PS Audio LANRover USB Transporter
USB connects computers to all sorts of things: printers, mice, hard drives, CD players, memory sticks, and DACs. USB (Universal Serial Bus) is an excellent interface for computers and peripherals, but less so for sensitive high-end audio equipment. USB connections tie computer power supplies, grounds and noise to connected devices—an unimportant fact for a printer, sonically degrading for a sensitive DAC.
Audiophiles spend a great deal of time and money dealing with USB’s pollution and shortcomings: exotic cables, filters, hubs, and external power supplies among the many. Unfortunately, none work as well as we would hope for. Like the challenges inherent in repairing our homes AC power, filters and Band Aids help, but do not solve the problem. Regenerating new power for AC, or new audio for USB, does.
PS Audio’s LANRover is unique among USB audio connection devices. Inserted between the computer’s USB output and a DAC’s USB input, LANRover provides 100% galvanic isolation while regenerating new jitter-free audio data for the first time.
Removing computer generated pollution has major sonic benefits. For perhaps the first time, a new level of clarity emerges from a velvety blackness. Space around each performer is noticeably enhanced, while the glare of digital’s edge is replaced by a fullness in the lower registers that’s startling. Soundstage width and depth is noticeably wider and deeper and performers now seem in the room on some recordings. The improvements are remarkable.
LANRover is a matched pair solution to the problems of USB audio. The first of the two devices connects to the USB output of the computer or server. Here, timing, noise, jitter, ground, and power supply voltages from the computer are abandoned, and a new individually packetized datastream is regenerated. Unlike USB audio packets, these new data are in a different format, one that does not suffer USB’s shortcomings. Data are regenerated in new form and sent over a Cat5 cable in the same format as music you might download from a distant server. Just as you can download and share high resolution music over the internet without compromising performance—and send it next door or around the world—this newly generated data is impervious to distance or cable types.
Once regenerated, data can now travel as near or as far as you need. Use the supplied 1 foot long CAT5 to connect the regenerator to the reclocker to clean up your audio, or route that same data through your home network to distance the computer from the DAC, and the shocking level of improvement provided by LANRover in each case is identical.
USB audio forever changed the face of music reproduction, storage and distribution. From the wild-west-sharing/pirating-days of Napster, the iTunes revolution, streaming services like Tidal, Spotify and Qobuz, to modern download services like HD Tracks, Blue Coast Music, and others, the computer changed the way we interface with our music. And USB has been the connection of choice for getting music out of our computers and into our DACs.
Even the advent of the music server, itself nothing more than an audio optimized computer, primarily connects over USB. But digital audio did not begin with USB connections and computers. Instead, we relied upon S/PDIF to connect our well designed sources to our sensitive DACs—and still correctly worried about performance loss. We have known the shortcomings of S/PDIF for years, and built devices and DACS to overcome them. But then, USB came into the picture and suddenly, quality was even more at risk.
Computer manufacturers and USB standards committees aren’t Audiophiles. High-end audio is a niche market of caring music lovers concerned with quality performance. We spend great deals of time and money optimizing our systems for best performance—and connecting music sources to DACs over USB seem like Déjà vu for those among us growing up first with vinyl, then the CD and its S/PDIF connections and issues.
Fact is, there’s likely nothing in your home with the same level of noise, radiation, and pollution as generated by a computer. The thought of hard wiring such a noise infected device to a sensitive high-end DAC feels like walking a healthy child into an infectious ward. DAC manufacturers work hard at isolating their products from the expected onslaught of dirty grounds, noisy power supplies and jittered streams of data. But they haven’t yet succeeded in completely isolating the problem, and many are a long way away from ideal.
LANRover solves this problem by physically and electrically isolating the computer from the sensitive DAC. And LANRover works with any DAC and any computer or server.
There are two ways to take advantage of LANRover’s unique capabilities. First, as an isolation regenerator between the computer and DAC. This method will likely be the most common used. Existing computer/server applications employing USB cables connecting to computers are commonplace in high-end audio rooms and all benefit from rebuilding the critical interface with LANRover.
Supplied with LANRover’s matched pair of chassis are two cables: a one foot CAT5 and a one meter USB. The short CAT5 cable connects the regenerator/transmitter and the receiver together as shown in the pictures. Installation is simple. If you have a working DAC/computer setup now, simply insert the LANRover pair and resume your listening without interruption. LANRover’s regenerator/transmitter, which connects to the computer, is also powered by the computer. LANRover’s receiver is powered by an included +5V DC supply—since once regenerated, all connection to the computer are gone.
If you are currently using a longer USB cable, or would like to locate the computer away from the DAC, but in the same room, there are few restrictions. Simply run a CAT5 cable of any length (up to 300 feet) between the LANRover’s two devices. This allows an easy means of isolating noisy computers from sensitive DACs.
If the computer is in another room and you have a wired home network, it is easy enough to plug the regenerator/transmitter near your computer into the home’s network router. LANRover is one of a very few such devices capable of sending high-resolution audio over a home network without issue. LANRover is the only audio-specific USB network device on the market today—and it is capable of PCM up to 352kHz and double rate DSD.
LANRover has been worked on by both PS Engineering and our partner company, who developed its groundbreaking technology, for well over a year. While our partners are experts in IT, they needed a lot of handholding when it came to audio and its delivery without compromise to a DAC. It was a fruitful partnership.
LANRover will forever change the way your computer/DAC interface works and sounds. Improvements must be heard to be fully understand. Whatever your preconceptions of add-on accessories designed to help isolate and improve USB audio, LANRover must be considered on its own and in a class all its own.
Once installed, LANRover is unlikely to ever leave.