Best sounding DAC board? DSD Support?

Hey guys,

Looking to maybe replace my external USB DAC with an I2S DAC board for the Raspberry Pi 2.

So, what’s the best sounding DAC board for the Raspberry Pi 2?

And are there any that support DSD?


Hi… i have this one

Sounds pretty cool…
Dsd support… i dont know, sorry…

Looks good - does anyone know how this compare to the IQaudiO DAC+?

Did not compare.
I have HIFIBerry DAC+Pro nad it is a little worse tran marantz NA7004. How does that compare to other Pi dacs?

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No DSD compatibility yet trough I2S.

Some DAC needs to receive “DSD on” input on a PIN to switch from PCM to DSD (ES9018).

Work perfectly in USB.

I’ve tried nearly every I2S DAC and must admit to like “Sabre” sound.

I need to try some R2R I2S input dac now … :wink:

Many of the i2s DACs support DSD via PCM. 256/128 playback works well with DoP

It is normal if you have a USB DAC that natively support DSD, consumes the CPU a lot?? Im running Volumio on a Cubietruck.


I am about to buy Audiophonics I-Sabre Es9023 v2 TCXO

Lets see if it is better than HiFi Shield :slight_smile:

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A couple of months ago I looked into getting an I2S DAC for my RPi B+, replacing my USB-based HRT MusicStreamer II+. I chose the IQAudio PI-DAC+ based upon a number of factors from reading a lot of forums on this topic. It seemed to have the best combination of audio quality, tech support and compatibility with Volumio.

It sounds fantastic, and as a bonus has an amplified headphone jack so I can unplug the cables to my pre-amp and use it as a portable player in another room. Some day I’ll buy another RPi/DAC combo as a standalone portable player. The sound quality is definitely a level above the HRT DAC, which is impressive as the MusicStreamer II+ is a really good sounding DAC.

I believe you need to enable DSD to PCM conversion to play DSD files on it, not sure about that as I don’t own any DSD recordings.

Oh, one more thing - the translucent case for the RPi/DAC combo is the bomb.

I have used HiFiBerry DAC+ – Pro for my Raspberry Pi 2 board. And I came to know that it has a native DSD support like its previous Pro version. It needs a lot of power from the Pi 2 CPU though. And actually, I faced overheating issue when I ran the setup for a few hours continuously. Thanks to the heatsinks I installed on my Pi to save my bucks!

Keep in mind: “the best” varies a lot and its mainly subjective.

That’s why don’t look for the best :slight_smile:

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HifiberryDac+ Pro seems to be good

My experiences with this Dac are very good.

I got the Yamaha Pro Studio Mixer AG03. It works with Volumio 2 as a 24bit 192KHz DAC with balanced audio output, and is a solidly built metal piece. Many musicians use it to record and playback broadcast-quality audio, so I guess you are covered on the sound quality aspect. It lacks I2S but I didn’t hear any jitters or pops so far. $149 in USA.

If you are looking for DIY options, AliExpress has hundreds of DAC boards listed on it. You can get fully balanced dual-path DAC kits with capacitors the size of Texas for $100.

Thought sharing my two bob’s worth of my setup and testing might be of use.

I currently have DSD working nicely on a Raspberry Pi3 with Volumio 2 (v0.979) and IQAudio Pi-DAC+ combination. DSD 64, 128 and 256 all work fine. Works without enabling DSD over PCM. In fact enabling DoP just creates a lot of noise and hardly any music volume. I have also tested on a Raspberry Pi2 with Volumio 1.55 and IQAudio Pi-DAC combination with and without DoP enabled. DoP enabled on Pi2 created same noise problem as Pi3 and hardly any music volume. DoP not enabled on Pi2 resulted in music chopping in and out. I assume the Pi2 processor had trouble keeping up even with 2 channel DSD 64.

Hi guys!

Our new AKM dac plays DSD out of the box without any HW configuration.

Make sure your player outputs in this order:
DSDL1 should output instead of PCM LRCLK
DSDR1 should output instead of PCM DATA
DCLK should output instead of PCM BCLK

If you player/driver outputs in to the DAC module in that order it will play out of the box.

Read more here: … nd-remote/

G2 labs

Edit: Our DAC is prepared for Odroid header but with DSD can easily be connected with RPi.

I have an IQAudio Pi-DAC+ too and love it. But when I looked into DSD support I disovered it does not have native support. So if you are not enabling DoP then there must be some conversion going on from DSD to PCM for the DAC to play your DSD tracks. Could be the Pi3 is fast enough to do this realtime conversion and the Pi2 is not.

Our Dac support native DSD. As I mentioned earlier it is important to make sure the pinout as as I mentioned.
Most of the software that says it supports DSD actually converts DSD to PCM before output. Meaning that it plays DSD files but outputs PCM/I2S signals… In my opinion it is crazyness. Whole concept with DSD is to gain from the “better” digital format and not convert to I2S.

Anyhow. There is some guides Ive found earlier that explaines which software/drivers that actually plays native DSD without convertion. If I remember correctly it need a specific kernel, specific modules loaded and maybe even a specific/modified MPD. When you get the correct mix of mentioned software it will output DSD =)

Side note: we’re working to get Volumio to play native DSD (patched alsa, patched mpd) from the next release.
With software sorted out, yeah you’ll need a DAC capable of direct DSD with proper connections…

Thanks for sharing. I am just wondering if the RPi3 and DAC setup is capable of resolving the DSD quality. Do you have similar audio contents on FLAC to compare? Interested to know your feedback.

Ok, I have found the answer as the DSD contents are playing on my setup now. :smiley: