2 questions prior to acquiring DS DAC

Question 1 - I have a mid-level 2 ch audiophile system and I’m considering adding a DS DAC w/bridge II into the design. I will keep my NAD C568 for another year or so and will use the C568 optical out connection to the DS DAC (I guess bypassing the Wolfson WM8741 DAC chipset in the NAD C568 - making it a CD transport?). I would also like to use a 2nd optical source coming from a Windows PC SoundBlaster ZXR optical out - but DS DAC only has 1 optical in port. Can I use an optical splitter for this application (2 in - 1 out to DS DAC) without any compromise or am I asking for trouble? I suppose I could just leave the two optical source cables hanging near the back of PS DAC and manually switch them when needed. I will keep the CD player plugged in probably 85% of the time and it will save me on the expense of 2 more optical cables and the splitter. But there might be some wear and tear on the optical connectors and the DS DAC optical port over time.

Question 2: With the Bridge II card hardwired into my Ethernet network switch I just want to confirm that any Windows or Mac PC or laptop (or any iPhone or Android cell phones) will be able to control the music streams going into the DS DAC (as long as they have the PS Audio DS DAC driver installed on the device). I’m envisioning people visiting who may want to connect wirelessly and push a music stream from whatever DS-supported streaming service they subscribe to. If this isn’t recommended I can just force them to login to their music service from my Windows DAW w/Soundblaster ZXR optical feed back to DS DAC I guess. Maybe that is the better option rather than struggling with their devices to install the driver. Just trying to understand the flexibility (or not) that one can get with adding the Bridge II card into the wireless router, effectively bringing the DS DAC into the home wireless network for everyone to see and use. And how it can be exploited in real life. :slight_smile:

DS or DS Junior? With the DS the BridgeII is optional, you may want to consider to wait for the upcoming BridgeIII or throw yer money to a dedicated streamer…

No experience with optical splitters so can’t answer that one.

With BridgeII there is no need for drivers on control devices, it will be recognized instantly. For wireless tablets/phones all you need is a control point, e.g. mConnectcontrol(HD) or BubbleUPnP (Android only, my favorite). Just select BridgeII as renderer, set your Qobuz/Tidal/Dropbox/googleDrive/… account(s) and you’re ready to roll.

Thanks wijber every bit of advice helps since I am a total noob in the digital music files realm. I was thinking about going with the DS Senior and also patching a CD transport into it. But I’m second guessing this strategy again. I know many like to own their music and I too have a pile of vinyl and a pile of CD’s. But in the long haul maybe just signing up on Qobuz with Hi-Res membership would get me access to more music. For example, I just checked to see what Heather Nova’s “Pearl” album prerelease would cost to ship to the US (@ $62 bucks). The dedicated streamer advice seems good after seeing that …compare buying 6 vinyl records to a full year membership …hmmm. Maybe I need to cork my wallet. I know the digital streaming sound quality is not equal to vinyl on a $10K turntable w/Goldfinger cartridge but heck I’ll never see that anyway unless I win the lottery…

You might consider ditching the Bridge and using a Bluesound Node 2i. Anybody can play to that from whatever device they bring. Connect it to the DAC via coax, or better yet use the AES-EBU input via a coax-to-XLR digital cable.

Then use the coaxial output from your CD player to the DAC.
Use the optical input for your PC… it’s the one that you most want to keep electrically isolated from the DAC.

Great questions, let’s see if I can help out a bit.

First and foremost, the question really is “is the Bridge II necessary for you?” Once we have this information figured out, a lot of other stuff falls into place.

With the Bridge II, most users report a small boost in sound quality. Other than that, folks normally run the Bridge II when they do not have a computer nearby to handle computer audio. Since you do have a PC nearby, I would say the Bridge II is perhaps not necessary for you.

Now, your second question is the only things that confounds that. With the Bridge II, friends and family would be easily able to use their phone and cast music directly from Spotify, or they could handle music from Qobuz and Tidal with an app like MConnect Control. If they bring a laptop, they could use several different software options including Roon, JRiver, and Foobar2000 (with the appropriate plug-in) to use streaming services or play locally saved music.

