My upcoming purchase of a Bridge II and the joys of setup

wglenn said What sort of noises are you hearing, and when? Control points are not at their peak yet, I'm afraid. Mconnect could be a lot better. sad-029_gif
Almost white-noisish is the best I can describe it as. Low but audible. I'm reserving full judgement until I do more troubleshooting. I'm having other network issues that may necessitate replacing my almost eight-year old Airport Extreme.

The cover art popped right up on the Bridge screen after I inserted an SD card, so that’s done.

Hmmm. Sounds like a good question for His Holiness, Sir Ted of Seattle. Wireless routers do have a lifespan and a new one can perk up your wireless performance considerably. Not sure if that will affect the noise issue.

Be sure to add Minimstreamer under the “Packages” tab in Minimserver in order to play DSD (DoP). In the “System” tab, you’ll need to type in “dsf:dopwav” into the stream.transcode field (assuming your DSD files are DSF). This will allow playback of DSD with conversion to DoP on the fly and no separate folder for transcoded files etc…

Is he related to Sir Loin of Beef?24_gif

Sorry. Classic Warner Brothers for those who don’t know.

Apple AirPort Extreme, RIP (2007-2015)

I’ve been experiencing network issues for the last month. The dropouts I had with Bridge over the weekend, in addition to random disconnections, finally convinced me that the end of my long-in-the-tooth AirPort Extreme was near. Once I took it out of the mix, not only did my connectivity issues disappear, some of the noise I was hearing is gone. Still not gone 100%, but much better.

Step by step.

The bridge does sound amazing. Better than the USB ever was. Tonight’s program was Miles, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Mann, and Cachao. All sounded great. No dropouts. Even mConnect didn’t piss me off.

:-)

tony22 said Is he related to Sir Loin of Beef?24_gif

Sorry. Classic Warner Brothers for those who don’t know.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qtgm5g5Gyo

Yes! One of the more memorable of Bugs’ performances! Mel Blanc based some of his characters on some of the “characters” that worked at WB studios back in the day.

Okay, mConnect (free) on iPhone is pissing me off. More later…

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I’ve removed an offending router, repurposed the U-Verse router that was previously just feeding a signal to the Airport Extreme, I’ve installed a new AudioQuest Ethernet cable that is now directly connected directly to the DS DAC from he router. I’m still having dropouts when playing songs from my iPhone. (Yes, I know the mConnect Free app is not the best, but…)

I should know the answer to the question I’m about to ask so forgive me for sounding like a rookie: With MinimServer connected to the Bridge II via Ethernet, is it the mConnect app that controls the connection or is it Mac/MinimServer? If the iPhone app has a wireless connection burp will it bump the music off?

This is happening, on occasion, when I open an app on my Mac – unrelated to music, such as Microsoft Word. I have to press PLAY again on mConnect to start the track. The iPhone is on the same network as the Mac, MinimServer, and Bridge, except wirelessly. I have a 25mb broadband connection.

Any clue as to what may be happening? I’m at a loss here.

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I've downloaded two UPnP 'control point' apps on my Android device -- yes, I own of them there Androids but I use it strictly for work -- and I'll try them later tonight.

What I have noticed about mconnect is that if you leave the range of your wireless network, the music stops. It also constantly shuts itself down (music still plays) and requires restart to play new selections. Since it defaults to the iPhone for music library and playback device after each restart I find it even more annoying. This is the paid version. Argh.

My guess is that the music stoppage due to apps opening (Word etc…) is the result of internal conflicts on the Mac Mini. The dropouts may be, as well. The answer to the question of what controls (or interferes with) the connection is that it can be both. I tend to find that the mconnect app just shuts things down but does not cause dropouts. I say this because I have a dedicated audio server (PC) and never get dropouts so I tend to think that mconnect is not the culprit here. A quiet computer is a happy computer.

I feel your pain and your questions are good ones. I feel tempted to say something dopey like, “It all matters,” here because… because it just does. Software, network and hardware all contribute to gremlin trouble and the needs of good streaming audio require minimal “Datus interruptus” everywhere along the path.tongue-wink_gif The mconnect app is kind of a turd. Their hardware is stable but the control app looks like an afterthought and they really need to up their game in the stability or “connectivity presence” area.

wglenn said Software, network and hardware all contribute to gremlin trouble and the needs of good streaming audio require minimal "Datus interruptus" everywhere along the path.tongue-wink_gif
At my first job in the technology sector, twenty-two years ago, an engineer told me that the two ugliest things to watch being made were software and sausages. He wasn't wrong...

(Cross your fingers: twenty minutes and no dropouts with mConnect. I’m trying BubbleUPnP next…)

wglenn’s experience with mconnect is very similar to my own. It is particularly annoying that mconnect forces one to reselect the library and the renderer you want every time, instead of remembering your previous selections (which is probably what you will use again). BubbleUPnP offers you the option to remember your previous choice – much more civilized.

I run MinimServer on a NAS, not a PC, and I have no problems with dropouts. This leads me also to suspect problems with the Mac Mini. I do get some crashes when I use mconnect but not with BubbleUPnP. This suggests problems with mconnect, but as I mentioned before my iPad is old (first-gen) and can’t use the latest version of mconnect, so I can’t say for certain.

It just occurred to me that mconnect is available for Android as well as iPad. I will try mconnect for Android and see if it’s more reliable on my relatively new Android tablet.

I second everything magister said but don’t get the mconnect crashes on my Air, all is very reliable.

UPnPlay is the same as mConnect in not remembering the previously used library. I’d happily use BubbleUPnP all the time if it wasn’t for one annoying thing - UPnPlay by comparison is significantly faster when it comes to searches. But BubbleUPnP is definitely the most polished of the three.

Last night’s playlist was Chet Baker and the great Art Pepper. I played the two albums without interruptions on the Bridge II/DS DAC. The first was played from my iPhone using mConnect Free, the second from Android phone using BubbleUPnP. Bubble is very good. Nice interface and it was easy to setup.

Hopefully, the next time I get the “dropout” or interruption I’ll be able to isolate what causes it. Since the Mac is a home/work machine, I do a lot on it while listening. I’m thinking of creating a user strictly for music serving and not for any other activity. That way I think the network and memory will be used more efficiently.

In any event, the Bridge II/DS DAC combo is fantastic; they really are integral to each other – unless you don’t have any music files and listen only to discs.

Tomorrow I listen to my reference files and DSD using the paid version of mConnect on my iPad. Any advice on how to configure MinimServer will be appreciated. (I already added the DSD transcode instruction as previously recommended.)

-g

Glad to hear that you’re making progress! Some people (including me) report better SQ if they have MinimServer transcode files to WAV before shipping them off to the Bridge. You do this by adding something like the following to stream.transcode: flac:wav24 (you can change ‘flac’ to various other formats). It occurs to me as I type this that I detected improved SQ when I was using Bridge I. I should repeat the test with Bridge II–might or might not be different. The usual explanation is that doing the transcoding on the server (which probably has a more powerful processor) makes life easier for the Bridge since it doesn’t have to convert the incoming file to WAV.

However, doing this transcoding will put some additional load on the Mac’s processor. That might not be a good thing in your situation, if you are using it for other work while listening. In the end you may want to not use the Mac for both; I would suggest a good NAS. I’ve been very happy with Synology. Their software is good and easy to learn. Just stay away from the lowest-end models (the ones with the ‘j’ in the name) since these may not have enough horsepower to transcode. I bought my NAS planning to use it just in the music room, but have ended up enjoying being able to access my files from different areas in the house where I have run ethernet.

As far as DSD, if you’ve already added dsf:dopwav that’s all you need. Remember that B2 only does single-rate DSD.

stevem2 said I agree the trend with iTunes has been towards more bloat, less usability. minimserver (you also need to install the minimstreamer module and you need to tell it to stream DSD files as DoP) is free to try (it's donation-ware) and control point software generally runs to a few bucks. JRiver is more like $50 but you can get a free trial. They can both appear a bit daunting at first but actually aren't that hard to set up. Either one beats iTunes (which is not an option with the Bridge anyway).
Just set up my bridge this morning with Minimserver and Minimstreamer on my Synology 214+ NAS. Working great. My only question is regarding the "transcode" protocol for minimstreamer to do the DoP conversion. The only option I found was to from dsf:dopwav (if I remember correctly). Should I be concerned that there appears to be a wav conversion involved? I was hoping the Bridge 2 over ethernet would be the most direct, with less conversion. I do see on the DS DAC screen the input is listed as DoP DSD64 1 bit, so perhaps I'm fine??

If there is a better conversion protocol in the minimstreamer application, or is the one I listed the way to go?

Thanks,

Steve

That’s the one. If you have WAV/AIFF files on your NAS then the only conversion is the addition of a head/tail to the native file, making it DoP, and the minimstreamer package should do this just fine.

scirica,

You are fine. IIUC, the DSD data is not changed, but is disguised so that the network thinks it’s dealing with PCM. If you have a control point that displays info about the file being played you will notice that it says WAV when you are playing DSD track. But as long as the DS screen says DSD, the dac is actually decoding the native DSD. Think of MinimServer’s dopwav setting as meaning “I am fooling the system into believing it’s got a WAV file,” not “I am transcoding DSD to WAV.”. In fact if for some reason you did want to convert a DSD track to actual WAV, there is a different MinimStreamer setting for that—see the manual.

Boy, I really said that wrong, didn’t I? Sometimes I wonder…confused-28_gif

(Doctor said I got dain bramage. I don’t know what he’s talking about.)

After a rough week of medical emergencies with my mom I’m back, if only for a short time, coping with the best therapy there is: good music. Today’s selection is The Complete Bill Evans At The Village Vanguard. Playing it from my Mac to my Bridge II through my DS DAC. The double-bass sounds startlingly real.

More later…