Mytek Digital Brooklyn Bridge streaming DAC

Equipment+
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Digital-to-analog converters,
Music servers and computer audio
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Mytek Brooklyn Bridge
Mytek Digital Brooklyn Bridge streaming DAC

Mytek’s half-width and affordably priced D-A converter is now in its fourth incarnation after the line began with the Stereo192-DSD in 2011. Successive models were dubbed the Brooklyn and each time they gained upgrades in converter silicon.

Each time, that is, until the Brooklyn Bridge, which launched this year with not a new DAC chip, but added network, Wi-Fi and USB connectivity and no longer requiring a separate streamer or computer to deliver the digits.

Mytek has long turned exclusively to ESS Technology and its Sabre series of DAC chips, and the Bridge here takes the same ES9029PRO as the previous Brooklyn DAC+. It’s a well-respected high-specification converter that decodes PCM up to DXD-spec (24-bit and either 352.8 or 384 kHz), as well as the highest commercial DSD files at 4x baseband rate – DSD256 – albeit with the usual ceiling of DSD128 when used in a DoP setup.

It’s a very tidy unit, available in black or silver finish, with a multi-faceted fascia to provide some textured interest. A quick tour around the Bridge shows it really doesn’t want for much in features, serving as an all-round digital (and analogue) pre-amplifier.

Menu navigation is via the main encoder knob plus four concealed buttons, two either side of a colourful and detailed OLED display that’s replete with dancing peak meters when active. The company M logo lights up in a choice of 16 intense colours, or the backlight can be disabled if desired. For remote control, Mytek includes the aluminium Apple Remote.

On the rear are RCA and XLR balanced outputs, plus four digital inputs – two 
S/PDIF through RCA, Toslink optical and USB Type B. The S/PDIF pair can be combined to create an SDIF-3 three-wire connection with the help of a BNC word clock, the professionals’ choice for piping raw DSD.

An extra power supply input is a useful feature, instated after Mytek dropped its linear power supply for the first Brooklyn. It allows in one easy move to sidestep the internal switched-mode unit, a custom SMPS inside its own semi-Faraday cage. More on that later.

Besides its core D-A function, the Brooklyn Bridge can serve as pre-amp. Two volume schemes are offered – purely digital attenuation, and an analogue resistor-ladder volume. The final choice is left to the listener’s taste. A relay-switched bypass mode disables either option for a clearly audible better sound, providing one has a half-way transparent pre-amp already.

By default, the line-level output is rather hot, at 4.8 V unbalanced and 9.7 V through the XLR sockets, but thankfully this can be trimmed down through the menu by –12 dB in 1 dB steps. Unlike the previous global attenuation, this works per input, so it’s necessary to adjust for every digital source. In practice a –6 dB adjustment works well to bring volume down to similar levels as with most other consumer audio kits.

There’s a phono stage ready to work with either moving-magnet or moving-coil cartridges, and this can be disabled to access a regular line-level input. There’s no adjustment for sensitivity or impedance, and in practice the MC input proved too high in gain and in noise, with added MW radio intrusion. The MM on the other hand is very good, clean and revealing. Two 1/4-inch sockets on the front will either drive two pairs of headphones, or with the help of an additional XLR adaptor can be combined to provide balanced-mode operation. As such, the 6 W headphone stage is no afterthought.

For its network streaming function Mytek has added a UPnP module from Korean developer ConversDigital, overseen by the ‘mconnect Player’ app for Android and iOS (£5.99). This mostly works well, giving a slick interface to navigate through thousands of albums on a NAS drive, for example. The same app is used for logging into rental services Tidal and Qobuz, and it can find your own music files stored on certain cloud accounts, namely Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Apple iCloud Drive. Unfortunately, missing currently is any means to access internet radio.

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