some simple help


#1

I have had my PWD II for a couple of years now and do have a love/hate relationship with it. Mostly hate when I can’t stream music.

Since I am fairly computer incompetent I think I would fair better if I had a better understanding of what is going on with computer audio.

I do search constantly but have a hard time keeping up with the conversation as most of it is computer lingo.

For starters I have a PWD II with bridge.  I have a ethernet cable connecting the bridge to a router.  

Is there a better way to connect for better sound?

I use a Verizon Fios router that came with service,  is this up to our audio standard or should I be getting a better one?

Is my sons gaming computer sucking the internet life out of the router causing me streaming headaches.?

Do I need the bridge for this type of installation or could I just connect to PWD usb connection?

Maybe answering some of these simple questions can help others too.  And if you don't mind I have a bunch more to ask.

Thanks,  Mike 

#2

Hi Mike,

The Verizon router is probably fine unless it is very old. As for your son’s gaming, it should be easy to tell: do you get dropouts or other problems streaming to the Bridge when he is online, but not otherwise (assuming two different computers are involved)? We do need more details about how you are playing to the Bridge. Where is your music stored (internal hard drive, external drive, NAS)? How to you play the music: JRiver or other player on a PC, a tablet, etc.? What specific problems do you have with streaming?

In general, either streaming over ethernet to the Bridge or connecting a computer via USB can work well. The Bridge gives very good sound quality. Many of us find that in order for USB to equal the SQ of the Bridge, we have to spend time and effort and maybe some money to tweak the PC, using software to reduce the number of processes operating in the background, adding USB isolators, etc. If it’s a Windows machine, you must install the PS Audio USB driver (normally not needed on a Mac). It sounds like you’re not really into computers, so staying with the ethernet might be best if you can get it to work reliably. Tell us just what the problems are.


#3

What magister said. Also, can we assume this is a Bridge 1? Bridge 2 does sound better and maintains its network connection better as well. If your son’s gaming PC is also the music server, that could be your problem. If you’re using a different PC for the server, you might consider getting a network switch and plugging the Bridge and server PC into that. The switch can be connected to the router for internet access but for playing music the files would travel more directly between the server PC and the Bridge with less interference from other devices on the network. Switches are relatively cheap but get a decent one. This assumes the server is hard wired. Is that right or is the server connected by Wi-Fi?


#4

I use a Mac desktop with JRiver kept up in my room and my audio system is down in my living room.

I use the JR app on the ipad to control the pwd.

I assume I wifi to the router which is next to pwd. Not sure if this is best route. My sons gaming setup is windows and is also upstairs in his room, he does complain about poor wifi signal. Streaming has always been a challenge to me, sometimes it works great and other times I cant play one song. Usually if I do not listen to stereo for some time it just seems like nothing wants to connect or work.

I had no idea there were two different bridges, I would hope since I have the later pwd II dac that I have the later bridge. But please let me know how to tell.

A network switch? Please add a link so I could check it out. I do think we could use a wifi boost in some way due to computers and router being on different floors in the house.

Other than my library on JR I would like to pursue other forms of music sources, like a music site such as Pandora if this possible through the computer. Thanks again


#5

Bridge II just became available in 2015, so yours is a BI for sure. Networks can be finicky. Mine is usually very stable but I have been out of town for 10 days and getting it cranked up again is giving me some fits. With time it will behave better. Do note if gaming activity makes it worse, empty nesting is the best thing to happen to streaming audio at my house. I like stevem2’s suggestion of trying a switch and they can be had relatively inexpensively. You can try different locations but I would first try it connected to your wireless router with the MAC and Bridge connected in turn to the switch (gaming computer connected directly to the router). Sometimes force closing programs on the MAC helps stability but more so on a PC. Setting a static IP address for the Bridge can be a big help as well. Others can help you with that since I have not needed to do it. Sounds intimidating but is really not that hard with the right guidance.


#6

I just turned on the system since I guess around New Year’s Eve. I figured out that the access key # seems to change between two sets of #. I changed access key back and it popped right up.


#7

A switch (just search Amazon for “Ethernet switch;” it has a bunch of Ethernet ports like a router but the router assigns the ID numbers for the devices connected to the switch) might help if everything was hard wired but if the music server Mac is on another floor that’s more problematic. You need a reliable Wi-Fi connection if you are going to stream music that way. Any way that you could run an Ethernet cable between the two floors? If so, even if you couldn’t run it to the same room as the Mac you might be able to attach an access point (like an Apple Airport Express) and get better Wi-Fi on that floor. Some people have also had luck with Ethernet powerline adaptors (they plug into power outlets and use the home’s wiring; you then connect to the adapters by Ethernet cable).


#8

The wifi is very likely an issue since the equipment is on different floors; that’s where I would start. Wired is definitely most reliable if you can manage it. Setting static IP addresses is also a very good idea with Bridge I – I learned how to do it when things were a little flaky with my old Bridge. There is a FAQ on this site with instructions. It’s not hard, just a little geeky. Get your son to help. (If he’s not interested, remind him who pays the FIOS bill that supports the gaming he loves so much.laugh) And it costs nothing.


#9

If you have throughput or network reliability issues with WiFi and are unable to install a wired Ethernet connection, you might consider using a powerline Ethernet adapter. These can be more reliable than WiFi, although the household power wiring and breaker box can affect them.

One good example of these powerline adapters is:
http://www.amazon.com/Powerline-AV1200-Gigabit-Adapter-Starter/dp/B00QIH1OOK?SubscriptionId=AKIAJM4NKIQGABP2PIRA&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B00QIH1OOK&tag=thewire06-20&ascsubtag=WC30800

Just offering an option.WiFi, particularly over a multi-floor structure can be problematic.

J.P.


#10

I will look into my wifi problems although it seems most suggest a hard wired setup. I thought the whole idea of the bridge was to give us the flexibility not to have the audio system next to the computer. I’m sure i am missing something here but couldn’t you just plug the computer into the usb port in any audio system with that capability.


#11

Many people would like to have their computer/server/NAS in another room than their music system. For those setups a wired network is much more doable/convenient than USB. Especially since USB has a max distance / hop of about 15 feet and wired networks have essentially no limit at all. Personally I like to use my lap top so I don’t mind USB and I like the user experience of USB better than UPnP…

Still you can have a reliable wireless network connection, but to play higher res music reliably it can’t really be just 802.11a, b or even g. 802.11ac works for many and I’ve had great luck with gigabit wireless. Also newer network switches/routers are much more likely to deal well with audio and video. The gamers have really pushed the reliability of wireless connections in recent years.