Hello everyone…I am brand new to the dCS Community.
Today, I will be demoing the Network Bridge in my home. I currently have a ‘Matrix Audio Pro Sabre’ DAC, connected directly to a Roon Nucleus, by a USB cable. Yes, I know…Not an ideal set up.
I will be connecting the Bridge to the DAC with a single AES, as the DAC only has one AES input. James at dCS, has kindly advised me what the limitations are of using this DAC
I have read the thread on the dCS Community, regarding using the Bridge with, and without a Bartok, which was interesting.
I would love to demo the Bartok, but feel there is no point in doing so, if I can’t afford it.
Only my ears can tell, but would using my own Matrix DAC, do the dCS Bridge an injustice?
What brand of DAC are others using with the Bridge?
I suggest you read the reviews of the Bridge listed on the dCS website product page for the bridge. There seems to be a general consensus that the bridge can make a substantial improvement to the sound quality from non-dCS DACs. I use the bridge with a PS Audio DirectStream DAC and it certainly gave a large improvement. In fact I have heard that one potential buyer had difficulty choosing between a Bartok and the dCS Bridge/ PS DAC combination with the former being slightly more transparent and the latter slightly ‘warmer’ in sound.
Please take a look at page 12 of the manual for dCS Network Bridge where there is a table with settings that you could adopt when connecting to a DAC, dCS or non-dCS.
I use my NWB with a Musical Fidelity M6 DAC and get very good results via a single AES/EBU cable.
Thanks @Zyberguran, I’ll check that out.
You are absolutely right. Only your ears can tell.
It should be absolutely fine and if you like your DAC anyway then I would expect that you should like what you are going to hear when you add the Bridge. I would strongly hope that you are able to connect whatever you have running Roon core to the Bridge using the network connection as that delivers the finest sound quality. USB connection is not appropriate. Although your connectivity options to the DAC will limit you to a max. of 192kHz or DSD64, in practical terms that is going to cover most programme material (all for the majority of users) the capability of the Matrix Audio Pro is such that downsampling ( as per p.12 in the Network Bridge User Manual) is not likely to be a feature that you will need to use.
As you seem to be having a home demo my experience of such things is that you may not also be provided with the User Manual. Just in case here is a link:
BTW, the styling of the Matrix Audio Pro Sabre is gorgeous.
Remember to let us know how you get on.
Thanks Pete for a great reply. It’s nearly 15:30 and TNT still haven’t delivered the Bridge yet. I’m panicking!
Don’t they provide a 1 hour delivery window in the track and trace option?
DPD do, without fail. But not these idiots! Their Track and Trace says it’s still ‘In Transit’, it’s not even showing out for delivery. And of course their HQ shuts at 1pm.
I’ll have to wait until Monday now.
I am guessing that you are in the UK. Did your dealer pay the extra 24 quid for a Saturday delivery? If not then Monday it would be anyway even if he told you that he had dispatched it on Friday.
I am Pete…Yes he paid the extra £24!
I’m guessing but are you also ‘DJM’ on the Naim forum? If so we’ll all be interested in your findings!
I’m trying to keep a low profile
I use my Network bridge with a TAD D1000mk2 cd/sacd/dac, connection is with a single AES cable.
Really happy with this combo can’t say that I need to be able to play more than 24/192 and TAD is a terrific machine.
Morning Pete…Well, the Bridge hasn’t turned up. A bit angry because I sat in from 8am to 6pm, but even more so, because I couldn’t play any music incase I missed the doorbell. I do like a bit of volume!
This situation has given me time to think, which is financially lethal for me.
My original plan was to sell the Matrix DAC, not because of it’s performance or looks, but because the only way to update the firmware is via a Windows Computer (Not known at the time of purchase). I am a Mac user, so are my friends and family. I can’t use Bootcamp because my iMac is mid 2011, I tried the free version of ‘Parallels’, but that was a nightmare! You have to download the files and install them in 2-3 stages.
So, I have been looking at the Bartok, a one box solution that gets stunning reviews. I have only one shelf left on my rack, this would been placing the Bridge on top of the DAC, or vise versa. Probably not good.
