Question on DSJ Network Bridge


#1

I am sorry if this seems like a Noob question, but it is something I have been thinking about when considering purchasing a Direct Stream Junior to go along with my M700 amplifiers.

Currently I use a custom built music server that is direct connected to my DAC using USB. I run Roon Core and HQ Player on the server which is an i7 CPU, Gold Power Supply, 16 GB RAM, 2 TB of SSD drives, etc. The server is running Windows 10 professional. I keep all of my music on the server (backed up on the network of course, on a couple of different drives actually). The server has built in WiFi which I use to connect it to the network, with an external WiFi antenna that is mounted on my rack. I use the WiFi to do remote desktop for occasional maintenance on the machine, to copy new files to the machine, to adjust settings in HQ Player, and for the Roon controller devices to connect to the Core. I do not stream from my NAS or online, Tidal, etc.

The machine also has two high quality Ethernet ports which are not currently being used because there is no wired Cat 5/6 in the vicinity of the audio system.

My question is this, if I add a DSJ will I still use only the USB input or would I be able to run an Ethernet from the Music Server direct to the Network Bridge? If this can be done is there an advantage of doing this versus simply using USB?

Is there any other primary purpose of the Network Bridge other than streaming from a NAS or online (I have no interest in MQA, etc.)? Can I use it directly from my Music Server machine?


#2

You could continue to use the USB connection as is. Roon works with the Bridge as well, although I’m not sure about HQ Player (if you do a search on the forum you should find some prior discussions). The Bridge needs to be connected to the internet to get firmware updates but that should be possible through the server, assuming it is also connected. I use a Mac Mini with two Ethernet ports (one built-in and another using a Thunderbolt adapter), with one connected to my home network and the other to the Bridge 2 in my DS. Works great. There are some differences between the Bridge and USB. For example, the Bridge is limited to 192/24 max and DSD64. Many of us think the Bridge sounds better but that is not a universal opinion and likely depends on your setup.


#3

Thank you Steve, So it sounds like I could have both USB and the Network bridge hooked. Since the server is hooked to the Internet for updates (via WiFi) for both Windows and Roon it sounds like it should pass through to the DSJ, correct. If I have both USB and the Bridge connected to the Server I could possible switch back and forth to listen between them, correct?


#4

In theory, yes. I’m more of a Mac guy so I don’t know if there are any Windows configuration quirks. I used to connect my Mac both by USB and Bridge but that was mostly for when I was beta testing something or other.


#5

Thank you sir. Something else to keep in mind when I am making my decision to purchase a DSJ or not.


#6

It would be great if Ted or someone could weigh in on the Windows side on this. This may be one thing that pushes me over the edge to purchase the DSJ, if I could use it through Ethernet directly from the Windows based Music Server to the DSJ.


#7

Unless I misunderstand this isn’t a hardware question about the DAC but is instead a software question about the music server software you are using.

I (and many others) have setups where we can choose USB or DLNA (the bridge) at will. Since DLNA is a whole different ecosystem than pushing bits to a DAC via, TOSLink, S/PDIF, AES/EBU or I2S or even the more capable USB most programs have separate setups for DLNA than other outputs. Many use JRiver Media Center, we nerds are perhaps more likely to use foobar2000. I don’t know if HQ Player supports DLNA, but I suspect it doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use another program that does, even if only for DLNA.

People may choose HQ Player for a variety of reasons, but the DS and DS Jr aren’t typical DACs and many of the HQ Player features aren’t needed (or they are needed a lot less) than with other DACs. For example the DS (and Jr.) have better upsampler and conversions to DSD than most programs available on a PC or MAC. (Tho which upsampler you prefer for sound quality is a personal choice.) With the DS (and Jr) you may find that sending whatever you have in it’s original PCM vs. DSD, and original sample rate is the best choice.

As an aside, the DSJ has an optional Auto Input Select feature that selects the last input with valid data. This allows you to merely press play on, say, the USB device/software to have USB play and Press play on, say, the Bridge output software to play thru the bridge. I virtually never select a specific input on my Jr.


#8

Thanks for jumping in Ted. I am thinking more of Roon since it is the player software I prefer. So it sounds like if Roon can send it’s signal out the Ethernet port then it should work fine, and I am not sure if it can. I am trying to justify in my mind if it is worth moving from my current DAC to a DSJ. So I am trying to gather all the pros and cons. I really appreciate the help. This actually means a lot and will definitely go on the pro side. :smile:


#9

I just checked in HQ Player, there is a setting called backend, currently this is set at ASIO, and then the combo box drop down I have the ASIO drivers for the current DAC selected. In the backend selector there is also a choice for NetworkAudioAdapter. I am thinking if the DSJ is connected via Ethernet cable then this would show as a network audio device? Does this seem logical to you?


#10

There’s no standard for a NetworkAudioAdapter or for an Ethernet cable to a DAC. There are standards for UPnP, DLNA, and some other protocols over Ethernet to talk to a DAC. It’s likely that that’s what they are expecting, but I’d rather that someone who knows HQ Player answer. (I’m not a Bridge user - I have enough to worry about :slight_smile: )


#11

Thank you sir… understand that. I am fairly certain I would stick with USB from the server anyway, I just wanted to understand the capabilities.


#12

Hi Randy,
I don’t know if this will answer your question but,
I am using a Synology NAS connected to the Verizon router and from the router directly to the DSJ via Ethernet cable.
I found that using Ethernet cable was better than going wireless to rip the Cd’s.
I used Windows based PC to rip my Cd’s in uncompressed WAV format and store them in the Synology unit. I retrieve material using an AP on my android phone.
I found that a crappy old Ethernet cable I had laying around sounds much better than a very pricey USB.
Works great.


#13

The Bridge has a built-in Roon endpoint so, yes, you can use Roon with the DS Jr over the Ethernet to the Bridge. Or over USB.


#14

Thank you for all the input. Very impressed with the community support here. This may sway me to go with the Junior even though it is probably more of a side step from my current DAC then a big step up :).


#15

I felt much the same way with DSJ, being a side-step from other options I already have. But then they delivered as promised on the Spotify Connect end-point feature which meant I didn’t need to connect a MacBook to the DSJ any more. For me that felt like a step up rather than a side-step.