Understanding how the Bridge works with a PC


#1

I’ll admit to not quite getting how the Bridge works, so I’d like to ask for a more practical explanation for a relative dummy on these matters. I’ve got a single user desktop Windows 8.1 PC, internet fed from a cable box (Charter), with the line from box to computer’s single ethernet port (RJ-45) going through a router that’s used only by my laptop (latter used only occasionally at home). Windows shows me having a “private network.” One of my HDDs has a lot of music and video in various file formats, as well as having quite a few CDs that I currently play with an internal Plextor CD/DVD player. Player is JPlay and foobar, with Vincent Burrell’s ASIO Bridge added for online playing. What I’m trying to understand is 1) what would adding the Bridge to my PWD II (USB) get me, and 2) practically speaking, what would I have change in my computer configuration, wiring, software and anything else to make the Bridge useful? Thanks,


#2

Since this is not generating response, let me try again: To use the Bridge, would I just need to add another ethernet port to my computer + a cable from there to the Bridge? Or would it run from router (or cable box) to Bridge, with no need for another ethernet port?

I found a blog post elsewhere that says the Bridge can be used with foobar by adding a UPnP plugin - and without the gap problem (http://tek.eraserhead.org/2013/02/a-proposed-configuration-for.html).


#3
highstream said Since this is not generating response, let me try again: To use the Bridge, would I just need to add another ethernet port to my computer + a cable from there to the Bridge? Or would it run from router (or cable box) to Bridge, with no need for another ethernet port?

I found a blog post elsewhere that says the Bridge can be used with foobar by adding a UPnP plugin - and without the gap problem (http://tek.eraserhead.org/2013/02/a-proposed-configuration-for.html).


I’m not a big bridge user but tho you can use a direct wire, you can also just have a wire from the bridge to the network that contains the computer (or NAS) where the music library is.

Yep you can configure foobar2000 to stream gaplessly to the bridge (or at least gapless for a series of tracks that all have the same samplerate.)


#4

If you’ve already got a PC playing music to the PWD via USB, then adding the Bridge is not necessarily going to give much benefit. The main advantage to the Bridge is that you can store your music in a central location (e.g., a NAS drive) and have it be accessible to any device on your network, even in another room. Some people, like me, prefer not to use a computer to play music, instead using a control point on a tablet or smartphone controlling a UPnP server. That’s a personal preference. Some say that USB gets better sound quality, some say the Bridge does; this depends a great deal on your individual setup, and either can sound very good. Many people find that they can improve the sound quality of USB playback by making some changes to the computer – shutting down unneeded applications and background processes, etc.

It’s true that the Bridge will play gapless when using foobar with the UPnP plugin. Foobar has good SQ and works well, but setup is not for the faint of heart. I myself do not use JRiver, but I think I have read it can do gapless; someone else will chime in on that, I hope. PSA is working on a Bridge II that will solve the gapless problem; should be out by the end of the year.

Most people use a network switch in their music room, into which they plug the Bridge and any other network devices they have. I don’t see why you couldn’t just plug a cable from the Bridge into a spare sport on your router, if you have one and if it’s in the same room (sounds like that from what you wrote). Adding a second ethernet port to the computer should also work. Hope this helps.


#5
magister said It's true that the Bridge will play gapless when using foobar with the UPnP plugin. Foobar has good SQ and works well, but setup is not for the faint of heart. I myself do not use JRiver, but I think I have read it can do gapless; someone else will chime in on that, I hope. PSA is working on a Bridge II that will solve the gapless problem; should be out by the end of the year.
I mostly agree: Foobar2000 is indeed a steep learning curve if you haven't already jumped in. JRiver is much friendlier (at least on the surface). But I don't believe JRiver supports gapless in any obvious manner.

#6

Foobar2000 is one of the few options for playing gapless through the Bridge. This is done with the foo.out.upnp plugin and selecting the Bridge as its output.

As noted above if you are connecting to the PWD with a USB cable then the Bridge will do little for you. Some believe that the sound quality through the Bridge is better than that through USB. The principal advantage of the Bridge is that it allows you to source music from your PC or NAS located some distance from the DAC, such as in another room.

