Bridge 2 as a Tidal or other music company streamer vs higher end streamers...how does it compare


#1

If you were to pit the Bridge 2 (B2 ) vs something like the latest Auralic Aries or Sonore
higher end streamer for music quality, does it hold its own? The DSD has been out for a number of years… how does that B2 do vs other company newer higher end music streamers ? I am only talking about streaming from a Tidal or similar music company for streaming rather than from your personal music company. Thanks


#2

Having both a Qobuz (HiRes) and Tidal (MQA) account i spend a lot of time to compare streaming from my Melco N1ZS10 with Audioquest Diamond USB to the DSsr vs Audioquest Diamond RJ/E to BridgeII.

In the Melco, all digital processes, including the external ethernet communications, are derived from a precision ultra-low jitter data clock to ensure total freedom from jitter-induced artefacts on final D/A conversion. The low jitter ethernet connectivity is provided by RJ45 ports of exeptional stability and precision, which are also optically isolated on all lines. Even got a Pink Faun Lan Isolator on the Melco ethernet input.

To my ears and in my system the outcome is very (!) close, but i slightly prefer the Melco over USB. Nowadays i’m only streaming over BridgeII when i want to listen to MQA, which is quite rare…


#3

I think it is difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison of the Bridge II and competing streamers which would be connected to inputs on the DS other than the Bridge II’s Ethernet input. In my experience, the best-sounding input on the DS by far is the I2S input. Like @wijber, I use a Melco (in my case, the N1ZH60 Mk. 1). I experimented with the Melco’s Ethernet output into the the Bridge II’s Ethernet input, and it sounded very good, but ultimately I purchased a Matrix X-SPDIF 2 D-to-D converter so I can come out of the Melco via USB and go into the DS’s I2S input via an HDMI cable (I use this one – it is dirt-cheap, well-built and sounds great). When streaming TIDAL, this sounds noticeably better in my system than streaming directly to the Bridge II via the mConnect app or going from the Melco to the Bridge II via an Ethernet cable. Another person on this board tried the Matrix and liked it so much he purchased an expensive Pink Faun streamer with an I2S output so that he could access the DS’s I2S input without having to go through a D-to-D converter. If you have a DS without a Bridge II, at this point I would suggest skipping the Bridge II (as it is being replaced by PS Audio in the coming months) and getting a streamer that connects to the DS via USB, XLR or (ideally) I2S.


#4

@bootzilla - I was using Mconnect for the first (5) months after I initially put my system together in April, 2018; not sure how I wanted to run my system. I set it up with (3) CAT 7 (great shielding) cables from the great room to the music room and terminated them myself with Talegartner connections for all Ethernet ends, including the cable modem to wireless router. Initially I ran Mconnect for the first months and acoustically it seemed great; however, nothing to compare. I just went to Roon Nucleus+ w/ Sbooster Ultra LPS plugged into the PSA P20 to use convolution filtering. Holy crap, what a step up from Mconnect on so many levels. Sound is amazing, meta-data collection & organizing is amazing, speed jumping from present listening to something else is flawless, fast & smooth. On a scale of 1:10, Mconnect is a 1 and Roon Nucleus+ is a 10. However, I have nothing to compare. I made sure the Ethernet cabling and connections were the best shielding and connectors I could buy. Below is my block diagram. This configuration is the best sounding & best functioning I have experienced to date. I can’t wait for the PSA DS Sr DAC update in a few weeks. Maybe I am lucky with PSA gear; however, I don’t see issues with anything and I’m running all PSA gear… Also, Roon Nucleus+ took me 30 minutes to set up, it was so, low drama.


#5

I used the Bridge II card with Roon for almost a year. I had an ultraRendu but sold it because I liked the idea of just plugging an Ethernet cable into my DAC and being done with it. I don’t know why, but the sound quality with the Bridge II card removed is better using the ultraRendu feeding my DirectStream’s USB port than when using the Bridge II card.

Sound quality got even better when I starting using HQPlayer but that is another conversation.


#6

@speed-racer - This Roon Nucleus+ set-up will last me a while. I recently swept my music room using REW w/ laptop HDMI out to TOSLINK (convertor) to DAC (optical) w/ USB mic and mic boom. I went the Roon Nucleus+ approach to implement convolution filtering. In a few weeks I will measure the room again using REW with Roon Nucleus+ set-up and work the CF approach. One thing for sure; I love the Roon DSP engine and having a laptop in my music room with no moving parts and or switching supply.


#7

Hey,

If I understood you correctly, you sold your ultra Rendu and went to use exclusibely the Bridge II. Then you talked about HQPlayer. Did you find a way tomake HQPlayer work with the Bridge II, or you reverted to USB?


#8

Yes, I sold the ultraRendu I originally had 10 months or so ago. I just recently bought another one and I am using that instead of the Bridge II card. I removed the Bridge II card from my DSD so it could not introduce any noise.


