Does removing the Bridge II offer a potential SQ increase for other inputs like USB?

Hello PS Audio peeps and fans.

So I’m listening solely via USB these days as adding the SOtM TX-USBultra lifted the SQ of USB above that of Ethernet & Bridge II.

Someone over at CA advised removing the Bridge II (if it’s not being used) as this reportedly can have a beneficial impact on the SQ the other inputs can achieve.

I’ve no reason to doubt this advice but I do like the backup of having the Bridge ready to be used if my USB path goes on the fritz.

Does anyone here have experience of this and any advice on whether removing the Bridge might be good for USB SQ?

Many Thanks,

I haven’t tried removing the bridge and listening, but I do know that there’s less noise from the bridge when it’s not being used, so it might not be as important to remove it as it might seem. As a compromise you might try unplugging the Ethernet cable, that’s easy and could possible make a small difference. (That advice is also true for other unused inputs.)


Thanks Ted,

Yeah that makes sense.

I guess like most things in audio I need to try it and listen.

The advice on CA was to remove the Bridge completely rather than just unplugging the ethernet. But clearly that’s a bigger hassle.

Also the advice does seem to be originally attributed to a manufacturer of USB renderers so I can’t help wonder if there’s a slight agenda thrown in.


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Hi Alan. Did you try Ted’s suggestion of disconnecting the Ethernet cable from the Bridge II to see if it improves SQ on the DirectStream’s USB input? If so, any observations? I have a Bridge II, as well, but these days I listen almost exclusively through an I2S input. I would not remove my Bridge II completely, though, as I occasionally like to play an MQA album on TIDAL HiFi, and I use the Bridge II to access full MQA decoding (I can achieve the so-called MQA ‘first unfold’ without the Bridge II by streaming TIDAL HiFi to the renderer in my Melco via Audirvana Plus – query whether the first unfold streamed into the DirectStream’s I2S input by way of the Melco and a Matrix X-SPDIF 2 DDC sounds better than the full unfold via the Bridge II?). But unplugging the Ethernet cable from the Bridge II is very doable in my setup, and I plan to try it during my next extended listening session (thanks for the suggestion, Ted!).

Hi Bootzilla,

Yup, I unplugged the ethernet but more for peace of mind. I can’t say I heard a difference but I also can’t say I really listened for one.

I resolved to try some critical listening with/without the ethernet, and perhaps with/without the Bridge at a future date.

It’s a long bank holiday weekend in the UK, so with any luck I’ll get a chance this weekend.


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I have not done any extensive comparisons of sound quality but I found that isolating the Bridge II by putting a fibre-optic link in the ethernet connection certainly improved SQ in my system. I also found that putting inputs not in use in ‘standby’ mode gave improved SQ over having these active, in particular those connected to video equipment (TV, DVD & Bluray players).

i don’t use the bridge II (i prefer usb + pc jplay) so i’m curious to try if remove it change anything…

Just changed from bridge ii to usb input to the ds. Bought an Intel nuc computer nuc7cjyh with 2x4 gb sodimm (4 gb single channel was not enough), wired it with ethernet to my nas with optical isolation, powered it from my p5 and connected it with standard usb cable to the ds. I use jriver 24 from ipad, made some small adjustments to jriver, wasapi or something, see manual. Very positively impressed with the changes. Much more slam, full spectrum body and dynamics. There are some more people who did this and as far as I remember, were all impressed, as I am. Only small drawback: no album art anymore.


Did you carefully level match? I’ve not tried this as I like my PC far away from audio gear but I may have to try it.

I did not do, could do, an a/b comparison with the bridge, but just listened at my normal sound level by my amp level adjustment. May be smaller distortion let me put the volume higher than before, not 100% sure, but i will check when the boss gets home… By the way, such an intel nuc is a very simple device. Very low power, only 10 watt, which saves a lot of energy compared to my 130 watt or so pc. Also, no graphics card etc. It is sitting juslt one shelf above my ds. All for 300 euro, will get it back if i sell my bridge ii…

album art can be on android or ios device which command pc (jplaystreamer in my case associated with minimserver on NAS)

How do you put inputs in standby mode?



Nothing very clever. As the system serves all our audio-visual needs when I wish to listen to music I switch off all the video devices (TV, Blue-ray player, hard-disk recorder) by putting them in standby mode rather than completely removing power from them. Not sure why but standby gives the better SQ.

Oh Duh,

I was thinking there was a secret menu on the DS :slight_smile:

Thanks for setting me straight.


i tried remove bridge: sound is very diferent (usb mode pc jplay), more rich in the highs. but not sure i prefer…

I’ve had a love hate relationship removing the Bridge card in my system. Removing the card greately increase treble detail but loses the rest of the midrange and bass that Snowmass has already mainly removed, leaving my system sounding like I’m using £100 bookshelf Speakers. But then when I put the Bridge back in I miss the clean treble. In the end I’ve had to put an old granite shelf under my preamp to get back mid range at the expense of a slightly subdued and less dynamic bass. I do wish that ps audio made an effort to keep the tonal balance consistent across releases. It’s driving me nuts!

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It would be interesting to know that when Paul and co choose a new release whether they have a Bridge in or out, if they use usb or Ethernet as all of these kind of choices make huge difference in tonal balance.

Sounds like there is a possibility of some noise on your network feed into the bridge… I am not an expert but the loss of “detail” sounds like a potential “grunge” issue. Have you implemented any ethernet noise reduction steps? Curious as to what others might have to say…

Hope you get it sorted (optimized) to you liking…


[Edit: I just realized that you might be referring just to the difference b/t having the Bridge card installed and not having it installed (whether or not it is used as an input). If that is the case, ignore the inquiry in this post.]

I’m not actually using the Bridge, I use usb only, this is the effect the Bridge card has on usb input

Hah! My post edit crossed with your reply. Again, good luck.