PS Audio DirectStream network bridge


I'm planning on buying a ps audio DirectStream DAC next week and I want to know more about the network bridge, hopefully from an owner but I welcome info from anyone in the know.

Once the bridge is installed, what happens next? I plug an Ethernet cable into the bridge and on the other end my wifi router and then what? How does the dac find the music on my network attached storage device? Or on my MacBook iTunes library? What software do I need for Apple computers? Does the dac appear as an AirPlay device? If anyone could explain their own particular arrangement, I would appreciate it. Can I select music 
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I have a perfect wave DAC mkII with Bridge II, so I don't have DSD, but the logistical functions are the same.  PS audio has very recently become Roon Ready.  In my opinion this is the greatest thing to happen to my DAC since I bought it 3 years ago.  Until now, the bridge was a nightmare to work with.  Now that PS Audio partnered with Roon, and they have a super well designed piece of software with outstanding, intuitive functionality that is a breeze to set up, I am one happy camper.

my DAC is on my audio shelf in the living room.  I have an Ethernet cable running in the walls with a jack behind the audio shelf, with the other end in my office.  In the office I have a dedicated Mac mini for music, with a copy of Roon on it, and a FireWire hard drive with my music library, all in uncompressed aiff format.  The Mac is on the wired network as is the DAC.  I have a copy of Roon on a laptop and an iPhone;  these are the two control points, while the main copy of Roon on the Mac mini is the actual application controlling the music.

i have a hifi subscription to Tidal, also integrated and controlled by Roon.   The iPhone control app and the laptop control app are both excellent.  Have a seat, power up the amps, grab your smart phone, and you're controlling music from your music computer, feeding your DAC.

i was a bridge user with the first generation back when PS Audio tried their hand at their own control software.  It was very very bad.  Then I used J River, begrudgingly, as I consider that to be one of the most poorly designed pieces of software I have ever had the displeasure of using!  When I discovered Roon, the PS Audio gear was not yet compatible, so I abandoned the bridge and used the USB, necessitating my Mac mini and hard to be located on the audio shelf, as well as not being able to use the superior bridge.  It was worth it, and thankfully temporary.  Now I have the cake and I am eating it too!

good luck, I'm sure you'll love this DAC, especially if you use the Bridge and Roon!
Thank you, this is what I wanted to know. It sounds like Roon has the ability to connect to the network bridge directly over the lan so I could keep my computer elsewhere if I use Roon. I'm trying to decide how much I don't want a computer in the same room as my stereo.

The network bridge costs $899, which happens to be the price of a new MacBook Air so for the same money I could buy a usb cable and a new Mac to dedicate to nothing but playing music, plus I would have the advantage of having a spare computer. Additionally, usb is more reliable than a lan, requires less configuration, has a lower cost and I wouldn't be locked into using Roon, which while I hear it is good, is very expensive compared to bitperfect and possibly other future choices.

If the network bridge cost $300 instead of $899, this would be an easy choice but as it is there are advantages to going either way.
You are very welcome.  I am happy to be able to share the knowledge on this forum.  Most of the time the other users know a lot more than I do!  But in this case, I have been around the block.

Yes, the bridge does connect over the lan, so you don't need the computer near the audio system.  A big benefit in my eyes as it reduces the clutter.

The bridge is pricey, but it is not just a convenience item.  The bridge acts as its own player, and plays the music that is streamed to it.  When you use USB, you are using the computer as the player and streaming music via USB.  Sonically, the bridge is superior to the USB connection.

Another benefit is that with the bridge, you separate a very noisy machine from the system.  Computers generate a lot of non-hifi-friendly system noise and that can be introduced into the system via USB, not to mention that the computer itself sometimes makes noise - be it a fan or hard drive sounds from an external drive.

Ok, so yes, the bridge is superior to USB for several reasons.

You do not need Roon to use the bridge, but you'd be foolish not to.  J River will stream data to the bridge, it's just that J Rriver sucks.  Some say they think it is sonically superior to Roon.  I have not found that to be the case.  J River is to Roon as a hoarder's house in the ghetto is to a Le Corbusier designed living room in a Swiss mountain villa overlooking Lake Geneva.

On to Roon.  Yes, it is expensive.  $10/month forever.  That's pricey when compared to the affordability of cheap software such as J River or the other offerings such as pure music or other USB player options.  I will say two things about that.  One, you get what you pay for.  The engineers who made Roon are on another level.  If you know about their history and what they achieved with Sooloos, and how Meridian snatched that up in the early days, you will know these guys are leagues ahead of the competition.  Two, when you compare the cost to other household expenses, and consider what you get for the $10, I think it will not sound expensive anymore.  How much is your cable TV / Internet bill?  How much do you pay for HBO?  How much enjoyment do you get out of those costs?  What is the cost of a single cocktail in a restaurant? An extra $10 per month is not really a deal breaker in my opinion.  

As for a computer in the other room, I would say that if you have only one computer now, start there.  I think that if you are listening to music, you are likely not stressing the computer with other tasks.  Quit the other apps, fire up Roon, and listen that way.  Control Roon with an iPhone or iPad in the audio area and you're all set.  If you want a dedicated computer, find a recent 2nd hand or refurbished mac mini.  you do not need a display.  You can temporarily plug it into a TV to set it up.  Then, you can use screen sharing mode to control it from the other mac you have.  I set up my mac mini to atomically launch Roon when it starts up, and I also set it to automatically shut down at 2AM.  This way, when I want to listen to digital music, I simply power on the mac mini, without having to see any display, it starts up, launches Roon, and my phone can see it and control it.  Then, when I am done, and forget to shut it off, it does that on its own at 2AM.

