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Brief Impressions from an Editor’s Notebook:  The PS Audio LANRover USB Transport

09-24-2016 | By David W. Robinson | Issue 87


In which our hero meditates…

What a year it's been. As I observed in the first of these "Brief Impressions" articles, on the Oppo Sonica (HERE), there have been so bloody many products and projects here at PF Central in 2016 that I'll be writing from here until the end of the year to cover the backlog.

Some of these will require a more extended approach; others can be handled pretty directly. As I've said before, not everything requires the writing of Moby Dick or the harpooning of the White Whale to get the job done.

Moby Dick rockwell-kent-aiga-design-archives-moby-dick_REVISED_B+35_C+30_144ppi

Ahab and the Whale by Rockwell Kent, 1930

Here are my brief impressions of another audio product that you should be aware of:

PS Audio LANRover USB-Ethernet Decoupler/Extender

PS Audio LANRover USB Transport

Listen up USB audio users!

If you've been reading my audio writings over the past year or so (e.g., HERE), you're already aware of the fact that I've stated that cables do make a difference! (cf., Bruce Walker's cartoon HERE).

There's no doubt about it:  even digital cables like USB and Ethernet are definitely not exempt from this observation. If you disagree, that's fine…but in that case, either you have not done any comparative listening tests in a decent audio system, or your hearing is broken. (Of course, you could be a mere audio ideologue, too…but then it's your soul that's broken.)

But even if you have upgraded your USB cable to something better…our current references are the Kubala-Sosna Realization USB and the Skogrand Beethoven USB cables…there is still some room for further improvement. How do we assure that our audio data arrives in good shape? (Hint:  Theory does not match practice here, amigos.) How can we extend the very limited range of our USB ports? How do we isolate the very noisy world of a computer source from the highly sensitive domain of a high-resolution audio DAC?

Enter the PS Audio LANRover USB Transporter.

PS Audio LANRover USB Transport

For a relatively mere USD $599, a transmit-receive pair of these little buggers does an amazing job of taking even the best of the high-end USB cables to the (previously unsuspected) next level. PS Audio lists the key features as follows:


  • Regenerates, cleans, and reclocks USB audio data
  • Galvanically isolates DAC from computer or music server
  • Buffers and retimes audio data irrespective of computer or server
  • Removes any need for separating 5V from USB cable
  • Eliminates computer jitter
  • Removes computer digital and power supply noise
  • Increases possible distance between computer and DAC from a maximum of 5 meters to 100 meters
  • Works over home LAN router
  • Place computer or music server in one room and DAC in any other
  • Dramatically enhances sound quality of USB audio
  • Works with PCM or DSD audio
  • PCM to 352kHz, single or double rate DSD
  • Requires no additional software
  • Works with any installed USB driver
  • Windows, Linux and Mac compatible

PS Audio LANRover USB Transport

I was sent a LANRover pair a few weeks back, courtesy of the fine folks at PS Audio. I immediately put it into service between the USB output of our HP Pavilion 8 workstation and our Gryphon Audio Kalliope Quad DSD DAC (review to come). The Kalliope is an exceptional dual-mono Quad DSD DAC whose performance had already wowed me while running the aforementioned Kubala-Sosna Realization reference USB cable. The quality of both Single and Double DSD recordings was already very fine with the two-meter Realization USB, and I had little reason to believe that the LANRover would be able to bring a noticeable improvement to what I was already hearing.

Boy, was I was wrong.

PS Audio LANRover USB Transport

You can clearly see the short dedicated Ethernet cable that PS Audio supplies for the simplest short run application. Longer Ethernet runs should use audiophile-grade cables.

The introduction of the LANRover was done according to PS Audio's recommended minimum configuration. This uses a very short A/B USB cable to run from the computer to the Transmitter module, which is stacked on the Receiver module. Another very short Ethernet cable supplied by PS Audio goes from the Transmitter to the Receiver module for application in short runs, which is what I was doing. Naturally, since Ethernet is used between the two units, the distance between them can be very short, or can go all the way out to the maximum length of the Ethernet spec:  100 meters. (Yep. That will fix the old USB distance problem, all right.)

Naturally, if you're going to use longer lengths of Ethernet between the two LANRover modues, then you really should use audiophile-grade Ethernet cables like the Kubala-Sosna Elation! Ethernet, the Synergistic Research Active Ethernet SE, the Cardas Audio Clear Ethernet Cable (go HERE for Dirk Sommer's PF review of same), the Nordost Heimdall 2, or some equivalent high-quality Ethernet cable.

PS Audio LANRover USB Transport

To my surprise, in my setup the improvement in sound with my well-known Kubala-Sosna Realization USB cable was immediately apparent, right out of the box. There was a definite improvement in transparency, probably due to an improvement in the noise floor. Thus, there were also gains in detail, dynamics, and harmonic integration with all Single and Double DSD recordings that I tried from our very large library of same over a period of weeks.

Then again, perhaps there should have been no surprise. The Gryphon Audio Kalliope is extremely revealing of changes/improvements in the signal chain, as amplified by the Playback Designs IPS-3 Integrated Amp with Quad DSD DAC (used as an amp only, in this setting), power cabled with Skogrand Beethoven power cables, and sent onwards to the Evolution Acoustics MMMicro One Loudspeakers in nearfield placement via Skogrand Beethoven reference speaker cables. Molecules mating can be heard with this system.

So…this is your brief impressions heads-up. The PS Audio LANRover is real, amigos! If it can hoist a top-notch reference nearfield reference desktop system like the one we have here, then it will improve things in any setting that I can imagine.

Don't wait…don't hesitate. If you're using USB cables in your audio system, then get off your buttmost parts and get yourself to the PS Audio Web site (HERE) to read up on the LANRover USB Transport. Whether you're reaching a meter or two, or want to ship your computer-based audio signal dozens of feet, you'll find that the LANRover will answer the call splendidly.

I can tell you one thing absolutely for sure:  These bloody devils are definitely staying in use here….

Retail: USD $599

PS Audio

4826 Sterling Drive

Boulder, Colorado  80301


[email protected] 


[All photographs courtesy of PS Audio.]