Network Bridge with USB out

I am looking for a network bridge with USB out so I can output higher than 24/192 and perhaps also DSD to my DAC.
Are there any devices like that?

A regular Raspberry Pi works quite well. Put RoPieee on it, and just use its USB outputs. Use a Pi 3 (or 4) if you are going to connect via WiFi, a Pi 4 if you need to connect via the Ethernet cable.

The best bang-for-buck is to use an RPi4. For under $100USD, you get an excellent USB endpoint. No Pi HAT needed. Optionally, spend another $100USD and add the RPi 7" touchscreen display and a suitable display case and now you’ve got a nice endpoint with display.

There are turnkey solutions if you don’t feel comfortable assembling the Pi setup. But they will also be a fair bit more expensive, especially if you want one with a display. And the Pi is really simple to set up, especially when using something like RoPieee(XL) for the OS as it makes configuration super simple.

Thanks but are there any commercially available devices?

No need for a screen, I only want to be able to connect a second DAC with USB in a room that’s too far away from the Nucleus.
So I think need a bridge for that but I would prefer something plug and play and of good quality.

There probably is, but the RPi4 is only $74 from Amazon including the RPi, 16GB microSD card, power supply, and FLIRC case. It takes about 5 minutes to download RoPieeeXL and burn onto the SD card using Etcher. Another 5 minutes to stick the card in the RPi and put the RPi in the case, and another 5 minutes to get it up and running. It’s really a no-brainer.

Hmm, was a bit hesitant at first but seems like a decent thing and it’s configurable via a web interface just like the Nucleus.
Didn’t know I would find a solution to my problem this fast, all bridges I found so far didn’t have USB out, only coax or the likes.

A few more questions if I may.

I suppose there is no effect on SQ using this or any other bridge?
What about using a linear power supply for the RPi4?
Any advantage to add the 7" touchscreen or OSMC/Flirc remote if all I want to do is get the music from my Nucleus to another location and control with my iPad?

No advantage of a touch screen for YOUR stated needs.
I surprised myself recently regarding the need for a linear power supply. I have two Pi 4s. One uses the standard Pi 4 power supply. The other is powered by an Allo Shanti linear supply. As age begins to impact on hearing, I’m increasingly finding it difficult to spot any audible difference. If I were you, just get the Pi 4, a case (I am a fan of a very minimalist aluminium heat sink case - basically two parts that simply bolt onto the board) and the official Pi 4 power supply. Try that and if you are happy, forget about anything else. If not, consider an iFi usb purifier (debatable) or a Shanti linear power supply (also debatable). You could also consider Allo’s USBridge Signature, which I have, but I have been VERY impressed by the Pi 4/Ropieee XL solution - it just works :grinning:

Do I take the RPi4 with 4 or 8Gb? Any advantage?
Right about the case, already found one.

Allo’s USBridge Signature: I see it can run Ropieee as well.
But it’s only in RPi3 version? Am I not better of using a RPi4 then?

4Gb is enough.

Allo - it uses a ‘compute’ pi card. This is the ‘industrial’ version of the pi and must be used alongside another board providing ethernet and usb connections. The Pro-Ject audio StreamBox Ultra S2 also uses this. Used to help build a more bespoke solution, but I am now convinced that a Pi4 by itself is ‘good enough’. I think if you focussed hard on the audio, you could well spot the differences. Depends on how ‘resolving’ your system is (dac, amps, speakers etc). I think you should just try out a 4Gb Pi4 to begin with and see if you are happy with it (I’m confident that you would at least say ‘good enough’).

With an ‘aluminium sandwich’ case, the Pi4 is so small and easy to operate/maintain, using RopieeeXL, that I find it difficult to think of other solutions these days. You can spend thousands which may well be better spent elsewhere!

Please note that sometimes I find rebooting the Pi4/RopieeeXL solution seems to leave the PI continuously booting or not connecting to the DAC. What I like, though, is that the solution of ‘Switch it of and on again’ works :slight_smile:

Honestly - Pi4’s are so immune to messing up. They really can be treated harshly!

You can use SoTM SMS-200 range or Sonore Rendu range.

PM if you want second hand as I have one of each for sale in Singapore if that is workable - ship overseas, but I’m sure others are around on eBay etc too.

Lumin U1 mini is another option but more expensive

Hi, I use the Stack Audio Link for this purpose and very happy with the result.

Hadn’t seen that before. Does it update with new roon versions through roon or do you need to update volumio?

Quite a lot of options! :slight_smile:

RPi4 with RoPieee
Allo USBridge
SoTM sMS-200ultra
Sonore ultraRendu
Project Stream Box S2 Ultra
Lumin U1 Mini
Stack Audio Link

Can the RPi 4 go up to 768/32 and DSD512?
And what can the Stack Audio Link output?
Have to “research” a bit further but couldn’t seem to find it right away for the Stack Audio Link".

RPi has many options…but Ropieee is bar far the easiest solution and if you go the XL option supports other streaming services like Spotify/UPNP/NAA and Airplay

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Yes. It will easily handle those rates without even stressing a single core. Remember that all it’s doing is pushing bits from the network to the USB port, not doing any processing on those bits. The heavy lifting is all done by the Roon Core.

Note that 768k PCM/DSD512 is ~50Mbit/s continuous data rate. So Ethernet is strongly recommended if you intend to go that route.

Hi Bjorn,

Do you know what sample rates the Stack can handle for PCM and DSD?

Hi, only that it supports these formats but it isnt written at what rates. If that’s important to you I would ask them via mail. They are quite responsive.

Your list of “options” ranges from <$100 for the RPi4/RoPieee solution up to around $2,000 for the Lumin. Not exactly apples to apples, is it? The truth is that they will all sound the same. With the Lumin, for example, you are paying for a very expensive custom computer, in a very expensive case, running a proprietary OS that provides a complete solution without the need for Roon. Oh, and with fat “audiophile” margins on top of that. If you are going with Roon, you don’t need that, and all that expensive custom hardware will ultimately not change what comes out of the downstream DAC! Audiophiles fret unrelentingly about electrical noise “polluting” the USB stream, but any competent DAC designer has already taken into account that the DAC will likely be connected to a “noisy” computer, and they filter for it. Only a Schiit-y DAC would have a USB implementation poor enough to be affected by electrical noise. If you have this problem, the extra money should be spent on a better DAC.

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That’s right. Same bits come over the USB.

Not necessary. The regular switching Pi supply works quite well.

Not that I know of.

the OP asked for a list…no budget or sq brief expressed…so take it or leave it there are much more expensive options too no doubt like opticalrendu and lmps’ that you could add to the list as commercial offerings.

looks at the second hand market if budget is an issue too…plenty of options out there - even I am selling some now too.

a Raspberry Pi does very nicely - I run at least 8 most of the time, also SOtM SMS-200, microRendu and 2 x Lumin D1’s and I wouldn’t say they all sound the same either, but I would be hard pushed to rank them from least to most favourite other than by function where I find the Lumin most versatile for by big setups and RPi for the general setups.