dCS Network Bridge USB audio output

As I know that a number of people here are using the network bridge I wanted to provide an update on the USB audio output feature. Unfortunately, due so some technical issues we decided that the performance of that interface wouldn’t meet our standards and have elected to withdraw the feature. Please see the statement from dCS below.

Dear dCS Customer

After months of software development and testing we have had to change course on the roadmap for our Network Bridge. Although we had promising results early in our development cycle our engineering team could not get the USB audio output function to meet our performance standards. As a result we have decided that we cannot release a feature which we know is compromised.

We are truly sorry for any disappointment that this decision may cause our existing loyal Network Bridge customers and want to assure you that it was not one reached lightly. We invested a significant amount of time and resource into enabling this feature and explored every possible avenue to achieve our performance requirements. Sadly, there comes a point when development efforts no longer make business sense due to their impact on other major product improvements and enhancements.

In Spring 2018 we enabled MQA unfold on the Network Bridge and on July 1, 2018 we kicked off a project to enhance the user experience of our network streaming platform which will greatly enhance the usability of the Network Bridge. This project will generate multiple software releases for our entire product line as we refine the stability, performance, and feature set of our streaming offerings

We thank you for your continued support.

The dCS Team

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It would help to bolster confidence in dCS, if the reasons for the inability to realise the desired performance level were made clearer.

The long and short of it is that USB audio output wasn’t an original feature of the product. While the network card that we use has a USB interface, audio output was never considered in its original design. An initial feasibility study produced promising results and that’s when the possibility of the feature made its way into the wild.

Through the development and testing process we found some occasional errors on the USB bus that appeared to be an issue with the device driver (which we didn’t write). We spent about three months inside the Linux kernel debugging the issue and modifying the driver to correct the problem. Unfortunately the root cause is in the USB controller hardware and although we tried we couldn’t completely work around it in software.

In the end we couldn’t get it to be 100% perfect (although we got really close) and decided that releasing the feature which we knew wasn’t perfect would be a disservice to our customers, even if they couldn’t tell the difference. Knowing the hardware and software in play here I’d make an educated guess that other products on the market are experiencing this same issue and the manufactures either didn’t notice or didn’t care.

Our lead developer was buried in this for the past 4 months which meant that he wasn’t able to work on any other projects. Rather than have this feature which appeals to a small number of customers block developments that benefit all of our customers we have elected to move on.

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Andrew - many thanks,useful to know the extent to which dCS endeavoured to bring the functionality to market.

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While i am not a customer at this moment i still feel that dCS has done right in being clear and honest. Kudos! Of course this is not good news for those that expected this to be solved.
Oh, the grievances of modern product development! :slight_smile: