Bricasti M3 w/network card vs USB

Hey Gang,

Really enjoying the M3. Currently just using for streaming Tidal and Qobuz and playing files via coax from an Oppo 103

I am looking to add a server/nas to play 6 tb of DSD and Hi Rez/flac/wav files. 
I would really just like to stay with using the network input and avoid USB unless the crew can tell me USB sounds better.  Has anybody compared the network input vs USB?

Any input would be appreciated. 




too bad our esteemed member @tvad no longer posts here

he has had the m3 for quite a long while, loves it in his wonderful audio note system, and i think just very recently moved up to the m1 model

that said, if my memory serves correctly, he was a very strong advocate of using the network card input for his m3

if you do a back search using his username and see his old posts, he commented numerous times on the m3, and what he did to get the best sound out of it...

I have had the M3 for a couple of years and have used both inputs.  The network input is noticeably better. Bricasti also recommends the network input over USB. I forget their reasoning, but I am sure they would be happy to share if you give them a call.

WE are a bricasti dealer and a server dealer


the usb sounds better if you are using a good dedicated server


the issue is the quality of the USB setup a laptop or generic pc wont sound better


our 432Evo servers use a dedicated and isolated USB card which is electrically separated from the CPU


on our bricastis this improves upon the network connection

we sell the servers with a two week money back trial


please contact the shop for more info

Dave and Troy

Audio intellect NJ

US importer 432EVO music servers



audiotroy so let me get this straight. I was in your room at Axpona this yr and asked about the 432Evo and I told you I was using a Bricasti M3 and you told me to my face the 432 would destroy the Bricasti. So why do you sell Bricasti?

^ Um what? so without the Evo front end the Bricasti is no good?  How about my Melco N1Z feeding the Bicasti by Ethernet? Also no good?

The ethernet card is very similar to an outboard M5 and is internally connected via I2S. This provides stellar clocking between the player and DAC. That is why it outperforms many other options.

With my Antipodes K50 I was able to test Ethernet from the server half of the device, AES and Coax from the on-board clock and the USB which is obviously asynchronous. The K50 via AES Coax beat the Ethernet. It was closer than I would like it to be given the card costs $1000 and the player/clock half of the Antipodes is like $7500 to buy on its own plus you need a server. The ethernet synchronous inputs were noticeably better than the USB.

An elite server and player can beat the ethernet card but at a price ($17.5K) that most consumers would not spend when paired with an M3. Given how strong the ethernet connection is via the Bricasti, I think the most logical solution would be to run a high-powered server that can handle those 6TB of data and not burden it with player duties.

My suggestion would be to look at the Antipodes S40. It can handle up to 8TB of data and offers a direct ethernet streaming connection from the device. This would allow you to continue to leverage the ethernet card and have a nice, high-powered server that can easily handle a big and demanding library. It also bypasses your router and other equipment in terms of connection between server and DAC after signal processing has begun.

Full disclosure, I am a Bricasti and Antipodes dealer. I would also say I have not tested Innuos, EVO and other devices that solely use USB outputs and have no comment on how they might perform differently.


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Thanks for the great info. 
Not sure what to do. I have all these great DSD files And no way of getting them to the Bricasti . I am looking at a Melco N100 for 2k which will do the trick or maybe spend a couple of grand on improving my streaming setup ( have a EtherRegen w/SoTM cabling in place already) and forget about the files. 
Haven’t even heard whet DSD sounds like on the Bricasti. Can anybody comment on that? Of course it’s always about the recording but just wondering if it’s worth spending even bigger money 5-7k on a server/streamer that supports the music services. Would Qobuz and Tidal sound better thru a dedicated player than the network card?

Since I have upgraded to Townshend Fractal F1 speaker wires and the Iconoclast 4x4 Gen 2 XLR my rig is really sounding good. Just want to figure out the final piece. ( for now)

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The DAC plays DSD files well and it is capable of max resolution through either USB or Ethernet.  This is again driven by that I2S connection.  I don't find DSD inherently better or worse than PCM except in the extremes.  You will hear a bit of a difference on DSD upscaling DACs like Playback and probably Meitner.  

There are two different approaches to these digital front ends. You can get a streamer like a Lumin U1 which handles everything, typically using proprietary software/firmware.  These are good options.  They are stable and reliability is typically driven by the strength of the software.  Lumin is supposed to be pretty good.  Some are better.  Some are worse.  

The alternate is server & player.  Here you have a computer of some sort; PC, Mac, Antipodes, Innuos, etc... that runs an OS and most of the time, third party software like Roon of Foobar.  Innuos and Pink Faun are exceptions.  I am sure there are others.  That computer can play both part, server and player but rarely is it great at both.  

The server function is often best executed by a high powered computer as it handles all the local files and a very volatile internet.  The player/renderer part is often best handle by a mid-powered device.  If you have too much processing power, it can introduce noise in the player stage.  This is especially the case with Roon.  Other software can be a lighter load from a server perspective (JRiver, Foobar) and don't need the same processing power.  

The network card in the Bricasti is just a "player or renderer."  It doesn't need a lot of power and that unit is optimized to interface with the M3, M1, M12, M21, etc...  It is basically an M5 but without the separate chassis.  You would think this would be mediocre.  It is not.  This card is really good but is at its best when fed from a good server.  

I have used everything from a Roon Nucleus to an Antipodes K50 and have compared it to other renderers and players at differing levels.  It can be beat but not for a couple thousand dollars.  My experience is Qobuz and Tidal through a good server into the network card will sound better than Qobuz and Tidal though a streamer or unit serving as both server and player.