Perfect Wave DAC and Bridge

I installed the new Bridge into my DAC Saturday. It took about 10 minutes to get it installed and playing music. The sound is like nothing I've heard from digital or analog. The sound is so much more transparent, sweet, and more dynamic than the PWT, my Levinson Reference 31.5 and 30.6 DAC, or any analog rig I've heard, it's hard to believe. It has a sense of pace and rightness to the sound that sends tingles up the spine. And this was at Redbook resolution, when we moved up to 24/96, all I can say is you have to hear it to believe it! Got to go. More details soon.
On further listening, while the bridge is extremely dynamic, transparent, quiet, and above all fun to listen to, there are differences between it and the PWT. The PWT does have an earthy, rich sound the bridge is not portraying. I suspect the way the files were ripped could be a factor. Ethernet cables between server and bridge could also be a factor. More experimentation is due. Now I'm using the Assent software included with JRiver to stream the data between server and bridge. PS Audio claims there forthcoming software will be better as it is designed to work with music files. Though maybe not as wonderful as I remarked earlier, it has a quality about it that I find hard to turn off and go off to work.
What dacs was the PWD compared to before purchase(it seems many want sell it)?
I compared my PWD to Levinson Reference which I owned at the time. I'm not sure why so many are for sale. People are free to change their minds I guess Or is it because the line is pretty easy to get and dealers can sell PS Audio without fear of sanctions?
...(it seems many want sell it)?

Currently, there are six PWD (DAC) units for sale on AGon, of which only two are used (placed by end-users). The other four units are advertisments placed by dealers (three of which are for new units and one of which is for a demo unit).

My guess is that the dealers want to sell them becuase that's what they do for a living!!
I'm with you Sgr, I can't get enough of mine either. I've had my Bridge for about a month now (DAC for about a year). I just love it! I'm also using JRiver which has grown on me too. I ripped all my DVD-A's to my PC and they sound stellar! Also got some really great hi-rez downloads from HD Tracks.
I'm with you guys, had the PWD for a year, the bridge for a week, and they are both incredible. The PWD was a huge step up from the Benchmark Dac1, and its great to hear it beats the levinson duo, which I've heard in another system.

I just stream the songs off of a NAS right into the bridge with no other server software, trying to keep things simple, and its killer. SOOOO much better than having a mac mini involved.
What seems to be the NAS of choice? Or is it close enough now to wait for the PS Audio "All In One" setup? If the Bridge is that good, i don't really see a need for a PWT besides physically "playing" a CD. If all CD's are ripped to an NAS it seems kind of pointless doesn't it? Am I missing something..?
That is exactly why I only have the DAC/Bridge.
I've seen up to six for sale at the same time. Ebb-n- Flow I guess.
I've got the lacie 2tb network spacemax, set to raid 1 so it auto backs up my library. I've had zero issues with it, although its hard to say whether its better to wait for the ps audio drive.
As for why there are a lot of used ones for sale, I think that means nothing in terms of evaluating the quality of any unit. This is audiogon, where people buy things used just to try them out, knowing they can easily flip them. Plus, ps audio is a very popular high end audio company, they sell a lot of units, that alone means there will always be many available on the used market.

Look at the benchmark dac1, it's generally considered to be one of the best values in digital in the last 5 years, a great dac, and there are always a bunch for sale.
Wow, good prices on the 2TB Lacies at Newegg. I bet 1GB gets used up quickly though in RAID config.

I see the PWD and Bridge in my future....
My best results with settings using the bridge: auto and filter 1. Not sure why this combo sounds the best in my system, it just sounds right.
Do you mean Native and filter 1? ( this is how I like it)Or are you just referring to the filter being set to either Auto or Filter 1?
Native and filter 3 for me.
Yes I mean Native and filter 1. These settings just sound more real in my system. I believe the Bridge is still breaking in so I guess this could change.
Just got my Bridge working with Jrivers. I have the PWT as well. Having the Transport we have been enjoying the best I've heard in CD by a good margin. Hi rez CD's are off the chart great.

