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A Stable Streaming Rig Has Landed

Screen shot 2013-12-08 at 8.39.23 PMI bought a PS Audio Bridge about a year ago. I got it new for $599 on ebay (about $200 off list). I felt quite clever, having obtaining this bargain of an advanced audio streaming card for my PerfectWave II DAC.

Then I spent days (and by days I mean weeks) trying to coax the card to cooperate. Forget attempting the holy grail of gapless streaming; I just wanted the thing to play a hi-res track without choking. On Saturday mornings my girlfriend would stumble into the living room, rubbing sleep from her eyes, and see me slumped in front of a laptop balanced on the DAC.

“Still trying to get it to work?” she’d ask, cautiously.

I’d nod and grunt and reboot everything for the fifth time. Then swear under my breath for another hour before going out and raking leaves while muttering.

One of the problems was that I was using PS Audio’s elyric as a music manager on the laptop…and then trying to get everything to stream over wi-fi. elyric was textbook-unstable, and updates often made it more so. Pure folly, I finally decided. A couple months ago I downloaded JRiver for Mac and have been tweaking it ever since, with mixed results.

I have an old MacBookPro with a bad ethernet jack, running Snow Leopard. A 2TB OWC Mercury drive is plugged into the FW400 jack. Then everything’s USB’d back into the PerfectWave. As long as you’re not trying to play anything more than a 320kbps AAC, it works well enough. But if you’re just going to play AACs, you might as well stick with AirPort Express.

Grumble.

Today I finally found a PCI Express ethernet card in box in the garage. It had been packed away during one of many moves a few years ago. I slammed the card into the laptop, plugged in ethernet from the router, configured, rebooted.

Nothing worked. JRiver couldn’t see the PerfectWave. Bleah.

I rebooted the router, the PerfectWave II DAC, the computer, and a few other things. Restarted JRiver MC 19 a couple times.

IT FINALLY WORKED.

It streamed 24/96 FLACs for hours with no hiccups.

The JRiver software didn’t crash.

I dumped elyric-for-IOS7 (evidently PS Audio may do the same soon) because it could no longer find the PerfectWave and substituted JRiver’s JRemote on the iPad. It won’t shift sample rates on the DAC, but I realized I almost NEVER change sample rates; everything’s NativeX all the time. All I need is a GUI for the music on the hard drive and a volume slider. JRiver has both. And it’s stable. No, it (and the Bridge) won’t do gapless. Guess I’ll have to cope with not listening to Dark Side of the Moon even less than I wasn’t listening to it before. So it goes.

Sitting at dinner tonight, my girfriend mentioned she didn’t really like the Keith Jarrett track that was playing in the living room.

I reached over to the iPad and switched to “Matte Kudasai” from King Crimson’s Disipline. Adjusted the volume to her liking.

And kept eating dinner. And smiled.