Replace DSD bridge II with optical Rendu question

I was thinking of running optical ethernet to replace my cat 5 wire from NAS to my stereo (about 50 feet). I was looking for a ethernet to fiber box times 2 and some optical fiber. This would isolate the PSAudio DAC from my noisy computer etc. Well I called Small Green Computer and they are pushing me to buy a $2000 solution for a problem I didn’t have until the call. They have a I2S solution see linkhttps://www.smallgreencomputer.com/collections/systemoptique/products/systemoptique-ps-audio-i2s-bundle-opticalrendu-ultradigital-sgc-7v-linear-power-supply

So its Cat 5 to fiber to USB to I2s solution. Has anyone tried this? I2S into Ted’s Smith’s DAC sounds wonderful. It would replace the bridge II board in the DAC

Or you can run CAT8 and buy an EtherRegen.
Or you can run optical right into the EtherRegen. I use custom CAT8 cable with Telegartner terminations to the EtherRegen and it sounds exceptional.

+1 for the EtherRegan, although it’s recommended to get a very good (and very short) ethernet cable from the EtherRegan to the DAC.

On my computer room music system I am using an UltraRendu to Matrix to DSD Jr. setup, fairly standard Ethernet setup, and I like it a lot. I am impressed with Small Green Computers, they have some nice ideas and their gear is not overly expensive. What they suggest might be worth a try. Do the offer a 30 day trial?

I have been living with my EtherREGEN for over a month now. I fear that if I removed it from my system I might not notice it being gone. I suppose I could find out easily enough.

My point is I personally do not believe Ethernet is a huge noise source. I believe it is overstated as a problem, I have the gear to test optical at the moment but I have so little interest in even bothering with it. Maybe some day…

Since adding the magic RAL HDMI cable to my Matrix setup I am content to just listen. So unusual for me to sit still.

Update 05.08.2020
Update: Tonight I compared the EtherRegen -> Bridge 2 to the Matrix -> RAL HDMI with streams from Qobuz and Tidal plus locally stored Flac files. I was listening to Brian Eno - Here Come The Warm Jets and Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express. I could not hear the slightest difference between the two setups. Damn. I guess it’s time for me to keep quiet.

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I can not comment on what is better than the Bridge II since I have never tried it.

But I have made the transition from etherRegen > ultraRendu > Matrix > DS via I2S to opticalModule > opticalRendu > Matrix > DS via I2S and it was a difference for the better ( and that was with a plain old NetGear ProSafe switch to connect my STi7, LAN and opticalModule all via ethernet ).

Currently I am running the opticalRendu directly into a 3 port switch via SFP connection ( 2 SFP ports and 1 LAN port ).
Then my STi7 to an opticalModule directly into the 3 port switch via SFP connection.
And finally my LAN connection to a FMC > opticalModule > 3 port switch via ethernet.

I should mention that the Rendu USB connection to the Matrix is via Corning optical USB.
All components are optically isolated and on seperate power supplies.

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I tried an optical Rendu thinking I would replace my Bridge II card. For me I wasn’t blown away by what I assumed would be an improvement. If I didn’t already own the Bridge II card I would have kept the optical Rendu. But it wasn’t that much better where I wanted to replace the Bridge II card. You can always order one and give it a try. Mine came with a 30 day return policy. Also I believe there is a new software update from when I tried the optical Rendu.

This reminds me of one of Paul’s talks about USB vs I2S. He said USB is problematic. Your chain proves his point. That hugh chain of ethernet optical usb I2s is scarry! I think what we need is one box with ethernet in internally light gapped/galvanically isolated with I2S out. As far as I know, no such solution exists.

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I’m always surprised by anyone who prefers the Bridge II into the DSD. Its frankly a piece of garbage which introduces far too much electrical noise into the DAC. Worst $800 I ever spent. Remove it and sell it. Use USB. Yes its “problematic” but the problems are generally well understood on the server/renderer side.

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I am listening to mine this very moment and mine is anything but garbage. Hmmmmmm.

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You may find this thread of interest:

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I bought the DSJ in part thinking that the Bridge II would provide mR type performance. In my opinion, the Bridge II is simply inferior to the Sonore or SOTM offerings in terms of noise separation.

And yes, there are many who love the BII’s sound quality. I’m not one of them, but there are many. Which proves the ultimate truth of there being only highly subjective conclusions to be had.

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I got my DS Sr with Bridge II in 2017. My CD rips and purchased albums are on a NAS outside my listening room. I use Roon to play them, and the computer running the Roon core is also outside my listening room. I was happy with what I heard, especially with firmware version 4.0.1.

During Small Green Computer’s 2018 Black Friday sale, I bought their PS Audio bundle. It included an UltraRendu, an UltraDigital (USB to I2S converter), linear power supplies for both, a short USB cable to connect the Ultrarendu to the UltraDigital and a short HDMi cable to connect the UltraDigital to an I2S input of the DS. After hooking them up, I first confirmed bit perfect playback with the PS Audio test tracks. Then I used Roon to group the UltraRendu and the Bridge into one zone, so that I could play the same music on both. Compared to the Bridge, I heard a deeper and wider soundstage, more pinpoint imaging and less glare/harshness. It was easy to verify this simply by switching inputs on the remote of the DS.

Then during the 2019 Black Friday sale, I bought their OpticalRendu bundle. It included an OpticalRendu, an OpticalModule (ethernet to fiber converter), linear power supplies for both, a very short LAN cable, two SFP connectors and an orange fiber optic cable.

I initially left the UltraRendu bundle in place and connected the OpticalRendu to my DS Sr via USB. Again, I confirmed bit perfect playback with the PS Audio test tracks and used Roon to group all three sources into one zone (the Bridge, the UltraRendu and the OpticalRendu). Then I played music I was familiar with. Switching between inputs on the remote, I heard some sonic gains but not the night-and-day improvements I was expecting from galvanic isolation.

A business trip forced me away from my system for a little over a week. During this time, I forgot to switch off the Dectet where all my Sonore gear are plugged into. Upon getting back home, my DS Sr, BHK preamp and BHK monoblocks were off (in standby mode) but I had inadvertently left my UltraRendu, UltraDigital, OpticalRendu and OpticalModule powered on. So I had a listen.

Now, the OpticalRendu sounded better. Playing familiar music, I was hearing tiny details I previously couldn’t. It was still plugged into a USB port of the DS Sr while the UltraRendu was plugged into an I2S port via the UltraDigital USB to I2S converter.

Then a friend asked to borrow my UltraRendu but not my UltraDigital, so I decided to use it with the OpticalRendu. I plugged its USB output to the UltraDigital. That’s when I heard the best sound from my system.

@Paul likes to say music should appear to come from behind the speakers. I was now hearing that, along with a blacker background, more bass slam, an even more delicate top end and a greater sense that the performers are in my listening room.

So that’s how my system is, now. :slight_smile:

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I am very pleased to read your message. I just added some toys to my pile and I may try a slightly different approach. I am going to user an EtherREGEN, the B port to my UltraRendu. I will power it with an Sbooster with the Ultra MK2 option. Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 USB out to a Matrix, powered by another Sbooster, sadly no Ultra MK2 update yet. From there its Revelation Audio Labs HDMI to the DSD. This time I intend to pull out the Bridge 2 and disconnect any other inputs to the DSD. It’s going to have the RAL HDMI and a Shunyata Sigma power cable, and Wireworld XLR output cables. I am curious as to how that will sound up against the OpticalRendu. I can feed the EtherRegen with Fiber from my Cisco WS-C2960-8TC-L switch.

Hazard a guess as to how far off from your setup I might be?

I spend a very small amount of time listening to MQA from Tidal via the Bridge2. One of the heads of a very respected Audio components firm got up in front of our local Audiophile club. The first thing he wanted to share with us was in his experience the universal truth is that MQA is the best sound one can hope for. I think he’s a kook. I’ll take LP first, Qobuz FLAC and local FLAC second. Who cares about third. (yes, Roon is involved but not required. I just prefer it)

Anyway, loved your post!

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Thank you. I am also curious about the EtherREGEN. I can order it from UpTone but because of the current worldwide situation, shipping it to me will likely take several months. I live in Manila, Philippines.

Fortunately, the local dealer of this expensive product is a good friend. Based on recommendations from other audiophiles, I asked to borrow a demo unit with the power supply from the same manufacturer. They arrived around a month ago. I put them beside my much cheaper network switch, which is around 3 feet away from my Sonore gear and DS Sr.