With their phones, no drivers are necessary, just need to make sure they have the right apps. With computers, drivers also generally aren’t necessary since you’re playing over the network, not USB. You just need software that can find the Bridge II and play to it.

So, back to the question I posed - I don’t think the Bridge II is necessary for you, though it opens up the option for friends and family playing music on your system which can be a great thing.

If you do go for the Bridge II, I would say you probably don’t need to use the optical out from your PC into the DAC - it would just be redundant with the Bridge II. If you decide not to pick up the Bridge II, I wouldn’t be keen on an optical splitter. I’d sooner move the cable back and forth, or even use USB from your computer if most of your listening will be through your CD player.

Hopefully this helps! Let me know if I can clarify anything or any follow-up questions come to mind.

FYI - I’m presently running a cheap 4 input 1 output Toslink switch to switch all of my optical sources into my DS. I was surprised, but I can’t hear any obviously differences whether it is in circuit or not.

So there is nothing to fear about using one of these types of switches IMO.

1 Like

Haven’t posted to my thread here in quite a while but believe it or not I still haven’t purchased a DAC yet. But I’m still spending money on vinyl and CD’s so going to have to pull the trigger soon. My new question has to do with using my CD player coax connection to attach to DS Senior. My NAD C568 CD player does the CD digital to analog conversion so I’ll be giving the DS Senior an analog signal on the coax coming from the CD player. But this seems counter-intuitive to me…shouldn’t I want to send a digital signal from the CD player (via its optical port) and let the DS Senior do the D/A conversion going toward the amp? Still waffling with the best way to make all the connections in order to exploit the full capabilities of all the pieces.

No can do I’m afraid. The DS DAC (and most other dedicated DAC’s) can’t accept analog signals.

You need a transport with a digital output.

The coax output from the NAD is digital and is before the DAC section.

So as others have said. The coax/optical will push digital out and are not doing a d/a conversion. I assume your CD player has analog outputs as well that you would connect analog rca interconnects to… utilizing those would let your hear the dac in the cd where the d/a is done

I have an old Classe CD player. I use it now as a transport into my DSJr via digital out (S/PDIF RCA). I spent a reasonable sum rather than an astronomical sum to upgrade the cable. I’m very happy with the result, which handily beats the way the Classe used to sound when I ran it directly into the preamp.

Why can’t you use the coaxial digital out from your Nad? Coaxial sounds better than Toslink anyway.

I just looked it up and the NAD C568 has a coax digital out, as well as an optical digital out. So it should work fine with a DS.


Thank you for your responses gents. The reason I brought this up is twofold - I wanted to confirm that my CD player has the true dual-personality capability (transport mode vs. DAC mode) since it doesn’t say anything about that in any of the NAD product literature. The other reason is I want to breathe some life into my CD collection if possible - and bypassing the NAD’s Wolfson WM8741 DAC chipset in favor of the FPGA in the DS DAC seems promising. If I feed the DS DAC via optical coming out of the NAD CD (transport mode) will the DS DAC FPGA amazingly extract audio information from CD’s that I’ve never been able to detect before while using the Wolfson WM8741 DAC of the CD Player? I have heard people say a lot of good things after adding the DS DAC into their systems but since everyone has different components/situations I wonder I will see the same “profoundly amazing” results people sometimes report. Maybe it will just sound better …not profoundly amazing? :slight_smile:

Let me clarify - I know I can demo the DS DAC and see what happens. I just want to make sure it will be worth the effort. For the 6K investment I would hope to achieve the “profoundly amazing” results people report. So if my CD’s only sound “a little better” or “different” then that would instead be profoundly disappointing. Hope no one is offended by my cynical humor …been stuck with that my whole life.

I would not use the optical out. Coaxial sounds much better. Using the DS dac will definitely sound much better than the dac built into your Nad. There was a night and day difference when I use the coaxial from my Marantz SA11s3 to the DS. Huge difference. The Marantz cost $4k.

Not offended at all. :slight_smile: I would sure hope that a 6K investment is more than a “yeah, I hear a difference.” I can promise you in will be huge. Profoundly amazing can be quite relative. A lot of the DSD owners say the improvement in the firmware updates alone is a profound improvement. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

And yes, please go coax.