DSD Sr with MQA Streamer

#4

If you are determined to use the NAD as the streamer then you need to find a fully MQA capable DAC. The DSD is only going to play what it’s fed. So unless the NAD sends full MQA through it’s digital outputs, not likely, you won’t get it from the DS.

#5

Give Roon a try on a trial basis, if you have not already. Odds are you will never look back. My $0.02.

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#6

I bought a Roon lifetime subscription for $500. Great investment. I’m running my 3TB hard drive, Tidal, and Qobuz without a hiccup. Bridge 2s sound quality is excellent, and my library is ENORMOUS!
Only been using Qobuz for a short time, but, I think it’s got way more high res content and generally sounds better. Someone suggested it was because they start with better recordings. Very plausible.

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#7

Yes; great stuff. Roon 1.6 and JRiver Media Center (I use both), “feeding” my DS Sr. DAC and Bridge II from my iMac via Wi-Fi (to the router) and then Ethernet (into the Bridge) is producing the best overall sound quality I have ever had in my system.

Check out the playlists for Qobuz over in the “For Qobuz Users” thread, if you have not already.

#8

I second that with my eyes closed…!

#9

I’m feeling a lot of love on the Roon option.

Question. Do I need to have the Bridge in order to get Roon, if my Nad M50.2 can function as an endpoint instead? In other words, can I use the DSD Sr just as a DAC pushing Roon through the NAD streamer, or do I need to network the DSD?

#10

IIRC, Bridge II is what makes Sr. a Roon endpoint. But you can feed any digital signal from another Roon endpoint to the other inputs to the DAC. Bridge II not required (but I recommend it)…

#11

So the Bridge isn’t required for Roon, but you’re recommending it. Apologies for the newbie questions, but can I ask what advantages the Bridge would have rather than feeding the Roon signal from my Nad streamer to the DSD? Is it because a networked/endpoint DAC is inherently better on Roon than a standalone DAC, or is that the Bridge’s synergy with the DSD would work as better as a streamer than the NAD. I can see the MQA advantage with the Bridge, allowing a full unfolding, but I’m now looking at using Qobuz, which I tried very briefly last night and which will make the MQA question irrelevant.

#12

I keep my 3TB hard drive server in a closet away from my system, isolated. Having it on the network makes it available to play in any room I want, or even over portable speakers by the pool!

#13

For now why don’t you decide on Tidal or Qobuz before you spend any more money. You have to live with and use this system not the Roon enablers. While mConnect may not be perfect, and Roon isn’t either, it is much improved over the last couple of years and works with the Bridge II as it is supposed to with both Tidal and Qobuz. I use it every day.

#14

I use both Qobuz and Tidal with Roon. Mcontrol works, but not even in the same league as Roon. $500 for a lifetime subscription is a small price to pay, compared to components you likely already own.

#15

Contrary to what a hand full of you seem to think Roon is not the solution to every streaming question asked on this forum. Especially for inexperienced users or those without the time or interest to involve other gear in their setup.

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#16

dawkinsj,

Thank you for the response. I have to make another decision prior to Roon–whether to purchase the Bridge at all. My DSD’s on order (next month’s shipment), but since I already have a fairly decent server/streamer in the NAD M50.2 and since I’m pretty comfortable with the BluOS environment, I don’t know if there’s any advantages to do streaming via the Bridge other than the full MQA unfold.

#17

It could be!

#18

You would be correct. If you decide on Qobuz, which I have, then you are good as you are.

#19

Roon works great without Tidal or Qobuz!

#20

I have a contrarian point of view. I used Roon for a year, its a great library management solution for sure, the best on the market. In my, perhaps minority opinion, Roon doesn’t have the best sound quality engine and needs HQPlayer to bring it up to snuff, and that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax. I also much prefer not using the Bridge II which enables the use of the venerable Matrix Audio X SPDIF 2.

There’s also a lengthy thread about those who recommend removing the Bridge II from the DS. And to my knowledge, and in a category that doesn’t matter that much, both Paul McGowan and Ted Smith do not use the Bridge II for their listening, which is not to pass a conclusion upon the Bridge, just anecdotal.

Given you like your NAD, why not stick with that and add the Matrix? Then decide with a Roon trial if its library management acumen is worth the the trade offs?

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#21

dancingsea,

Thanks for the heads-up on Roon sq and the tip on the Matrix. Don’t know that I can use the Matrix with the NAD, as surprisingly, the streamer does not have a USB output, so it’ll be a digital RCA. The NAD does have an HDMi/i2s connection, but it won’t work with the DSD or any i2s DAC… There are conflicting statements on the NAD website and even a thread on the Forum here suggesting it might work, but I’ve confirmed with NAD engineers that it won’t support an i2s connection.

#22

According to the Stereophile review of the NAD M50.2, the answer to your first question is YES:

The sad death of Tom Petty at the beginning of October had me searching Tidal for Petty’s music while I prepared this review, and I found a playlist listed under “Tidal Masters.” The “Masters” appellation means that the files are MQA-encoded. Sure enough, when I selected “I Won’t Back Down,” the metadata indicated that it was an MQA file. I was feeding the NAD’s coaxial S/PDIF output to the PS Audio DAC, which won’t decode MQA data. However, the M50.2 performed the first “unfolding” of the data, and the PS Audio’s screen indicated that it was receiving 24-bit data sampled at 96kHz.

Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/nad-masters-series-m502-digital-music-player#4Eb1Hr3iZio6Wlue.99

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#23

“So the Bridge isn’t required for Roon, but you’re recommending it…what advantages the Bridge would have rather than feeding the Roon signal from my Nad streamer to the DSD?”

@stuarthartenhotmail-com: I can’t speak to any advantages compared to your NAD streamer as I am not familiar with it. Roon and the DS Sr./Bridge II combination play well together and sound excellent. Using Roon 1.6 with Tidal and/or Qobuz integrated into the library it manages really makes this a “we are living in the best of times” moment in terms of access to music. I recommend the Bridge because: a) it sounds and works great with Roon (and JRiver Media Center, my preferred “critical listening” music software for playing ripped and purchased files stored in my iMac); b) it makes the DS Sr. a MQA player (full-on “origami” on tap); and c) the combination does not require a super-complicated signal path (or separate renderer/digital player) to get a high-quality digital signal to the DAC. Others prefer to take the specialized renderer/player path and report superior performance that I am sure can be obtained.

Like I said, I am not familiar with your NAD but if it does everything you need, you may be very satisfied feeding Sr. directly (via USB?). Keep in mind that conventional wisdom tends to judge USB as a potentially (but not universally) inferior digital pathway to a DAC. This is a general issue, and the subject of great debate; not universally true depending on the specifics of one’s set up.

If I were you, I would grab a Bridge Ethernet card on trial and try out your system with a variety of configurations using the kit you have on hand and pick what works best for you. There is 0 risk in giving the Bridge a spin.

Maybe some others will chime in.

Have fun/hope this helps a little.