Early Christmas

July 18, 2017
 by Paul McGowan

The process of getting MQA and Tidal onto the Bridge took so long I turned another year older. More gray hair. Fewer brain cells.

Patience has never been one of my virtues.

But, here we are. All Bridge II owners can now update to the latest Bridge OS for free and get full MQA unfolding (up to 192kHz 24 bit) and access to Tidal. Couple of things to note.

Bridge updates are via the front panel of either the DirectStream, DirectStream Junior or PWD. Go here for a How To if you’re not familiar with the process. It’s really quite simple.

To use Tidal you’ll need a subscription as well as the paid MConnect app ($6) installed on your mobile device from the iTunes store or Google Play.

Bridge II works with DirectStream, DirectStream Junior (built in), and The PerfectWave DAC. If you have either DirectStream DACs, Huron OS is required. This is a free update and if you’ve not yet made the change, you’re missing out on some great sound in addition to the feature updates available for Bridge II owners. If you’re unfamiliar with the DAC upgrade process it’s explained in this How To.

If you have a PWD you’ll need to install 3.03 which can be downloaded for free here. If you’re not familiar with the PWD upgrade process, you can review this How To.

Bottom line, Bridge II owners are now Roon, MQA, and Tidal ready.

All free, from your friends at PS Audio.


Subscribe to Paul's Posts

35 comments on “Early Christmas”

  1. Thanks much for all your staff’s effort providing rapid updates!

    When watching your effort in communication and discussion, I sometimes wonder if it’s better to write down some basic descriptions centrally and pointing to them instead of discussing them with each customer repeatedly 😉 Could save a few brain cells ,-)

  2. What a pity. When on request for a possible MQA-Upgrade Paul had outed himself as a most militant opponent of MQA entering his DS-DAC concept and downgrading the superior sound quality I sold my DS DAC and now enjoy the MQA advantages from another brand. After extensive listening of course. I never really understood Paul’s arguments against MQA because the DS DAC already is a number crunching machine.

    1. Really? You sold the DS for getting MQA at the time?
      If I remember correctly, the time between Paul’s first resistance to MQA and the decision to implement it anyway was just a few months…so you must have taken a quick decision 😉 But I may be wrong with that timeline.

      For my demands in music releases of special labels, masterings or format (DSD/PCM), streaming services still are ridiculous in their offer. If I would compare sound quality to uncompressed and locally stored PCM formats, probably also for this reason. To use streaming services for background or party, a normal red book subscription would be enough for me.

      So if I have to invest 350$ for a year to try out MQA I probably never will…but it would be interesting to compare sound quality.

      Anyhow I understand the demand for MQA of others who are completely set to streaming services.

      1. Indeed, I did so. Thus I could avoid an even bigger price reduction of my DS-DAC having no upgrade chance at that time.. Maybe with the MQA-Bridge option the price drop might become smaller now.

      2. My streaming service (Qobuz) is £30 per month, but most of what I listen to is PCM high definition, DSD to follow in a few months. No MQA. Personally, I think MQA is just a load of fancy filtering, compression and marketing (in no particular order). My Chinese streamer can decode MQA without an MQA license and supports Tidal, so I might try a free subscription to see what all the fuss is about.


        And for those who like to read finances, here’s their latest. Revenues increased in 2016 from $1,000 to $40,000 (good news), but they did burn through $4.5 million. The worse news is they still have over $10 million cash to spend on propaganda.

        1. Steven, Your link is using OAuth validation and the token has expired, so the document is not accessible.

          The OAuth framework is the spawn of Satan, and has as many variations as there are implementations. One of my stepsons is the cryptographer who developed much of it. I still talk to him but he has never really been forgiven.

    2. I am still no fan of MQA and my stance has never changed. I refused then and refuse now to add MQA to our DAC. It makes no sense to change anything in our hard won number crunching machine.

      When MQA’s founder, Bob Stuart, agree to let us implement MQA unfolding within one of our sources, not affecting the DAC itself, we knew it was finally something we could agree to. We never left our values but allowed our customers the opportunity to play with the new technology and see for themselves.

      We’re not the quickest to react but we eventually get there as long as we don’t have to compromise quality or values.

