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Testing Ground

Mytek Brooklyn Bridge: connecting digital and analog music with affordable ease

By Kenn Richards |

Just as the real Brooklyn Bridge brought together two great cities, the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge (USD 2,995.00 MSRP) connects streaming and analog music into one excellent platform. It's an instant upgrade path that can be added to any system, providing a state of the art DAC that allows you to stream bit-perfect Hi-Res on Qobuz. There’s also a phono preamp, a balanced-out headphone output, and a powerful headphone amplifier, all built in. Just pair it with an amp, and you have a compact all-in-one home stereo solution.

The Brooklyn Bridge is interchangeable with the Brooklyn DAC+ in signal pathways, components, and sensational audio performance. Where they part company is the built-in streaming function, which can connect to your home network via Wi-Fi with the genius addition of an extended external antenna or wired ethernet. To avoid glitches or dropouts, we strongly recommend using a wired connection for Qobuz—Hi-Res bit-perfect files are not adaptive and can be taxing on Wi-Fi, and you also avoid radio network interference that can diminish your system's performance. Control is possible through either the app or directly on the front panel, with its gorgeous OLED screen and comfortable encoder, and four menu buttons. For even easier management, pair it with the mControl and mConnect apps to have many of the controls right on your phone or tablet. You can also stream directly from Qobuz and other services, including cloud storage apps like Dropbox, iCloud, and OneDrive) using the mConnect app. Additionally, connecting a USB hard drive to your Brooklyn Bridge allows for playback of your local library.

Tech:

The Brooklyn Bridge is capable of supporting up to 384k, 32bit PCM, native DSD up to DSD256, DXD, 130dB DR, based on its ES9028PRO chipset.

The digital inputs are: USB2 Class2 (Windows ASIO Driver - all formats, Linux Drivers - all formats, Mac OS Driverless - up to 384 PCM, up to DSD 128 DoP), 2x S/PDIF (PCM up to 24/384k, up to DSD128 DOP), Toslink (up to 24/176k, DSD64 DoP)

There's also an audio interface function which allows the Brooklyn Bridge to route digital inputs into a computer via USB2, connecting external digital sources such as CD players and ADCs.

Sound and Features:

The headphone output is particularly impressive. Using Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors resulted in one of the strongest outputs I've heard from a streaming device. The UEs are not always easy to drive, but the Brooklyn managed them with style and clarity.

The Brooklyn Bridge produces pristine, clear sound that is not clinical in the least. It has a very tight low end that will delight but not overpower. Basslines are precise, kick drums kick, and nothing loses definition. The sound is as good as products that cost much more. If "clean," "uncolored" sound is not your thing, pair it with Audirvana, which allows VST/AU plug-ins to be introduced and "color" the sound to your heart's content. My go-to combo here is the AP Vision Channel Strip and Little Labs VOG (both by Universal Audio). The Brooklyn Bridge is also Roon Ready, and a multi-room setup results in a rock-solid Roon endpoint with outstanding sound and fantastic performance. Transferring music between endpoints is flawless and quick.

With all of this digital and streaming goodness, it's easy to overlook what could be my favorite part of the Brooklyn Bridge—the MC/MM phono stage. Adding a turntable here gives you the best of all worlds in a space-saving minimalist set up. Stick it in a bookcase, add an amp and speakers and get rid of your stacks of components. What more dare you ask for?

Playlist:

Sinead O'Connor - "Trouble in the World"

Eric B. & Rakim - "Eric B is President" from Paid in Full

Grateful Dead - "Box of Rain" from American Beauty 50th Anniversary Deluxe

Sinead's voice cut through with power and elegance on her latest single, an inspired Mahalia Jackson cover with a big and beautiful atmosphere. At shows we've demoed Qobuz using the Brooklyn Bridge with the Focal Clear and Grado Reference and had the same results.

Conclusion:

The Brooklyn Bridge lives up to its name, connecting you and your local library, your Hi-Res audio streaming from Qobuz, and your vinyl and other analog sources. It is an all-around fantastic piece of hardware that sounds as great as similar products with higher price points.