PS Audio PerfectWave Network Bridge (July 18 - important update)

by Audiophilia on July 18, 2013 · 36 comments

in Digital, Stars

by Karl Sigman

July 18 UPDATE!

Always wanting to simplify the way my system works (in particular, removing middlemen), while retaining or bettering its sound quality, I am happy to report a significant such advance, just discovered, in how one can use the PS Audio PerfectWave Network Bridge: You can connect the PS Audio PerfectWave MKII DAC directly to a Mac Mini (as music server) with one (1) ethernet cable; no need for an internet connection, routers, switches, or hubs! No need for the internet at all. And you get the same outstanding better-than-USB mode quality of sound that I wrote about in the initial publication of this review. After asking PS Audio if this simple kind of connection was possible, and being told that they had never tried that, I took up the challenge to see if it could be done — and succeeded.

This was accomplished after tinkering around for two days, with the help of my IT guy (Sam Lee; not an audiophile but a great IT guy. He also has helped me setup my backup hard drives for storing my audio files. Thanks Sam!). Yes: You connect one end of the cable to the DAC’s Bridge ethernet input, and the other end to the Mac Mini’s ethernet input. You must use a ‘Crossover’ ethernet cable (use it in either direction, it does not matter), and they too only cost around $5 for 1 meter.

Here are instructions:

1. Using the front-panel touch screen on the DAC in Bridge Mode, go to ‘Home’, then to ‘Media Bridge’. Now turn off DHCP (at the bottom): This stops the DAC from requesting an IP Address; instead it uses a self-assigned one (which is visible on the screen; make note of it, and make note of its Subnet Address).

2. Now, go to your Mac Mini (in ‘System Preferences’ under ‘Network’) and manually assign it an IP address (different from the DAC’s) but use the same Subnet Address as the DAC’s. For example, if the DAC’s IP Address is 192.175.1.300, and its Subnet Address is 255.255.255.0, then manually assign the Mac Mini an IP Address such as 192.175.1.301 and the same Subnet Address (Mask) 255.255.255.0.

3. Power off the DAC (on the back) and then power it back on. The software will re-initialize and the touch panel at it’s top will now say ‘Network: Connected’. You are now up and running.

Now listen and enjoy!

If your home has a wireless connection (via an Apple AirPort Extreme, say), then you can of course continue to have your Mac Mini wirelessly connected. (If you need/want to update the DAC’s firmware by hard-wiring it to the internet, just turn the DHCP back on, replace the crossover cable with a regular one, with one end in the DAC and the other into the AirPort Extreme.)

Summary

The PS Audio PerfectWave Bridge is even better than I thought. I think this will cause other DAC companies to follow suit: superior sound quality with one $5 ethernet cable. Goodbye USB in DAC’s?

The full review follows:

PS Audio’s high-end DAC, the PerfectWave MKII, offers an optional network ‘Bridge’ that allows one to stream high-resolution digital audio files to it without the use of a USB cable (from computer to DAC), and without the use of other standard digital cables such as Toslink, Coaxial and BNC. In my recent review of the MKII, I chose not to have the Bridge installed. There were three reasons for that, with the main one being that it requires an internet router/connection hard-wired to the DAC and my internet connection was in one of my daughter’s bedrooms (the room that used to be my study in my bachelor days), while my audio system is in the living room. The second reason is that it also would have required me to change my audio software from Pure Music to J. River, which I viewed at the time as being a potential hassle: I already had invested much time and effort in getting Pure Music up and running smoothly — I did not want to go through that sort of pain all over again. Thirdly: I just subjectively assumed (wrongly, as we shall see) that it would make no difference in sound quality or at best a trifle of one, so why bother?

Several comments from readers of my MKII review suggesting that I try out the Bridge, coupled with some nudging from CEO of PS Audio, Paul McGowan, convinced me to try out the Bridge and give it a fair trial. As is typical of an audiophile, I could not resist the challenge.

So, I snapped into action: I had my internet connection moved to an area right next to my audio system (no simple matter, my building is over 100 years old; I had to hire professionals to do it — it took nearly 4 hours of work), downloaded a copy of J. River, and acquired the Bridge.