#9

Thanks man. I am trying to make hqplayer see the bridge II, but to no avail.


#10

That’s not going to happen. The Bridge II cannot be setup to be an NAA which is what you need for HQPlayer to work.


#11

so, the question for this thread is… how does the Bridge II compare to (from a quality sound perspective) a higher end internet Streamer which streams a commercial feed , such as QBUZ or Tidal…to clarify, you would either have a Direct Stream with Bridge 2 removed to use the comercial streamer such as Auralic Aries or…if using a DS Jr, bypass its Bridge 2


#12

Cardri - how does the SQ of your Roon Nucleus compare to redbook through the DMP?


#13

And my detailed answer to that question is in post #3, above. To summarize for you, it is not an apple-to-apples comparison, but an external streamer going into a non-Bridge II input is likely to sound better. Good luck.


#14

@apogeestage - I’ve got a Roon Nucleus+ and that is different than a Roon Nucleus. In addition, the power to the Nucleus+ is from Sbooster MKII with “Ultra” active filtering after the “split current box”, plugged into the PSA P20. If I had set the streaming up before buying a PSA PS DMP I probably would not have bought the DMP, it is that good on so many levels. I put the system together in April, 2018 and was using Mconnect and my DMP. It sounded great; however, had nothing to compare it to… As bootzilla says - you have to do apples to apples and the DMP to Nucleus+ with no DSP engine, I’d say the DMP (redbook, not SACD) is a tiny, tiny bit better; however, if I sat you down to listen you would be hard pressed to tell the difference, the Nucleus+ is that good if set up properly with great Ethernet cabling & connectors, and very clean power. However, if I used the DSP engine and parametric equalizer (Roon Nucleus+) to compensate for the room acoustics, the Nucleus+ sounds better in my music room. The PSA DS DMP set-up I can’t tailor the source for my room acoustics and I have complex rear room acoustics, like most. The difficult part of “room acoustics” are the drop-out areas in the frequency response and you can’t buy treatments after you have figured out it is room geometry, not furniture… I bought the Nucleus+ to implement convolution filtering for a couple of dropouts in sub 100Hz range. So, for that matter, the Nucleus+ does exactly what I bought it for and the DMP will be lacking set up in my music room. Therefore, in a month from now when I have the convolution filtering set up, adding AQVOX SE GB ENET switch, PSA Detect AC filtering for all streaming sources, and Sbooster Ultra (12V) LPS connected to my QNAP 251+ NAS… I believe it will be even more amazing. The key here is making sure you have very clean power and great cabling for Ethernet. Some would argue CAT7 w/ great connectors are BS; who knows… I hope this answers your question in a way that gives you information and ideas, not just “yes” or “no”. Now Roon the OS is a whole level jump from Mconnect. I had issues with freezing, lock-up… Roon operating w/ Nucleus+ is just amazing for meta-data retrieval, organization, and operation. Now I love my set-up for listening to music both SQ & operation as it relates to use and music knowledge content (meta-data). In addition, I was going to buy a Basis turn table when I initially set-up my system, I have the top shelf set up for a turn table. I can’t ever see spinning vinyl after what I have just been listening to… not saying there are not amazing systems out there using turntable; I don’t like drama and turntables are massive drama… So after a week streaming with Roon Nucleus+, I have changed my system block diagram (below) to include the next “near future” upgrade. As you can see, the changes are all on the streaming source end; cleaning it up more. Adding the AQVOX SE GB ENET switch should increase the SQ by lowering the noise floor and adding even more detail…


#15

Fantastic response!

Thanks much as that addresses my issues perfectly


#16

@apogeestage - After researching adding the GB ENET switch between the cable modem and wireless router, it looks like I can’t approach it this way. It looks like the switch has to be after the router. Need to look at this in more detail.


#17

Have you ever considered adding a SSD to the Roon and connection to the DS via USB?


#18

cardri,

Connect your cable modem to the WAN port of your wireless router, connect the GB Enet switch to a LAN port on the wireless router, connect all of your CAT7 local connections to the GB Enet switch.

Dan


#19

@drybeveridge730 - Yes, BD below. Then why add the switch if I have the Ethernet connections and it works fine. There lies the rub. After reading the AQVOX literature and reviews on the AQVOX SE GB ENET switch, it will reduce the noise floor and add a lot of detail. My PSA DAC and Roon Nucleus+ is sitting 100ft (CAT7 cable) through attic. This switch will help as a buffer, jitter, and noise rejection… For close to $1,000 it would be a big leap in hope… However, if you consider an Sbooster "Ultra MKII is $500 and the AQVOX has the PS figured out…


#20

@apogeestage - never entered my mind; however, an approach many use. I just had my Ethernet infrastructure in place and went the Starred topology w/ wireless router are the tie point for all Ethernet connection. I could go SSD attached to Nucleus+; however, was warned not to go that way. However, never delved into why not… had the infrastructure in place already.