Since you are already using Foobar2000, my recommendation is to stay with it and add plugins as necessary for new features. I am quite happy with Foobar2000. My configuration includes foo.upnp for UPnP/DLNA access, foo.out.upnp for streaming output to the Bridge (in another room) and MonkeyMote for remote control of Foobar2000. This setup works very well and gives me gapless playback from my computer through the Bridge. The limitation of MonkeyMore is that it only has an app for ios devices and no Android support. Since I have an ipad (1st gen) that I bought used to use as a remote control for my PWD/Bridge using the PS Audio eLyric app (no longer being supported) this is not an issue for me.

Please feel free to ask further questions, we are happy to help. :slight_smile:

As a final note: if you are considering purchasing a Bridge, I suggest waiting for Bridge 2 to release, perhaps near the end of this year. If you cannot wait then I suggest that you consider purchasing a Bridge used. If you can find one for $400 or less then grab it, as you are likely to get close to that in credit for an upgrade to the Bridge 2 when it it is released. Maybe not the best for PS Audio sales, but my advice for us penny pinchers, sorry Paul. :slight_smile:

J.P.


#7

What J.P. said. I may well have just gotten lucky but I was able to get foobar2000 up and running pretty quickly with very little knowledge (or skill). I don’t really care what it looks like (which is where a lot of the complexity comes in, I thin) so I just picked a basic skin, downloaded and installed the two components that start with “UPnP” (one is the UPnP server and the other is the foo.out.upnp component JP mentioned) and also the monkeymote component. I fooled around with a few settings without much luck until I realized that I (duh) needed to go into preferences/output and select the PWD (even my DS still thinks it’s a PWD for this purpose) and 24 bits. It really wasn’t that painful, although we have had members who had problems and I don’t know that we were able to address them all. All it costs is a little time and a couple of bucks for monkeymote4foobar so there is not a lot to lose.


#8

Thanks for the replies! Due to problems with a prototype dac and USB cable with my computer system – beware dealing with Larry Moore of Ultra Fi – I’ve needed replacements. I recently picked up a used PWD II for my 2.0 TV system and thought of getting another one, given that prices have come down to the ~$1500 level and some with the Bridge are appearing for only another ~$300 more.

The potential advantages that got me thinking of a PWD II with Bridge are…

  • Pro PWD reviews, and I thought some PS Audio staff, seem to say that sound quality is noticeably better via ethernet cable than via USB; and

  • A short run of ethernet cable is whole lot cheaper and simpler than the combo of a good USB cable, sound card and linear power supply. I have all three (used) – Lightspeed, SOtM PCI and Core Audio Tech Kora – and could go out of them close to what I paid.

My desktop audio system is in a second bedroom. Other than CDs, all my music and video files are on a single dedicated internal HDD (not the system drive). I’ve used foobar with JPlay for over a year and have the hang of it. Yes, foobar is a little fickle with the ASIO:JPlay driver at times (and its support system is definitely hostile to JPlay). I don’t norrmally use a cell phone or have a tablet.

I called PS Audio and they said that the normal cable path is router (or cable box) to Bridge. It can be done computer to Bridge, but that would require a crossover cable and fixed IP addresses on both ends.

So, does it make any sense to get a PWD with a Bridge?


#9
highstream said Thanks for the replies! Due to problems with a prototype dac and USB cable with my computer system – beware dealing with Larry Moore of Ultra Fi – I've needed replacements. I recently picked up a used PWD II for my 2.0 TV system and thought of getting another one, given that prices have come down to the ~$1500 level and some with the Bridge are appearing for only another ~$300 more.

[snip]

So, does it make any sense to get a PWD with a Bridge?


I certainly think so. I have thoroughly enjoyed my PWD Mk.II (upgraded) and continue to think that it is a wonderful DAC. The Bridge can be a touch critical of network quality but once you have the network connection stable it is an excellent source for the PWD. Don’t let that worry you, it is not as bad as that line makes it sound… :slight_smile: Prices have gotten very low but the DAC is still as good as ever. This makes it an excellent choice for a second system or a budget system. There is also the possibility of upgrading it to a DirectStream at a later date. Also, some time in the not too distant future there will be the Bridge 2 and PS Audio is usually generous with their upgrade offers.

