I have Dynaudio Focus XD30 speakers and am thinking about buying a Bridge. The speakers have their own DAC. They are active so don’t need a power amp. Do I need a preamp? Even if the answer is ‘no’ would sound quality be improved by a preamp and/or separate DAC?
Hi ,Pumpexch and welcome to the dCS Community forum.
I understand from your posting on the Naim Audio forum that you are controlling volume by the Dynaudio’s remote control. That probably deals adequately with the only good reason that I can think of for adding a preamp in this case.
The speakers appear from the technical specs provided by Dynaudio to have only S/Pdif wired digital connectivity and the processing seems to be limited to PCM at a maximum of 24/192 for this input. Any digital input from the dCS Network Bridge will be reprocessed by the Dynaudio’s DAC as the speaker has its crossover etc. controlled by DSP. So whether you buy another DAC or use a preamplifier and connect by an analogue connection you can only ever hear the output of the inbuilt Dyanaudio DAC. IMO you will not get the full benefits of either the NB or another DAC as they will only serve as digital feeds to the Dyanudio’s DAC . If instead you connect using the analogue output from the DAC this will be re-digitised by the speaker’s ADC before being sent to the speaker’s DAC.
The mixture of this DSP speaker and the Network Bridge seems an uncomfortable combination and one that, for me anyway, would not fully exploit the capabilities of the NB or a high quality DAC such as a dCS model because you will only ever hear the output from speaker’s inbuilt DAC which, basically, will be the same as what you hear currently without the Network Bridge.
On the plus side you may possibly gain some advantage from the dCS Mosaic controller if, for example, you do not have a convenient way of accessing certain streaming services or internet radio. If you want to use it in combination with Roon that may also be an advantage as I cannot see that the Dyanaudio digital products are Roon ready. It also provides UPnP access to local files from a NAS ( preferably using MinimServer software). However you may already have other ways of accomplishing these tasks e.g. computer to Dynaudio using the USB connectivity of the Dynaudio Connect box.
Thank you for taking the trouble! It’s a fantastic response. I think you have saved me some money. It looks like the uplift in sound quality over the Auralic Aries Femto I am using at present is not going to be worth the outlay. Your understanding of the Dynaudio spec was spot on.
In one room I have active speakers with DACs and DSP (Dutch & Dutch 8c) and tried a variety of Auralic and Lumin streamers and the DCS Network Bridge. The DCS definitely sounded best to me. But it wasn’t a huge difference. However when you notice the difference it’s hard to go back. I would find a dealer who can loan you a NB and see what you hear.
I have since bought a Bridge. I’m happy with the result - it is better than the Auralic. I am very grateful to Par for his helpful and thorough response. As a lifelong Naim user I am persuaded that performance is not simply measured in figures on a spec sheet - there is an elusive quality in sound reproduction. The best word I know for that is ‘musicality’. Naim has it. So has the dCS Bridge