Installing the Bridge was very easy; I snapped the circuit board into the back of the MKII via two screws, snapped in the supplied tiny SD card (to upgrade the software) and connected it to the internet via a hard-wired ethernet cord (connected to a router; in my case an Apple AirPort Extreme). The computer, too (in my case a Mac Mini as server), was hard-wired with an ethernet cable to the router. As ethernet cables, I simply chose cheap used ones from my office, assuming (wrongly, again as we shall see) that I would probably have to upgrade them to some fancier, more expensive versions, as I did find necessary for USB cables.

The PS Audio PerfectWave Network Bridge detail.

The PS Audio PerfectWave Network Bridge detail.

Before I continue, let me carefully explain the most important things that the Bridge allows you to do with the MKII DAC that you could not do before: Your computer sends the digital audio files to the router through an ethernet cable (or if you wish, wirelessly; but PS Audio suggests using the cable for better performance), which then passes them on to the MKII DAC using a hard-wired ethernet cable snapped into the Bridge. (We are talking about sending files with a resolution as high as 192kHz/32 bit if you so wish. Impressive.) Yes: the files are passed on to the DAC using an ethernet cable versus using a USB cable (which instead directly connects from the computer to the DAC). Using the MKII hand-held remote control, you can toggle back to ‘USB mode’ if you so wish — you do not have to use the ‘Bridge mode’ unless you want to. I kept my USB connection intact, particularly since my main purpose was to compare the two modes for sound performance, by switching back and forth. It is crucial to also understand that the Bridge is gifted with a ‘Built in Digital Lens’ technology, a unique extremely sophisticated PS Audio low-jittering technology that is already contained in the MKII unit for the USB mode. With the Bridge mode on, you still have the extraordinary ‘Native X’ mode and all the various filters to choose from as when using the USB mode without the Bridge.

Getting the Bridge to Work

Admittedly, getting the bridge to work was not easy and I became very frustrated. I could not get any sound — only silence. I assumed (rightly, for once) that I must not have properly chosen the correct software settings on J. River and this ultimately turned out to be the case. (PS Audio was very helpful via phone and email giving me pointers and such). It took me more than a week to finally solve the problem; mostly because I was very busy with family. One night, however, I woke up at about 2:00AM with insomnia, so I drank a glass of wine to help me get back to sleep [good vintage, I hope? - Ed]. But, since all was quiet on the Western Front, I could not resist giving things one more try. I newly noticed a setting choice in the left corner of the J. River software window, under ‘Playing Now’ — ‘PS Audio DAC’. It suddenly appeared after about a 30 second delay once the MKII was turned on from sleep mode. Once I clicked on that option, all hell broke loose! Track one, ‘Babylon Sisters’ from Steely Dan’s ‘Goucho’ randomly came blasting out of my speakers at a very high volume, not only shaking my apartment but waking up my wife. ‘Shake it’ it did. But my wife was as dazzled as I was: it sounded fantastic.

With the volume quickly moved down to a 2:00 AM level, it of course was not possible to rigorously compare the two modes (Bridge versus USB), but it was immediately clear that the quality of sound using the Bridge had to be reckoned with; it was at least as good as the USB mode at low volume. I had to wait until the next day for serious testing, but before I went back to sleep I pondered deeply over the most pressing mystery to me: How in the world can my $5.00 used office-quality ethernet cable connected to the MKII DAC for transferring the files sound as good as (and possibly better) than my high-end Wireworld Platinum USB cable that retails for about $400, or my Audioquest Diamond USB cable that retails for $550? I shot off an email to Paul McGowan to get an answer and here is his email response (received that same morning several hours later):

Paul McGowan, CEO and founder, PS Audio. Photo credit: www.cepro.com

Paul McGowan, CEO and founder, PS Audio. Photo credit: www.cepro.com

‘Thanks Karl. Of this subject there is much debate but I’ll give you my opinion. I use hundreds of feet of ethernet cable through multiple switches and routers at work and notice no appreciable differences - so spending money on a fancy ethernet cable makes no sense to me. USB, on the other hand, is extremely dependent on high frequency signals getting through in good shape - witness the fact you can only have a USB cable under 10 feet or so for it to even work. USB is a two-way dependent platform designed for use between two pieces of equipment and it is dependent on signal quality to even work - where ethernet network traffic is designed to work over thousands of miles and, while slower in its ability to transfer data, completely insensitive to cable things by design.

