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Article: dCS Network Bridge Review

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Absolutely agree with all you say in your review, including the results of listening to MQA sources (whether first unfold in done in Roon or with the dCS NB via the firmware update, for those who have had the unit for some time) into the Berkeley Ref. 2 w. MQA. 

 

I've yet to try the NB with the Yggdrasil in my other system.  You've certainly piqued my interest on that score, seeing just how it stacks up to a Audio Alchemy DMP-1 that I'm currently using.

 

And, as you clearly point out, this is a really cool Swiss Army knife in the digital audio toolkit -- as well as a sonic wonder.


Steve Schaffer

Roon Nucleus/ WD USB Drive / dCS Vivaldi Upsampler  / dCS Vivaldi DAC / dCS Vivaldi Clock / Spectral DMC-30SV preamp / Spectral DMA-500 monoblocks / Wilson Audio Alexia Series 2 speakers

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49 minutes ago, stevebythebay said:

Absolutely agree with all you say in your review, including the results of listening to MQA sources (whether first unfold in done in Roon or with the dCS NB via the firmware update, for those who have had the unit for some time) into the Berkeley Ref. 2 w. MQA. 

 

I've yet to try the NB with the Yggdrasil in my other system.  You've certainly piqued my interest on that score, seeing just how it stacks up to a Audio Alchemy DMP-1 that I'm currently using.

 

And, as you clearly point out, this is a really cool Swiss Army knife in the digital audio toolkit -- as well as a sonic wonder.

 

Hi Steve - I highly recommend trying one on your Yggdrasil via AES. If your results are anything like mine, you'll be very pleased.

 

 

 

 

40 minutes ago, mecani said:

very good review.
It's a pity the usb dac output is not activated
to have known your opinion about this output

 

I know dCS is perfecting the USB output as much as possible before releasing that update. USB output isn't a walk in the park. It may seem rather trivial but when you think about connecting the Bridge to numerous DACs and the fact that every DAC has some quirks (think pops and ticks on sample rate switches, DSD DSF DFF, etc...) you start to realize how difficult it is to please many people with one product. If dCS said it would only work with DACs X, Y, and Z, I'm willing to bet they'd have the update out tomorrow. 

 

 

 

 


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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Hi Chris 

As usual well done review 

So essentially this can be a uogarde to sms200s and micro renedu?

 

Agree that it can breathe some much needed life Into a old dac which sounds very good till date 

 

Any idea if the data got from the ethernet input is reclocked

 

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19 minutes ago, rikhav said:

Hi Chris 

As usual well done review 

So essentially this can be a uogarde to sms200s and micro renedu?

 

Agree that it can breathe some much needed life Into a old dac which sounds very good till date 

 

Any idea if the data got from the ethernet input is reclocked

 

Thanks for the kind words.

 

I believe I know the answer to your question about reclocking but lets ask @AMP


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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Great write up. Thanks. Did you find using Roon as a souce makes sound inferior to using other sources? It seems to be the case for some reviewers. In case of Auriga Aries G2, I was told (by its CEO) that “If you use Roon exclusively then I think you can consider to use other hardware manufacturer's solution because you wont benefit from our unique software features.” BTW, I am keen to reading your upcoming review on the G2. 


Music Source: NAS[Synology], Qobuz, Tidal

Music Player: Roonserver[Mac mini]

Control PC: squeeze2upnp, fb2k, dirac, Jplay Femto, Fidelizer, AO(4D), WS2019 GUI, Mac mini w/HDPlex 200W

Audio PC: Jplay Femto(KS/1000hz), Fidelizer, AO(4D), WS2019 core, i7 w/HDPlex 200W

DDC: Iso Regen w/LPS1.2, Acousence afi+USB (USB to S/PDIF) w/Li-ion battery PS

DAC: Yggdrasil Analog 2

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A great review Chris and the Network Bridge is on my radar for the next upgrade.

 

I use Roon on an Innuos Zenith SE, but I'm unclear if the Ethernet or USB out put will work with the NB?

 

Any thought would be appreciated.


 Innuos Zenith SE (Roon Core) > Curious USB/Upton ISO REGEN +LPS-1/USPCB> Chord Hugo TT > ATC SCM 40A

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4 hours ago, flummoxe said:

A great review Chris and the Network Bridge is on my radar for the next upgrade.

 

I use Roon on an Innuos Zenith SE, but I'm unclear if the Ethernet or USB out put will work with the NB?

 

Any thought would be appreciated.i

Sorry did not read question properly before 

The NB I think has no usb input for audio so ethernet is the best way to make it work it with the innous

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Hi Chris: Is the Chet Baker stuff you mention in the review from cd rips? I couldn’t find it on Tidal, HD Tracks, or Super Hi-Res. 


- Mark

 

Synology DS916+ > SoTM dCBL-CAT7 > Netgear switch > SoTM dCBL-CAT7 > dCS Vivaldi Upsampler (Nordost Valhalla 2 power cord) > Nordost Valhalla 2 Dual 110 Ohm AES/EBU > dCS Vivaldi DAC (David Elrod Statement Gold power cord) > Nordost Valhalla 2 xlr > Absolare Passion preamp (Nordost Valhalla 2 power cord) > Nordost Valhalla 2 xlr > VTL MB-450 III (Shunyata King Cobra CX power cords) > Nordost Valhalla 2 speaker > Kaiser Kaewero Classic /JL Audio F110 (Wireworld Platinum power cord).

 

Power Conditioning: Entreq Olympus Tellus grounding (AC, preamp and dac) / Shunyata Hydra Triton + Typhoon (Shunyata Anaconda ZiTron umbilical/Shunyata King Cobra CX power cord) > Furutec GTX D-Rhodium AC outlet.

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2 hours ago, MarkS said:

Hi Chris: Is the Chet Baker stuff you mention in the review from cd rips? I couldn’t find it on Tidal, HD Tracks, or Super Hi-Res. 

Yes. It’s this album -> https://www.amazon.com/Chet-Baker-Bill-Evans-Legendary/dp/B002XVZ1O4?keywords=AJC99005&qid=1529224740&sr=8-1&ref=mp_s_a_1_1


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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I think there'd be a few of us who would love for someone to be able to compare this to the "SOTM Trifecta" solution (or parts of it, I guess)...by itself I suppose you could/would still want a reclocked switch feeding the dCS, perhaps?

 

And I for one would love to know, from there, how it compliments and/or compares to an HQPlayer upsample/Roon software feed vs. letting the dCS do it's own thing, as someone ahead of me alluded to.  

 

I don't (yet) have an elegant/up-to-date way of feeding the Yggy with AES, and this seems like a great candidate in spite of the $5K.  I'm selfishly not willing to give up my Roon control, however.

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A great review, informative and I certainly enjoyed reading it.  @The Computer Audiophile- One comment you made in the review, "The dCS Network Bridge is second to none with respect to the sound quality of products that I've heard in this category".  Maybe you would rather not say, but what other products have you heard and consider to be in this category?  The obvious candidates for me include products from SOtM, Sonore, Bricasti, Antipodes and Auralic.

 

Picking up on @jay 's comment, I own the SOtM "bundle".  It is superb, but it does leave me with a few niggling doubts as to as it the best choice for my system.  My local dealer stocks the Network Bridge, so I am tempted to borrow this for comparison.  This will not be anytime soon though, I am too busy to do this one justice at the moment.  If I do ever get 'round to trying it, I will of course post my observations.  @jay - One other point of note here, the SOtM, Sonore and Antipodes products are compatible with HQPlayer, the Network Bridge is not.


Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, sPS-500, SOtM modified switch, Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.

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42 minutes ago, Confused said:

One other point of note here, the SOtM, Sonore and Antipodes products are compatible with HQPlayer, the Network Bridge is not.

HQP would have to be used with Roon to be compatible with the Bridge. 


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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Yeah, I guess I'm just saying if there are any concerns of a sound quality loss using Roon with the dCS, as implied by some of the comments above (or implied in other reviews I haven't yet read), and a loss of HQ Player (if not compatible), some comparisons of final sound quality across the options would be beneficial, with Roon in the mix.  My comment on Roon is that I'm not prepared to drop it (and perhaps HQPlayer) if sound quality loss with the Network Bridge, were in fact, true.  That's not to say the Network Bridge by itself wouldn't/couldn't sound better than my setup--I'm merely suggesting not getting the best out of a $5K piece of kit to use Roon would be unfortunate, again, if true.  It might sound better even WITH some SQ "loss" from Roon, again if true...just asking if folks know.

 

For the record, I think the Network Bridge is really intriguing, particularly at that price point...hence my interest in seeing how it compares to some other favorably configured Roon endpoint/reclocking solutions (like the SOTM gear) outlined in detail on the forum.

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2 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

HQP would have to be used with Roon to be compatible with the Bridge. 

When you run Roon with HQPlayer, the output is NAA, not RAAT.  So basically Roon outputs to HQPlayer, and then HQPlayer outputs NAA to whatever your endpoint is.  So unless I am missing something here, the Network Bridge is not compatible with HQPlayer, with or without Roon.


Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, sPS-500, SOtM modified switch, Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.

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1 hour ago, Confused said:

When you run Roon with HQPlayer, the output is NAA, not RAAT.  So basically Roon outputs to HQPlayer, and then HQPlayer outputs NAA to whatever your endpoint is.  So unless I am missing something here, the Network Bridge is not compatible with HQPlayer, with or without Roon.

Yeah, I had things mixed up a touch. For some reason I had in my head that HQP was handing it back to Roon but that makes no sense. 

 

Thanks for the quick reply. 


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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On 6/16/2018 at 7:21 AM, shinyc said:

Great write up. Thanks. Did you find using Roon as a souce makes sound inferior to using other sources? It seems to be the case for some reviewers. In case of Auriga Aries G2, I was told (by its CEO) that “If you use Roon exclusively then I think you can consider to use other hardware manufacturer's solution because you wont benefit from our unique software features.” BTW, I am keen to reading your upcoming review on the G2. 

Nowhere to be found in the quote an opinion, that sound from Roon is inferior. 

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HI @maxijazz, Again, please note that the quote was a mention confined to the Auriga Aries G2 only. The quote was an answer from Mr.Xuanqian himself to my question below:

 

"I built up a PC-FI system consists of at least 50 different components, which summed up to be costing more than your new Aries box. If your box beats my culmination, I'd love to ditch those little elves by all means and live happily ever after. My system consists of Yggy dac and Roon server. Would I be happy with your box? And I cannot afford the LEO or VEGA at the moment."

 

When Mr. Xuanqian said "...you wont benefit from our unique software features.", I thought those features were more to do with sound enhancing ones than just convenience sake. i could be wrong but highly doubt that it's the case given the context.

 


Music Source: NAS[Synology], Qobuz, Tidal

Music Player: Roonserver[Mac mini]

Control PC: squeeze2upnp, fb2k, dirac, Jplay Femto, Fidelizer, AO(4D), WS2019 GUI, Mac mini w/HDPlex 200W

Audio PC: Jplay Femto(KS/1000hz), Fidelizer, AO(4D), WS2019 core, i7 w/HDPlex 200W

DDC: Iso Regen w/LPS1.2, Acousence afi+USB (USB to S/PDIF) w/Li-ion battery PS

DAC: Yggdrasil Analog 2

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