Question about PS Audio Bridge II


#1

I’ve been looking at the PS Audio Directstream DAC with the bridge II card.

I’m still a little confused as to the purpose or intention of the card. Is it that idea that I connect my NAS via ethernet to the card, and bypass my audio PC? If so then does Roon run on the NAS or on the PS Audio? Or do I move my audio PC out of the listening room and connect the NAS–>audio PC–>PS Audio? Or something else? And are there SQ benefits to the intended use?

Thanks!


(Sean) #2

Hi, the DirectStream Bridge II network card can’t run Roon Core but certain NAS’s can. The Bridge II is just a Roon Ready endpoint - one that’s built into the DAC.

The recommended way (PS Audio’s recommendation) is for your DirectStream DAC to be connected to a router. If your NAS is running RoonServer, then your NAS should also be connected to your router. And your NAS/RoonServer will see your DirectStream DAC endpoint (Bridge II).

If you have a different Roon Core, then the idea is still for your DAC, NAS and Roon Core all to be connected to your router (the router can and should be outside the listening room) and Roon will magically talk to all 3 and everything will work seamlessly.

So in short, just think of the Bridge II as just an endpoint (a Roon Ready one).

Hope that doesn’t confuse things more.


#3

Many thanks Sean, that’s very helpful.

You say that the PS Audio recommendation is for the DAC to be connected to a NAS via a router. I have a synology DS1812 NAS, though currently also use an audio PC with an i7 chip (NAS—>ethernet—>PC—>USB—DAC).

Wouldn’t things suffer if I used the (relatively lower powered) NAS, rather than the PC to run Roon core?


(Sean) #4

No, I just meant that if you choose to use a NAS as your Roon Core (some NAS’s work fine), then the NAS should be connected to the router, and your DirectStream DAC should be connected to your router.

Basically everything connects to your router and Roon will make all talk to each other. I just wanted to make it clear that your DirectStream DAC doesn’t connect directly to your NAS. Everything connects to the router.

PS Audio don’t recommend anything for a Roon Core. Some people have used a NAS successfully as there Roon Core - others didn’t like it and use something more powerful.


#5

OK I see, thanks. So does the NAS or audio PC running Roon Core connect to the bridge via ethernet or USB?


(Sean) #6

Not necessarily. As with everything ‘it depends’. I’ve used a Synology DS918+ NAS perfectly fine as my Roon Core. Then again I don’t do any CPU intensive DSP - that’s where you need some more grunt.

But if you want to up-sample to DSD512 or do CPU intensive convolution, a separate Roon Core is probably recommended.

There are other threads about recommendation NAS’s to run Roon Core.

Hopefully this helps with the DirectStream DAC side of things though.


(Sean) #7

Everything (Bridge II, NAS, Core) connects back to the router - i.e. ethernet.


#8

But doesn’t the Direcstream DAC do the upsampling? I read that it upsamples everything to 10xDSD or something? So then you wouldn’t need a powerful core to upsample?


(Sean) #9

Hehe yes it up-samples EVERYTHING coming in to 20 x DSD rates internally. Still, some people have made observations they hear improvements up-sampling before the DirectStream, like via Roon.

In this case though, the DirectStream can only accept up to DSD128 via it’s USB input and DSD64 via it’s Bridge II input - my Synology NAS has no issues going up to those rates, so you wouldn’t need a powerful core to up-sample to the DS DAC.

But I don’t do any up-sampling before the DS DAC - I just play everything ‘bit perfect’ via Roon.

But some others do. There’s no right or wrong here.


(rayski) #10

The PSA DS design is to upsample all inputs to 20x DSD rates. You are paying a lot of money for their algorithm. To upsample before the unit and then to send into a pipe that only takes DSD64 (Bridge II), well then I think you’re considering spending lots of money on the wrong DAC.

You’ve had a number of questions regarding the PSA DS unit, one was whether to use Ethernet or USB. If logistics work for you where you can use USB then save your money on the Bridge II and go USB. The heart of the DS its is FPGA design. The Bridge is just an interface that you can add on (at any time) if you need it.

I own the DS Jr, has onboard Bridge bundled in. I also own the Mytek Brooklyn which ain’t too shabby either, but compared to the DS Jr, it is no match. Also my Brooklyn now is 2 years old is already out of date with Mytek’s latest releases, where my DS Jr continues to stay fresh with each software update of its DAC algorithms.

I think you’d be happy with the PSA units, but if you’re interest are in doing your own up sampling then you’d probably do better with a different DAC that does not rely on its own up sampling algorithms.


#11

That’s also really helpful rayski, thanks. I don’t have much music above DSD64 so leaving the upsampling to the DAC might be the way to go.

