A Simple Question on Keeping Things Utterly Simple

Apologies. No verbal spanking was intended. As a fellow DS owner, I was honestly unable to understand, and so my question. I should have written more respectfully. From a budget perspective, I get it, though I have learned there hard way that “laddering up” can sometimes be much more expensive. I would still opt for the Bridge II, but if I had to start with less, and wanted to be able to re-sell something, I think the micro might be the better way [though its price is pretty close], because I think its secondary market may be larger, though I have nothing empirical to support that. Best of luck.

Thanks. No harm done.

I didn’t go with the Bridge (I) initially because it seemed the reported problems weren’t worth the headaches they caused. Evidently, they’ve smoothed things out with Bridge II.

I do like the concept of the ethernet connection – hence my volunteering to be a beta tester for the LANRover. And that device has done good things for my system.

All in all, though, I’m starting to realize that for my circumstances, I’d likely be better off with Bridge II and pass off the LANRover. Simpler. Cleaner. Better.

I think that is the right approach. I had the original bridge in my PWDAC, and it did have its share of challenges. I am very happy with Bridge II in my DS. Still won’t play QuadDSD natively, but, well, that’s a small number of files for me.

FWIW, to me there is a discernible difference between Bridge !! and LANRover, and it wasn’t just the PITA of setting up the LANRover to compare it to the Bridge. Ethernet audio is simply better for me [YMMV], in part because it is simpler. I really detest USB. No matter how good someone makes USB, you’re doing all this rigmarole to deal with problems that don’t exist in the first place with true network data. All of my DACs are network capable, and only the Select and Lumin are not Roon-capable. Lumin has pretty good software, but I still look forward to Roon capability. The Select’s situation is pretty abysmal on the network, relying on DLNA/UPnP, and thus the Bridge approach. The LANRover permits me to get Roon control over the Select. I do have a micro Rendu on order, to see if it makes a difference from the LANRover [I doubt there will be a huge one sonically], but I do expect greater simplicity in my network topology. I get to take the Mac mini out of the way, and replace the mini and the two boxes of the LANRover with the one box of the micro Rendu. Should be an improvement, and it appears I will get to play QuadDSD natively on the Select. But we will see. Cheers!

I’m with you on the lack of need for DSD; I only have a couple of albums. Certainly not enough to make quad an issue.

I’ve got a note out on the PSA forums, but maybe you can provide a quick answer. I know very little about how the Bridge II operates.

It’s Roon Ready. Okay, I got that. Straight wire ethernet from the Mini to the Bridge II in the DS. Right?

But now, say I want to play iTunes/PureMusic (my usual preferred choice for my library.) Can I use the same ethernet-to-Bridge wire, or do I need to also have USB available?

Well, if your mini is also your server, you want to connect the DS/Bridge to your router via Ethernet. If no router, then a crossover-Ethernet cable [I know, I know to all the network gurus] should do the trick. But, if you still want to play directly out of your mini, that’s a good question. I don’t know if Pure Music will “see” the DS through the Ethernet cable. So, yes, you could connect USB out to the DS. In that particular scenario, something like the LANRover could still be beneficial. I am so intent on getting my computers out of my audio room that I forgot about playing directly from the computer.

P.S. I actually have a almost 3,000 DSD files. I was surprised when I just took a head count. Over 250 are Double DSD, and almost 100 are QuadDSD. Damn you Blue Coast!


Digging around a bit deeper, I don’t think Bridge is going to work for me.

I don’t have UPnP set up, and neither do I understand much of it. It also seems to require a controller such as JRiver, which adds in a new learning curve, and a revamp of what I’ve been doing for years. (I’m not against learning, mind you, but I’m trying to keep things simple.)

iTunes is not UPnP compatible, as far as I can tell, nor is PureMusic. (PureMusic may “pass through,” though.)

So, as far as keeping things “utterly simple,” I think I’m good where I am. And if LANRover comes at least close to the SQ of the Bridge II, I think I’m okay with that.

@RobH I’m another DirectStream + Bridge II user.

Why not import your music into Roon? Roon does import your iTune database with no problem


Don’t need setup any UPnP. Anyway that’s what I’m assuming that what you are evaluating since you are posting in the Roon forum.

Actually, I have “imported” my library into Roon, and have been using Roon since the early days. For this, I’ve set up watched folders for my various iTunes libraries… main, classical, spoken word, etc.

Roon and Tidal are great, but I’ve still not been able to get the sound quality that I enjoy with PureMusic/iTunes. The difference is significant. That’s why I still need to be able to play PureMusic/iTunes through whatever system I set up. This way, I can switch back and forth between exploration and serious listening.