Sound Quality of The Bridge: Summary

After some hours of testing: Hands down, the sound quality of the Bridge mode is superior to the USB mode. More body at all frequencies, more transparency, a smoother and more natural sound, more and tighter bass, increased resolution and details exposed through my speakers that were not exposed before using the USB mode.

The Bridge is a gem. Of particular note is that the character of the sound can be changed in tasteful ways (and differently from their effect using the USB mode) by choosing your analog interconnects (from the MKII DAC to amps) wisely; experiment and enjoy — I am still doing so. My friend and Audiophilia colleague Martin Appel, who I rely upon to introduce me to and lend me amazing interconnect cables (I know of no one else with his magical ability to find the best sounding cables) has me focusing on three (appropriate for my system) and I enjoy all of them for different reasons; I still have not completely made up my mind which I like best: my wife is worried that I will want a pair of all three — she is probably correct.

Since I awarded the PS Audio MKII DAC an Audiophilia Star, I feel it is imperative to award one to the Bridge, too. The MKII allowed me to rid my system of a $4,000 preamplifier — and get better sound. The bridge allows me to rid my system of $400+ USB cables and replace them with $5 ethernet cables— and get better sound. Now, that’s progress.

[We are proud to award the PS Audio PerfectWave Network Bridge an Audiophilia Star Component Award. Congratulations! - Ed]

PS Audio PerfectWave Network Bridge

Manufactured by PS Audio
4826 Sterling Drive, Boulder, Colorado 80301

Phone: (720) 406-8946
Fax: (720) 406-8967

website
email

Price: $795.00
Source: Purchase

Specifications

192kHz 32 bit compatible
Built in Digital Lens
Decodes all popular formats
Enables cover art and titles on the touch screen
Connect via Ethernet or WIFI
Easy install
UPnP compatible

Reference Equipment

Computer (as server) with peripherals: Apple Mac Mini, running J. River; Apple AirPort Extreme router.
DAC: PS Audio PerfectWave MKII DAC
Amplifiers: 2 Wyred 4 Sound W4S mAMP Monoblock Amplifiers
Speakers: Monitor Audio Platinum PL200
Speaker cables: Acoustic Zen Hologram II, spade with bi-wire (for the speaker end)
Amps to DAC interconnects: Acoustic Zen Absolute (Zero Crystal Silver) XLR,
Morrow Cable MA7 Grand Reference XLR, Antipodes Reference XLR.
USB cable from Mac Mini to DAC: Wireworld Platinum USB cable, Audioquest Diamond USB cable.
Power cords for amps: Kaplan Cable HE Mk2
Power cord for MKII DAC: Kaplan Cable GS MkII
Power cord for Mac Mini: P.I. Audio Group MPC/Mini++
Power center: PS Audio Dectet with PS Audio AC-10 power cord
Kaplan Cable customized Hubbell wall outlet for the PS Audio Dectet

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

admin 07.12.13 at 11:36 am

Sounds like you’re smitten, Karl. Can’t wait to hear the new setup.

Great review, as usual! Many thanks.

Cheers, a

Ismael 07.12.13 at 12:40 pm

I don’t think you needed to rewire or change locations of router, you could have added a power line extension in your listening area and route the Ethernet cables from there.

Rorie 07.12.13 at 12:58 pm

USB vs Ethernet

That’s an easy one: Etherent always.

After two years of trying out USB Dacs, S/Pdif to USB, and Etherent through my simple SB Touch I have always preferred the Ethernet /SB Touch and so have other listeners . Which means that I would love a bridge solution like this P/S Audio card for my DAC. Bravo for the time you put in to this review and your computer woes . I hope that USB Dacs become a thing of the past as they are the inferior solution.

P de Klerk 07.15.13 at 4:28 am

By stating that you used “second hand” ethernet cables it probably implies that you used Cat5 or Cat5e cables.

I would suspect that the new standard, Cat6, would work even better. It is designed to retain signal even better and for a higher throughput as well as over longer areas. Perhaps that might be worth a try? It certainly uses more copper per meter, but the prices aren’t significantly more expensive. At $5 - $10, you really can’t go wrong to just give it a test and most computer stores should be able to supply you with the required length.

Let us know if it makes a difference.

Karl Sigman 07.15.13 at 9:34 am

Thanks! Indeed, I have ordered 3 such cables (about $8 each) on Friday; I will let you know. My own suspicion is that since I am only using 1 meter cables, it will not make any difference; but at $8, it doesn’t hurt to try.
-Karl

Karl Sigman 07.15.13 at 11:12 am

Update on the CAT6 1 meter ethernet cable prices: I paid only $2.39 each; the TOTAL (over 3) was $7.17 (and free shipping).
-K.S.

xTobix 07.16.13 at 5:34 am

Hi Karl,

Thanks for sharing this useful information. Regarding the network cable discussion, I suspect that a Cat 6 specified cable would make any audible difference.
By simply doing the math for the worst-case load:
192000 samples/s*32 bit = 6.144E6 bit = 5.86 Mbit/s indicates that a 10 Mbit/s (Cat 3) is more than sufficient (assuming that the bandwidth overhead is not more than 25%). In this respect, I would like to remind that by today your landlines (Cat 3) are used for ADSL (50 to 100 Mbit). Your system runs with Cat 5 well above what is actually required.

The magic is in the protocol layer (hardcoded into the network chip) and in the way, hardware and drivers are optimized to discover and resolve glitches within the received data without introducing transport jitter in the way USB does.
In terms of robustness, it is superior to any USB connection with the drawback reported by Karl, which is setting up the connection. This was probably the many reason for USB to be more successful with end-users devices so far.
However, it has proven to be very difficult if not impossible to reject the noise from any computer system injected through the USB connection.
It is only a logical consequence that the field moves towards network based DACs, utilizing benefits such as hard drive, computer, and DAC do not have to be operated all together alongside the sound system anymore.
Moreover, using a transfer through inexpensive standard network hardware is a promising new approach in order to decouple transfer jitter (transfer related to information transport, i.e. bits toggling) and source noise from the jitter introduced during the audio conversion (local DAC clock jitter) as well as power supply induced noise.
I am very exited about this development and very much look forward listening to a completely new breed of superior DACs in the near future based on network bridges. It even caries the potential to shut the silly digital cable discussion eventually.
Happy listening!

Karl Sigman 07.16.13 at 9:27 am

Thanks xTobix for all this info.
Please clarify: when you said, `Regarding the network cable discussion, I suspect that a Cat 6 specified cable would make any audible difference.’

Did you mean to say ‘would make no audible difference’?
-Karl

xTobix 07.17.13 at 6:06 am

Hi Karl,

Thanks! Yes, this is correct - CAT6 will make NO audible difference against a CAT5 ( and most likely not even against CAT3 in your case with 1m length)!
You might report differently - let your wife swap the cables with the use of a random number generator dictating the order of 2(3) network cables and might even usb - please don’t swap cables yourself it will sabotage your judgment ;-)

Thanks!

admin 07.18.13 at 9:56 am

Karl, you are the absolute best! Thanks for your continuing dedication to getting great sound and to our magazine. Very much appreciated!

That’s two bottles of the best Tempranillo when I see you!

Warmly, a

Karl Sigman 07.18.13 at 10:01 am

You are welcome Anthony.
-Karl

Wil Hinds 07.18.13 at 12:44 pm

Ethernet hard wiredis the way to go with the bridge . I use Cat6.

Karl Sigman 07.18.13 at 5:46 pm

Update on using Cat5 versus Cat6:

For reasons I do not (scientifically) know, the Cat6 solved a lingering problem that I had: Using Cat5, J. River (when I would use ethernet versus USB) kept causing any high-resolution files at the above 96 level (192 mostly) level to intermittently skip. I assumed it was either my router (proved wrong earlier, I tried different routers with the same problem persisting), or my inability to choose the correct software setting on J. River (which, up until now, I definitely assumed was the truth given my experience (incompetence?) in using such software). But when I changed the 1 crossover cable from Cat5 to Cat6, connecting the DAC to the Mac Mini: the skipping has vanished! I have now listed to 3 different 192 files, and none skip anymore.