Now with Bridge and some hours behind configuration as I don't own an Apple product except for an IPOD, we're (family) formulating are own impression. I don't like commenting on equipment I haven't had many days with due to break-in reasons and just getting used to a "new" sound but I'll say this.

1. I'm no longer thinking about that new mega dollar Turntable I've always wanted.
2. I'm going over all my CD library and making sure I have a fully lossless file collection in FLAC and Aplle Lossless as there going to the garage.
3. I have an empty spot where the preamp was and the turntable was supposed to be.
4. Can 44.1 Khz really sound this damn great? I haven't listened to a hi rez cut yet, and not anxious too!
5. Where do we go from here? I guess an IPAD 2 for a better remote.

I'll comment on difference's when I can tear myself away from just simply enjoying the music.
That iPad makes a darn BIG remote. I got one and returned it for the smaller and much less expensive iPod touch. But truly I hate that interface (tag-n-cuss err I mean tag-n-play) and MUCH prefer to use JRiver via the PC. Much much much prefer it. YMMV

Go to HD Tracks and download an album or two. You'll be amazed. Band On The Run is incredible!
Srwooten - I'll give it a download. Got more than a few from HD Tracks.

Wish I can find a way to scrape the bits off the Neil Young 176Khz DVD's and Blu-ray discs I have!

Now I have to think about that remote...
Desalvo55 - You might want to check out DVD Audio Extractor which allows you to extract high res digital audio from DVDs and DVD-A discs. It extracts the digital audio into WAV files, and even has a fully functional 30 day free trial. Sorry I can't help you with the Blu-Ray discs.
I second Bills' response. I use the same program with excellent results.
I hope the fans of the dac and bridge can help me understand something. I've followed the progress of the Bridge on PSAs site for a long time. It seems to me that most users are pretty pleased with the sound, but a lot of them are unhappy with the ease of use. Network freezes, inability of the network to find devices and store settings, and an unpolished software interface seem to be common concerns. So to me, it looks like the Bridge has a long way to go before it lives up to it's promise, and from purely a sound quality standpoint, I wonder if it is any better than other very low jitter hardware plus good player software like Pure Music. I am not knocking PSA here. I am very interested in the PWD and Bridge as a more refined and convenient alternative to my Mini/Pure Music/iTunes/DAC approach. So to my question -- are the proponents of the Bridge speaking of sound quality only or the entire user experience?
I can only speak from using a Upnp server for which the Bridge will allow control from a computer when the user does not own an Apple control device.

I am up and running using Jriver software and it works well enough. PSA just released a firmaware update to fix issues with Twonky server software but I couldn't get that to work. No worries though as the folks at PSA are very proactive when it comes to solving issues. They contacted me when I posted my frustration! That speaks volumes.

For years I ran a SB3, then modded it, then bought a Transporter, then a Oppo BDP83, the BDP83SE, then modded that! Then I purchased the PerfectWave DAC and ran coax from the Oppo to the PWD. Then I purchased the PWT (transport) which connects I2S. So then I found myself back to spinning discs. It was after all the best sound I had heard through my system. I've only had the Bridge less than 2 weeks so I don't like to comment much on sound quality until it's had some hours on it (and my ears get some listening hours too).

Now I'm boxing up my CD's making sure everything is ripped properly to my libraries.

I haven't AB's Transport vs Bridge yet, but my ears are telling me this; maybe the best sound I've heard anywhere and is this really 44.1. I'm excited. And if I can simply, easily, scroll through libraries with an IPAD or whatever iDevice I get, all the better. Hell, maybe even dad can finally choose the music of his choice (he's 92).

But like anything else computer oriented, these are still the dark ages in computerland.
For me, the TagNPlay app is well designed and has very good usability, but it has has some annoying instability issues (mine freezes for about 30 seconds about 50% of the times I switch to the app). Not sure when PSA will resolve this but this stuff is so cool you put up with it. Frankly, since we are dealing with computer networks here I had expected a complete stability and configuration nightmare in the first release (which is also what one of the beta testers I personally know reported), so I was pleasantly surprised.

