Ethernet w bridge, usb or hdmi input for direct stream?

I used to have lots of issues with stopping and starting of playback on my all hard wired Roon. I checked and checked, and FINALLY found one network cable with a broken tab. Since things worked ‘most of the time’ it was hard to track down. Once I replace the network cable end, things got very smooth. I do have issues with my Mac mini needing to be restarted sometimes. It is dedicated to audio, so I have uninstalled everything that Apple lets me uninstall. Still, running all the time, it gets itself in a dither and needs restarted sometimes. A Nucleus is on my wish list, but it seems expensive, and every time I look at them I get annoyed at the vague comparison of the regular and the +. Is it worth it to get the Nucleus+? Thanks again…

I think if you are spending that much money you may as well go for the plus for the extra CPU power. I’d also suggest upgrading to a linear power supply at some point to make it is clean as possible and using SSDs if you add internal storage. Obviously that all adds up in cost and you can end up spending 1k more on a decent power supply and SSD.

Hi jschander and welcome! I am currently using a windows 10 pc to serve up all my music which is stored on my hd. I don’t have a lot of music ripped. I stream most of my stuff from Qobuz and use Audirvana to do that. I am sure that if I had a dedicated machine for streaming that was built for only that purpose things would get better. However, I am waiting on that at the moment. I would suggest something like the Matrix to clean up your usb from your computer and then stream via I2S to your DAC. I am using a Singxer SU 1 atm which does the same thing. Cleaning up your USB gives a great boost to sound quality. I tried Roon for a year and thought it was great but not great enough for what I do (mostly Qobuz) to justify paying that much every year. That is why I use Audirvana now. It streams Tidal and Qobuz seamlessly. Much better than the Qobuz desktop app. It also will make it easy to find your bridge and can stream to it. I have the original bridge (not bridge II) and the USB with the SU 1 sounds better and is more stable. Good luck with all those new toys!
EDIT I forgot to mention looking at a program called Fidelizer. It is supposed to shutdown unnecessary programs on windows and optimize your PC for audio. It has a free version and may be something to try with your current PC being a little on the lean side with mem/CPU,

Give the latest Aurdirvana 3.5 a try when it becomes fully public. It’s currently in public beta for existing 3.2 license owners. The interface is greatly improved and the sound quality is really good. The problem with Roon, in my opinion, is that its sound quality is only mediocre on its own. So you end up paying a lot of money for a fantastic library management system, and it is the best on the market for sure, but with average sound compared to the other big software players like Audirvana, Amarra, and HQPlayer.

Audirvana 3.5 now has a pretty decent library management system, not quite at the Roon level, but really good. And its sound quality, in my humble opinion, even over USB converted to I2S, sounds much better than Roon. And the Audirvana license is a one time $74 fee.

Why would there be a difference in sound quality if they are both sending bit perfect signals? I can understand a difference if you are using DSP or sample rate conversion, or if you are using a dedicated streaming computer like a Nucleus or Innuos or something vs a regular computer, but I don’t see why the same software running bitperfect on the same computer would make any difference.

Thanks, euphonite - very good info! A couple of questions; what is “Matrix”? Is it a piece of hardware that would connect to the USB on my computer and then connect via I2S to the DAC? And what’s the Singxer SU 1? (sorry, still really new to streaming music. Where I lived previously for the last seven years, my internet was on a data cap plan that limited me to 30GB per month, and then every GB over that was $10.00… I had a bill almost $300.00 one month, and that was just due to using my computer for remote work, with NO streaming!!)

Grab some popcorn…

Audirvana, like the others, continue to tweak their sound engine. To my ears, 3.5 (which is a major update) sounds better than 3.2. Its less bright than it was before.

I’ve tried many software players, Roon, HQPlayer, Amarra Luxe, Audirvana, Fidelia, BitPerfect, Pure Music, etc. They all sound different.

Interesting. Personally I have noticed no difference between bit perfect playback on different players but I have noticed a difference between playback hardware i.e. going from a general PC to a dedicated one like a Nucleus. Perhaps it is a noise issue - i.e. some players use more resources than others and hence increase the noise level.

My knowledge level is far from that of the expert denizens of this forum. To my way of thinking, getting sound from our various sources, computers, dedicated music servers, etc, involves quite a bit of programming. Ted is an expert programmer and has programmed the DirectStream to process information a certain way. The Aurender is essentially a dedicated music computer, and its programmed a certain way. The same is true of all the software based music players. Someone had to program them how to handle the sound.

So moving with the assumption that programming is central to our whole venture, it stands to reason that the talent of a given programmer makes a difference, perhaps a significant one. Not only to functionality, but to sound quality as well.

Mix in a variety of personal tastes, and hence a broad market is created. All in part, with programming a central theme.

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FWIW Audirvana was originally a Mac only program. It has only recently been released for Windows. The Windows version is just out of beta and has not been updated to the latest ver (3.5) that dancingsea is referring to.

Thanks to everyone here that has answered my questions and offered their advice. I wanted to give you an update on my initial issue where Qobuz was stopping playing randomly on different songs. Qobuz Support told me that it was possibly due to the Qobuz Desktop player cache, and recommended that I clear the cache under “Settings”, “Cache Management”. So far that has seemed to fix the issue, but I am anxious to move away from that as quickly as possible to a different media player, anyway. So, based on all of your comments, it would appear that my best choice is either Roon or Audirvana.
Now, keep in mind that I am probably what you would call a “middle of the road” audiophile, so either one of these will probably work just fine for me with just a basic connection to my PS Audio DAC. (which will be delivered tomorrow!) I have read a lot on here about the Matrix, USB cables with separate power, i2S cables, etc., but at this time I would like some advice on a simple, low cost way to connect my computer (using Roon or Audirvana) to the DAC, which does have Bridge II) Thanks for any help in advance!

WIFI. Use your Bridge2.

I would suggest using the Bridge II as well.

@jschander: If you have a stable Wi-Fi network, Computer to Router via Wi-Fi; Router to Bridge II via Ethernet with Roon as your player/library manager is an excellent performer. Great sound quality and very stable in my experience. To my ears, Roon 1.6 provides a bonus in that it “does” Tidal and Qobuz better than Tidal and Qobuz (apps) “do” themselves. YMMV.

Not sure if its been sorted with the new Audirvana 3.5, but in the past, Audirvana did not stream well to the Bridge II. Roon works perfectly.

Thanks, I had heard in the past that SQ was better through Audirvana than Roon, because Roon actually “processes” the sound differently - any thoughts on that?

Roon does not process the sound. (unless you set it up that way). Read their goals. They are but an interface.

My impression, having owned and used nearly every Mac software music player is that each developer has their particular skill set. Amarra comes from Sonic Studios, a significant audio company. Their sound engine is really good, but historically they seem to have not given the Mac app the attention it deserves in terms of debugging. Though its not bad lately.

HQPlayer also sounds great, but Jussi the developer is not skilled at user interface and library management and has little interest in being so. He’s a one man band.

Roon is amazing at user interface and library management, but sound quality is not their strength. This is in part why they teamed up with HQPlayer, because so many complained about the Roon sound engine. But even so, HQPlayer has a learning curve.

Audirvana also sounds good, and does an admirable job at user interface and library management.

My only explanation as to why all this is, is that each developer has different skills and none rise to the complete package level we deserve. Perhaps this is part of the reason Octave is being developed?

These days I mostly switch between Amarra and HQPlayer, though I’m exploring the newly released Audirvana 3.5.

I know that’s their pitch but the difference in sound quality between Tidal and Qobuz (which says the same thing) is not subtle. Qobuz beats Tidal handily.