Understood. Though I suggest that part of the difference you might be hearing relates to the Mac. I am a big Mac guy and have been for years. I like Pure Music…but I have learned after many years of playing music, that the best thing I can do is get my Mac [or PC, for that matter] out of the way. No matter how powerful my Mac, or how much I tweak Audirvana+, whether over USB or FireWire, it cannot match the sonic quality of the DAC receiving files over Ethernet. And that is true whether I use Roon or JRiver or minim. I have settled on RoonServer running on my Synology NAS [the install package is really sweet], precisely because I get all the UI benefits of Roon, and none of the downsides of direct computer interaction between the computers and the DAC. I really urge you to try a true network solution. I will be very surprised if you will want to get back to direct PureMusic playback.


What is it, specifically, that you’re hearing (or not hearing) when you move to a DAC receiving data via ethernet? Is there a particular audio band where this is most evident?

I ask this question in earnest, as a relative newcomer to computer audio. Not trying to start any arguments as I will value your time in replying. As Lavorgna wrote earlier this week, “I like music more than arguing.” (Or something like that.)


And are these comparisons subjective or are they volume level matched, double (or at least single) blind comparisons?

garam and dbtom2, these are good questions.First, dbtom2, I did not “move to a DAC receiving data via ethernet…” I moved to Ethernet when the DAC I owned, a PS Audio PWDAC, presented the opportunity with the development of the Bridge. Previously, my DACs had required either a USB or Firewire connection; the differences we’re immediately obvious: more musical, less digital hash, harshness, glare [whatever you want to call it]. Even my family members who are not obsessive about such things noticed the difference.

I don’t pretend to be an audio reviewer, with nothing else to do in my day but compare, switch, compare, switch again, etc. I long ago gave up on USB once I heard how my system could sound without it. I found USB noisy, 2- dimensional and harsh compared to the network alternative. The fact that it sounded bad to my ears seemed to be confirmed by others whose engineering and golden ears I probably trust more than my own. It also makes sense. Now, when I bought my Select II, MSB suggested that I might be surprised how good USB could sound when done right. I think this assessment was fair, because I had not previously heard USB or FireWire sound as good as it did out of the Select. But note: I had not been listening to USB for over four years. Having found musicality in network file delivery, I had zero interest in going back to a USB-tethered solution: why muck up my listening with a computer/device and USB if I did not have to? Why fix a problem, if I could just not have the problem in the first place? For me, the best pieces showing off the difference are female vocals and piano. But for a real kick, try the latest Macy Gray Stripped album, or any of the Chesky binaural. [I listen mostly on Stax 009/007 phones and a Carbon CC amp.]

garym, these are my subjective impressions, to be sure. I am not alone in these impressions, and I found the unsolicited input of my family quite convincing as well. I am not interested in publishing an article in a journal of psychoacoustics. The reality is that network audio is a more flexible, simpler solution than a 1:1 computer/device to DAC situation, even if it is fixed with a dozen regen devices. If I happen to believe that it sounds better [and I reached that conclusion before I invested in better NAS devices, etc.], then that works for me.

Thank you @Greg_Hammond for replying.

I’m hearing what I think is digital hash but more so in my vehicle playing Tidal downloads.

The DSD with Bridge II seems to be the way to go. So many variables. Thanks again.


You said it! There are times when I lose all confidence in my own aural observations. And then I go back and listen and listen. I try not to let the critical listening get in the way of the enjoyable listening.

[quote=“Greg_Hammond, post:32, topic:14160, full:true”] If I happen to believe that it sounds better [and I reached that conclusion before I invested in better NAS devices, etc.], then that works for me.

I couldn’t agree more.

I just started my free trial of Roon last night. I previously ran Pure Music on a headless Mac Mini and the difference in SQ was instantly noticeable. Did you ever figure out a way to get Roon SQ to match PM or are you still switching back and forth? I love Roon’s GUI but the difference in SQ could be a deal breaker for me.

Wayne –

I still go to PM when I want the best SQ. I’ve tried Roon straight up, HQPlayer, and now some of the new EQ functions in Roon. I’d say that SQ has gotten better, but is still not up to par with PM.

That said, I tire of slogging through my own library, looking for something ‘fresh’ to play. Roon & Tidal open up a world of opportunity for new music, and that is why I still maintain both configurations. Switching back and forth is trivial, so it is the best of both worlds.

What is your setup? Many find if they play to a network device rather than use the USB out of the machine running the core that they get the best sound . The thinking is that all the heavy processing by the core/server (and maybe UI as well) is separated from the device feeding the music to you DAC and so there is less/no impact from anything happening there on SQ.

Headless NUC running Core>Berkeley Audio Alpha USB>DAC

So… my router has a USB port. Can I run the meridian explorer 2 as a network device from there? If so, is there any SQ advantage to doing so?