DMP vs Bridge II - with the DSD Snr


#1

Hi Paul and all @adminpaul

I have the DSD Snr with Bridge II.

If I played a CD on the DMP going into the DSD Snr (via I2S inputs and outputs) and compared that with a bit-perfect WAV file CD rip played to the Bridge II (which has the Digital Lens and other goodies), should I expect to hear any difference between DMP and the Bridge II playback? Both going into the DSD Snr and assume all other things are equal.

Has anyone done this comparison with CD’s and their CD rips (WAV or FLAC or ALAC)?

My understanding is they should be identical, based on the amazing technology built into the Bridge II.

If the DMP is better in this case though (vs CD rip played to Bridge II) can I ask what are the technical reasons?

Thanks in advance


#2

Em, I can only speak for my own experience. I did post my impressions of this when I did it in my own system. You can do a search for that, but long story short the DMP playing the CD sounded slightly better in my system than the BridgeII playing the same CD ripped. Don’t ask me why.smile


#3

I would second that - also, so far it seems that a disc on the DMP via I2S sounds better than a file played through the USB input. Which is why, at the moment, anything that I want to sound best (or I want to feel best about ; ) ) I rip to a disc.

The primary technical reason is the very large part you left out - the SOURCE playing the file through the Bridge. And in the case of the USB input, USB is inferior to the direct I2S connection. There may be other reasons why the disc playback is best - it’s a different chain - but it’s likely losses in the delivery TO the DMP.


#4

With my previous player (Marantz SA8003), I found that CD rips to uncompressed FLAC and played to the Bridge sounded better than the original CD. With the DMP, the situation is reversed; but the difference is not great and I enjoy both.


#5

That is probably why PS is coming out with a server with I2S input, you think?

Being new to this computer audio source thing it is daunting to try to start putting

one together. I have been feeling that at my age I would want to put all of my

over 2K cd’s on a hard drive mainly so I do not have to burden my family with either

keeping them or getting rid of them not to mention the 6K of vinyl I have. I was leaning

towards a Intel NUC but I might wait for PS Audio’s product. Beta test Paul?


#6
PSAF said That is probably why PS is coming out with a server with I2S input, you think?
Many companies are now coming out with servers and streamers of various sorts. PSA probably should have a product in this category in order to offer a complete lineup. I expect the sound quality to be excellent, of course.
Being new to this computer audio source thing it is daunting to try to start putting one together.
Daunting indeed; 3-4 years ago I was where you are now and I remember how much I had to learn. There are a number of products on the market that will rip your CDs and look up the metadata on the internet. These can work reasonably well for non-classical music. If you are a serious classical listener, they are not so effective. Classical CDs are less likely to be found in the various online database and (more important) the tagging requirements for classical music are much more complicated. Paul has stated that the PSA software will do a better job with classical, and I hope this turns out to be so. Also, some of these products give you little choice about format for your rips, for how to do backups, etc. Backups are essential and being tied into a proprietary system is IMO not a good thing.

I would suggest not being in a rush to purchase something right now. Take some time to learn about the issues involved with digital music. You will then be in a better position when PSA’s server comes out to compare it with others on the market.


#7
Em2016 said Hi Paul and all @adminpaul

I have the DSD Snr with Bridge II.

If I played a CD on the DMP going into the DSD Snr (via I2S inputs and outputs) and compared that with a bit-perfect WAV file CD rip played to the Bridge II (which has the Digital Lens and other goodies), should I expect to hear any difference between DMP and the Bridge II playback? Both going into the DSD Snr and assume all other things are equal.

Has anyone done this comparison with CD’s and their CD rips (WAV or FLAC or ALAC)?

My understanding is they should be identical, based on the amazing technology built into the Bridge II.

If the DMP is better in this case though (vs CD rip played to Bridge II) can I ask what are the technical reasons?

Thanks in advance


And I can third and fourth that. DMP sounds better with the right HDMI cable in the I2S input. Probably because it has the advantage of being external, but I don’t quite know. It is slightly better.

#8
magister said
I would suggest not being in a rush to purchase something right now. Take some time to learn about the issues involved with digital music. You will then be in a better position when PSA's server comes out to compare it with others on the market.
Yes Thanks, I am going to wait for a while. I am still figuring out how to just play Tidal to the JR through the ethernet from my router and computer in another room. I think I know how from the how to forum, Tidal/Bubbleunp on computer wfi(?) to router cat5 to JR control app on phone, just havent had time to download and try it.

