Noob questions mytek dac+ vs bridge applications

(drew abe) #1

Hi, first a little background. I have been into audio for over 20 years. I have a turntable and upsample cd player. I have streamed itunes via apple tv with lan line and optical out to my dac. I have never streamed music from tidal or the like before. I need help understanding how the mytek brooklyn bridge works vs the dac+. I contacted mytek and it seems I can stream tidal to the bridge and use my ipad as a control. What I dont understand is if the music is coming from the ipad and sent to the bridge or is the music coming from my router via cat 5 cable? I will eventually get on board with roon, probably a nuc but in the meantime I want to be sure I will get the best quality audio. Why would I choose the bridge over the dac+, I myself dont know what is best for my system. Why would someone use a bridge vs non bridge? I get mytek to do mqa but beyond that Im kinda lost.

My table is not used I dont have a phonostage so I will be using the mytek for that. Any help will be greatful, the youtube videos I seen are still over my head, it seems that most understand the basics of streaming tidal etc but I dont really get what dac I need. I will have my modem and router in my audio room. I have audioquest cat 7 cables already. I was ready to build a nuc and load roon rock but mytek said I can use the ipad and add roon later. Thanks guys.

(Henry) #2

A lot of questions! A device like the Mytek product or the device I use (Teac NT-505) can work in two modes.

  1. Native mode where you access your music through its operating system. You would sign in to tidal through it too.
  2. You build a Roon core. It then does all of the heavy lifting. You sign in to Tidal through Roon. Your Bridge becomes an endpoint.
    In both cases you load a control program on to your iPad that lets you access and configure the OS or Roon. It is true you can add Roon later but I would do it sooner because it is so different to underpowered buggy native apps on a lot of these devices.
(danny2) #3

The iPad is the control. You stream over your network/router using the setup described in the BB short setup manual (I suggest you download it and read it).
If you add a server with Roon in, then your server will be the source and a Roon app elsewhere will be the control.

(drew abe) #4

Thanks guys, I’ve invested a lot of time and money over the years. I stayed away from streaming because it was not a quality medium, at least 10 years ago it wasn’t. I did rip some aiff files to iTunes and played them through ethernet from my iMac to my apple tv. Used optical out to my DAC. Upsamples it to 24/384, it was pretty good but CD was still better. Now with tidal and mqa that is claimed as good or better then CD, it’s hard to ignore the convenience and access to all the music online. I will probably end up making a nuc to handle everything, CD rips and streaming services.

I’m still unsure if the bridge or the dac+ is what I need. From what I gather the bridge allows me to play mqa now with my ipad. What if I build the nuc first? Would the bridge be utilized or is the dac+ better? I’m a firm believer that ethernet was always better for streaming music, is this true today? The extra 800 for the bridge could go towards a nuc but the bottom line for me is quality. If the bridge allows ethernet connection and dac+ doesn’t then I’d go for the bridge just cause it sounds better through ethernet. Maybe someone can clarify this. I don’t want to get what is not needed nor sacrifice sound to save a few bucks. Thanks

(danny2) #5

A few comments:
The sound of MQA is hotly debated. Some like it, some don’t, some think it’s sometimes better, sometimes worse. Personally, I wouldn’t make a purchasing decision of HW based on whether it does MQA or not. Choose HW for all the other reasons, and if it also does MQA, then that’s a bonus. If your purchasing decision is only between the two Myteks, it doesn’t matter, because they are both MQA capable.

IMO, that’s especially true with software like Roon that does the “first unfold” of MQA. If there’s a benefit to MQA, you are already getting most of it there. The so-called “second unfold” is really just a form of upsampling with MQA provided filters, and if you upsample those same tracks in Roon or in a DAC chip (even without MQA) you are doing essentially the same thing.

The BB and the DAC + are essentially the same in this context except one has a streamer built in and the other doesn’t. With the DAC+ you’d probably need some kind of server and then use USB. You’d need to add a streamer if you decide you want to use ethernet with it. With the BB you can start out just streaming and then add a server. They should essentially sound the same: the pre/input/volume section is the same, the DAC is the same, and the output section is the same.

Lots of people will tell you USB or ethernet is better, but it’s all BS, because they aren’t hearing your setup and don’t have your ears. One may be better in one household, the other in another household.
There is no definitive answer.

Is steaming more important to you or having your collection ripped on a local server? Will you be happier now with streaming and can forgo a server in the meantime? Or the opposite?

If I was you, I’d also think one step ahead: where do I want to be with my setup not just with this immediate purchase, but with my next purchase? What’s most convenient and will let me most enjoy listening? For some people ethernet/home network streaming adds more options and convenience. Others prefer the direct USB connection from a server. Some like having the streamer and DAC in one box for simplicity, convenience, less cables, and one less box to work with.

In ultimate price terms the two devices could be essentially a wash for you, b/c if long term you want both a local library and ethernet/home network streaming they both involve buying a streamer in some form and a server in some form. You need to decide if you could be happy with “just” a server connected by USB to the DAC, and listen to both your local library and internet streaming that way.

Don’t underestimate convenience and having the all the options you want in your setup. That will probably be more important to you in the long run than a possible-maybe upgrade in SQ that you won’t notice if you don’t directly A/B two methods of playback (and maybe not even then).