Linux with DS DAC Sound Quality

How does the sound of Linux sound compare to Windows on the same PC/system?

Great question and I wish that I knew the answer. ted_b might be able to answer this and I am assuming that one is starting with an optimized install of Win.

It probably depends what player you are using. I am using the linux version of J River on my linux system, and it not up to par with either the Windows or MAC versions of J River. Currently I do not have a way to do a comparison on the same PC.


I expect Windows, Mac OS, and Linux can all produce excellent sound, depending on the hardware and implementation.

Most of my listening is from a Squeezebox Touch via Toslink – with a cheap active optical switch in between it and the DS. The music I get is truly wonderful. Yale has just taken it to another level again.

My point is that the DS DAC architecture is pretty much immune to jitter in the incoming digital transmission. The main thing you have to worry about is the other kinds of electrical noise which come in from your sources and cause all sorts of degradation. But optical cables carry zero electrical noise.

Using the DS’s optical input you get amazing results from any bit-perfect transport – they all sound equally good! And although it’s only specified for operation up to 96kHz sample rates, my DS DAC and a fair number of others are capable of receiving up to 192kHz PCM and 1x DSD (in DoP at 176.4kHz) via the optical input.

So give that a go with whatever sources are most convenient to you and see if you like the result. The only thing I’m missing is 2xDSD, which in practical terms is not a problem.

I am trying to move to a Linux based computer. Does DirectStream work with a Linux based computer? Are there any drivers required for Linux, like what we have to do for Windows based computers.

If you are using a new enough version of linux(3.6 kernel or greater) you don’t need drivers.


I am just in the process of setting up Linux Mint (Rafaela) 17.2 with J River. It will be a week or so before I get to try it with Bridge II, but with USB it’s working great. I had forgotten some things about Unix and SMB, and some stuff’s changed on me in the last ten years, but so far I am wondering why I’ve been paying Bill Gates for Windows licenses all this time. :) I have a a bunch of different machines that I use for servers, since I live in two locations and do some testing/playing around at both, so the only thing I really wanted to get figured out was setting up SMB on the Linux boxes so I can run an automatic file-syncing app from a windows machine to linux… for some reason name resolution on my LAN is still not working from win to linux hosts, but that’s a very small matter and simple to work around. Bottom line, it’s easy to set up. If you’re using USB for sure go for it, and I’ll try it with the Bridge as soon as I can and report back to everyone. BTW, J River is not officially supported on Mint as they developed the Unix version on Debian Wheezy, but so far it’s working fine for me, and I did not run into any hassles with the install, just follow the instructions in the J River forum, if J River is what you want to run. (I am sticking with version 20 for the moment.)

Having tried Linux and various build and ones optimised for Audio I found Linux to sound no better than windows when compared and built on the same hardware.

my opinion an optimal solution is Windows 8.1 or 10 with JPLAY 6.2 with minimserver on a control PC and a dedicated NIC to an Audio PC with Server 2012r2 with AudioOptimiser and JPLAY6.2 using USB to the DAC.

the Audio PC is critical making it in a way that produces the least amount of noise

using process Lasso on the control PC minimises any other programmes that could impact your audio programmes.

I have not compared my setup to the Bridge2 yet though comparing bridge 1 the gap is very wide so bridge 2 would need to be a huge jump which I need to try one day.

Bridge 2 if the sound is same would be the easiest solution to implement and cheapest

Johno, Thanks. So far in my brief listening I also have not found Linux to sound any better than Windows 7 or 8.1, but it’s no worse, and it’s free. I started to install Server 2012r2 on my main server but realized that there are no NIC drivers for Intel desktop mb’s, which is beyond annoying. Now that Bridge II has come to fruition, though, I can install a PCIE NIC card in my one expansion slot and give it another go, and will try AudioOptimiser too.

@Johno: While better sounding, Bridge II needs to be fed a good signal, just like the first Bridge. The server still matters. From my own putzing about with my server I, too, am convinced that making the device “quiet” both software-wise and electrically makes a substantial difference. I can’t say why this is with any confidence, just guesswork, but it does improve the sound considerably. My next step is to set up a dual PC like yours.