#9
Paul McGowan said
DMP sounds better with the right HDMI cable in the I2S input.
Care to share what the current "right" HDMI cable is?

#10
Paul McGowan said
Em2016 said Hi Paul and all @adminpaul

I have the DSD Snr with Bridge II.

If I played a CD on the DMP going into the DSD Snr (via I2S inputs and outputs) and compared that with a bit-perfect WAV file CD rip played to the Bridge II (which has the Digital Lens and other goodies), should I expect to hear any difference between DMP and the Bridge II playback? Both going into the DSD Snr and assume all other things are equal.

Has anyone done this comparison with CD’s and their CD rips (WAV or FLAC or ALAC)?

My understanding is they should be identical, based on the amazing technology built into the Bridge II.

If the DMP is better in this case though (vs CD rip played to Bridge II) can I ask what are the technical reasons?

Thanks in advance

And I can third and fourth that. DMP sounds better with the right HDMI cable in the I2S input. Probably because it has the advantage of being external, but I don’t quite know. It is slightly better.

Thanks Paul and all others for sharing their experiences.

I’m quite ok with the “but I don’t quite know (why)” part !

For people that play physical disks like CD’s and SACD’s, the DMP is a match made in heaven with the DSD Snr.

But since I only play CD rips and HiRes downloads, I think this comment that the DMP is slightly better (as others have said) is a great compliment to the Bridge II !


#11

Allow me to be the slight contrarian here. But first, I would strongly recommend you go to the DMP beta review thread. This topic is discussed frequently and at some length.

In my experience, I thought that DMP playback had greater micro-detail, but a narrower soundstage when I first began testing. That soundstage eventually opened up, and several smart folks here wondered how this could be, inasmuch as the DMP is essentially an all-digital device. Ted and others had some speculation, but all I know is what I heard. When the DMP rolled out, the possible differences between DMP & Bridge were front and center for many of us. Paul noted that to his ears, the Bridge sounded slightly more veiled when compared to the DMP. This was the focus of my listening tests. My primary NAS is a Synology 2416RP+ with 6gb RAM and 64tb of storage. Roon runs on this server on the SSD drives. I have a second Synology running MinimServer for comparison, and for serving another DAC. The server and switches are optically isolated from the DS/Bridge. The entire audio chain is a on a separate subnet of the network, with STP and QoS optimized for audio.

It was the DMP that led me to some of these improvements because, indeed, with some recordings, the original disc seemed to have more clarity. I wanted to find out why, and to at least eliminate all possibilities other than “the Bridge and the DMP are two different transports with different computational capabilities.” Once I finished that process, network file playback through the DS, at least in my system, is audibly equivalent to the DS. And I have all the advantages of network playback and the Roon interface, with the noisy components isolated in a different location, and discs stored but accessible when I want to play them.

I still listen to the DMP, especially with a new disc, or when a friend visits, and when I simply want the experience of leaning back and ignoring the Roon environment. I was so impressed with the DMP that I decided, of course, to keep it, and to add a UMT to my MSB Select DAC which I use with my headphones.

Small clarification of something that @badbeef wrote: The primary technical reason is the very large part you left out – the SOURCE playing the file through the Bridge. And in the case of the USB input, USB is inferior to the direct I2S connection. There may be other reasons why the disc playback is best – it’s a different chain – but it’s likely losses in the delivery TO the DMP.
When I first read this, I thought badbeef was equating playing through the Bridge with playing through USB. I don't think that is what he meant, but I could be wrong. He is absolutely right about the source, and almost everything in between the source and the Bridge. Bits are indeed bits, but the computational treatment, timing [jitter], and noise associated with those bits matter. Audibly. Bridge playback, with a properly delivered source over a robust network is competitive with the DMP in my experience. In fact, I can no longer consistently discern the difference between the two. Cable differences in my speaker system produce far more variation.

#12
pmotz said
Paul McGowan said
DMP sounds better with the right HDMI cable in the I2S input.

Care to share what the current “right” HDMI cable is?


