Supporting Roon by PS Audio (was Merging's OEM ZMan board)

I’m sure most won’t like this answer but applications such as JRiver do support lossless conversion of DSD to other formats and there’s always the DoP option to use as well. The i2s input on the directstream can handle up to doublerate DSD sent over DoP. and knowing Ted, I’m sure the “unpacking” of the DoP is handled better than you’d find on pretty much any other product out there. The drivers for the card are extremely stable and I’ve not had a single issue with them since using the card over the last year or so. I’m sure DSD purists will take issue with DoP and the conversion output method though.

Again, though, despite not getting the bit-perfect test to run properly when using this card, it subjectively sounds a lot better than USB or even optical into my Directstream. I just wish there were more I2S options out there that feature a PCIe interface.

rayk said Some other customers are tinkerers who want to setup their own music pieces, their own networks, and play. And there are still other customers who are already heavily invested into a number of music end points, network devices and need a solution that is able to play across platforms.
Like rayk and many DS owners, I'm also baked in with Roon with multiple endpoints for multizone and very happy.

@adminpaul I know you’ve already mentioned that PSA are going all in with Octave (especially with the Octave Server first) and I really commend this.

But for the very happy Roon owners, perhaps something to consider would be the option for the Bridge III, with it’s improved hardware, to also support Roon - even if you charged $900 (more than the $799 you mentioned) for the Bridge III to cover Roon Support.

This would not only keep continuity for happy Roon & Bridge II owners but since Octave software will be free, then existing Roon users could buy a Bridge III and directly compared Octave and Roon on our PC’s/Mac’s, in our own systems.

This could then entice those Bridge III owners happy with Otave’s sound and UI, into switching from Roon (after testing in our own systems) to the Big Boy - Octave Server.

Just one example but the Sonore MicroRendu and SoTM SMS-200 both have ‘app switchers’ that allow different protocols to run, one at a time. So you can choose DLNA, Roon, NAA (HQ Player), OpenHome, Squeezelite - each mode will only work one at a time.

If the Bridge III could support Roon, UPnP and Octave protocols, it would entice Bridge II owners to seamlessly upgrade and allow an easy way to test the waters with Octave’s free software player in our own systems. Then it’s a much easier and more informed choice for us to consider upgrading all of our Roon endpoints, for those that have multiple Roon hardware endpoints.

I’m only one data point of course. Just giving feedback in the hope that it can be considered along the way (and there’s still a way to go of course).

Great points and discussion all round gents

Many thanks

The obvious problem of basing one’s product on various third-party software applications, such as Roon, is they are proprietary and PS Audio would both have to cede control to other companies as well as hope these other applications sound as good as PS Audio demands. The same is true with various hardware plug-in cards, such as ZMan and Pick Faun.

That is, PS Audio could merely rely on others’ work and follow, not lead. I do not see PS Audio accepting this role; merely occupying space in the market, copying others.

As I understand Octave, it is intended to take other interfaces head-on, do a better job with managing and tagging your catalog than that which is currently available, as well as providing bit-perfect spectacular sound. A market leading product. Not a Me Too.

The already existing software can be bettered. Similarly, other high end manufacturers have found they can do better than to use third-party cards. For example, Bryston abandoned the excellent ESI Juli@ interface card Bryston had previously incorporated in its servers for a bespoke solution which sounds even better. Bryson is not offering a better sounding server by merely following the pack.

PS Audio has traditionally done the same: innovate, do not copy. You will notice the DirectStream does not incorporate Pink Faun, Julia@, or any other company’s off-the-shelf card. Or chips. Or others’ software. The result is an industry leading product, deserving of the many accolades it has received.

My expectation is PS Audio is going to produce a superb interface married to unparalleled sound. It cannot do this by relying on others’ work.

Users will thus have to decide whether they want to stick with the software they have already installed or move forward.

Elk said You will notice the DirectStream does not incorporate Pink Faun, Julia@, or any other company's off-the-shelf card. Or chips. Or others' software. The result is an industry leading product, deserving of the many accolades it has received.
I mean this respectfully of course but this may not be 100% true. The Bridge II network card may be made by another company (who also make network cards for competitors) but obviously tweaked with the Digital Lens and other PS Audio customizations. And there are many Roon + Bridge II + DS users giving the DirectStream many accolades daily, including myself, where Roon is others' software.