J.P.


#10

Thanks. I have to laugh, as $1500-1900 for the dac alone is hardly the makings of a budget system, but it is all relative I suppose.


#11

Yes, it is all relative. A PWD with a pair of powered monitors for $700~$1000 could make a pretty good audiophile class system for less than many pay for a set of cables in a high end system.

J.P.


#12

Ok, I picked up a PWD II with Bridge (for less than I mentioned). Trying it out for the first time, I’m having some big problems with audio. For setup, I currently have two hookups: USB to the dac’s USB port and Ethernet from the router to the Bridge’s port (this is cable modem through router to computer setup). I also run JPlay, but the problem is identical with or without out it. In foobar, the Output is set to PWD UPnP device. Here is what’s happening with audio files from an HDD and online streaming:

  • With USB input, everything runs fine, foobar and online

  • With Bridge (ethernet) input:

    1. foobar audio stops after 24-25 seconds, the foobar timer stopping before that at 8 secs

    2. online streaming audio doesn’t play at all and the PWD screen continues to show “foobar2000 audio stream”

So, what might be going wrong or not set or hooked up properly or misunderstood here? Thanks,


#13

To be clear, are the Bridge and the computer-server running foobar2000 both hardwired into the same router or switch? I don’t have any experience with foobar and online streaming. When playing files off your server, does the display also show “foobar 2000 audio stream” for the brief period it works? Did you install both of the foobar UPnP components? When you refer to the “PWD UPnP device” foobar should be set to the PWD (if you get the Bridge’s DNS address and put it into your browser, click on “friendly name” and that should be what foobar shows). You mention JPlay–are you also running JRiver MC? If so, you should set up separate players for the Bridge and USB connections as the configurations are different. Or are you using JPlay with foobar, or standalone? If so, I would work on getting foobar to work first. If the same thing is happening with different server software I would suspect a network issue but it’s hard to say.


#14

stevem2, it looks like you didn’t read my initial post and clarifications. This is a single user Win 8.1 Pro x64 desktop computer system, with a cable modem (Charter). The line from the modem to computer goes through a router, which is used for a laptop. PS Audio suggested hooking an ethernet cable from router to Bridge, which would allow me to play A/V off an HDD, as well as presumably online streaming. I already had an audio oriented USB card, a USB cable and an LPS, but if the ethernet route worked about as well, then I could get rid of the former combo. So upon receiving the PWD w/ Bridge, I’ve hooked it up both ways to compare. The USB route to the PWD’s USB port (not the Bridge’s) works fine with foobar and online streaming, but the ethernet method doesn’t, per my previous post.

JPlay loads with the computer startup, and with the PWD runs the Kernal Streaming output for PS Audio USB 2.0. With foobar, I can use either the PS Audio or JPlay ASIO device and JPlay driver (makes no difference re the problem). With online streaming, I typically open Vincent Burrell’s ASIO Bridge and have Windows Sound set to that as default. Changing the latter to PS Audio and not using VB’s program makes no difference in the problem. Please let me know if you need further clarification. Thanks


#15

I did read your posts, although I missed the statement in the middle that you were using JPlay with foobar. You didn’t answer most of my questions. Did you install both UPnP foobar plug-ins? If your PWD display says “foobar2000 audio stream” as you state for online streaming, that suggests you have installed the foo.out plug-in and are using that as your output device. Please confirm that is the case and not just for online streaming. If you are using JPlay with foobar and the Bridge, turn JPlay off and confirm it is off. JPlay may not be compatible with foo.out, which is a third-party plug-in. Even if JPlay tells you it is OK, don’t try using it until you get foobar to work by itself with the Bridge. Try it eliminate as many variables as possible to narrow down the possible issues. Confirm that preferences/output is set to the PWD if you are using foo.out. If you are trying to stream to the Bridge using an ASIO or other driver besides foo.out, I would still disable JPlay until you get foobar to work by itself with the Bridge.