So: I will keep the Cat6 in place. I only paid $4 in any case. But as in the first track of Norah Jones, `Don’t Know Why’ (at 24/192 resolution), where the problem was very noticeable, I don’t know why it fixes this problem; but I am very happy it does!
Happy listening!
-Karl

Russ_L 07.18.13 at 5:58 pm

Ismel- have the same problem as Karl. Please explain what you mean by “power line extension”. Thanks in advance.
Russ

Jon L 07.19.13 at 5:08 am

Hi I use power line extensions with my PWD as my router is on a different floor to my hifi. RRather than run an ethernet cable direct from router to PWD you plug the extension into a power cocket and in to the router and then another adapter from powwer socket near hi fi in to the PWD. Your electric cables in your home are thus used to transfer the music data too. I use Devolo products and am happy with sound.

Can anyone advise if sound would improve with a direct ethernet connection from router to PWD rather than a powerline extension?

xTobix 07.19.13 at 4:44 pm

Hi Karl,

this is a very interesting outcome indeed. I am glad you tried CAT6 too and a little surprised that the dropouts were neglected in the original post.
I have a view questions in order to understand the reason for your observations.

1)
Is your Mac mini equipped with 1Gbit/s or 100Mbit/s network interface?
2)
Do you know whether the PS audio Network bridge runs a 1Gbit/s hardware too? (no information on there webpage!)
3)
Do you (or your IT expert) have a software tool able to monitor the network traffic (all active processes, all bidirectional data volume over time, as well as the number of lost packages)?
I am very keen to see how much is transferred with each of the cables and how high the error rate is!

(Regarding the error rate. There must be a way to see how many packages are dropped. In Windows this can be enabled following the manual:
‘Detect Packet Errors in Your Network LAN Connection Status’
to be found here:
http://www.raymond.cc/blog/detect-packet-errors-in-your-network-lan-connection-status/

By monitoring the absolute data traffic volume (and maybe the load on the CPU) as well as counting the errors one should be able to conclude if the CAT5 cable is broken or indeed a CAT6 connection is required for bit perfect playback.

Thanks a lot for your efforts.
Best regards!

Karl Sigman 07.19.13 at 7:19 pm

Dear xTobix,

I will look into your queries soon; but it may be awhile.
I should mention that I tried 3 different Cat5 (including a brand new one) and still got the skipping, so I do not think it is a defective cable.
I left out the skipping in my review because I really thought it was due to my own inability to set the J. River software properly; I did not want to blame it on anyone else yet!

You seem to have a nice mathematical way of thinking and I appreciate that; many thanks,

K

xTobix 07.22.13 at 3:25 am

Hi Karl,

Thanks for the response. Now with the new information this sounds all a bit more a reproducible (3 x cat5 cable) skipping. However, this does in no way exclude that your Mac, jRiver Media Center, or even the PS Network Bridge are doing something funny.

Now, for your own and all readers benefit and insides, there is only one test I can recommend (not easily available for USB driver and device), which is the error count for sent and received data. No DAC provides the digital error count but the network driver inside your OS does.
You would be very interested to see how much you use of the 1Gbit/s and how many errors are present. There are plenty of tools and I would even leave it permanently running as quality measure.
By making sure, cpu and network bandwidth remain less than 80%, the error rate should never reach 1 drop per second (@1Gbit/s and 1 drop (each frame contains 1542 x 8 bit)) = 1 error count/1e9 = 1e-9 errors/s) which could be considered as poor!
I look forward to your findings,
xTobix

PS: See for packing and through put calculations here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethernet_frame

Karl Sigman 07.22.13 at 11:37 am

Thanks xTobix,

I will try to check this out with the help of my IT guy.
I am not sure where the culprit is, and would like to finally sort that out.
Hopefully later this week.
-K

xTobix 07.22.13 at 1:42 pm

Karl,

thanks for the update. Let me know if I can be of any (remote) assistance.
Cheers,
T.

Mike in PDX 07.27.13 at 2:32 am

You missed a big thing. Because of a design flaw, the Bridge (unlike most British, Canadian, and Japanese stream receivers) does not support gapless playback via the usual UPnP connection (e.g., J River as you used it). That means that any album with continuous music from track to track will have the music interrupted by several seconds of silence between tracks. Opera, many classical and jazz albums, and even much pop music will be disfigured by this. I would have thought that any competent reviewer of network audio gear would test for this, as it has been one of the big issues in network audio for some years now.

P de Klerk 07.28.13 at 7:50 am

I am not surprised that the Cat6 cable helped solve some glitches in the audio. Remember that 24bit/192kbps aren’t small files at all and Cat6 was specifically designed to enable higher throughput which is typically required for HD audio/video streaming.

Cat6 is also designed to minimize data loss, which admitted, over 1m, shouldn’t make much of a difference, but then again that cable is in an area with significant electronic interference…

Glad the advice helped, since at that price you couldn’t go wrong! I wouldn’t bother too much with the network monitoring etc. since a problem solved is solved and it is probably due to throughput issues in anyway. That being said, if we own the same 192kbps Norah Jones recording, I found that they are more problematic than other HD audio tracks.

P

Karl Sigman 07.28.13 at 8:14 pm

Dear Mike in PDX:

You are correct: Using the bridge, gapless does not work; and indeed it is (as has been confirmed by PS Audio) the bridge itself, not the J. River software (which I have correctly blamed for many other problems, and rightly so: for example it can’t (MAC version 18) even rip CDs!)
I was testing particular tracks across different albums one-at-a-time for comparing USB mode (which I had been using with great success for a long time) with Bridge mode — not entire albums — and while doing so the Bridge quality of sound was/is superior to the USB mode (gapless definitely works there), and that is what I focused on. Mea culpa for not playing entire albums and carefully investigating the gapless aspect which indeed I thought was just a minor software issue when I later noticed it right after the time of my review.

The good news is that PS Audio will be releasing a Firmware/Software solution to the gapless problem quite soon: It is called `WaveStream’.
WaveStream is a virtual soundcard - meaning that once connected to the Bridge, anything you play on your computer is sent, bit perfect, to the bridge. The implications are big: YouTube, Pandora, iTunes, JRiver, etc.
It will be free to bridge owners, $49.95 for all others. Works with any UPnP compatible player. Stay tuned.

admin 07.28.13 at 8:17 pm

Great response, Karl. And, good news.

:)

Mike in PDX 07.30.13 at 12:30 am

Thanks for the follow-up, Karl. You make an interesting point: that WaveStream will allow many possible sources. The open question is how one will control the server PC when it’s in another room (a common configuration for network audio), since the availability of remote-control software will be considerably less through Wavestream than through a typical UPnP/DLNA system. I for one hope it works out well.

Today’s network audio reminds me of the earliest days of PCs. The promise was there, and occasionally one found examples of excellence, but all too often things didn’t work — or work together — as promised.

xTobix 08.02.13 at 3:43 am

Hi,

@P de Klerk:
I am puzzled about your comment:
“I wouldn’t bother too much with the network monitoring etc. since a problem solved is solved…”
It is obviously not solved since an entire new driver & protocol is requires! Reading a few posts up or doing the math yourself, you would have noticed that it should actually be more than enough to get 32 bit 192 kS/s across cat5 (100Mbit/s).
And such ignorance, though common in the audiophile community, is exactly what leads to “digital cable” for $480 instead of paying a little attention to the real issue you just get tricked into ever more expense accessories! It is your money but I believe Karl’s intention is transporting his experience and potentially help to solve the problem not just for himself - hence this post!

@Karl:
That issue with Gapless Playback is a little annoying. However, thinking a second time about the way it is transferred it is not surprising and such a streaming approach seems the right thing. I believe (Windows version) jRiver should support gapless network streaming (although I have zero experience with network streaming) and it might be enough to update the bridge firmware. This would have the benefit of no driver since it is useful to have the audio device invisible to all other application or you have to go for exclusive mode again.
I look forward to you reporting on the updated firmware/driver. It would be nice to see one or two screenshots of the installation setup procedure.

@All:
Here is a very good introduction to Gapless. A useful read:
http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Gapless

@Mike in PDX:
“Today’s network audio reminds me of the earliest days of PCs. The promise was there, and occasionally one found examples of excellence, but all too often things didn’t work — or work together — as promised.”
I thought pretty much the same way. However, I believe there are some significant differences such as:
1) The network protocol is very mature. It operates very different to USB.
2) The DAC is entirely decoupled from the noise of the computer. This is something build-in DACs or USB DACs have always be troubled with.
3) The underling protocol has the potential that all errors can be recovered (to my knowledge, this is not done with USB audio although I am not clear why not…) while all transport jitter could be rejected.

Therefore, my hope is that it does not take too long to get to excellent results with just $5 digital cables, a $40 RaspberryPi + $100 NAS! This would allow me to spend most of the money on the DAC and the analog side.

Regards
xTobix

Karl Sigman 08.03.13 at 9:48 am

Dear xTobix:

I am happy to report that
The Cat5/Versus Cat6 “skipping” problem is now solved:

It was the computer. I had overloaded its internal hard drive by keeping copies of music files on it that should not be there. Instead, I bought yet another 3TB external drive, put all the music there for J. River to point to, and then deleted all the music from the internal hard drive. (Previously it was pointing to the internal hard drive version…..)

I have now re-tested Cat5 extensively and no more skipping.

-K.S.

admin 08.03.13 at 9:51 am

Of course, all you tech geniuses could just throw on a vinyl LP ;)

Have fun. Great comments, BTW.

Cheers, a

Karl Sigman 08.03.13 at 10:08 am

Anthony: As for vinyl, don’t tempt me: I am now fiddling around with a cool analog to digital converter (ADC): I could just send the vinyl analog output directly to it.
Best,
-Karl

admin 08.03.13 at 10:08 am

One step at a time my friend. :)

Cheers, a

xTobix 08.05.13 at 4:03 am

Hi Karl,

I am happy to see improvements. By experience, keeping all load levels (CPU (each core) , GPU, HDD/SSD, Network) bellow 20 - 15% at any time as well as running only your player software is good practice, it only improves the overall audio performance.
Hence my comment on ruining a software network and performance monitor continuously for some length of time in order to catch such things.

For advanced PC-audio analysis, Thesycon provides a latency checker (for Windows only). This is a great tool to discover such problems.
http://www.thesycon.de/eng/latency_check.shtml
Beyond this, the provide a whole list of things to check and and improve on audio performance too.

Did you have a chance monitoring the network error rate? It is most likely very close to zero anyway.

Yours,
xTobix

Karl Sigman 08.05.13 at 11:39 am

Thanks xTobix,

At this point I will be letting the matter drop until the Bridge software update is available. Again, thanks for your advice.
-K.S.

Mike in PDX 08.05.13 at 8:53 pm

@xTobix - I can tell you from using it that jRiver does support gapless network streaming — with most renderers, not including the PS Audio Bridge. (I own JRiver and also the PWD II + Bridge.) PS Audio has told users that it cannot be fixed in Bridge firmware; therefore, at this point, they are developing a special software driver. The main drawback of that (as I understand it) is that a normal UPnP control point won’t be usable; one will have to use some kind of remote control software tied to the music-player software (JRiver).

I will say that if you own the PWD II and Bridge, lack of gapless playback is much more than “a little annoying.” It’s a major bug in a product from a high-end manufacturer, and it’s taking them years to fix it. In PS Audio’s defense, they had some kind of software to make their own server software (eLyric) do gapless with the Bridge. However, eLyric had bugs, and PS Audio have abandoned it.

xTobix 08.21.13 at 1:49 pm

Hi Karl,

sounds reasonable! Will you trigger a new/updated post?
Cheers,
xTx

xTobix 12.03.13 at 5:32 pm

Hi Karl,

long time no see. Any update on the network bridge firmware horizon?
Cheers!

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