And it all marries beautifully together to keep many people happy. As I noted above, there may be a way to ease/guide the transition of the thousands of happy Roon + DS users out there

However if PS Audio choose to go full throttle with only Octave I have to respect and commend them for their passion, no question about it.

In this case however, if Roon will definitely not be supported with Bridge III I can only kindly voice my respectful request that Roon support be continued with the Bridge II for as long as possible beyond next year.

There are people buying into the DS + Roon + Bridge II combination right now (and with MQA coming) and no doubt more people buying into this combination throughout this year and probably continued going into next year. I have 2 friend’s who’ve heard my Huron + Roon + Bridge II setup with multiple Roon endpoints working seamlessly together and are keen to buy-in but they also read these threads and if Roon support were to come to an abrupt end next year (it may not happen this way, support may actually continue) then this may make them nervous about present purchasing options, for the reasons @rayk also mentioned

Paul is all about customers though so I’m sure he has a plan going forward to keep all DS owners happy as best he can.

Change can be tough to manage, no question about it. Sometimes tough decisions need to be made, not only by the OEM but end customers also.

We have this great opportunity to be able to voice our opinions and requests to Paul directly and he gets to hear everything directly from the people buying his products which is fantastic and ultimately he has the difficult job of making these difficult decisions about which way/s to go forward.

Appreciate the discussion gents.

Mi2016 said
Elk said You will notice the DirectStream does not incorporate Pink Faun, Julia@, or any other company's off-the-shelf card. Or chips. Or others' software. The result is an industry leading product, deserving of the many accolades it has received.
I mean this respectfully of course but this may not be 100% true. The Bridge II network card may be made by another company. . .
The Bridge is not the DirectStream.

Focusing on the Bridge side-steps the point I am making.

Elk said The Bridge is not the DirectStream.
It's part of the DirectStream DAC Junior, no? All one product.

And since this is mainly about networked audio streaming and Octave and Roon, this mainly has to include discussing the Bridge that is made for the DirectStream DAC Senior also, currently made by Conversdigital and tweaked for different clients: http://www.conversdigital.com/kor/product/product01.php

Anyway, this is a great platform for everyone to voice their thoughts to Paul directly with their feedback.

Thanks again Paul for this opportunity and your openness to hearing all opinions from your customers.

Much appreciated, as always

I mentioned the DirectStream as a flagship product. It occupies this space as a result of its innovation, not by incorporating work by others. To succeed its its goal, Octave will be the same. Apparently this reference added confusion, not clarity.

As I understand Octave, both as software and as incorporated into/integral to the upcoming server, it will similarly be a flagship product. As a tagging and library interface it will directly compete with Roon - a complete alternative to Roon, in no way Roon based. As a hardware server, it will similarly compete directly with Pink Faun and its I2S card, with the ZMan card, with the ESI Juli@, a Roon ROCK, etc. To be a flagship, an industry leader, Octave must move beyond these other products and surpass them, not be based on them.

My expectation is Octave will blow Roon out of the water - both as a UI and as better sounding hardware.

I appreciate you like Roon, plan to continue using it, and thus hope Octave will interface with it in some way. Perhaps it will. The Octave server will interface directly with any DAC via USB, S/PDIF, AES/EBU, and with PS Audio (and compatible) DACs via I2S. I expect it will also communicate directly with the Bridge. However, forcing Octave to work with the Bridge or other interface as a Roon endpoint will be a step backward. And wholly unnecessary; Octave will not be a Roon server.

Accordingly, I anticipate the best solution for those enamored with Roon with be continue to work directly with Roon, be it a NUC Rock or otherwise. My guess is the Bridge will continue to support Roon as an endpoint, as well as support MQA. This will allow Roon aficionados to continue using their preferred UI product with PS Audio DACs.

But, once Octave is released, to get the best UI and sound one will have to drop Roon and move on. :slight_smile:

In terms of music server, here are the list of features (no particular order) that most of today’s music software employs. The list may not exhaustive.

