Should i buy the lightspeed revive?

  • February 2, 2016 at 7:23 pm #17639

    Whenever a new product comes out from LHLabs, I get excited and disappointed at the same time. Excited because its a new product and what it might do for my system but disappointed because of lack of information, and its yet another product being released before I have even got my pulse inf.
    For what I can tell the revive is meant to receive a signal, take out more noise and spit out the signal to the DAC (upto 10GBPS using USB3) which poses a lot of questions.
    The geek source was supposed to be the ultimate music server so why is this tech not being built in to the source to get a better signal out to the DAC?
    Future proofing has been mentioned on the forums a few times and I now have become very hesitant when a new product comes out. The reason being when I received my GO, 6 months later the GO2 was being sold superseding it. Now we are talking about USB3 cables so does this mean my USB2 2G cables are being obsolete? There was a push to get USB3 on the pulse and was told that USB2 is plenty for audio. So what has changed? Even in lightspeed revive forum there is talk of using a femto and redesigning the circuit to accommodate it. So how long will the revive take to be superseded by another simular product?
    I refer to the revive’s sales page and the information in it.
    “What if you could take a compromised signal in, strip away the garbage (noise and timing errors), and pass along a darn near perfect data stream? That’s exactly what The LightSpeed USB Revive does”
    “By replacing your source device’s noisy 5V USB power supply with an ultra quiet battery supply (or external low noise 5V DC linear power supply) LightSpeed Revive feeds your USB DAC the best 5V power ever. No high frequency noise, no voltage fluctuations, nothing to impede the flow of music.”
    Why am I spending so much money on femto clocks, LPS, 2G cables, better hardware upgrades only to stop noise and timing errors. My source will be LHLabs geek source with LPS and 2G cable so why now does it have noisy 5V USB power?
    In the eye pattern imagery I am wondering if we are comparing apples with oranges? Nothing is stipulated to what equipment is being used in these images. An image from the geek source using a LPS and the split 2G cable going to the DAC compared to the same set up with the revive in the mix would give a better visual indication of what we are getting.
    “The Proof Is In the Listening:” To me this seems strange as there is AUTOCAD drawing at the beginning but people have already heard and commenting on how good it is. Makes me wonder where LHLabs is at with design and production. It states at the end that all units will be delivered by March 18th. Given LHLabs track record on delivering products on time does anybody believe it will be delivered by then? ANYBODY? As mentioned before I am still waiting on my pulse inf. as well as source and wave. Once again why is there yet another product being released before fulfilment of previous orders? It is also mentioned in the small print at the bottom if you don’t like the product to have it shipped back within 60 days for a full refund. If you don’t have all your LHLabs products then how are you to do A/B testing to see if it makes improvements you like and if you live overseas like I do, 10 days to ship product then only 40 days to test and 10 days to ship back in time. In that 40 day period and before will I receive my geek source? Given the history I doubt it.
    Then poses the question of do I need a 3rd femto on my source? what if any differences will it make? will I need to upgrade my USB2 2G cables to USB3 cables and will this make any differences? Larry says “You could wait and see how other people feel after they got theirs and compare.” Not that helpful when needing to know if to order a 3rd femto and/or order the lightspeed revive.
    Any info or comments on the above would be helpful

  • February 3, 2016 at 1:58 am #17642

    If you’re running a Source with an LPS via a split-leg cable, then it is very unlikely you have a noisy 5V USB power problem. The power part of the Revive isn’t really going to benefit you that much. =^)

    You may well still benefit from the signal regeneration. Folks with femto-powered USB devices like the Aries streamer are claiming big sonic benefits from similar devices like the Uptone Audio USB Regen — which uses a SMPS by default (but can also use an LPS if you want to pony up the cash). I have a friend who uses an Aries and a Mytek DSD192 DAC and he said the Regen + AQ JitterBugs were a huge improvement… and then even more gains were had when he switched to linear power.

    The moral of the story is that where USB is concerned, just about everything seems to matter.

    In other words, the Revive is going to provide the most benefit to the entry-level user: people who don’t have an LPS (although it’s designed to pass that power through if you do…) and are using a (relatively) noisy source like an good old fashioned personal computer with tons of bus and power noise from mice and keyboards and thumb drives and spinning disks, etc. (and a really noisy SMPS to boot) and don’t already have a way to mitigate those things. It will still provide a nice benefit for people who have an LPS and such (by cleaning up / shoring up the signal path), but I’m betting it won’t be as substantial.

    I have an LPS, but I don’t want to haul it to the office with me. I plan on using my Regen to give me portable power (To use my GO1k on the go, perhaps? =^), to clean up the power & signal when I’m away from my LPS. When I’m home, I plan to use it to get that extra bump in quality that the signal regeneration will bring.

    And if it doesn’t give me what I’m looking for or perform at the level I’m expecting it to, there is always the 60 day return window…

    I know I didn’t address all of your points, but I hope this was of some help!

    • February 3, 2016 at 9:43 am #17643
      Paul J. Novitt


      The primary use for the Lightspeed Revive, is a portable, battery powered, “LPS Lite,” to be used with Geek Out’s.

  • February 3, 2016 at 12:05 pm #17648

    60 day trial is kinda useless when we have no idea when we’ll get any of our stuff. Source, Pulse and LPS’s would all need to be on hand to try anything so that really doesn’t do most of us any good. I don’t even expect my Pulse by that shipping date, let alone anything else.

    I just upgraded to a 3rd femto clock on my Source, now I’m being told I need the revive as well again from them is now really getting annoying. Tired of being told again and again you’ll be getting the best of whatever and then after a year when it’s still hasn’t shipped something new comes along that now makes it the best.

    I’m done adding new products, I’ll add “upgrades” that i’m sure I’ll suddenly need but enough it enough on the new products. Start getting everything else out first before you start telling us what else we need. That or add a femto version. I didn’t just add a USB femto to not have that in the Revive. even then after adding the USB femto we shouldn’t even need this.

  • February 8, 2016 at 2:59 pm #17665

    This kinda upsets me. Why would they not just make their DACs right the first time. If this is an issue and everyone knows about it then bloody fix it in the original body of the product. My ViDac SUper UPgraded-something or other will be a cutting edge DAC, but unable to transmit a perfect USB signal. That’s just crazy. I want this thing, but I don’t want to have to buy another USB cable and have one more thing balancing on my gear stand. I could see how a product like this makes sense for mobile or 3rd party DACs, even lower tier dacs in the LH Labs lineup, but the ViDac should be have this in the main chassis.

    • February 8, 2016 at 6:25 pm #17666
      Paul J. Novitt

      The LightSpeed Revive sequence would be (PC + Lightspeed Revive + Vi DAC (MAX) = {Superior Sound}. Everyone has an opinion of what sounds best to them, or what they are willing to spend.

  • February 9, 2016 at 6:05 am #17668

    Thanks for the sequencing. That’s what I figured. I’m sure the device makes the overall product sound better. Money’s not the issue thankfully. I just wish it was incorporated in the original product.

  • February 9, 2016 at 6:25 am #17670

    This kinda upsets me. Why would they not just make their DACs right the first time. If this is an issue and everyone knows about it then bloody fix it in the original body of the product.

    The problem this product addresses is on the transmitting end (e.g., your PC or Mac), not the receiving end (the DAC).

    My ViDac SUper UPgraded-something or other will be a cutting edge DAC, but unable to transmit a perfect USB signal.

    Your DAC doesn’t transmit music. It receives it. And it’s at the mercy of the transmitter. Garbage in -> garbage out… :)

    That’s just crazy. I want this thing, but I don’t want to have to buy another USB cable and have one more thing balancing on my gear stand.

    I hear you there, but have a look at similar products like the UpTone Audio USB Regen. USB as a transmission line has issues that are endemic to the design. Products like the LPS, the UpTone, the Revive, and cables like the Lightspeed seek to mitigate those problems (each in their own way) to achieve the best possible fidelity with the minimum amount of noise.