#16

Sorry, I must not have been clear enough in my earlier post today (Friday). I set Output device in foobar to UPnP:Perfectwave Dac, so yes, the plugin is installed. And the results were identical with or without out JPlay (service + processes). I also played with other variables, including Windows Sound default setting - PS Audio speakers vs. VB’s Hi-Fi Cable (associated with ASIO Bridge). I don’t have JRiver. Anything I missed?

Here’s where it stands now with the Bridge input setting:

  • Bridge setting *is working with foobar and JPlay (ASIO:UPnP). Don’t ask how, because I didn’t change anything. That covers foobar and music only.

  • Bridge setting is not getting audio with online streaming or playing videos with Zoom Player, VLC, etc… Doesn’t matter whether I use JPlay or not, VB or PS Audio Perfectwave (speakers) as default in Sound. And in Sound, the test tone doesn’t sound. N.B. While the PWD screen says “foobar2000 audio stream,” foobar itself is closed, so I don’t understand why it’s not changing to something else.

So it’s how to get Bridge audio working with A/V other than foobar that is the hangup now. Any ideas other than USB? Thanks,

Gene

P.S. Yesterday, I updated the PWD driver to 2.4.5 and included the latest Bridge update file too, although from what the previous owner said it should have already been there.


#17

Thanks for the clarifications (that is what I thought from your prior posts but some of the prior wording was slightly ambiguous as a lot of settings sound alike but have quite different results). It’s good that foobar is working with the JPlay ASIO driver. Have you tested gapless play? It sounds like JPlay may just be passing the foo.out output, as suggested by your display. Btw, part of my concern with JPlay is that you said it loaded on start-up. I was concerned that some part of it was still running even it you weren’t trying to use it. In any event, that part seems to be working.

I suspect that the other programs you mentioned just don’t work with the Bridge. One of the reasons they tried to develop WaveStream was that, in theory, it should be able to play anything that the computer could play, including online streaming and everything else. Your display is probably staying on “foobar2000 audio stream” because that is the last signal the Bridge got and understood. Without WaveStream, the Bridge only speaks to UPnP compliant players.

Anybody else have experience with these issues?


#18

My understanding is that the gapless problem is taken care of by foobar’s UPnP driver, but am not sure if or how that applies to other computer audio playback, online or with A/V media players. What is Wavestream?

JPlay runs as a service and process, and become active with the appropriate ASIO driver settings, such as in foobar. Since that option isn’t there with online streaming and other A/V, Vincent Burrell in France developed some programs to provide ASIO playback for that, in my setup Hi-Fi Cable and ASIO Bridge (http://vb-audio.pagesperso-orange.fr/Cable/). With USB, I can use Hi-Fi Cable as the Sound default and open ASIO Bridge for non-foobar audio. Right now with (PS Audio’s) Bridge, no matter what the default setting in Sound, i.e., Hi-Fi Cable or PS Audio, there is no audio (apart from foobar).


#19

@highstream: You might look into using MinimServer plus its optional MinimStreamer component. I use the latter for internet radio with the Bridge and it works fine (I have never tried online streaming services, but if the technology is the same as internet radio it could very well work; you could ask in the MinimServer forum about this.) You would lose gapless support (MinimServer supports gapless if the renderer [Bridge] does, otherwise not.) No reason of course you couldn’t use both, keeping foobar for playing your local files. Link: http://minimserver.com/


#20

highstream, your Windows sound settings affect what your computer is playing (and some connected devices, such as the PWD by USB), but wouldn’t affect the Bridge.

WaveStream is virtual sound card software that PS Audio was working on for a long time to address the gapless issue and also to allow people to send to the Bridge anything their computer could play. There is a Windows beta version available (see http://www.psaudio.com/forum/latest-ps-audio-news/wavestream-with-no-expiration-released/). I couldn’t get the latest to install but it’s basically the last beta version (I’m a beta tester), which I found too buggy to use (others did use it, however). I don’t know if the beta handles internet audio.

Magister’s suggestion of minimserver is a good one. I did not know it did streaming. It’s free. JRiver MC may also work but costs money. I do very little streaming and that is with a USB connection so I don’t really know what works with the Bridge.