      I don’t like or play MP3. That doesn’t mean we don’t include the possibility of playing it in our equipment.

          1. Very sensible approach, doing it outboard. My 16 year old has come up with his first career option – media lawyer !! He’s been mentored by a top lawyer for the last year and just spent a week in his office. Reckon MQA licensing would have put him off and he would have gone for the obvious safe route of fireman or human cannonball.

      1. I applaud your position as ethically superior. According to my research on the neuro-physiology of music, MP3 is bad for your health! It gives me a headache, and if you can enjoy it all day that is a symptom of brain stunting or damage. This is true of all digital signal processing to the extent that it increases quantization error, reduces dynamic range (transient distortion) and scrambles phase information (time distortion).

        Since modifications of the signal besides gain change all involve mathematical operation over some time interval, this means no EQ or “harmonic enhancement” (Aphex), no compression or limiting, no spatialization (mixing, panning, reverb), and of course no file compression.

        I have a hard time believing MQA can be as good as DSD because all filtering is temporal distortion. DSF was a revelation for me, audibly superior to 24/384 on complex acoustic music from a near coincident pair. Since DSF is only five times the file size of Redbook (smaller than 24/96), I hardly see a need for anything in between other than 24/48 for video soundtracks. BluRay and other HD Audio is about making work for audio engineers in lucrative “mixing” and “mastering” desecration of the sacred signal, working backwards. The right place to fix the sound is before the performance.

  3. “To use Tidal you’ll need a subscription as well as the paid MConnect app ($6) installed on your mobile device from the iTunes store or Google Play.”

    Thanks very much, Paul, but it is even better than that … The mconnect Control apps are FREE!

  4. Paul- The other day I believe you mentioned that cd’s and sacd’s sound better than streaming. I had mentioned to you a year or two ago when I tried Tidal via my regular run of the mill laptop of through a budget DAC my CD’s stomped all over the streaming TIDAL. Playing the same track side by side Tidal was so bad I quit subscribing. With PSA gear and the right sound card/computer etc. is Tidal sounding good enough to have yet?
    It was so bad when I had it I chose to save the money and switch to Pandora premium or whatever they call it for listening to background music. I’m sorry, but I’m not so sure Pandora didn’t sound = or better than Tidal via my rig. Maybe my expectations were just diminished with pandora. Your thoughts?

    1. IMHO Tidal (premium service) sounds acceptable. Definitely not as good as physical media played on DMP. Pandora is not even a close second, nor is Spotify. These two stream compressed music and should not be compared to anything.

  5. Curious, if using Bridge II as a Roon endpoint and selecting a Tidal Master (MQA) enabled track via Roon Remote should we be able to leverage the new firmware update?

    1. Someday but not now. That requires yet another update for the Bridge. Sigh. That’ll be on our list of updates to make. All these changes take valuable programmers time and company funds to enact. They are somewhat out of the blue relative to our engineering schedule and they rob us of much needed engineering time dedicated to new products. But, we slide them in any way to help our customers stay relevant. It’s always a balancing act.

  6. Thanks Paul for your teams extreme patience and relentless effort put forth for this Bridge II upgrade. I will compare the Roon Remote Stream to Tidal via the MConnect Control App. I’ll be curious if I would be compelled to seek out Tidal Master selections to listen to especially with a brand new DMP on order and due to arrive in the next day or so!!!

    I feel extremely fortunate to be able to experience the fine audio nuances that one can experience in the DirectStream DAC and have really grown into and developed a passion for listening and the discovery that has come through the improvements in the interface USB to Ethernet as well as the progression of improvements from PP to Huron. Don’t know if I’m lucky or just fourtunate to have selected the right mix of components to really hear these improvements PS Audio has been making over time. It had really changed my “critical ear” and with the vast collection of music I have I have been ridding myself of lossless rips replacing them with CD’s and .aif versions.

    I can only imagine what my “reference ear” will tell me when I get the DMP this week. I sincerely doubt I’ll be doing much listening to Tidal MQA?

    I plan on rediscovering the “hidden music” I have in all the redbook disks not to mention the SACD’s that have been almost ignored since I bought the DirectStream DAC.