The stock one that comes with DMP for starters…

#13

Paul, more so than one of your HDMI-12? I do like the stock cable but thought I heard a slight improvement with the HDMI-12. Actually I am using the stock one with the DMP since I need a 1M cable (the HDMI-12) for my NPC. The HDMI-12 cables are harder to find than hens teeth!


#14

palerider said: “When I first read this, I thought badbeef was equating playing through the Bridge with playing through USB.”

Nope - sorry if that was unclear. It’s that it’s one of the two external inputs.

There are three ways to get files to go through the DMP: Disc (internally), ethernet and USB (externally). I was trying to suggest that the internal path seems to sound best, and that makes sense when you think of what the same file has to go through to get to the same place inside the DMP via the external inputs.

I’d say it’s generally accepted around here that the Bridge II is better than USB. As we saw recently with the LANRover, USB is fraught with issues. When you tame them, it’s pretty darn good.

With the Bridge, the sheer volume (and variety) of gear and cabling that often feeds it is clearly a potential sonic disadvantage compared with the direct internal connection between the disc drive and the guts of the DMP. pr, I’m frankly impressed that you got that long list of gear to sound even CLOSE to a disc in the DMP!

This is the thing that caught my fancy partway through the beta - I went into it feeling, “no way I want to give up the convenience of Roon and server to start playing shiny discs again! I sure hope the server via Bridge is as good.” But then the experience of choosing physical discs became surprisingly fun and involving - I found myself listening to stuff I never find via Roon. It’s just a completely different process, much more like vinyl playback. Plus it has the advantage of not having to interact, tweak, and fret over computers or screens. Especially once the DMP interface proved problematic. I use it like a primitive disc player. Open, close, play, pause, stop. That’s about it.

I second the comment someone made about DMP V.2 needing a basic row of hard buttons. I think I posted to that effect Week One of the beta. Plus a “close AND play” button, or the ability to do two button pushes that it executes sequentially. So you could load, walk away and sit down, and that’s it. The less distraction from listening, the better.


#15
palerider said Allow me to be the slight contrarian here . . . [long quote deleted]
THanks for this, great feedback.

I wanted to leave software out of it because it’s already discussed in great detail in many other threads on all the forums but I know it can’t be ignored - I myself have heard great differences, even between lots of the bit perfect programs.

I also deliberately left USB (and all other DSD Snr digital inputs) out of my opening post and mentioned only I2S - the Bridge II is an I2S connection as is the DMP (via HDMI cable) so that’s a bit more of a better direct comparison.

Assuming one has found the “right” software and configuration and have a good low-noise and robust home network as you mentioned , your last paragraph is another huge complement to the Bridge II, for those of us that only do file playback (like me).

Appreciate the feedback again :slight_smile:


#16
badbeef said

There are three ways to get files to go through the DMP: Disc (internally), ethernet and USB (externally). I was trying to suggest that the internal path seems to sound best, and that makes sense when you think of what the same file has to go through to get to the same place inside the DMP via the external inputs.

With the Bridge, the sheer volume (and variety) of gear and cabling that often feeds it is clearly a potential sonic disadvantage compared with the direct internal connection between the disc drive and the guts of the DMP.

I second the comment someone made about DMP V.2 needing a basic row of hard buttons. I think I posted to that effect Week One of the beta. Plus a “close AND play” button, or the ability to do two button pushes that it executes sequentially. So you could load, walk away and sit down, and that’s it. The less distraction from listening, the better.

Okay, now I am confused. confused "Files to go through the DMP"? Do you mean the DS? File playback through the Bridge is directly into the DS as I2S data. And I thought Ethernet into the DMP was only for disc data. Yes, the DMP connects directly to the I2S bus, but effectively, so does the Bridge. No? However, the Bridge and the DMP are doing two very different things, and I suspect that the DMP's technology is significantly more modern than the Bridge. We've learned that computational horsepower, power supplies, isolation, adjacency, can all impact SQ. But the variety of equipment that can be used to get musical files to the DS over the network need not be a sonic advantage. Can be, but doesn't have to be. Anyway, I suspect that buried in this explanation from the Bridge page is some of the reason why the DMP might enjoy an advantage, at least at the starting line:
Under the hood of the Bridge is a powerful high-resolutiontrue asynchronous parallel approachbased on 32 bit architecture with the core processor running at 500mHz and 256mB of high speed DDR memory.