I reported in a separate ("First Impressions") post that to me the bridge sounds about as good as my Marantz ud9004 used as a transport. It is not the "killer" digital source that makes all else short of the PWT sounds 2nd rate. Many others reporting on the PSA site report similar experience. Not really a huge surprise either, because you cannot make the DAC sound better than the DAC. I suspect with a top notch transport over S/PDIF you can get 95% of the performance potential of the DAC, and the bridge will give you the remaining 5%. But both at 95% and 100% the sonics are excellent.
I don't use a PC or Mac with my PWD/Bridge, just a WD HD, Netgear WNDR3700 and the control app on my iPad. Works and sounds great.

SQ is equal to or better than any PC/Mac set up that I've heard.
Desalvo - how does the perfect wave and transport sound on cds compared to the Oppo SE (stock). I have been mighty impressed with my Oppo Se and just wondering if this is a major upgrade from sound perspective. Enjoying this thread - thanks to all for posting experience.
12-01-10: Slanski62

I hope the fans of the dac and bridge can help me understand something. I've followed the progress of the Bridge on PSAs site for a long time. It seems to me that most users are pretty pleased with the sound, but a lot of them are unhappy with the ease of use. Network freezes, inability of the network to find devices and store settings, and an unpolished software interface seem to be common concerns. So to me, it looks like the Bridge has a long way to go before it lives up to it's promise, and from purely a sound quality standpoint, I wonder if it is any better than other very low jitter hardware plus good player software like Pure Music. I am not knocking PSA here. I am very interested in the PWD and Bridge as a more refined and convenient alternative to my Mini/Pure Music/iTunes/DAC approach. So to my question -- are the proponents of the Bridge speaking of sound quality only or the entire user experience?

I personally am thrilled with the Bridge. I had a few issues playing hi-rez files at first, but PSA gave me the fix and now have flawless, bit perfect IS2 audio playing from a world class DAC. The sound I hear is the best I have heard in my system, not that I have had tons of gear. BTW- the DAC sounds great without the Bridge. But the Bridge does kick it up several notches and is well worth the $$$ ans effort to set up, at least in my case.

Paul from PSA let everyone know that the Bridge was (is) a work in progress. I bought mine knowing there would likely be some bugs. I know they have shipped over 1000 units and so if 15 people are posting on PSA's site with issues this seems well within reason IMO.

I use JRiver as a DNLA server and find this to be a GREAT interface. I also use tag-n-play and do not like it so much.

PSA is building their own DNLA server and it promises to be really good. And it is free. I do not know if it will be any good or not, but I am happy with JRiver so it is a non-issue for me.
Is it possible to still access the J Rivers DSP software if you are using J Rivers with TagnPlay
I think for that you'd need ASSET. I can not be sure if that would work though.... I'd like to know!
I'm using Asset as that's what J River uses supposedly. So far I have not had it work with the bridge though it does work with computer hooked to fhe DAC via USB.
Hmmm. Well, that makes sense, unfortunately.
I have my Perfect Wave Dac and Bridge set up (cable modem into Netgear WND3700 as media server with old hitachi usb hard drive into the Netgear router, and router into bridge; iPad as controller with PS Audio app; golden reference on PWD to Simaudio feeding Esoteric MG20s). I have a @20k vinyl rig, and yesterday I did an A/B comparison between the PWD and my vinyl (e.g., Norah Jones 180 gram vinyl versus standard redbook CD burned as regular FLAC file onto Hitachi USB). 70 percent of the time I preferred the vinyl, but only by a slight margin and it was highly dependent upon the quality of the recording (e.g., Norah Jones was a neck and neck race, while the Dave Brubeck "Time Out" vinyl handily beat the Flac version). To me this is amazing. A DAC/bridge combo that retails for under 4k can keep up with a fairly aggressive vinyl setup. The Perfect Wave Dac actually gives a good dose of the organic, natural energy/presence/"roundness" I appreciate in vinyl. This is the first time I have ever heard digital approach what vinyl delivers. Amazing.
So I'm a little confused. If I have a computer, I can get the Lynx soundcard that people often talk about with the Berekely DAC and computer music, then I could go from there via AES/EBU into the Perfect Wave Dac.