Out of interest, do you think there is much difference between the junior and…uh…senior? :smile:


(rayski) #12

I have not had the opportunity to hear the DS. I bought the DS Jr on spec and reviews alone. I did that because PSA has a great return policy - 30 days full money back, no questions asked. The price difference between the Jr ($4K) and Sr ($6K + $900 more for Bridge) is big. And my budget couldn’t stretch to the DS + Bridge. Where for $4K I got the bridge too with the Jr.

PSA has a very generous trade-in policy. For the Junior they allowed up to $1200 value in trade-in. Now that is value at the time you bought the component you’re trading in not what you can eBay it for today. Of course it needs to be in good shape, but still it is an excellent deal. I traded my 12 yr old Sonic Frontiers DAC and got the full $1200 discount on the junior. Also I didn’t need to send the trade-in until I was satisfied I was keeping the junior.

Back to your question though. The DAC software is identical in both. The difference is in the other components. PSA says bigger transformers, better components, etc. The PSA Forums all swear that the DS is a step up from the Jr and I have no reason to doubt them. But for my wallet and the other components the Jr is sitting along side, the Jr is a perfect fit. The DS probably would have seriously out paced my other pieces and therefore didn’t make great sense.


#13

Regarding the bridge (or bridge II) - is this essentially serving the same function as the Rendu products? So would the bridge allow the user to move the audio PC out of the listening room and connect via ethernet, like the Rendu? Would this confer similar sonic advantages to those reported with the Rendu products?


(Sean) #14

Yes, since the Bridge II has an ethernet input, you can have your router anywhere in your house. As long as you can make a connection between the two. Having Roon Core and router outside of the listening room is ideal, and recommended by Roon.

The Rendu products are ethernet input and USB output. Remember with the Rendu products you need a power supply and USB cable also - so that’s 2 boxes and more cables behind the DAC.

But I do prefer the SQ of the microRendu + Uptone LPS-1 feeding the DirectStream via USB, over the Bridge II. But as I mentioned a few posts up, there are hundreds that prefer the SQ (and convenience) of the Bridge II, vs USB.


(Scott Winders) #15

I had an ultraRendu with a Teddy Pardo LPS feeding my DirectStream (no Bridge II card installed) using the infamous “Lush” USB cable. I compared that to using the Bridge II card as the endpoint. I sold the ultraRendu setup. Why? One solution was no better than the other. If anything, I liked the Bridge II sound a bit better. Selling the ultraRendu/Teddy Pardo/Lush setup puts a lot of cash in my PayPal account for other experiments!


(Larry Post) #16

And the setup is so much less messy cabling wise. I’ve got a week old DS w/Bridge II and don’t even plan on trying the USB connection as without a renderer I’d lose the tight Roon integration. Running Rock on old Lenovo PC powered by a low-ripple, low noise Seasonic SMPS (along with any other 5v and 12v devices in the rack). https://seasonic.com/prime-ultra-titanium

It’s quite possible to build very, very good SMPS as well as bad ones, just like linear power supplies can be good or bad. Even though the Seasonic has a fan, it never comes on because my load is so low.


(Tim Clark) #17

Rayski. I am a brand new DSJ owner and just installed Roon last night on a dedicated 2012 mac mini. It ran well last night via the bridge. However today, I am getting pops and drop outs like crazy on everything from Flac rips of CDs to DSD64. Tried an MQA from 2L and that was horrendous.

Were there any tweaks to Roon to get consistent playback via the DSJ bridge that you might recommend?

Thanks. Really baffled here. USB works great FWIW. Media is on an external Gtech USB 3 drive.


(Scott Winders) #18

What is your network connection? Hardwired or WiFi?

There are known issues with the DirectStream DACs and some content causing pops. See the PS Audio forum for more details.


(Tim Clark) #19

I have the problem with either hardwired from Mac Mini to DSJ using a crossover cable or with an ethernet switch between the two devices. I am not getting much feedback from the PS AUDIO forums and my searches did not show any issues with connecting with one of these two methods. I use static addressing in both implementations. 10.10.10.1 and 10.10.10.2. They are the only two devices on the lan segment.


(rayski) #20

My best guess would be networking problems as Tim_Clark suggested. Once in a blue moon everything goes to $hit and I get the pops, full blown drops where Roon says it can’t even get a consistent stream from the server. What I found is rebooting all my network equipment fixed the issue, in particular my routers. After a quick reboot everything was fine for at least to the next Blue Moon.

In over a year of using Roon on a dedicated Mac-Mini (2016) to both 4 different end points (two Sonos, a Mytek Brooklyn and the PS Jr) the blue moon has occurred maybe 3 times, the last time was just this past weekend. And it always was my routers that seemed at fault. Restart them and all the problems went away. Note that I hard wire everything except the two Sonos end points. But really it has been rock solid.