    Your team’s efforts have more than done their job IMO to strike that balance. Paul please stay true to your principles and convictions. My ears tell me thus far this is all soooo good and visiting your Music Room 1 is likely to be worth a drive up HWY 93 for a listen and a craft brew.

  7. Paul,

    thanks for the gift 🙂

    I use Roon to send music to the PWD mk II & Bridge II from a mac mini via ethernet. Do I need to mess with the mconnect app? Or can I simply use Roon as I have been? Will this give me the access I need to play and unfold the MQA Tidal Masters on my dac?


  8. There was a lot of talk on another forum some months ago about MQA. With all the hoopla Dr. Waldrep came out strongly against it. I was curious to see how it works. Technology has changed but the mathematics of information theory has not. Therefore I studied it and thought about it. Here are two videos about it. Get by the hyperbole and study the technology and it is quite ingenious really. Here are the videos explaining it and I’ll follow that by some comments.



    So how does MQA manage to transmit wide bandwidth above 20 khz in the bandwidth usually restricted to 20 khz? As you can see if you watched the video, the information above 20 khz is broken down into two additional parts, frequency downshifted, and transmitted at different voltage levels within the 20 khz bandwidth. How?

    Some time back we had a discussion about whether digital signals were stair step functions or lollipop functions? At that time I pointed out that the stair step function was correct because the A/D converter uses a sample and hold circuit. In this case the stair steps are converted to lollipops, each one being shorter in time by at least a third of the stair steps. They are then converted through time based multiplexing into a signal that uses the same bandwidth at three different voltage levels. This is how it must be. In the playback circuit the process is reversed. The three signals are segregate out, the two lower voltage signals frequency upshifted, reassembled, and converted back to stair step functions to be reconverted to a form suitable for a D/A converter. Anyone want to offer some other explanations? I’m open to suggestions about how the technology works.

    Why then doesn’t the system have any useful value. Two reasons. First reason is that you can’t hear anything above 20 khz so the entire notion of high resolution is useless. Waldrep admitted that himself as the results of experiments he performed with both himself and other recording engineers comparing his own true high resolution recordings with the same signals downconverted to RBCD standards. Second, in order to get any signal above 20 khz the entire recording and playback process must have these signals inherent in them and that means the entire chain must have extended bandwidth. If even one element is bandwidth restricted, all subsequent signals will no longer contain signals above 20 khz. If that happens, all you get above 20 khz is a lot of extra and expensive zeroes. And Waldrep demonstrated that too using a wideband spectrum analyzer. It’s in one of his videos Most so called high definition or high resolution recordings don’t have any signal there at all and certainly not legacy recordings of decades ago. According to Dr. Waldrep, there are only a few thousand recordings available that have these signals present and they were all made relatively recently. Any difference in what you hear from MQA to other non HD formats is not attributable to its ingenious but worthless technology, it is for other reasons that have a more mundane explanation. Therefore MQA is simply a marketing tool.

  9. “To use Tidal you’ll need a subscription as well as the paid MConnect app ($6) installed on your mobile device from the iTunes store or Google Play.”

    I am unfamiliar with that App. Is it only required for use of Tidal in conjunction with PS Audio equipment. Or is it also required by others for some reason?


  10. Paul, as a caveman, happily handling the silver discs and with no wish to go to the stream to quench my thirst, I still have to congratulate your concept of open and free PSA upgrades. It is so refreshing in this realm of bait and switch or bait and require further fee. We should all applaud your efforts.

    1. Yes, indeed, bait and switch – sucking someone into something then announcing, “oh by the way, if you want to use it….”

      Like the airlines. “Oh, you want to take luggage with you? Who knew? Give me money.”

      No, we want to take care of our customers in every way we can. We can’t always do things for free, but we’ll try.

  11. Once again the Royal Opera is offering itself to the world.
    This is a production of Turandot live streamed and broadcast at 13 live outdoor venues on big screens last Friday night.
    I went to see it the previous Sunday and, although over 30 years old, it is a really good production. It survived being premiered at the Dorothy Chandler Hall in L.A., discussed a while back.


    Available for a month.

    Heathens who just want Nessum Dorma, it’s at 2:52

Leave a Reply

© 2023 PS Audio, Inc.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram