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PS Audio Bridge Beta Testing

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I've been selected as a beta tester for the PS Audio Bridge. I sold my Esoteric D-05/G-03X combo a few months ago and purchased a PS Perfectwave DAC. In my system, to my ears, the PWD is at least the equal of the D-05 and might be slightly better. I did not compare the D-05/G-03X combo to the PWD as running an external clock added a level of complexity that I no longer wanted to deal with. Primarily, it defeated the sample rate switching provided by Pure Music, my playback software of choice.

 

I currently run USB out from my Mac Pro to the PWD. I also have a Lynx AES16e installed in the Mac. Even though USB only provides 96K compatibility, I'm still enjoying the sound.

 

I hope to provide a number of different comparisons given the options at hand. Stay tuned. . .I'm not sure when the Bridge units will ship. PS Audio has set up a dedicated blog site for testers to post their findings. With Chris' permission (and Paul McGowan's), I'll post a link in this thread.

 

Bob

 


BPT 3.5 Ultra/Reference 3A Reflectors/MSB Technology S201 Amplifier/MSB Technology Analog DAC/MSB Technology Network Renderer/Audirvana +

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Hey guys (and gals). I've been Beta Testing the Bridge for a couple of months now. I can only comment on the sound of redbook, 32/44.1 and 24/48 AIFF files as higher rez playback is not yet bug-free. Paul advises that the issues with playing other sample rate files (which are software related, not hardware) will be resolved in the next week or 2. This is about when the first shipment of Bridges should hit PS dealers.

 

Comparing the I2S "direct file connection" (my term as there is no computer in the chain between the source file and the Bridge) to my Mac Pro/Lynx/Pure Music set up wasn't that difficult. The I2S connection provides a noticeably clearer sound. I'm not good with audiophile adjectives, but I know what I like and what sounds "right" and the Bridge is it. It only took A/B comparisons on about a half-dozen tracks for me to turn off the Mac for good. A local high-end manufacturer brought by some equipment for me to try and spent about 3 hours listening to the Bridge. He was extremely impressed. I have no doubt that hi-rez files will follow suit once the software has been updated.

 

The controller software (Tag N' Play) is not up to iTunes standards, but Paul was able to include something similar to iTunes DJ. There's an active queue of tracks and you can add, delete, and rearrange the tracks. The internet radio is pretty slick too, even if it's only 192bps.

 

I'll be happy to answer any specific questions. . .just post them here. You can also view the information provided by the Beta Testers here: http://www.psaudio.com/betablog/

 

 

 


BPT 3.5 Ultra/Reference 3A Reflectors/MSB Technology S201 Amplifier/MSB Technology Analog DAC/MSB Technology Network Renderer/Audirvana +

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Just to clarify, the USB and Lynx connections are directly to the DAC, where they are converted to I2S for processing. The Bridge is a direct I2S connection, so there is no additional conversion. This is what makes the Bridge (or any other direct I2S connection) the best way to feed a DAC (all other things being equal).

 

I compared the Mac>>Pure Music>>USB>>PWD and

Mac>Pure Music>>Lynx>>PWD to the Drobo>>Bridge. I feel the Bridge is superior to both. As I mentioned, I haven't really tested hi-rez files as they're not fully functional, but I'm sure they'll sound better through the Bridge.

 


BPT 3.5 Ultra/Reference 3A Reflectors/MSB Technology S201 Amplifier/MSB Technology Analog DAC/MSB Technology Network Renderer/Audirvana +

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The whole idea of the Bridge is to eliminate as much hardware and software as possible between your source file and the PWD. You only need 3 components; storage for your files, server software to serve the files to the Bridge (like Twonky or the PS Audio Server Software which is under development), and a controller (Tag 'N Play).

 

The Bridge only accepts an Ethernet connection, so I don't think you can feed it using a Squeezebox.

 


BPT 3.5 Ultra/Reference 3A Reflectors/MSB Technology S201 Amplifier/MSB Technology Analog DAC/MSB Technology Network Renderer/Audirvana +

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Sorry for the confusion. You're absolutely right. . .I think the Bridge will sound much better than the Squeezebox since it bested my Mac Pro/Lynx setup.

 


BPT 3.5 Ultra/Reference 3A Reflectors/MSB Technology S201 Amplifier/MSB Technology Analog DAC/MSB Technology Network Renderer/Audirvana +

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It seems my issue with hi-rez files is related to my choice of NAS (Drobo/Droboshare). These files play fine if they are stored directly on my Mac, or on a DAS device like a MyBook. They also work fine when using Drobo as a DAS, attached directly to the Mac. I'm speculating that the issue is related to Droboshare not being UPnP compatible without running a 3rd party application.

 

I will also say that sound quality when using a DAS is not up to par with a NAS. I can't put my finger on the differences, but when the files pass from the DAS through the Mac and then to the network they just don't sound as good as passing directly from storage to the network.

 

Looks like I'll be changing my NAS. . .

 


BPT 3.5 Ultra/Reference 3A Reflectors/MSB Technology S201 Amplifier/MSB Technology Analog DAC/MSB Technology Network Renderer/Audirvana +

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The Netgear is a great solution if you don't already have a router. My DSL modem is also a router, so purchasing an additional router (and making it work) is not practical for me.

 


BPT 3.5 Ultra/Reference 3A Reflectors/MSB Technology S201 Amplifier/MSB Technology Analog DAC/MSB Technology Network Renderer/Audirvana +

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Me!

 


BPT 3.5 Ultra/Reference 3A Reflectors/MSB Technology S201 Amplifier/MSB Technology Analog DAC/MSB Technology Network Renderer/Audirvana +

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That's Major Catastrofe!!

 


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The server software (Twonky, Asset, etc.) resides either on your host computer, or in some cases, integrated within a NAS. If integrated into your NAS, you theoretically don't even need a computer. However, if you plan to rip CDs and/or download files from the internet, you would need one or you would need some other means of doing this (Vortexbox, RipNas, etc.).

 

The controller software is an iTunes application, but it doesn't need to reside on the computer (if there is one) running the server software.

 

The Bridge contains firmware and DAC codec software.

 

Hope this helps. . .

 

 

 


BPT 3.5 Ultra/Reference 3A Reflectors/MSB Technology S201 Amplifier/MSB Technology Analog DAC/MSB Technology Network Renderer/Audirvana +

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The WNDR3700 is not a server, it's a UPnP compatible router. There is no UPnP server software contained in this device. . .you would still need a computer running Twonky or something similar.

 


BPT 3.5 Ultra/Reference 3A Reflectors/MSB Technology S201 Amplifier/MSB Technology Analog DAC/MSB Technology Network Renderer/Audirvana +

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Thanks Jesus. I'd love to demo the Vortexbox with the Bridge. . .thanks so much for the generous offer. I'll try to give it a thorough evaluation.

 

Best,

 

Bob

 


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I stand corrected. . .I acutally had a conversation (that I forgot I had) with Paul about this unit on the Beta Blog. He recommended it along with external USB storage as a substitute for a NAS. It's hell getting old!!

 

My apologies. . .

 

 

 


BPT 3.5 Ultra/Reference 3A Reflectors/MSB Technology S201 Amplifier/MSB Technology Analog DAC/MSB Technology Network Renderer/Audirvana +

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Brian, great to have a fellow Beta Tester here on CA. Chris is an awesome host here. . .I've learned a great deal from him and my fellow CA members.

 

Bob

 


BPT 3.5 Ultra/Reference 3A Reflectors/MSB Technology S201 Amplifier/MSB Technology Analog DAC/MSB Technology Network Renderer/Audirvana +

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