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Vinnie Rossi Ultracapacitor Power Supply Review and Comparison to


UpTone LPS-1
" amirm · # Aug 19, 2017

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Aug 19, 2017 #1

Here is a measurement, teardown and review of Vinnie Rossi Ultracapacitor Power Supply.
As I have explained before, this class of device aims to use a set of super capacitors as
the storage reservoir to power an audio device. The idea is supposed to be to provide a
amirm mains isolated source of clean power for small audio devices and digital tweaks. This is
Founder/Admin implemented using dual capacitor banks, one of which is charging while the other powers
Staff Member the external device. http://www.vinnierossi.com/mini/
CFO (Chief Fun
Officer)
Joined: Feb 13, 2016
Messages: 25,883
Likes: 57,385
Location:
Seattle Area

The unit is quite pricey in my book at $995.

The direct competitor to Vinnie Rossi Mini is the Uptone LPS-1. The Vinnie Rossi Mini
includes a power supply internally while the LPS-1 does not. Uptone sells the UpTone with
a switchmode power supply from MeanWell.

For this testing, I used my iFi iDAC2 USB Dac which retails for around $350. It is a popular
DAC so I thought it would make a good test subject.

Since I was recently testing the Uptone ISO Regen


(http://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/uptone-iso-regen-review-and-
measurements.1829/) I used that as a way to inject power into the DAC since the ISO
Regen provides its own post regulated USB power from external supply. And at any rate,
is one of the devices often used with LPS-1 or Vinnie Rossi Mini.

The follow measurement is from a J-test 12 Khz tone. Ideal system would show nothing
but noise in this zoomed in spectrum from 5 Hz to 1.1 Khz. Vertical scale is likewise way
zoomed in to show small differences.
As we see here, there are still mains related contributions from the power supply in both
scenarios. The Vinnie Rossi however, suffers from much less of that (in red) than UpTone
LPS-1 (yellow).

Since UpTone LPS-1 supports external power supplies, here is the comparison of it
powered by my lab power supply relative to Vinnie Rossi Mini:

As expected, my linear power supply is essentially free of AC mains leakage, resulting in


clean output.

Note that neither supply with and without my lab supply is able to improve the
performance of my DAC. At worst they add those mains harmonics, at best they do
nothing.

And contrary to what both of them say, they do not block AC mains leakage as it is
obvious from the measurements.
Save your money and put it toward a better Dac than these tweaks.

As always, I am open to feedback, corrections, new data, questions, etc.


Last edited: Sep 7, 2017

Amir
Founder, Audio Science Review
Founder, Madrona Digital
Contributing Editor, Widescreen Review Magazine
Click for My Technical Background
Master List of Audio Reviews

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& Costas EAR, pozz, Fone and 4 others

Aug 19, 2017 #2


P
O

The Vinnie Rossi Mini very much reminds of standard linear power supplies you buy off
the shelf -- or at least you could prior to many of them becoming fancy with front panels
and such. Looks however, produced quite deceiving. What was inside was a completely
amirm different animal:
Founder/Admin
Staff Member

CFO (Chief Fun


Officer)
Joined: Feb 13, 2016
Messages: 25,883
Likes: 57,385
Location:
Seattle Area
Compared to the UpTone LPS-1 (http://audiosciencereview.com/forum...eview-and-
measurements.1849/page-4#post-47412), the Vinni Rossi Mini is decidedly low-tech. The
main board uses a socketed microchip processor which is very unusual. Just about
everyone uses a surface mount part directly soldered to the board. While there are a few
surface mount parts, almost all the others are through-hole. Lots of wires are hand
soldered with less than good quality job.

I am not too happy with the safety considerations in this device. See the grounding lug for
the mains AC input:
This is an anodized/painted case so that connector is insulated from the case which it
must not be. I thought maybe they had scraped off the paint but they had not once I took
the screw out:
There is a washer on the other side that has jagged teeth so it sort of, kind of had dug into
the chassis. But in my measurements, the impedance was too high. Once I screwed it
back in, it made proper connection. Still, this is not a good practice.

Related is the poor clearance between the DC output of the device and dangerous AC
input below it:
If those solder joints become loose, or the nut falls off, you have the potential for a direct
short between AC mains and output wires! The DC terminals should have been on the
other side of the case, not right on top of mains. If you are going to do it anyway, at least
put some ring connectors on them (like the ground wire) rather than relying on solder
connections.

There is a honking big transistor on the back of the unit that I thought was give away sign
that this was a linear power supply.
Then I saw this:
That is the socket for that TO-3 transistor and it has absolutely NOTHING connected to
it!!! Yes, you read that right. The transistor is totally non-functional.

Story thickens when we look at the side view of the unit:


What is that black plastic box? A switchmode power supply!!!

Yes, they bought an off-the-shelf switchmode power supply, cut its DC lead and soldered
it to the board above. Then they soldered two more wires to its AC input and ran that
through the secondary of that big transformer to mains!!! The big transformer is only
acting as a filter, not as the mains supply to the unit.

This makes this statement in the spec sheet false:

This is a switchmode power supply, not linear. That is why we saw AC mains leakage in
my measurements.

The whole story comes together this way: I firmly believe they bought a linear power
supply which used that TO-3 transistor and transformer for its functionality, and butchered
it to create this supply. The replaced the input supply with the switchmode supply and are
using off-the-shelf regulator for the output:
For a nearly $1,000 device, I expect much more than this.

On better news, the capacitors are Nichicon and at 105 degree C rating.

Summary:
This is not what I would call commercial quality design and engineering. It is a modded
design with pretty low quality assembly and construction. Safety concerns remain in my
mind just the same. If it were me, I would NOT use this device in my audio system. If you
are dead set on using such devices, use the UpTone LPS-1 with an external linear supply.

Amir
Founder, Audio Science Review
Founder, Madrona Digital
Contributing Editor, Widescreen Review Magazine