Truthfully, I was not expecting any improvements. Besides, I did not pay for it - I merely borrowed it. In fact, I had mentally conditioned myself that there will be no sonic benefits at all. The “bits are bits” argument and so on. Plus, my LAN cables are nothing special.

I was wrong, there was an improvement.

My listening room is tiny. Just 14.5 feet long by 11 feet wide with a 7.5-foot ceiling. Because the speakers are close to the front wall, my stage depth is shallow. The singer and the band appear to come from a single plane just behind the speakers. I unplugged my LAN cables from my existing network switch to the expensive loaner switch and played songs I am familiar with. I was surprised to hear much more depth. The singer is the same distance from me but the rest of the band is clearly further back. No need to dim the lights or close my eyes.

Can I explain why? No, I cannot.

Can I reproduce the effect? Yes, I can. It’s easy, all I have to do is swap my cheap LAN cables from one network switch to the other. And I have been doing this at least 3 times a day for the past month. Yes, month. My area is under lockdown due to COVID-19 and everyone is staying home, so I have had a lot of time to listen.

Yes, I realize I am not doing a double-blind or an A-B-X test. Sometimes, I ask my wife to swap the cables but if I am doing it, I can see what I am listening to. I know this invalidates any result since it adds “bias.” But I cannot deny what the SOtM sNH-10g network switch and sPS-500 power supply bring to the table. Simply put, my system sounds noticeably better with it than without it.

In the end, I suppose that is enough reason to buy it. Now I need to find a friend I can borrow money from. Hahaha… :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

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I have been buying semi-expensive Inakustik Ethernet cables. They work, they sound better, sigh. Bits may be bits but magic exists. Or my ears/brain is easily programmed to hear what they want to hear. But then a friend says hey, I hear it too.

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Yes, in the end its what we hear that matters.

I borrowed two new cables from the local distributor. This


and this.


Before I hook them up, I will mentally condition myself that there will be no sonic differences, and that they will sound exactly like my cheap cables. I wonder if I will be successful. :laughing:

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I am seriously considering entering the world of streaming. I have gotten the NUC 7 and other bits and loaded it up with Roon Rock but I do not have the Bridge II board in my Direct Stream DAC.And I do not believe for it’s cost of $800 to be a good value for several reasons so I’m out looking for different possible solutions to feeding the the Perfectwave DAC a external music stream without getting caught up in some proprietary ecosystem.What would be some of my fellow posters here suggest to me as a possible way to pursue this endeavour any suggestions would be appreciated.

There are lots of solutions at different price points. SOTM and Sonore micro Rendu’s at at the top and my favorit cheap solution the Allo One Digi Signature.

I own the Direct Stream with Bridge II and am happy with it, but it is a proprietary ecosystem. The SOTM and Sonore do the same job but can feed any DAC with a USB input (including the Strata) and can be upgraded above the Bridge II in my opinion. The Sonore people have an optical Rendu that is very good.

Don’t get all balled up with the ethernet switch noise issues. You can end up with five little boxes removing gitter, noise etc and each of course requires a $500 linear power supply.

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Check out the lengthy “Matrix” thread here on the forums. Consensus is that it sounds better than the Bridge II and best bang for the buck in my opinion if your Roon server is close enough to connect to your Directstream through the Matrix (via i2s/HDMI). Matrix costs about $400. Add a 5v $50 ifi Powersupply and still a good bit less than a Bridge unless you can find one used.

Only downside that I can see is that you won’t have the convenience of controlling the DS volume directly through Roon via the Bridge II.

Although I have two complete systems using the Matrix including the expensive power supplies and the more expensive HDMI cables and the even more expensive USB cables I would be happy with just using the Bridge 2 and the EtherREGEN. Maybe just using the Bridge 2.

I enjoy my Matrix pile, but it is a mess and it is so expensive compared to buying a Bridge 2 used here from a confused Bridge 2 owner.

$450 is the average price for a Bridge 2. That much gets you a Matrix, +600 for a proper USB cable, +600 for a proper HDMI cable, +200 for a proper DC cable between the supply and the Matrix. Then there is the EtherREGEN to consider which is another $600 and maybe more if you believe the hype about it improving with a linear power supply.

If I had it to do all over again I’d stick with the Bridge and stop reading this forum.

LOL

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