Now, assuming we are driving all of this from JRiver, how does that theoretically compare to the Bridge?

For the Bridge it says:

"The bridge contains all the CODECS (programs) to convert just about any format of audio into what the PerfectWave DAC wants for perfection, which is I2S. Once the Bridge gets a network music stream, it figures out what the native format is (FLAC, WAV, ALAC, MP3, etc.) and converts the format into a pure digital audio stream without any associated clocks. This is important because this data, once converted to its raw format, can then be placed into the 256 mB memory of the 'Digital Lens' and then output in I2S directly into the DAC."

If I'm coming in from the Lynx on aes/ebu that will happen anyhow, no? This is more for people who want to use ethernet and who perhaps don't have JRiver?

I ask if these are 'theoretically' the same, as of course in reality there will be at least minute differences.
The PerfectWave DAC itself does not contain the Digital Lens circuit which buffers the I2S digital data. I2S also transmits all of the clock signals independently from the data stream. You currently only get the benefits of the Digital Lens circuit and I2S transmission with either the Bridge or the PerfectWave Transport feeding the DAC. So using the AES/EBU input will not theoretically provide the same sound quality. PS Audio plans on introducing a stand alone Digital Lens in the future that will accept standard digital inputs and output the data in I2S format over HDMI to feed their PWD. Hope that this helps!
I just received the Perfect Wave DAC/Bridge yesterday and got it running using Twonkie with a $150 Seagate 2 TB external hard drive and I use an I Touch for the remote. To say I'm enamored is an understatement. Accessing my CD collection and gobs of Internet radio stations from the I Touch along with volume control from anywhere in the house is unbelievable. This totally changes access and ease of listening to music from CD's, radio and vinyl.

The sound quality appears very favorable but I haven't done a lot of critical listening yet. I'm still rediscovering all this music as a result of ease of access. I was using a Raysonic CD player and a Linn LP 12 for my source but I believe the CD player will be retired. I had no idea how transformative this could be. TMH
Exactly the info I wanted! Interesting... Well - once you have it at 800 in the back of the device you might as well go with ethernet and the cheap connection. If you do Lynx its basically same price as Bridge. So, if they offered an external Lens, lets say for 800, then you'd have to spend 800 on Lynx and then 800 for the Lens, so its probably not for computer music as much as getting that last 5% from other connections, maybe from an existing CD player for example.

So, the interesting comparison at this point is:

JRiver / Lynx / Berkeley
JRiver / Ethernet / Bridge+PerfectWave

Anyone compare those yet? I know people have compared PerfectWave vs Berkeley, but I'm thinking of those specific combos.

While in general I would have thought the Berkeley to be much better, perhaps with this lens stuff the PerfectWave is competitive?

Would you mind giving a little more detail on your setup? Is your external hard drive connected to your computer, router or PWD with wire? If so, what kind of wire? I'm having a little trouble figuring all this out for myself. I'm obviously not computerly inclined. Any help would be appreciated.

Assuming that you are referring to the PWD with Bridge…

Your external hard drive will connect via USB to a computer (or a NAS). Said computer or NAS needs to be connected to a wireless router (wireless for wi-fi interface with a controller – say an iTouch). I would however recommend connecting the computer (or NAS) to the router with Ethernet cable (CAT 5 or CAT 6 – although it won’t make a difference in this application). You then need to connect the router to the PWD/Bridge via another run of Ethernet cable (this is the only wired option for a network interface with the Bridge)…again, Cat 5 cable is fine. There is a way to interface wirelessly between the Bridge and router, but that would require a wireless dongle. Your best bet is to go wired.

Hope this helps.

Happy New Year!

Thanks Ben and a Happy New Year to you also!

