I would like to share my experience with computer audio solutions over the last few months in case it helps anyone else that might be in the same boat I was in.
I was a very happy bridge II user that had the following components:
DS DAC->BHK Pre->BHK Monos->Triton Reference speakers
Additionally, my network connection came into my listening room via fiber optic to a 10/100 Cisco switch and I was using dedicated 20 amp outlets. The sound was very good and I didn’t see any reason to change or improve. I also have a very powerful self-built PC server that runs Roon (as a server only, no endpoints in the server) and LMS. Finally, I have a pc in a closet in my listening room for movies, youtube, etc that is connected via a 50 ft Fiber optic USB connection to the DS DAC.
In this community, I kept reading on and on about the Matrix and how it improved things over the bridge and I was getting a little tired of the static produced by the bridge when changing resolutions. So, my curiosity got the best of me and I tried the Matrix solution with the I2S connection to the DS DAC. I immediately noticed an improvement and soon removed the bridge and was extremely happy with the sound. Lower noise floor, more ambience, more “real” sounding was how I would describe the Matrix solution in addition to not having the glitches with the bridge II.
Unfortunately, this created another problem. In this solution my Matrix was being fed from my PC via my fiber optic usb connection. This connection worked great but the problem is that I had to have my PC on all the time in order for it to operate as a Roon endpoint. So I decided to look into streamers. Since I already had fiber optic coming into the room I decided to try the Sonore opticalRendu with a Small Green Computer linear power supply. I first tried it direct from the opticalRendu to the DS DAC via USB and was blown away by the sound. In my system, it was an improvement over the PC->Matrix (I2S) via USB combination. Similar to when I added the Matrix in the system it had more ambience and low level detail retrieval and a noticeably wider soundstage. It was very impressive. I then tried it with the opticalRendu->Matrix->DS DAC via I2S and I did not notice any difference. With an extra Matrix lying around, I have connected it back to the PC USB connection. This was another revelation to me. YouTube music can sound very excellent!
For me, what I learned is that in my system the opticalRendu is an amazing product to use as a streamer. I am very happy with it. In addition, the Matrix is amazing for connection from a PC to the DS DAC. You can get excellent sound from good YouTube music and it is extremely enjoyable. In the past, I have let my audiophile snobbery prevent me from enjoying YouTube music because it isn’t “hi-res”. Well with the Matrix in place, not any more.
Anybody else have a similar experience with either the opticalRendu to the DS DAC? Or experience with the Matrix making YouTube sound amazing? Anybody tried both together and got a different result than me? I would love to hear about how you may have optimized your system.
Disclaimer: I am in NO WAY associated with any of these products. I am simply a happy customer. Also, I would like to thank the community for turning me on to these products. This is my small way of giving back to the community.