Remove Bridge from Senior - Better Sound?

I am just not using the Bridge card. So why have it in the machine? I use USB only.

Has anyone done this and got an improvement in sound? Can I just pull it out myself? What about the hole? I can always just run a strip of electrical tape across to keep dust out.


I keep wanting to play with it and get it going… but right now, I have nothing but complexity in my techno life trying to get my digital audio workstation and my digital audio interface to all work with my keyboard… then record MIDI and analog… on top of that, I must play in perfect time. Cripes! Too much!

Bruce in Philly

1 Like

Yes. Remove the Bridge II card and sound quality improves. I get better instrument/voice separation and isolation and maybe a tad more depth to the sound stage.

If you ar using usb the sound quality in no as good as I could be!

The USB with an ultraRendu sounds better than the going through the Bridge II card.

I am still looking for a quality I2S streamer that supports DSD128/PCM384 acting as an HQPlayer NAA. Until then, the ultraRendu does an excellent job.

You should be able to get a blank plate from PS Audio. Contact Jeremy and i am sure he can set you up.

The difference between USB vs Bridge is a topic of interest to me because I still don’t have a sense as to which is best - even though there has been ongoing discussion about this topic in multiple posts.

My understanding is that in order to obtain the best USB performance, one must optimize multiple factors at the server end - i.e.: by utilizing a proper USB card and tweaking other computer settings and by installing high-quality USB cabling; or by investing in a standalone server (e.g.: Aurender). Of which, any of these will require a decent investment.

From what I have gleaned from this site, the DS(sr)-Bridge(2) combination offers/provides the same level of sound quality as do the various USB>DS(sr) combinations. Perhaps there really hasn’t been a genuine consensus defined here?? I’m like the next guy (i.e.: obsessed audiophile) in that the bottom line for me is sound quality. If USB>DS(sr) does (can) provide better sound quality, then I will consider switching from my Bridge(2) to a USB set up.

Is there an area on this site that specifically lays out the necessary steps (and optional/recommended equipment, software, tweaks, settings, etc.) required to obtain the best USB interface with the DS(sr)?

Also, is there/has there been, any consensus as to whether the Bridge(2) or USB provides the best interface (in terms of overall sound quality)?

I personally do not have a bridge card in my DS sr I uses a Wyred 4 Sound Recovery reclocker and power supply isolation and Pangea Silver USB cables. I get excellent performance using JRiver on a dedicated laptop. I can’t give you too much help about the sound compared to the bridge but i will tell you I have seen that Ted Smith the programmer of the FPGA code uses usb in his set up. Dig around in the forum you will see some say the sound of USB is better. In my personal observation I would think that the bridge card could be detrimental to sound quality as it uses the power supply within the DAC and generates it’s own noise. It is going to be a personal thing.

I’d also be interested in any views on this - I’m not aware of any previous thread that has covered this. From my reading of various contributions in this forum, folk have found that they need to use multiple devices to improve sound quality from USB.
I have only tried USB via a Mac Mini, rather than a dedicated server. I found that the sound quality from this was not as good as that from the bridge 2, however I included optical isolation in the last leg of the ethernet connection to the bridge which improved the SQ. Again I did not use a dedicated server but a NAS running MinimServer.
As noted by sixpack1 the bridge generates its own noise which may adversely effect SQ. I’m seriously considering going back to a stand-alone renderer (ethernet-to-I2S) from Sonore, which is where I started before buying the DS DAC, and use optical isolation with that.

Opinions are all over the place on how best to connect to a DS. I’ve been a Bridge II user since the beta test but recently I purchased a Matrix SPDIF 2 interface that takes USB in and outputs in various formats, including PS Audio-compatible I2S, which is what I use. Even with a cheap HDMI cable I found the sound to be an improvement over the Bridge, and it plays DSD128. This is with the latest version of JRMC on a Mac Mini. Of course, you lose cover art. (Search the site for Matrix and look for Bootzilla’s posts on the subject for more info, including the $11 HDMI cable.)

1 Like

Thanks for the reply Dave and Steve.

Steve, Like you, I’ve been a Bridge and Bridge(2) user since ‘the beginning!’ I am interested in what you have done with your setup. I will research the “Matrix SPDIF 2 interface.” I don’t care about cover art on the DS, since I always turn off the screen when listening.
It’s been so ling since I updated JRMC that I forget if it’s difficult to back up the current settings (music files/library) . . . I’m still on vs 20 (if it ain’t broke . . .). I need to do the update. Any tips on ‘not losing’ what is already set up in the current JRMC??

Cheers! AND, Happy Holidays my friends!!!

RE: Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2

bruce-in philly, I apologize for hijacking this thread (maybe my portion needs to be moved . . .??).

Anyway, Steve, I did research the Matrix. Looks very interesting. My question to you: Did you have to tweak your computer (install new sound card, mess with settings, other tweaks . . .etc.)?

No. I just set up a new “Player” and selected the Matrix unit in Tools/Options/Audio Device. I use a Mac but most things work similarly on PCs (although it’s been awhile since I used JRMC on a PC).

You are probably automatically backing up your JRMC settings without even knowing it. On the Mac there is a JRiver folder in the Documents folder with backups organized by version of the software. Later versions can import your settings. Nothing wrong with using an older version if it does what you need it to do.

That is exactly what I did, but I have been meaning to order a cover plate from PS Audio to do it proper.

So Jeff,

Did you notice a difference in sound quality before-after removal of the card?

As I understand it… I just power down, pull the power cord, and remove the card. Done. Correct? If this is all, I may give it a try this weekend and, as we all should do, try it for ourselves.

I have all the pieces parts to set up my server to deliver to the Ethernet card… but I am so not into dicking with IT stuff anymore… it is just unfun. Plus, I see absolutely no value in it. No value in the album art on the DAC, none… therefore, why have an unneccessary digital components buzzing, radiating, and consuming in the box? Can;t be good no?

Bruce in Philly

I also have the Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2. Was using the USB input with Curious cable (w/regen) and Aurender Server - don’t have Bridge. Sound improvement via both I2s and toslink was a revelation. Took the DS to another level entirely. Some have said there’s not much difference between inputs. I didn’t find that to be the case.

1 Like

Glad you’re enjoying the Matrix, @cudfoo!

Yea it’s great - a nice step up from the toppingD10 I was using. Thanks again for the tip

1 Like

My pleasure. I forget, are you using an external PSU with the Matrix? If not, I recommend trying one . . . I am using a $50 iFi PSU and it made a nice improvement, so I imagine a beefier PSU would be even better.

In all honesty Bruce, I removed it for the very reasons you and other have stated at the same time I installed my other streaming solution. There was definitely an improvement in sound quality, but there is no way for me to comprehend what the removal of the card contributed. It just made all the sense to take it out, so I did.

Not yet - seems like they put some thought into the internal PS. What improvement did you get with the iFi?