Here's a mac mini on eBay with an SSD drive and a newer processor than mine for $350 used:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-Mac-Mini-A1347-Desktop-MC815LL-A-July-2011-El-Capitan-SSD-/27230660496...

This is the mac mini that I have, a touch older, with an optical drive for ripping CDs for $250...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-Mac-Mini-A1347-Mid-2010-2-66Ghz-4GB-320gb-HD-el-Capitan-/252480488661?...

Good luck.  If you have any other questions, or would like to chat, send me a text, I'd be happy to chat on the phone.  - Mark 305-775-3020
Thanks Mark, the mountain villa analogy made me laugh, good post. I'm still considering both possibilities but now I feel I'll be making an informed decision.
When you use USB, you are using the computer as the player and streaming music via USB.
You are not streaming music, you're streaming data since timing is not involved.  Source of D/A conversion timing is the clock inside of your DAC.  Because it is data computer doesn't have to be dedicated, can be slow or fast, with any amount of RAM.  Yes, computer can be electrically noisy (as everything around is including LED bulbs), so you should use USB cable without power wires.  Well designed DAC should have common mode noise suppression in separate digital section.  External HD can be acoustically noisy, but I have one that is very quiet, not to mention SSDs that are getting cheaper.  Format is not important since it is data.  I use ALAC with with WiFi to save space.  Any playback program will do, as long as it is bitperfect.
I had a PS Audio PWD MKII with bridge 1. I ran DLNA server on a Mac or Windows. I prefer LMS over JRiver. SQ was very good but Bridge 1 was very unstable that requires frequent recycles so moved on.

My brother replaced his PS Audio PWD MKII / bridge 1 with PS Audio DirectStream / bridge 11. He brought it to my home over Thanksgiving. It took ~10 minutes to download and install JRiver on my computer.   In JRiver, create a 24-bit Audiophile DAC for UPnP and enable bitstream DSD over Ethernet.   We use JRemote on his iPad ... SQ was a HUGE improvement over PWD.MK11. Bridge 11 is very very stable, faster and NO failures.   Both DAC and computer connected via Ethernet.

I haven't demo all available DACs in the market but at street price, PS Audio DirectStream / bridge 11 is an excellent value.
Hi

Did anyone compare the Bridge II vs Auralic Aries into Direct Stream DAC?
Did anyone compare the Bridge II vs Auralic Aries into Direct Stream DAC?
 
Bridge II is integrated avoid digital cable so I wouldn't bother with Auralic if I have a Direct Stream

I talked to my brother yesterday and ZERO problems so far with Direct Stream /JRiver since last fall.
Knghifi, having no problems is not the same thing as well designed.  my point about JRiver is simply to say, yes it works, but it is leagues below Roon in terms of software design, functionality, and user experience. Many many leagues below..
@marktomaras, I don't have experience with Roon so can't comment.   My highest priority is SQ.  With all the softwares (LMS, eLyrics, minimServer, JRiver ... ), I install once, runs 24/7 and use app to control the DAC.    So I guess for all my needs, don't have many complaints.
knghifi,

I can agree with making sound quality the highest priority, but the cost to that is worth considering.  

I would liken it to a man with a fine Porsche 911.  He wants speed and acceleration to be the highest priority.  His friend who knows some tinkering tricks showed him how to take a sealed bucket of salt water with some electrodes in it in the passenger seat, connect a wire from that bucket to the spark plugs, then, with another wire, he had to have a hacked palm pilot connected to the bucket of water and to the car's computer system.  He would type in 3 lines of code before the light turns green, and damn, he got some excellent acceleration!  His friend, who also has a Porsche 911 just bought a microchip upgrade and called it a day.  He got the performance in a simple, elegant package.

I know you have not found JRiver to be problematic.  It may not be.  But in terms of software design, it is a tinker job with infinitely too many variables and moving parts, and far too little user conveniences and elegance of design.

It probably comes down to personality type.  Some people like to tinker, and like special super chargers, high octane gasoline, free flowing exhaust that is far too loud for the street, and specialized gear ratios to make their car go fast.  Another person, will just take all that extra cost, and invest in a slightly faster car that does the trick with more simplicity and elegance.  

Perhaps there is no right or wrong answer with this JRiver versus Roon debate.  But rather it is a question of which application is more attractive to which person.  Clearly for me, there is no question!  I would highly recommend Roon to those who appreciate well designed things, whether they be a loudspeaker, a car, a kitchen machine, or in this case a piece of software.
Ps Audio- Roon -Tidal combo with my iMac really is quite nice.  Running through Parasound JC Mac 452 into Thiel's CS 3.7 very very nice.  Switch to my Revel Ultima Studio 2 and again totally different  but nice.
Spring for the Bridge 11 you will enjoy the Roon set up.
If I had the DS I would use the Sonnare MicroRendu with ROON and TIDAL instead of the PS Audio Bridge II. I use that combo (minus the DS) with a Benchmark DAC2. One day the Benchmark goes into my office and a DS goes to where the Benchmark currently resides.