    The good news is, you shouldn’t “need” a super-duper cable to plug into the Revive. A standard USB 3.1 (Type C) cable should suffice, as the connector and cable standard is far superior to that of the USB 1/2 (Type B) design. Case in point, USB 3.1 cables that meet the Thunderbolt v3 spec have a bandwidth of 40gbps — that’s 4x what Lightspeed 10g is capable of, all through superior design of the standard interface and wiring layout!

    In summary, Revive is more or less replacing the USB port on your PC (or other music source equipment), giving you the best possible USB signal transmission to your DAC over the USB cable of your choice. How much your music will actually benefit from it is a function of your source equipment (power & signal). It also happens to be useful as a portable powerhouse for your Geek Out and other USB DACs that don’t play well with smartphones directly… for some that’s the “main point”… for others (like me) it’s a “nice to have”. Killer feature regardless. =^)

  • February 9, 2016 at 6:28 am #17671

    Thanks for the sequencing. That’s what I figured. I’m sure the device makes the overall product sound better. Money’s not the issue thankfully. I just wish it was incorporated in the original product.

    Geek Out v2 incorporated some USB cleanup technology directly into the product. Not as extensive as what Revive does, but it does what it can as an endpoint.

  • February 9, 2016 at 6:36 am #17672

    Thanks Jer, I appreciate the comments. I still don’t understand why it would be imposible for them to design the USB input of the DAC to do what the revive does. That said, I am clicking Buy and Confirming the sale right now. I wonder if I can stop myself from dropping this thing into the system from the start or have the will to listen to the ViDac without it.

    Perhaps it would be a better experiment to listen to the system at manufacturer’s best configuration and then start subtracting components as they finish breaking in?

  • February 9, 2016 at 7:34 am #17673

    Happy to help. :)

    I don’t know if anyone (even Larry) fully understands why this kind of in-line regeneration makes a difference sonically. The power cleanup speaks for itself. The signal Regen is the baffler, and there probably isn’t anything stopping anyone in the future from adding these kinds of components to the USB input stage of a DAC… But this kind of improvement is a relatively new discovery, so incorporating it into the finished ViDAC circuit design likely wasn’t in the cards (that would be a pretty expensive reset at this point in the product development cycle).

    I can imagine (just speculating here) that Larry might go for a modular USB input board in the future allowing for such upgrades to be dynamically incorporated in future platforms (similar to the CCX boards for swapping the output stage)…

    As far as listening goes, I find the “take it away” approach you describe is often more revealing than the “add it in”… Your reasoning is (ahem) sound. :-)

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by jer.
  • February 9, 2016 at 9:42 pm #17676

    In the spirit of the discussion, here’s a quotation of John Swenson (maker of the Revive’s primary competitor, the UpTone Regen, commenting about his primary competitor at the time, the Schiit Audio Wyrd) from a thread on head-fi. It gives some insight into what’s going on. I’m sure Larry has his own measurements and observations he could add to John’s, if he gets a few minutes to put down the soldering iron. 😉

    The Wyrd and the regen are conceptually similar from an upper level standpoint, they are very different in implementation and motivation for the development.

    From reading what Schiit has posted it seems that their motivation was providing a clean power supply and secondly regenerating the data, whereas my motivation was providing the highest signal quality I could, and secondly providing very clean power.

    Some of the differences are:
    The regen has a much lower jitter clock feeding the hub chip, which will provide lower jitter on the data.

    The regen uses a 4 layer board, primarily to allow a proper impedance match. With a standard thickness 2 layer board it is impossible to attain a proper impedance match to the hub chip. The pins on the chip are small and close together, this necessitates very thin board traces, with a two layer board the distance between ground plane and these traces (BTW this is called a differential micro-strip configuration) produce an impedance that is much greater than the spec. With a four layer board the ground plane can be much closer to the top layer which allows for appropriate impedance with the very narrow traces. The regen also uses SMD USB jacks which allow for appropriate trace width and spacing to continue the impedance matching through to the USB jacks. The result of this is that there will be very minimal reflections at the regen side. Even if the DAC does not have good impedance matching (which is pretty common) which WILL cause a reflection at the DAC end, it will be absorbed at the regen because of the proper impedance matching.

