dCS Network Bridge with Paganini DAC [also Scarlati / Debussy]

Hi Andrew

I am a ROON user, I currently order a Network Bridge for my Paganini DAC. I want to get your advices, that most of my files are FLAC with some DSD files. I also listened TIDAL (MQA) files as well.

I am planning to use DUAL AES to hook up the NBR with the DAC and considering either I use the DAC as a Master Clock to link to the NBR at the 44.1kHz port. Is this a good setup? Should I sync the clock in this way? Any comments? Thanks.


Hi Waimac,

When using the Network Bridge with one of the dCS legacy DACs you need to keep in mind that the older DACs (Scarlatti / Paganini / Debussy) only output a 44.1KHz clock signal via their word clock output. This is fine for file playback where the source material is a multiple of 44.1K (44.1KHz, 88.2KHz, 176.4KHz, 352.8KHz, and DSD), but the DAC will not be able to lock to the Bridge when files using a 48KHz clock multiple are used.

Fortunately the Bridge has a Word clock output as part of the SDIF interface. Adjacent to the AES and S/PDIF connections on the bridge you’ll see three BNC connections labeled CH1, CH2, and OUT. Connect a clock cable from the connector on the Bridge labeled OUT to the WClock In connector on your DAC. Then set your DAC to sync to an external word clock.

The oscillators used in the Network Bridge are of similar quality to that used in your DAC and this configuration has proven to yield excellent results.

Andrew, thanks for your clear explanation.

Hi Andrew,

Can you please advice What is the BEST setting for the ROON DSP for using Network Bridge with Paganini (Scarlatti / Debussy) DAC? Thanks.

The DAC is used as DAC only. I have a Nagra Jazz preamp. Thx.

This is a tough one as it’s going to be largely dependent on personal preference.

I like using Roon’s upsampling with the “Max PCM (power of two)” setting. This upsamples all PCM content to DXD while respecting the correct original base sample frequency (44.1K or 48K). The other benefit to this setting is that DSD is played through without any further processing.

Roon’s filter choice is going to be entirely a matter of preference. I tend to use the “Precise, Linear phase” filter in Roon’s PCM upsampling.

If you go this route then set the device’s MQA capabilities to “Decoder only” in the audio device settings. This will allow Roon to do the first unfold of MQA content and then apply its own upsampling after that is done.

Other’s prefer to convert everything to DSD and some prefer to play at the original sample rate and leave all of the DSP functions disabled.

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