is to the sonic improvements I’ve described.
So, I’ve done what I could to let everyone know. As stated, your mileage may vary. Different clock version, different ohm clock, different cable, filter, and/or clock power supply are all variables that could impact performance. But what I’ve documented here has been a major upgrade for me. Explore that Audiophile Style link if you are curious, and possibly contribute to the conversation.