That helps but let me get a little more specific. What I would like to do is get a NAS with a couple of hard drives so I'd have automatic backup. Since my computer with the modem and my stereo are in different places I'd like to be able to move the NAS and connect it by wire (USB or CAT 5) to the computer or router for downloading music then move it to the stereo and connect it to the PWD Bridge with CAT 5 for listening.

I'd like to control the NAS with an IPod Touch or IPad or something similar. Would that work? I'm guessing that the controlling software would have to be on the computer. Are there Wifi NASs that could be connected to the router wirelessly so that it could take orders as to what to play? If the answer to all that is too long just let me know and I'll wait another year to get into servers. I don't mind playing cds.
While I'm not 100% sure, I think JRiver will do most/all of that. You may need the upnp stuff. Devil is in the details. This stuff is just barely complicated enough that in the end you have to just start building it and then find out what will/won't work... Not saying not to ask questions, but I've built a few of these and its amazing how much goes into getting it right in the end.

Two key pieces of required software are the controller software and the server software. Since I assume you’re still interested in the PWD/Bridge, I would recommend that you utilize PS Audio’s proprietary controller software, “Tag-n-Play”, which you will load directly onto your iPod device (e.g.: an iTouch) via the iTunes website (simply connect your iPod device to a computer via USB to load said software -which you can now buy directly from iTunes for $10.00)

Next, you’ll need to decide which server software to utilize (purchase and download). If you go with a NAS, your options will be somewhat limited (i.e.: since most – if not all – NAS devices are preconfigured with embedded server software and you typically cannot load other third-party server software). Many NAS devices come with Twonky Server, which is merely okay as a mate with the PWD/Bridge. Logically, the forthcoming PS Audio proprietary server software, “eLyric” will be the ultimate solution (however, they – PS Audio – have not yet perfected their software). I do not believe that you will be able to embed the forthcoming eLyric in a NAS (you will need to confirm this). This would necessarily mean that you would need to load eLyric (or any other third-party server – e.g.: James River Media Center, Twonky Manager – or Twonky Server, Asset – by dBpoweramp, etc.) onto a computer. I bought a Netbook to use as a proprietary computer for my music server, since they cost about the same as most NAS devices.

The nice thing about a NAS is that you don’t need to have a computer on to listen to your music. The problem with NAS devices however – as noted above, is that you may necessarily be stuck with the server that comes with the NAS…..too bad nothing’s perfect!! This is the reason that I opted to go with a Netbook (they’re very quiet – darn near dead quiet, and they’re very small – making storage easy). It is an affordable and very effective “interim” solution (it is working out so well however, that I may not change….). There will be some great new solutions forthcoming by PS Audio and other companies.

I recommend that you visit the PS Audio forum to gain more information about some of their planned product – such as a NAS-type device that will include the embedded eLyric software (which won’t be available until late 2011).

I considered the same things that you are now considering…to go with a NAS, or to utilize a computer…where to place everything…how to connect everything (e.g.: how to go about running long lengths of cat 5…etc….etc…!!! The easiest solution for me was to place a small Netbook in my listening room, along with a wireless-capable network router. This allows me to load the server software on the Netbook (I’m currently using Twonky server and I will soon switch to eLyric when the beta version becomes available in a couple of weeks). By the way, Twonky works pretty good as an interim solution. I can then run a reasonable length of cat 5 from my router to my Bridge, which is located fifteen-feet away from the router. Since the Netbook is in the same room, I can access and manage all my music files via the Netbook while I listen to tunes. I loaded the T-n-P controller ap on an iTouch and all is well.

This is so cool and so utterly mind-blowing (for an old “child-of-the-seventies” like me) that I still can’t get over it. I have every single CD I own (4,000+) ripped and loaded – along with several hundred hi-rez files – all accessible from my listening position with the simple swipe of a finger…including volume control. My CDs are boxed up and packed away. Oh….by the way, with the Bridge there is no loss in fidelity. My Redbook CDs actually sound better as FLAC files played through the Bridge/PWD than they did through my dedicated CD player.

Don’t hesitate to ask more questions, that’s what I did. Once you learn the basic facts, it’s all pretty easy.

Good luck!

Thanks Lightminer and _Ben. I'll continue to research. _Ben, uploading 4,000 cds is quite an accomplishment in itself. Enjoy!
Also if you don't want to use Twonky and a computer you can pick up a Netgear WNDR3700 and stick your USD HD right into it. It has its own server software and its pretty simple to set up. If you have AIFF files you may get some issues with album art but not the case with FLAC. The forums over on the PS Audio website are pretty active and very helpful with this stuff. I'm currently using this solution until something better comes along. I'm very very happy with the PWD/Bridge combo. Best digital I've had. DAC obsessing is over(for now, LOL). All the best.

One more thing Tomcy6...

Whatever NAS, and/or server you end up with, understand that it must be UPnP compliant. Also, Boistry's suggested WNDR3700 NAS is the one that get's the most recommendations from PS Audio Forum members.

Good luck!

I do storage at work and while none of the NAS systems are comparable at all to the kinds of things I do at work I've occasionally dipped down and poked around at the NAS offerings. The main problem with them is they are software not hardware raid, which is why in tests RAID 0 isn't 2x in speed over RAID1 and RAID 10, which is the best one to use if money is plentiful, is typically really horrible. It makes sense, though, a decent RAID card is the same price as these whole devices!

In any case all that to say I was impressed a year or two ago when I looked into all this in detail was Synology. I don't think they are known quite as well, but especially their higher priced models actually perform reasonably well and have a decent processor.

Because I work with high-end storage professionally I've become a storage snob and the only prosumer nas I would get is one of the Synology top of the line models or alternatively I'd just build one myself.

While there are obviously many aspects of a NAS that factor into performance, for utilization with the PWD/Bridge, a fundamental factor is the music server utilized or embedded within the NAS.

The reason PS Audio has elected to develop their own server software is because the majority of servers available today lack the features desired by most audiophiles. This is why it is important for those interested in setting up a PWD/Bridge-based music server to give this particular topic much consideration before rushing into anything.

Yes, indeed. I am very happy with what can only be called extremely extensive features of J River, so if a person is feeding the Bridge from J River that takes some of the onus off of the server software on the NAS unless I'm missing something.

In either case - it would be great to get Synology on the radar of those doing all of this because on purely technical merits it kicks the butt of most other NAS systems.
I'm using JRiver and a Microsoft Home Server with the Bridge and tagNplay with my iphone. The server is connected to my the cable companies DSL Router via CAT5 cable, than a separate CAT 5 cable runs from the DSL Router to the Bridge in the PWD. I've really been very pleased with the results. The PS Audio and JRiver software seems to work very well together with an occasional need to reboot the DAC or tagNplay. I still haven't tried PS Audio's eLyric as it is not ready to be used for Microsoft Home Server. I hope to add the ipad 2 when it becomes available instead of my iphone for tagNplay. I think the larger display will really make this a killer system to use.
I really am amazed at how well it all works together, even though the system is still in its infancy. And the sound quality easily rivals the PWT/PWD combo. Usually I can't even tell the difference between the two. It would be interesting to get together with a couple of friends to do a double blind test between the Bridge and PWT. If you like the sound of the PWD DAC, (most do, some don't) this digital system is one of the best sounding most fun systems to listen with I've found.
The biggest chore has been ripping all my CDs to the hard drive. But this has been fun too, it is amazing all the great sounding music I'd forgotten I have that have just been sitting on the shelf!
Well time to start ripping CDs, I think I'm on number 999. . .
Before running out to get a Synology NAS please be advised that it may be a good NAS, but the build in UPNP server is essentially useless for usage with TagNPlay (I have a synology NAS myself). Not a problem for me because I run assetUPNP on a PC and use the Synology NAS just for storage, but just thought I'd let you know. Personally I am waiting for the PS Audio UPNP server, which I will be using in conjunction with the Synology NAS doing just network storage.