My Experience Upgrading to the DSD

I’ve been a longtime user of a PWD MK II w/ Bridge II, and decided to upgrade to the DSD (probably near the end of the DSD product cycle). The break-in period is complete, and overall, I’m satisfied with the upgrade. But I have a couple of observations, and a couple of questions.

First, the noise floor of the DSD is appreciably higher than the PWD MK II, especially noticeable on my very sensitive Tekton Design DI’s. But the increase in SQ far outweighs the detrimental effect of the increase in noise. The noise floor issue can be mitigated through attenuating the signal, but every attenuator I’ve used seems to suck some life out of the music; even the DSD’s own internal attenuator. In the end, not worth it. I’ll happily live with the noise.

Second, when I added the bridge II to the PWD MK II, I was thrilled with the increase in clarity, and smoothness, etc… I figured this was because I was running the data stream through two digital lenses.

When I started with the DSD, I naturally used it with the Bridge II, and streamed content from Roon.Through the course of tinkering, I noticed that converting the signal to DSD64 in Roon prior to streaming it to the DAC sounded appreciably better. However, this also created the occasional “click” or “pop” in the music. Again, like the noise, the occasional click in the music (almost like what you get with vinyl) was significantly outweighed by the benefit of listening to the signal as DSD. PCM streams don’t have this issue.

For comparison, decided to link the DAC to my computer via USB. Using this connection, the clicks and the pops in DSD Streams seemed to stop. More interesting, the SQ when streaming over a cheap USB Cord actually seems to be on par, if not slightly better, than streaming over the Bridge II. In short, the bridge seems to be the source of the clicks and pops.

I have two questions: 1.) is there anything I can do to make the bridge II not introduce clicks and pops when streaming DSD signals from Roon?

2.) what has changed with the DSD when compared to the PWD MK II that would make the SQ from USB inputs be so close to the Bridge? It almost seems that the DSD doesn’t benefit a whole lot from a second digital lens.

Thanks!

What kind of files do you stream? That seems to matter to some. I don’t experience these issues with my DS Sr. and B-II. No DSD files or independent rate converting in my case though…

The DSD related pops and ticks associated with the Bridge 2 is a long running known issue, it has been for years. PS Audio is waiting, and waiting, and waiting for Converse, the Korean manufacturer of the Bridge 2, to supply a fix.

This is a much discussed topic. As of today, and for the foreseeable future, there is no fix.

Interesting… I’m obviously not an early adopter of the DSD. I suspect at this point, PS Audio’s development efforts have probably shifted to the next product. The B-II is old tech, no matter how you slice it. Probably makes more sense to put the work and effort into the B-III OR the successor to the DSD, rather than mess with the old.

What’s more important is what Conversdigital thinks about the B-II at this point. If they consider it an EOL device and are developing something new then that may determine how the respond to PSA’s request for additional fixes. Especially if the issues only affect Roon and not their own dedicated software.

CRich did you ever have a favorite firmware for your PWD or did you just go with the latest? What about filter? I pulled the cobwebs out of my old PWD and am setting it up in the upstairs rec room, sort of an alternate listening room. I seem to remember favoring the original firmware.

@radioclash I just Ran the most recent firmware. And I always seemed to end up on Filter 2.

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