    The regen has a frequncy optimized Power Delivery network (PDN), which turns out to make a very significant improvement in SQ. This is quite a technical subject, WAY beyond what I can post here, but here is the mile high summary:

    In order to properly respond to the load variations of what the supply is powering, it needs to have a low impedance over a very broad range of frequencies. For digital audio this is from low Hz to hundreds of Mhz range. The entire supply flow from mains AC to board layout and capacitors on the board play a role in getting this right.

    The regen is what got me focusing in on this. I was testing the first prototype and was seeing some noise on the supply right at the hub chip power pins that shouldn’t be there. After a lot of detective work I traced it down to some frequency ranges of the PDN that were much higher impedance than they should be. I included a fix for this in the second version. With this I couldn’t detect the noise any more, and it sounded much better, but Alex was still not super thrilled with the SQ. I then did a mathematical analysis of the PDN and found another frequency range that had a higher impedance than it should, made a fix for this, and sent the result to Alex, he was thrilled, this was much better than anything he had heard before.

    This process of frequency optimizing the PDN is something that is done in expensive high speed network equipment, but is almost never done in consumer products, especially audio equipment. But the experience with the regen seems to point to this being quite important for digital audio. I have subsequently tried some of this on some DACs and seen marked improvement in SQ, so it looks like this might be a significant area to look into.

    The whole reason I started thinking about a regen was the USBcable threads, after a lot of experimentation and thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that the signal integrity at the DACwas what was probably the difference between cables. Thus a device designed to regenerate the data signals. Because the whole purpose was to regenerate the signals that the cables were messing up, the regen device had to be right at the input to theDAC, thus it needed to be small and low weight.

    One un-anticipated benefit to the frequency optimized PDN, is that the noise on the VBUS output is much less sensitive to load transients than other implementations. So if the DAC IS bus powered, that brings even more improvement.

    Well there it is, the primary reasons the regen hasa better implementation than other devices.

    John S.

  • February 22, 2016 at 3:46 pm #17773
    Larry Ho

    Revive itself shares some design concepts with others. But we focus on HIGHer bandwidth from the beginning.
    That is the spirit of LightSpeed series of products.

    We got so many good feedbacks for our original 10G cables rather than the questions we got in the beginning? Why we need more bandwidth for USB 2.0 signal? 😉

    I believe in near future, we will start the appreciate in the USB signal regeneration, we will have 20X more bandwidth there as well.


  • March 12, 2016 at 12:32 am #18034

    I am also on the thought that the femto based USB from the Source in  conjunction with the LPS is going to be pretty plenty making the Revive device unecessary in such a setup. I believe it’s targeting for people who will still stream from a poorly fed USB output like the ones found in computers. As someone stated above, devices like the Geek Out and brand name DACs would be the main targets. I see it being useful on trips when lugging your portable DAC and computer. I am not sure the price is low though, the REGEN had a better price value ratio. I guess we’ll see how early adopters will feel about it.

  • June 29, 2016 at 6:20 pm #18778

    I have the perfect solution to all of this…..ANALOG!

    vinyl to tube preamp to tube amp.  No jitter, no noisy power supply if designed right and then if there is a simple 60 hz 120 Hz notch filter can correct that.  All this digital stuff is just an attempt to try an duplicate analog anyway so why bother.  Spend your money on good analog gear.  Sorry part is so much music is now pure digital in the generation your sunk.

    we lived with crackle and pop until the cd.  You eventually don’t notice so there is a point of good enough.  I think we reached it.  The rest of this is trying to get the 0.1% better.  If you are that good go mix for a labeL

    i think a tube treatment like larries tube preamp is all that is needed to make it right.  That is about adding harmonics not purity.  That I can hear.

    did I say one bad thing about this product…nope.  I just have no use for it.


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