Roon Nucleus via USB or Ethernet w/Bridge II

Getting ready to order DS and not sure whether to go with Bridge or connect directly via USB from Roon Nucleus. Currently Roon is connected to Oppo 205 via USB. Insights welcome.

I would start off with what you have and see if it suits you. If not look for a used Bridge II or alternative device like a Lumin U1 Mini or Aries G1.

If you have a Tidal Hifi subscription and you want Full MQA Decoding from the DS, you will need to get the Bridge II and stream all Tidal through the Bridge.

I use both with Roon. The bridge gives me MQA which is nice. I don’t think I have a strong preference for either. I enjoy both.

I use USB -> Matrix I2S -> DSD Sr.
Or the Bridge 2.

I’m gonna sound like a broken record, but now I clearly prefer Ethernet into the Bridge II over the USB input these days. I never thought that Ethernet could be better than USB, but adding the Uptone Audio Ether REGEN switch was a real game changer. My USB chain is Roon Nucleus+ > Synergistic Atmosphere Reference USB > Uptone ISO REGEN (powered by LPS-1.2) > Curious Evolved USB > DSD Sr. Sounds fantastic. With the ER, the sound from the Bridge II using just AQ Cinnamon is in a completely different league. I very seldom listen to USB anymore and should just sell the associated gear.

This suggests from the work Paul and Ted are doing on the Octave server should pay huge sonic dividends. Exciting times…

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Hey Andy, Just so I have your setup clear, the Nucleus+ is connected along with the incoming ethernet on the A side of the Ether Regen and the single output on the B side is straight to the Bridge II?
Edit: Can the Ether Reg be used backwards with the ethernet feed going into the single B side and the A side with the four outputs one feeding the Bridge II and the one other feeding the Nucleus+?

My guess is it can be “used” bidirectionally, but you’d lose the benefit of isolation for the feed into the Bridge.

Reason I’m asking is I noticed this on the product description:
" The circuitry across the ADIM™ (moat) is designed to eliminate the signal-borne phase-noise from one side to the other. EtherREGEN is mostly symmetrical—there is no “dirty side” or “clean side.” While it works identically in both directions, it is best to have the DAC-attached Ethernet endpoint device (computer/streamer/etc.) alone on one side—typically the ‘B’ side."
What do you think?

I was looking for that prior to my post . Probably best to reach out to Uptone for tech based answer beyond what they’ve said.

I did. If I hear back I’ll let you know.

What I’ve been told so far is pretty much what you said. The isolation between the four outputs would not be as good as the single output on the B side.
Without owning a EtherRegen I have no way of testing. If Andy gets bored and wants to flip inputs and outputs I’d be curious to know if that brought the USB output and the ER feed to the Bridge II closer in sound quality.

Having owned a Bridge in my DSD, and having bought a Matrix device, I’d recommend USB to the Matrix with I2S to the DSD as a clearly superior audio alternative.
I now use a MacMini as Roon Bridge endpoint to the Matrix, isolating it from my desktop machine. It’s a big improvement in clarity and imaging over the PSA Bridge from Roon on my desktop.

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If you dont want to get to the Matrix complexity (powr supply, usb cable, hdmi cable etc), go with the Bridge II. It also has the advantage that you can leave your nucleus away from your system. As a matter of fact, using the Bridge enables you to buy a way cheaper intel NUC, stuck it away from your system (so that the fan wont disturb you), and play music through the Bridge.

The savings in buying an “ordinary NUC”, and not having to invest in the Matrix, will grealty surpass the investment in the Bridge (specially if you buy a second-hand one)

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Actually, the Matrix X-SPDIF works quite well without an external power supply.

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True. But to beat the SQ of the Bridge, you have to fully optimize the setup, IMO at least.

Hi. That is correct. Router to A, A to Nucleus, B to Bridge II.

Andy

I did briefly try what you suggest–feed the Nucleus from the B side and then USB into the DAC. I confess that didn’t spend a lot of time on it, mindful as I was of Superdad’s advice to run the B into the DAC (other than when using optical out of the A side).

As I have things set up, I find the USB connection to the PS Audio Directstream DAC to be lush and dense with good detail, but significantly less open and “live” sounding. In comparison, I found that the B side Ethernet connection to the DAC was much more fleet of foot (using the humble AQ Cinnamon RJ45 for all connections after the router). In each case I had the ER powered by an HDPlex and grounded to a Synergistic Active Ground Block. Perhaps tonight I will try using my ground shunted LPS 1.2 powering the ER in place of the HDPlex, but honestly, I am so delighted with the presentation I am getting right now, my inclination is just to sit back and let it all be.

Thanks Andy, I’d be interested to know if you do end up testing but I completely understand if you choose to just enjoy your present setup.

The ultimate solution would be to have two EtherREGENs, but with so many waiting for their first one, I decided I’d wait for Uptone to catch up with orders before I do that!

Curiosity question. Did you compare any of the AQVOX switches with the EtherREGEN?