DirectStream and Network Bridge II


#1

I am receiving a network bridge II today for my new DS. What is the best software to use for most optimum sound quality to play Tidal MQA and to stream from my NAS drive. I have read on this forum that Roon SQ is an issue. Is MConnect the best option for this? Are their other options that allow top SQ and can stream Tidal MQA and NAS based files and can be controlled on iOS? Thanks


#2

I’ve used Roon for two years and I love it. It has performed flawlessly and has only gotten better with time (I own an Audeze LXD-4 so the Audeze presets were a real bonus).


#3

Spotify Premium. No need for NAS. Slick iOS control point. Sounds good. Need say nothing more.


#4

Given the Op asked how to best stream Tidal & MQA for the best SQ I’m not sure how Spotify MP3 counts as a recommendation?

@damcats I use Roon and love it. But I need to compare the SQ given the comments about Roon SQ that you allude to. Sounds great to me but don’t know if I am missing anything.

That MConnect app supports MQA but the app itself was pretty crap. I gave up on it after an hour. BubbleUpnp will stream Tidal to the BridgeII but I don’t think it supports the MQA.

My advice would be take a free trial of Roon and compare it to MConnect. Roon itself is pretty awesome. But I admit the reports of better SQ direct from Tidal is disconcerting. But listening for yourself is the best way to decide.

Cheers,

Alan


#5

Maybe Roon SQ depends on whether you stream music or play directly off a hard drive. I do the latter only (Tidal didn’t have much to offer me since I have a 1,000 album collection aggregated over 35 years). All my digital music is ripped losslessly (AIFF) off CDs but I keep and store the CDs as a permanent back-up. SQ is, to my ears, superb, using my DSJ with RedCloud…


#6

Agree with BigAl, give Roon a try. Tidal streaming and MQA are well integrated with the B II. You won’t find a better user experience and I doubt you will find any small difference in SQ worth the pain most of the time. For really critical listening, I bypass the B II anyway and either use the DMP playing discs or stream directly to the DSD via a USB to I2S converter.


#7
BigAlMc said

Given the Op asked how to best stream Tidal & MQA for the best SQ I’m not sure how Spotify MP3 counts as a recommendation?

Read what I said as meaning, open your eyes and ears to other options. I also have a Directstream Memory Player. I might have used it for less than 20 hours in a whole year. Spotify plays through my DS maybe 2,000 hours per year. Now DS can render Spotify without the need for another box. Go figure. Happy days.

And I’d better tell Ted that there is something wrong with my DS as it’s reporting Spotify as WAV PCM 44.1 and not MP3. And I’ve just noticed as each new song starts the artist and song title is briefly rendered on the display. Nice.


#8
damcats said

I am receiving a network bridge II today for my new DS. What is the best software to use for most optimum sound quality to play Tidal MQA and to stream from my NAS drive. I have read on this forum that Roon SQ is an issue. Is MConnect the best option for this? Are their other options that allow top SQ and can stream Tidal MQA and NAS based files and can be controlled on iOS? Thanks


After Roon 1.4 there still is a significant different IMHO between it and MControl MPD playback, playing both from a NAS to BII. But yes Roon UI is so much nicer I use it mainly. Spotify P is convenient and great radio selections but most agree sq not up to the others. So to answer your question, MControlHD (or probably MConnectHD) but don’t know of other choices if you want iOS control.

#9

Help. I am using MConnect Control on iOS and I cannot figure out how to add tracks to the queue. I only see add to playlist option when touching the three dots on the right of each track. I have looked everywhere…I must be missing something. Thanks


#10

Anyone have any ideas on my question regarding adding tracks to the queue in MConnect Control (iOS)? Thanks

David


#11

Hi David, as far as I’m aware you can only queue tracks from your library, you can’t include Tidal tracks within the queue - for Tidal you have to create a playlist.

To queue from your library, open the album and hit the symbol on the far right which looks like a page with a “+” in the bottom right hand corner. You then select “queue” , select the tracks you want to add and hit “done”.

If you want to edit the queue, select “queue” and hit the edit symbol on the left (page with a pencil in it). You can remove items by selecting and hitting remove. Or you can change the order by dragging and dropping using the 3 line symbol on the right.

Hope that helps. Cheers, Mike.


#12
damcats said

Anyone have any ideas on my question regarding adding tracks to the queue in MConnect Control (iOS)? Thanks
David


I have the same issue and never figured out a solution. Between that and the utter unreliability of playing using MControl (stuttering, dropouts, skipping, stopping) has pushed me into Roon, for which I have about 50 days remaining on my free trial.

It lets you add to the now playing queue and helpfully tells you how much time is remaining in that queue. And Roon has never once failed to play reliably for me. You’d think that the Bridge itself, without the computer and extra software involved, would be the more reliable config, but that’s not my experience.

FAIL: Internet–>Bridge II in DSJr = unreliable playback

WIN: Internet–>Window 10 PC running Roon–>Bridge II in DSJr = reliable playback

Convers Digital did respond to my query and suggested the Bridge II firmware upgrade to 3.4.5, which I’d already done with no improvement. I reported that back and will see if they have any other suggestions. The difference between the FAIL and WIN scenarios is 1) a PC, 2) running Roon. Maybe there’s more buffering in the WIN scenario.

When it comes to sound quality, I’m at a loss to discern any difference. PS Audio claims that the tech in the Bridge II–>I2S–>FPGA in the DSJr should minimize jitter and noise related differences from sources, and my listening results are consistent with that.

