Clicking/popping noise on Directstream DAC

I am auditioning a Directstream Dac with Bridge 2. It’s connected to my Audio Research preamp which is connected to an Audio Research power amp. I really like the way it sounds in my system but there is one obstacle. Using the Bridge input, I get a click or pop sound at random intervals ranging from every several seconds to minutes apart . It comes from both speakers at different times, lasts a fraction of a second and isn’t extremely loud, but enough to be distracting and annoying. It also happens on the USB input but less frequently. PS Audio customer service has been very nice. They walked me through downgrading the firmware and some other steps but they didn’t solve the problem. They are sending a new Bridge which should arrive in a few days. I’m hoping it works. Since I’m getting the noise, although less often, on usb, I’m a little pessimistic. I would hate to give up on the PS Audio and buy a different brand since it sounds so good and customer service has tried so hard to help. I’ll see if the replacement bridge eliminates the problem. Would appreciate any other input and suggestions.


Have you try a cross over cable, directly connect the bridge with your PC. Or remove all other devices that are on the network?

Also for usb, I would try another cable

The Directstream input comes from an Innuous Zenith 3 server with a Wireworld platinum USB cable. As I mentioned, the output is to an Audio Research preamp. Since the noise occurs both on the USB and bridge inputs, the problem wouldn’t seem to be the USB cable. Also, others have posted on this board and on Audiogon describing similar problems.

I use Roon Core from an Innuos Zenith II via Ethernet to a SOtM SMs200ultra and go from there via USB to the Directstream. Never had any pops - lucky me (it would drive me crazy).

Do you use Roon or another software via the Zenith? Do you play a lot of DSD files? Do you upsample? Many of the ticks and pops people had/have seem to be related to format switching.

I’m using Roon /Tidal as well as CDs ripped by the Innuous Zenith. Truthfully, I’m new to all this and don’t even know if I’m upsampling or playing DSD files.

Would hate to return the Directstream but may have no choice if the problem continues.

What does the Sms200 ultra do (forgive my ignorance)?

Just curious (and it might help with others’ troubleshooting advice)…are the pops in the middle of tracks, during transitions, at the end or beginning of tracks…all of the above?

The SOtM is a network player which is just there to request music files/streams from somewhere to deliver these to somewhere else (there are no files stored and no DAC inside). It can be configured to act as a Roon endpoint. Roon recommends to not use the same machine for the Roon Core and the Roon Endpoint (that’s how you do it with your current setup with the Zenith). But don’t be too worried about this. I’m pretty confident that this is not the cause of your issues. There should be no ticks and pops from any decent setup, and the Zenith qualifies as decent.
What worries me is that you have these issues with the Bridge AND via USB.
So the answer is probably not as easy as “downgrade Bridge Firmware”…
PS Audio Support should guide you through the needed steps to find the root cause.
I hope it gets solved soon. The Directstream is an amazing piece of engineering and sounds fantastic (when there are no ticks and pops).

brownsf - I have the exact same thing going on except sometimes the pop is quite loud. I recently pulled out the Bridge II and pops still occur via USB as you’ve reported. I began troubleshooting by replacing all the tubes in my BHK gear. No change. I am taking another dac for a test drive at the end of next week and will report if the pops go away. The DirectStream is as fantastic piece and definitely worth the trouble of sorting out.

The pops appear to be at random places throughout—during tracks, between tracks, etc.

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Daeone, I’ll be very interested in your results. I’d be unhappy to give up the Directstream and only hope there’s a solution. Would appreciate your posting an update when you know.

Ditto. Random -during tracks between tracks. Sometimes there will be a couple in quick succession and sometimes a much longer duration between (multiple tracks).

Here’s some more information on the ticks and pops I’m hearing on a brand new Directstream with bridge 2:

-they seem to be more prevalent on DSD recordings but I’ve also heard them on flac recordings
-they seem to happen only when using the bridge input and an Ethernet connection to my router. Haven’t heard them on USB.
-PS Audio customer service helped me update the bridge software to 3.6.2. That helped a little—noises seem less frequent and not as loud
-turning down the volume on the DS doesn’t help
-PS Audio sent me a replacement bridge but this one has the exact same problem
-I could return the bridge and just use USB but the bridge/Ethernet connection sounds much better than USB to me
-I found a thread on this board where about 50 people complained about the same issue—ticks and pops primarily on DSD recordings
-I have about 18 days left in my 30 day trial period. Need to decide whether to keep the DS and bridge or return the bridge or return both. I want to keep both because the sound is great—other than the ticks and pops. I’m hoping for a solution to this problem before I have to decide. PS Audio customer support has been great but so far we haven’t solved the problem.

I’m confused. Originally you said it occurred over Ethernet/Bridge and USB. Now you say not on USB. If that is the case, I would try the suggestions from falling_leaves as it makes it sound more like a network issue (esp since it occurs on two Bridges). How are you streaming over the network (computer type, Roon, etc.)?

I would also suggest streaming the bit perfect files from PS Audio as a check on network transmission.

Those noises are usually network related issues. The DSD files are bigger and use more bandwidth. Maybe try using a time buffer in whatever software you are using.

Sorry for any confusion. I’m noticing more as I listen and learn more. Initially, I had both USB and Ethernet cable connections simultaneously. I’m now doing one or the other. I haven’t heard the noises using USB with this configuration.

I’m using an Innuous Zenith 3, as previously mentioned, and streaming Roon.

Based on the 50 or so postings on this board about this exact problem, I tend to think the issue is with the bridge—not an individual defect but possibly a software issue. I have tried different ethernet cables with no difference. Falling leaves suggested connecting the bridge to my PC and removing other network devices. The bridge is connected to a mesh router when using this configuration , as is the Innuous. My PC is in another part of the house. I have one network and it does serve other devices. Is it possible to set up a separate network just for the DS and possibly the Innuous?

I don’t know anything about the bit perfect files from PS Audio—what they are, how to get them.

Try setting a delay in Roon playback. You can go from 0 to 5 seconds if I remember right. It might help. Also make sure there is no wireless connections anywhere in the data path.

Do you know how to set the Roon delay? Couldn’t find it in Roon settings or when I Googled it.

Right click the Bridge II DirecStream endpoint icon > device setup > resync delay. 500ms works best for me. When I was trying to use wireless I used 2000ms. See if it helps in your situation. The pop is the bridge “losing the connection” for a lack of a better term.
Also make sure you don’t have another streaming device using up too much bandwidth.

Thanks. Just set the delay for 500. I’ll report back tomorrow on the results.

I need to have at least one wireless connection—my iPad or iPhone—to access roon.