The data, which can be up to 192kHz 32 bits, is clocked into a custom Complex Programmable Logic Device that organizes each of the 32 bit frames into the requisite I2S format. That I2S data is then clocked out with extremely low jitter fixed frequency asynchronous clocks and into the PWD through high speed buffers isolated by a separate power supply.

And I completely agree with your last suggestion. One touch close & play.

#17

pr - yeah, total brain fart on the Bridge being in the DMP - not!


#18

drinking-39_gif


#19
palerider said ....................................... I have a second Synology running MinimServer for comparison, and for serving another DAC. The server and switches are optically isolated from the DS/Bridge. The entire audio chain is a on a separate subnet of the network, with STP and QoS optimized for audio.

It was the DMP that led me to some of these improvements because, indeed, with some recordings, the original disc seemed to have more clarity. I wanted to find out why, and to at least eliminate all possibilities other than “the Bridge and the DMP are two different transports with different computational capabilities.” Once I finished that process, network file playback through the DS, at least in my system, is audibly equivalent to the DS. And I have all the advantages of network playback and the Roon interface, with the noisy components isolated in a different location, and discs stored but accessible when I want to play them.

… I thought badbeef was equating playing through the Bridge with playing through USB. I don’t think that is what he meant, but I could be wrong. He is absolutely right about the source, and almost everything in between the source and the Bridge. Bits are indeed bits, but the computational treatment, timing [jitter], and noise associated with those bits matter. Audibly. Bridge playback, with a properly delivered source over a robust network is competitive with the DMP in my experience. In fact, I can no longer consistently discern the difference between the two. Cable differences in my speaker system produce far more variation.


Hi palerider

This is a very helpful post. I’ve been following the reviews of the beta DMP and hoping to find a census on the relative SQ of the DMP and the Bridge II, but without success - opinions range from ‘DMP is better: no contest’ through to ‘cannot tell the difference’.

I think you’ve probably hit the nail on the head as regards the Bridge II: your efforts to isolate it from upstream noise result in SQ comparable with that from the DMP. As you may recall I’ve been down a similar route with optical isolation for the DS DAC and noted the SQ benefits.

I’m now less convinced that an upgraded bridge (probably stand-alone box) with an FPGA implementation of the lens technology from the DMP, which I mooted early in the DMP beta review thread, would bring significant improvement in SQ … but I could be wrong of course.

Any comments Paul?


#20

Wish I could say that was the excuse! Attempting to atone for the Holidays party_gif I suppose I could be forgiven for thinking of the DMP/DSDAC as one thing… maybe I’d think more clearly if I had a beer…

So to get back on track with the thread, I had been pondering the advantage the DMP’s disc drive may have over its USB input - in that it doesn’t have to convert from USB to I2S.

With the DMP vs. Bridge, we’re comparing one External device (DMP) connected to the DSDac via I2S, with another External device (Server setup of your choice) connected to the Bridge by ethernet, which THEN is assumedly also connected internally by I2S. Paul mentioned the DMPs potential advantage being that it is external (while the Bridge is built-in). But it’s an external I2S device, while your Server is not.

So two pretty different cases/questions as far as internal and external advantages.

[Sidebar: So, Paul - is your upcoming server then essentially an External Bridge with I2S output, and this will then be superior to the internal Bridge?]

I’d personally guess it’s a case of simpler is better. Really takes a lot of expense and messing around to get a server setup that outputs a signal as unsullied as that read off the disc in the DMP.

So to get back to answering the question, Em2016 (and other threads), if you’re thinking about getting into computer audio and have a lot of discs, and are used to that, and have/are getting a DMP with DSDAC - the EASY way to the best sound is to keep playing discs. If you are INTERESTED in computers and LIKE all of the fussing around required (assuming you are rolling your own vs. buying a dedicated, purpose-built server) you MAY want to see what Paul comes up with, as it will likely have an I2S out to connect to your DSDAC. (Sadly the Jr. Only has the one I2S input).

Computer audio is definitely worth it in terms of organization and search and so on, though I do seem to find completely different things to listen to when I’m searching through piles of discs with my hands and looking at them in meatspace vs. searching a database on a screen. (Advantage - Reality)