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


The problem is that the effects you are ascribing to the bridge presence differ from system to system.
With most releases it’s easy to find some people complaining that the bass is better while others perceive it as worse, …

FWIW the tonal balance is essentially identical across most of the DS’s software releases. The differences that people hear are not tonality or frequency response, etc. but instead are the effects of differing noise interference (both conducted and radiated) in different systems. Very small amounts of added white noise can add resolution, very small amounts of colored noise can be very distracting. When noise isn’t in the audio band any non-linearities in a system can modulate it into the audio band: this is very system specific. When the noise is in smaller bands of the audio frequencies it may end up adding or lowering resolution in that band.

The “voicing” that people talk about is really just trying to find the release that does the least damage to the music, it’s not a hunt for some magic tonality, its a quest for the more accurate reproduction possible.


Your description points to “noise” on the USB line… there are many treads about reducing that - it may take some effort.


I agree with your observation (and Ted’s) that there seems to be some sort of noise issue. I just cannot perceive of how noise would come and go with the ethernet card’s presence if it is not being used as an input. Perhaps @tedsmith can elaborate – or others can offer some theories on (or a factual basis for) this phenomenon)…


The card itself is a noise source (and perhaps a noise filter.) People seem to forget that Ethernet basically requires a processor on each end: if you have a ethernet connection (even if not used) you have noise. There is noise from the processor clock, etc. both radiated and conducted. How that noise is perceived is harder to predict.


Each input (as well as other things) generate or carry noise. In an imperfect analogy, think of two sound waves from different sources -they can reinforce and they can cancel. If set up just right they can almost completely cancel like in noise cancelling headphones. Two inputs can also generate noise that interacts, and it can be difficult to predict the overall effect. Certainly not to the degree that you can predict which input is responsible for which effect when they are combined.

A reasonable approach would be to minimize the noise on each input, then test them independently (i.e. all other inputs are physically removed when testing the active input). Choose the one that is most satisfying under these conditions.


the bridge change the sound even if no ethernet cable is connected on it


Maybe the tests of different versions are made with a bridge card inserted, so the version choosed for upgrade are the best compromises with this card. Without bridge the sound seem clearer and seem have more energy in the highs, a bit too much to my taste so i reinserted the bridge, adios the high benvenudo the body and the musicality…


Thanks Ted, there’s probably little you can suggest to help, but Source is a fanless i5 nuc type pc with an unused Wi-fi module (maybe I should try removing that?) AQ Diamond usb. DSD output is connected to a Krell Evo 202 Pre via crystal interconnect. The only other thing connected to the pre is L/R input from pioneer AVAmp. I might try disconnecting that to see if that affects things. Any other thoughts without spending 1000s on various random bolt in things that some people rave about.

Many thanks


This morning I removed my Bridge II for the first time since installing it @ two years ago. I was not prepared for a dramatic widening of the front-to-back soundscape (this is on the I2S input). There was a noticeable widening of the left-to-right soundscape, too, but the front-to-back widening was almost shocking. So far, I have not discerned any sonic negatives from removing the Bridge II.


Very interesting. As a matter of interest, as a stage in removing the Bridge II did you first remove the ethernet connection to see if that made any difference to the sound quality from the I2S input you are now using? I ask because I found that adding optical isolation to the ethernet input to the bridge improved sound quality in the areas you describe.
What is the source you are using to connect via I2S? I’m contemplating going down the same route as you have - using an I2S source and avoiding USB.


Hi, yes, I disconnected the Ethernet cable from the Bridge II and left it that way for many weeks before physically removing the Bridge II from the DS. As I recall, disconnecting the Ethernet cable resulted in a sonic improvement, but in hindsight it was minor compared with the big change that resulted from removing the Bridge II.

I never tried optical isolation of the Ethernet input. Maybe that has a similar affect to removing the Bridge II.

As for I2S, I have been using a Matrix X-SPDIF 2 for over a year to convert USB to I2S and I am happy with the results. There is a thread about the Matrix here.


Thanks for the info, very helpful.
I’ve been looking at the Sonore products as a way of getting from ethernet to I2S, to replace the bridge as an input. They could not understand why I did not use the USB input: my aim is to avoid the USB input processing (conversion to I2S) in the PS DS DAC.


I was on the the same path after a long time struggling with the bridge II in the DS Sr. Stability, SQ and all the fw-update issues were just not satisfying at all. I removed the bridge and reduced USB to only one single line between my mac mini and the Matrix. The mac runs headless and the external SSD is connected via firewire, not USB. That is a surrounding where USB for audio transfer seems to work quite well. And the Matrix seems to be doing a better job on USB-conversion than the DS itself. Cannot explain why, but it sounds great!


I started out with a headless Mac mini, USB to Metrum Octave DAC, but then got a NAS so that all the general computing and the music library were remote from the DAC (Bel Canto then PS Audio). I’ve had no problems at all with the performance or updating of the Bridge II in the DS DAC, and benefitted from a progressive improvement in SQ with each DAC and Bridge firmware update. My ongoing aim is to maximise sound quality. So while I like the simplicity of my present setup (ethernet direct to DAC) there appears to be strong evidence (yours and others) that introducing some ‘complication’ could be beneficial for SQ.


Anyone feeling brave enough to ask Ted? :slight_smile:


Ted´s post here may explain it. Yes, I am happier without the bridge in my DS. Just give it a try. Compared to the DS Sr., an external conversion from Ethernet or USB to I2S is affordable and easy to hook up. No risk. But it is surely system dependent and worth a try.


This conversation troubles me. I have had my DSjr for almost a week. I have enjoyed listening via both USB and the built in (non-removable?) bridge. To my ear, the sound via USB is potent, thicker, and a tad more exciting than via the bridge. But the sound via the bridge is ethereal, pure, oh so very pure. Delicate perhaps. I love being able to choose from my chair which I wish to listen to. But now reading this I wonder if this might be just a DSsr thing, or is it something I need to investigate further? Sigh.
(Perhaps a potential cure for me is to stop reading these forums and just enjoy the sound and live in the dark about what I may be missing out on)


I would have to say - “be happy!”. Unless tweaking makes you happy : )

Good question though - is Everyone doing this Senior owners, or have any Junior owners done the deed (should be along the lines of pulling a ribbon cable or something, as it will allegedly be user-replaceable for the BIII).


FOMO (fear of missing out) is a universal and powerful force. Anything can be made better (or worse) but doing that often costs more and more money for smaller and smaller changes. The worst thing is that we learn to accommodate each new change and (like addicts) often need to keep making changes to keep that sense of newness, or achievement or … that motivates many of us to pursue more and more tweaks.

I don’t regret being on the upgrade spiral for a few years in the past but now I just enjoy my system for the most part (except, of course, for trying to make the DS sound better with each release via software.)


FOMO. I love it.