  1. UI - Smartphone app, desktop app

  2. Tagging and metadata management

  3. Library organization

  4. Bit perfect streaming - PCM or DSD (DoP & Native)

  5. SRC - Sample rate conversion

  6. Up-Sampling - supporting different filters/modulators/noise shaping

  7. DSP for Room correction

  8. Library backup and restore

  9. 3rd party service integration - Tidal, Spotify, etc

  10. Internet radio streaming

I am not so concerned about Octave not supporting Roon (or for that matter any other 3rd party s/w & h/w), though I use Roon extensively in my environment (Rock, Raat, etc) and with Huron and I2S interface to DS, it sounds fabulous. Some of the features listed above may not be applicable with PSA products but could be important when using other DACs and environment. So I am interested to understand and learn the direction where Octave is heading.

jeffstarr said

Paul, well that explains why you are up and posting a 4am cst. Copenhagen, business is good;-)

I have a question, for those married to Roon, would they be able to just keep the Bridge II and use a DS firmware version that supports Roon?

I’ve got the impression that the Bridge II is still working with the Huron firmware, and that with the MQA update will still support Roon. Is the firmware for the Bridge II dependent on the firmware for the DSs? Could an update to the DACs make the MQA/Roon version of the Bridge II inoperable?

Even though the Bridge is included in DSJr, I get the impression that one can be updated without the other. Is the Bridge in the DSJr identical to the optional Bridge II?

What I’m asking is if someone is using Roon, will they always be able to use it with Bridge II? And will the Octave UI just be a player, like Roon or JRiver is a player? Although ideally a better, more advanced player.

And finally if you decided to could you sell the Octave’s player as software, to replace say for example JRiver? If I understand correctly their will be Octave the hardware, a superior component that will compete in the market with Aurenders, Melcos, and all the other hardware players. And Octave the software that will compete with Roon, and all those other players out there.

I think this is mostly hypothetical, as I don’t see PSA getting into the software business. It is more so I can understand the software part of Octave. I have a good grasp of what the hardware will do, of course not how it will be implemented.


The Bridge is just another input to DirectStream. Bridge II supports Roon right now and will always support Roon.

At present we haven’t any plans of releasing Octave as software only. But one never knows what the future holds and we should always hope to be open to a bit of change, especially if it is for the better.

Elk said to get the best UI and sound one will have to drop Roon and move on. :)
I'm glad Paul is running the company, not you (or I for that matter) :-) All said in good fun of course.

If it were anyone here running PS Audio (including myself) no doubt the company wouldn’t last 6 months

Paul clearly knows what he’s doing (the track record speaks for itself) and he listens to customers

If he was closed minded and didn’t appreciate feedback and the wants of his customers, he wouldn’t give the green light for Bridge II MQA support, as one recent example only

For that, and many things I am grateful for Paul’s open mindedness and always listening attitude.

I’m sure everyone will be happy in the end, as usual with Paul’s decisions.

rayk said

Customers come in many shapes with many different desires. Some do want a turnkey solution to their music - buy one company, one box, plug it in and play. Some other customers are tinkerers who want to setup their own music pieces, their own networks, and play. And there are still other customers who are already heavily invested into a number of music end points, network devices and need a solution that is able to play across platforms.

PSA in the new model you describe fits the first set of customers, Roon does well with the others. I for one own different end points in each room, all integrating very nicely with Roon server running on my choice of computer hardware. Is it cheap? No but I like it this way. If PSA no longer played in this environment, forcing me to make my home PSA only, then I’d sadly have to sell my Junior and find a new DAC for my main room, one that plays nicely with 3rd party music servers. That would be a very sad day, one I hope I never see.


This is a good point and not to worry. We’re not going to make dedicated boxes without access to the insides. There will remain the DSAC option as well. You will always be able to use Roon into our DACs. That’s not what this all means.
Paul McGowan said Bridge II supports Roon right now and will always support Roon.
This will be music to the ears of many Bridge II + Roon DS Snr & Jnr owners Paul

It’s very nice to know that if Roon make a significant RAAT update to RoonReady endpoints, say 2 years from now, that PS Audio will support these Roon updates with Bridge II firmware updates, if required.

This will not only make current Roon users happy but all those who are in the market this year and next year shopping for Bridge II cards to use with Roon.

Thanks heaps for clarifying

As a DS/Bridge II owner whose one-year Roon trial subscription expires in October 2017, I am on the fence about spending $500 for Roon, particularly with the Bridge III on the horizon. In a recent post in another thread, Paul estimated that currently there is a seventy percent (70%) likelihood that the Bridge III will not support Roon:

http://www.psaudio.com/forum/directstream-all-about-it/bridge-iii-1/#p73705

In the scenario where the Bridge III is not a Roon-ready RAAT but it beats the Bridge II in sound quality by a meaningful amount, I would much prefer to put $500 toward a Bridge III than I would to purchase a Roon subscription. My current plan is to hold off on purchasing Roon until after the Bridge III is released and the early comparisons to the Bridge II are in.

Interesting. I guess I’ll keep my LANRover which should insulate me from upgrading to a potentially non Roon-ready B3.

Mi2016 said
Elk said to get the best UI and sound one will have to drop Roon and move on. :)
I'm glad Paul is running the company, not you
Why?

Do you not want a server available which beats Roon in both UI and sound? You do not want to improve your system or at least have this option available to you?

I expect Octave to be superior to Roon in both respects. Thus, if you want the best, you will need to abandon Roon and upgrade. Why is this a bad thing?

And as I previously noted, for those enamored with Roon and want to stay put, the Bridge will continue to support Roon as an endpoint, as well as support MQA. Thus, you are covered if you do not want to move on.

This appears perfect for everyone, no?

Bootzilla said

As a DS/Bridge II owner whose one-year Roon trial subscription expires in October 2017, I am on the fence about spending $500 for Roon, particularly with the Bridge III on the horizon.


My current plan is to hold off on purchasing Roon until after the Bridge III is released and the early comparisons to the Bridge II are in.


This is a tough call if you really like Roon as an interface.

I would wait for Bridge III and then decide. It is not as if Roon will not be willing to take your money some months from now if you decide to buy a subscription later. :slight_smile:

You can also buy a one-year Roon subscription instead of the lifetime version.

Absolutely but personally I am loving Roon with the Bridge II and DS. After using fiber optic isolation with my Bridge II I’ve found the holy grail of the DS input, for my system - after trying nearly all the popular and highly rated USB sources, which were great but not this great - in my system.

Until yesterday, I was worried that Roon support for the Bridge II may end with the Bridge III release. We can all guess that support would continue and guess about anything really, but there’s nothing like the official word from PS Audio, so Paul’s very reassuring words were much appreciated.

In the meantime, of course we are all very open to even better sound later with Octave but I would have been disappointed if 24 months from now Roon release an update to the Roon endpoints and I’m told the Bridge II is no longer receiving firmware updates. Especially after just buying a Bridge II new just recently. Same goes for all those buying Bridge II’s and DS Jnr’s throughout this year and next year, to use with Roon.

But all those concerns have been put to bed by Paul yesterday. As always, I should never question Paul’s commitment to class leading customer support.

Great conversation gents.

Elk said

My expectation is Octave will blow Roon out of the water - both as a UI and as better sounding hardware.


Elk is giving the oracle here. surprised-011_gif I wonder if you are familiar with Roon at all or with Auralic’s Lightning DS. Auralic already went the way developping a streaming server but that was before Roon. Now with Roon, I find PS Audio’s decision to develop another streaming server software even more brave.

About better sounding hardware… when Auralic made the Aries Femto & LE Roon-ready Mr Wang stated the Aries owners get the best sound only with Lightning DS not with Roon. Now with Roon version 1.3 it seems you can have “best sound” with both plattforms.

So the development of Roon won’t be stopping and Auralic will be pushing up LDS with their new G2 series. I for myself am done with Auralic and very happy with my DS DAC, the Bridge II and Roon+Tidal. Looking forward to listen to the MQA version of the new JAMC album! 105_gif

But, once Octave is released, to get the best UI and sound one will have to drop Roon and move on. :)
Let's wait for the early adopters' reports.smiley-music005_gif

1.3 is better but still not as good as DLNA/UPnP IMHO.