Anyone tried to put an optical network converter inline with the BII? I tried the kit from Sonore and I can’t get the Bridge to recognize the signal converted back to RJ45…but plug that ethernet cable immediately into my Mac and it connects. I don’t know enough about the conversion to and from optical to know why the Bridge II wouldn’t see it.
The Sonore optical module is gigabit ethernet. The Bridge II needs a 100Mbps input. You would have to use a switch between the SOM and the Bridge (which defeats the purpose somewhat). The will be a pruduct out soon from Uptone called EtherRegen that would take the place of the downstream SOM and hook directly to the Bridge.
Keep this in mind if you decide to insert some media converters in the line as well. Same issue if you get kit with the wrong “speed”. Although you can add a passive switch that is compatible in both directions to overcome the issue if you use gigabit media converters.
For now I went into a network bridge solution with the Mac and put the optical conversion between the switch and the Mac, and am using a Thunderbolt ethernet adapter to get to to the Directstream (i.e. the network bridge). The sound seems a little improved over the previous solution of both devices connecting through the ethernet switch with no optical isolation from the rest of the network. I think I’m preferring the ethernet Bridge II input over the various USB options, even with running HQ Player and Roon on the Mac. This is a long and hotly debated topic on ComputerAudiophile.com and I’ve tried many solutions over the last 2 years, but only recently (last 6 months) got my DirectStream, and made a house move during that same time.
To complicate, I have a SOTM usb “trifecta” but one of the main SOTM devices has stopped working in my move to the new house, and I haven’t bothered to get it fixed and retry all the comparisons with the Directstream (the DirectStream replaces a Schiit Yggy). So while that “trifecta” made a great improvement to sound through USB and the Yggy, I can’t replicate it now with the DS given my broken SOTM device.
My modified Mac Mini also doesn’t seem to be as “healthy” as it once was, as it seems to require a reboot every other day or so. Replacing it is a much longer conversation regarding the ever-evolving server options, where I will probably try to eliminate the Mac and go with a more purpose-built server. My bias is to see if I can stick with the Bridge II connection and avoid USB. Eupony Stylus has my attention as an OS but I will watch for developments there. I have been a Mac guy for 15 years but I know the prevailing audiophile winds suggest OSX to be the least great sounding OS available at these SQ levels.
Any direct experience in this space is appreciated. All new options at this point are in the mulit-thousands of $ so further experimentation is not high on my priority list at this point, given the SQ I’m getting already.
I should add that I own a fair number of Uptone Audio products including about 5 of their various linear power supplies, and it’s their Mac Mini mod I have in use. I have had great luck with their stuff. If true that they are working on a similar product for ethernet I will no doubt give that a try as I find their products to be super high value for the money.
Hi @parsons just curious which piece stopped working, I also have the SOtM trifecta and I love it but having the three boxes and all the cords is a bit irritating. I kind of wish I could have tried it versus something like the Innuous or aurender n10 as with all the cords it may have been a wash. Did you demo the SOtM vs anything else?
My SMS-200ultra won’t seem to connect to the network now. It seems to power on fine but I can’t “see” it anywhere, with multiple computers. I tried it with a couple different switches and different cables. My house move took over a year and I didn’t use that setup at the old house regularly enough to know if it stopped working there too, or if something happened in the move.
Two weeks prior to the move I also got one of their modded switches with high expectations–it didn’t work out of the box, and it was a question if they had sent the right power supply with it. The move happened and I don’t even know where the switch is now to return or try to get fixed. Chalk it up to bad timing but I grew a little wary of SOTM in spite of the awesome sound quality improvements I thought was getting with the pieces that did work. I’m “irritated” with the multi-box/multi-cable “spaghetti” that many others complain about too. I don’t want this to be a slam on SOTM…but I want to be clear about my bias as it stands this second…YMMV of course. I like the “simpler” Bridge II ethernet implementation although it’s not that “simple” as it turns out.
I should mention my other bias is that I love the Roon interface. I also have a Aurender N100H that I replaced with the Roon/Mac Mini solution, primarily because I wasn’t in love with the Aurender interface, and I don’t think Aurender supported Tidal at the time (could be wrong) although I know they do now.
I just pulled the Aurender out of storage and perhaps will try to get it up and running and do a SQ comparison soon.
Thanks for the explanation. I have been recently having the issue of my not being able to get into my sms200 ultra without rebooting my home router if I have powered off my sms for any reason.
I love Roon too and can’t imagine living without it. Good luck with the Aurender I just saw a w20 on eBay expiring in 2 hours for 6k which seems crazy but if I look at what I spent on my Roon Rock and trifecta it’s not all that different…
My semi-local dealer for some other products I’m considering is also an Aurender dealer. I did not buy my N100 through him, although he knows I have it. He thinks I’m crazy to suggest that the Aurender can be beaten by any Mac Mini solution, although he does not use Roon in his own system nor any of the rest of my USB tweaks. I also noticed a number of used Aurenders for sale now between Audiogon and ebay…maybe that’s always been the case as I haven’t been on the lookout for an upgraded one. I heard the new super high-end one at the dealer, and it was impressive but should be for $15K or whatever. Plus I was listening to a $100K+ total system…my home system, while very good, is not that level. I was not “blown away” but the level of digital improvement even on his system, although it was outstanding.
I am totally with you on the system cost and level I am willing to spend. If I had no streaming solution already and this w20 went for somewhere around the current 6k bidding I would think about it, but definitely not an option now
You can find all about the EtherRegen, including development details by John Swenson in this thread. It is a long thread, but full of useful info.
Thanks, I will watch that closely. Seems like they are close (or closer).