I don’t really want to pay extra for Roon. While I appreciate the serious richness of the metadata, I find the UI a bit cumbersome and they don’t yet have a sure-fire way to identify MQA/Tidal Masters recordings in their listings.

That said, I’m staying with Roon for now. We’ll see how I feel with it’s time to pull the Amex card out of my pocket.

Happy Listening! Chris V


#13

damcats - (and BTW, Elk, who Herds all of us Damn Cats is likely getting a kick out of your handle)…

Holy…Crismus! There are so many different combinations of things going on in this thread so far (and we’re only a dozen posts into it) that it would take a multi-expert panel of representatives from the various products involved [PS Audio, Tidal, ConversDigital (the mConnect folks and makers of the Bridge II), MQA, NAS manufacturers, Spotify, bubbleUPnP…] - doing an online seminar to answer all the questions brought up.

Hence the notion Paul has that Octave may be a good idea. We’ll see - still (at least) a year off.

So - damcats - to put my two cents in on your first post, line by line:

re: streaming Tidal from your NAS (here I’m assuming it is attached to a computer)…the Tidal App on your computer is likely the best sounding means of playing Tidal MQA, IMO. If this involves different/better/worse chains of boxes and wires and inputs/protocols to your DAC, then all bets are off ; )

re: Roon SQ issue - only for the more anal of us (which includes me). I would say it’s a generally pleasant-sounding means of getting stuff to come out of your speakers, and I use it a lot when I’m not sitting in front of the speakers, and a fair amount when I am. When I am sitting in the sweet spot, I sometimes get the feeling the thing I’m listening to is not really happening for me, and I will switch to the CD on the DMP (even when I was listening to the same CD ripped to my server), and go…DUH! THERE it is! (Smacks forehead). So I would say it’s not for “critical listening” for the more SQ-obsessed of us. IMO.

re: Is mConnect the best option…other than it mostly/sorta working, where others don’t (it IS from the Bridge II makers) it kinda sucks operationally. Haven’t really done any major SQ comparisons. A loose subjective impression is that is sounds “clearer” than Roon.

I would have to interject at this point that anything I say about MQA-related subjects has to be taken with more than a few grains of salt, but that’s a long story. It has to do with not having any idea what you’re listening to. When you have a spare year, read the MQA Contoversy thread ; )

…aaand, last but not least - your last question in the post…too many variables and Questions-in-one to offer an opinion.


#14

Responding to Christophervalle regarding reliability of MControlHD. I’ve been using it for a year on an iPad and it has been utterly reliable. No dropouts, skips etc, always works fine. I’m not saying the UI is great, but it works for me and allows me to play tracks from my Melco music server and Tidal without any problems.

I did however have problems early on with dropouts using Mcontrolhd which I fixed by installing my Melco on a separate Wi-fi router which is then interconnected to my main home router in order to access the internet for Tidal streaming (and now vtuner radio). I’m not entirely sure why it fixed it but my conclusion was that the MControlHD instructions via my IPad were somehow getting delayed/corrupted on the home network (sounds dubious I know…). But since then it’s been rock solid.

I’ve never used Roon so can’t make any comparison.

Cheers, Mike.


#15

Damcats,

In theory (and also based on my personal experience), when it comes to sound quality and MQA via Tidal, the very best option is ConversDigital Mconnect Control app via iOS or Android. This is the ONLY way to play fully unfolded MQA music through the DirectStream DAC. Can you play partially unfolded MQA files through the DSD? Yes you can - Tidal desktop application, BubbleUp, Roon, etc. But I have found these to be inferior. Playing MQA via Tidal using the other methods I just mentioned gets you 2/3 unfolded and from my A/B comparison (through my system), it doesn’t sound as good as fully unfolded MQA through the Mconnect Control app to the Bridge II.

Keep in mind, I am referring to MQA specifically. When it comes to streaming regular Redbook quality Hi-Res tracks via Tidal, I have gotten very good results with the Tidal Desktop app and BubbleUp.

I also want to express my agreement with the others on this thread who are frustrated and disappointed with the Control app. I think it is pretty lousy when it comes to functionality. It lacks in more ways than I have energy to write about. But with MQA in particular, I have found it to be superior to all others.


#16
badbeef said

damcats - (and BTW, Elk, who Herds all of us Damn Cats is likely getting a kick out of your handle.

Yes! B

But the fact there may be many more - with only a dam holding them back - has me a little concerned.


#17

Thanks all. Happy holidays!


#18

I just followed this “How to” earlier today and I’ve been playing wonderful Masters music all day without a hipup: http://www.psaudio.com/ps_how/how-to-setup-the-bridge-ii-to-stream-mqa-through-tidal/

I installed Mconnect Control HD on a new ipad and just followed the instructions. No drop outs. The metadata is displayed on the DS screen. And like Jeff of Arabica said, there is full unfolding with Mconnect. There may be some problems that I don’t know about, but today has been great. Especially since my M700 amps are just breaking in. And my Magnepan 3.6 speakers, GR Research subs, DS DAC are all sounding glorious. One odd thing was that the last half of my Tidal playlist was missing with Mconnect.


#19

Day one with Mconnect was great. Day two: BridgeII does not show on Mconnect “Play to”. Any suggestions appreciated. I’m going to try to look at my Netgear R700 settings.


#20

Later on day two I reset the ipad. Uninstalled Mconnect Control HD. Reinstalled MC. BridgeII reappeared in Mconnect. It’s working fine for now.