Most would agree, that a music system needs to be balanced, so was wondering if the Bartok was too high end for my Naim 282/300DR/Kudos Titan 606 system, or would it be just fine?
I’d be grateful for some comments…Thank you.
@octaviars I’m not sure, a mixture of brands I think. Mine is Matrix Audio Pro Sabre MQA.
I think that my first piece of advice is to only cross the bridge when you have reached it. So I wouldn’t think seriously about buying a Bartok until you have heard the Network Bridge and are convinced that that is the way that you want to go.
As for the update question with your Matrix DAC as that is the only point that you do not like then the obvious and cheapest solution would be to buy a refurbished laptop PC just for this purpose. As you do not need anything flash then the lowest spec will do. Or, as such an update is not going to be a regular feature of your life, do you not have a friend who has a laptop that you can just borrow?
Secondly I do not recommend stacking components. Some audio racks are modular and allow additional levels to be added . Is that an option? Or could you simply change your rack ? Or add a small secondary rack?Given the price of a Bartok unless you are using e.g. an HRS rack then that may be a minor financial consideration.
As for a balanced system, yes that is broadly desirable. But as an old Naim hand I will revert to the original Naim and Linn philosophy. If you lose the Information at the front end you cannot replace it later in the system. So the source is the least appropriate place to save money or, conversely, it it the most appropriate place to spend the most money. As I remarked to the late Charles Hansen ( Ayre) ; the speakers make the most difference to the sound of the music, the source makes the most difference to the music itself. He liked that and asked my permission to use it. Sadly he passed away a few weeks later. In any case although I no longer have a single Naim component ( I sold my last piece, a NAT01/NAPST tuner, to a friend a couple of months ago) I am still an admirer of the brand and think that you need have no concern about matching your combination to a Bartok.
What a bugger having to wait in tomorrow for TNT. Actually i have always had a good experience with them. I hope that you may be working from home and not have to take time off.
Thank you Pete for your kind advice.
I’m happily retired so no worries about taking time off.
I have an old ‘Target’ rack from the 1990’s. Very strong, built to last. However, it’s not as acoustically designed like today’s modern racks. Please see the attached photo, which shows my old ‘Bluesound Node’, which went ages ago.
Been looking at a possible shelf solution for the DAC, by way of a floating turntable shelf. Being in the corner though it would need to face outwards.
I’ll let you know my thoughts of the Bridge if it arrives tomorrow.
I agree that those old racks were not as good as some of today’s offerings. However their main problem was the material used for the shelving rather than the frame.
The UK history of those racks was implicitly related to the Linn LP12. The original one layer stand was made by Sound Organisation ( London Bridge and later York) explicitly for the turntable but extended later including a modular version which could be added to a layer at a time. Subsequently another company called Audiotec introduced a broadly similar looking stand but crucially using shelves made of a foam core sandwiched between laminates. These made a huge improvement over the MDF original shelves . If you can find any ( the shelves could be bought separately) then snap them up.
Assuming that you are not going to be able to find the Audiotec shelves then reuse that stand but get some 2 cm deep maple shelves cut to size. Easy to find ( the material is used for kitchen counter tops), inexpensive and a major improvement compared with the originals ( yes I have tried, yes it worked). OK, you won’t have an HRS stand beater but it will be both usable and cheap. Could be used for a wall mount shelf too given one of the proprietary metal frames.
The Bridge finally arrived at 17.30 today.
The Demo…Setup was very fast. Roon found the Bridge immediately, and the Bridge found Asset UPnP on my iMac.
The app is very good, lightning fast. Though I noticed that in the Apple app store, in addition to dCS Mosaic, there were individual apps for other dCS products. Bartok, Bridge etc…Not sure if I should have downloaded the Bridge app as well?
Yes, it sounded lovely, but only slightly better than the Vega G2.1 which I am also demoing at the moment. The Vega is a streaming DAC.
The Bridge was clearer with more detail, but it wasn’t ‘night and day’, but that’s more than likely down to the DAC I was using it with. This now makes me even more eager to hear the Bartok!