Best PWD & Bridge Firmware Combination

What firmware combos sound best in your system? After a recent update to the most recent combo ( PWD 2.4.1 & Bridge 0.2.14b) I reverted to my old favourites: 2.2.0 & 0.2.13c. The new versions have a lot of detail but, in my view, lack the fullness and warmth of the ones I returned to.

I’m sure this is a system dependant thing. I would be interested in what others are using. There may well be a different combo that I would like more. Thoughts?

Probably it’s not only the firmwares but also the storage medium the type of cat cable the program the setings and the filetype.

I use the 2.4.0 and the 2.14b and use a macmini with I7 I use Jriver I thought verion 180194. My library is alac converted on the fly and my cat cable is audioquest Vodka.

Besides the PWD’s firmware I think in case of Jriver the version of Jriver is the most important thing to audition. The latest Jriver firmwares sound far from good. The 180194 is near perferct.

Besides the PWD's firmware I think in case of Jriver the version of Jriver is the most important thing to audition. The latest Jriver firmwares sound far from good. The 180194 is near perferct.

Is this also true for the Windows version - anyone?


This is meant for the windows version!

I forgot to tell I run windows 8 on the mac no mac os installed

rossop, have you tried the 2.0.2 - 2.13c combination? This has been my preferred combo up until this point. The PWD firmware of 2.2.0 has always sounded leaner to me.

I’m testing the 2.4.1 - 2.14b combination over the next days. So far I like what I hear.

My experience convinced me just how system (or environment) dependent the choice of firmware can be. I was a longtime supporter of 2.0.2. 2.1.0 (I never tried 2.2) sounded etched, grating and fatiguing. I tried it multiple times for days at a time and couldn’t stand it. I knew, at the time, that Paul preferred 2.1.0 and had chosen to go with it as the official iteration of the PWD firmware which puzzled me because what I was hearing in my system was clearly inferior to 2.0.2.

Enter the Power Base which was the first vibration mitigating piece in my system. After a few weeks with the PB I decided to give 2.1.0 another try. Night and day turnaround. 2.1.0 was a clear winner over 2.0.2 which I had loved so much before. My guess? My vibration problems were so bad that the added detail of 2.1.0 accentuated the problem. One could conceivably extend this idea to other system issues like RFI, ground loops, cables, network issues etc… fouling the sound. The only way to sort this out is to try different FW versions and decide for yourself. There are just too many variables to recommend one combination over another. Trust your ears.

Currently I am using 2.4.1 and 2.13c. I haven’t tried 2.14b with 2.4.1 yet.

Interesting and informative. I must say that every time I audition something the PowerBase is assumed to be part of the landscape - this makes for an interesting conundrum since I don’t try it both ways and make an overall judgment call that A is better than B - but I don’t try all the combinations.

I guess I should state the equipment in use whenever I do this - which is perhaps why reviewers of all kinds seem to list their equipment - something I never paid much never mind to. :-?

Several days of testing the PWD 2.4.1 - Bridge 2.14b combination:

*Using Sennheiser HD800s with GCHA

*Using EMM 27.15

*Powerbases underneath PWD & GCHA

*Cat 7 shielded networking cables

Greater detail in this combo, but more fatiguing on extended listening. Not as fatiguing as I found the PWD 2.2.0 to be, but still there. I like the added detail, but not sure the added fatigue is a good trade-off. More days of testing ahead, but I might find myself going back to my old faithful combination of PWD 2.0.2 - Bridge 2.13c.

So many different software/firmware combinations that can effect the sound, enough to make my head explode. I found that the EMM version I am using now (27.15) works best with the 2.02-2.13c combination, but have not yet tested the newer 32.03 with the 2.4.1-2.14b combo. I tried the 2.0.2 - 2.14b combo with EMM 27.15, but thought that it lost a lot of midrange. Haven’t tried it with EMM 32.03.

Of course, those using servers other than EMM will hear a completely different sound, and different firmware combos will likely work better.

Anyone confused yet?

radioclash said: Anyone confused yet?

Me! Me! Pick me!

I am surprised you find 2.4.1 fatiguing, although the HD800 will reveal any such issue more readily than quite a few other transducers.

I am interested in what you find going back to 2.0.2 and rigorously comparing with 2.4.1.

Yes, so many different variables involved here that my head is exploding!

When I first loaded 2.4 I was quite stunned by the sound.

Meaning, that I had no expectations and it was simply an audition to see/hear how it would work on an older vintage PWD. I too enjoyed the dynamics of 2.2.0 but the fatigue factor made it un-listenable in my rig.

I am enjoying this version and after running through my usual playlist of test tracks, have been doing more full album listening.

2.o.2 still reigns, for me, in the upper mid range. I suspect some roll-off here because somehow it does not let you reach into the sound stage or timbre like 2.4.0 does.

2.0.2 seems a tad slower as well.

My idea of the ultimate so far would be 2.4.0/1 but with just a bit less sensation of “effort” that it seems to exert.

oops. did I just describe the AF P3se’s?

2.0.2 or 2.2.0 with Bridge version 0.2.13c is what I like best.

2.0.2 with bridge 0.2.13c.

After testing the new versions I returned and feel goooood!

2.14b and 2.4 (not 2.4.1 just yet)

One thing I have noticed is that the current Bridge firmware (2.14b) seems to take some of the “edge” off of the newer PWD firmwares (2.2.0 & 2.4.1). Using 2.13c with these newer firmwares is fatiguing and a little bright to me, but 2.14b seems to tone it down a bit.

On the other hand, 2.0.2 does not sound good with 2.14b. Midrange seems to have died with this combination.

i’m really liking 2.4.1 with 2.14b

I too like 2.4.1 & 2.14b.

One of the interesting changes this combination highlights more than 2.2.0 is, poor recordings while still sounding poor are more tolerable and my ability to pinpoint specifically those aspects about the recording that ‘makes’ it sound poor are more evident.

I await 2.4.x and 2.14f+


So I have settled on this combination:

PWD 2.4.1

Bridge 2.13c

EMM 27.05

This combo has brought me the closest to the sound of the PWT, but not quite there. PWT still has a bit more air and fullness, still my choice for “serious” listening sessions.


That’s what I have been using too.

radioclash said: PWD 2.4.1
Bridge 2.13c
EMM 27.05

JR/MAC is still not stable in my rig.

radioclash said: PWT still has a bit more air and fullness, still my choice for "serious" listening sessions.

I have yet to experience a transport or computer server setup that beats the PWT.

One of the most interesting reviews of the PWT was by Marja and Henk wherein they stated their raft of quirky tweaks were no longer needed/of no benefit with the PWT. Not only is this a strong statement on their part, it provides much food for thought.