Expensive off-board DAC question

Has anyone fed Volumio out to a Chord DAC or something of that sort? I’m currently using a Musical Fidelity V=DAC II with a V-PSU II, and I’m very curious to find out whether there’s more music in the Pi than I currently hear. Any thoughts?

thanks in advamce,

Chris M

Hi Chris,

there has been plenty of discussion on that issue. The short answer is: no but yes. :smiley:
No: “there’s [no] more music in the Pi”. The Pi just sends 0’s and 1s to the DAC.
Yes: Depending on your entire setup, you might be able to hear “more music” with a better DAC. Let me summarise my experience here: I used to power my KEF R500 boxes with an integrated AMP (with DAC), an Onkyo A-9050. A year ago, I replaced the A-9050 with a separate pre-amp (with DAC), the Onkyo P-3000R and a power amplifier. Well, the IS tons of music I had been missing with the old amp.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,


I used to feed my preamplifier directly via an usb-coax converter (m2tech, hiface2) and using this built in DAC in my marantz 7701.
But getting a Auralic Vega DAC made an unbelivable difference.
It is possible the sound would be even better with a matching Auralic Aries, but I doubt there is a huge difference compared to the pi (pi3 for usb bandwidth). The big difference is the DAC

stereophile.com/content/aura … -processor

Naturally Speakers and amplifier are essential.

And there we have an answer. The erstwhile Musical Fidelity V-DAC II and V-PSU II have been replaced with a HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro. Listening to the same 24bit Saint-Saens, the HiFiBerry sounds fuller and richer. The DAC choice really does make a difference, now that I’ve heard it on my own equipment. Goodness only knows what one of the Chord DACs would do, praised to the skies as they are by the likes of “What HiFi” and suchlike. Not sure what’s left for them to do…

Wow! So you discard the Musical Fidelity DAC + PSU Combo for a Hifiberry?
That is impressive. Not that I had the chance to thouroughly test either one yet, but I pondered about buying the Musical Fidelity as an upgrade.
However, I wonder if your disappointment with the Musical Fidelity might be due to the USB limitations of the RPI.
Anyway, if you want to get rid of the Musical Fidelity, don’t hesitate to send me an offer via PM.

Best regards, Nikolas

Apologies, Nikolas, the MF stuff’s already gone through Ebay. The limitation wasn’t in the USB side as I was using a HiFiBerry Digi+ and a short length of coax to link the Pi to the V-DAC II, so the Pi’s USB limitations were never touched. Using a 24bit Saint-Saens ‘Organ’ Symphony /Barenboim recording, the first few seconds on the HiFiBerry DAC resulted in my wife exclaiming that it sounded better. The rest of the movement confirmed that thought, and it’s closer to what we used to be able to hear from the vinyl version of the same recording.

If I were to go toward an external DAC again, it’d be a test of the Chord 2Qute device first, but I just don’t have a spare £1k to throw at the question; the HiFiBerry does a fine job. The Kali/Piano combo may do better but I’ll wait until there’s a good PSU for the UK market…

Chris M

Don’t know why I didn’t think it before.

For UK, you could use the ifi power supply with Kali + Piano:


Allo states that a better PSU won’t make any difference regarding sound quality (compared to theirs), but :

  • It has UK plugs
  • You can use it to power other devices, if you would ever need

That’s a very expensive wall-wart, especially when Allo feel that it’s not that necessary, over and above their wall-wart. I could stick the standard PSU into an adapter but they never fit well, the double-pin plugs tend to flap in the breeze, and that just adds the opportunity for noise. I’ll bide my time…

Wauw! So in your experience you had an upgrade in SQ by replacing a few hundred euros of pieces of hardware with a single piece costing 5-10 times less.

I am considering the Kali reclocker to improve my Hifiberry Digi+ with Audio-GD external DAC.

But maybe I could also consider to replace my expensive external DAC with a ‘cheap’ I2S DAC (piano DAC for example) on top of the Kali. (Even both are much cheaper than the DAC).

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Yes, there is a huge industry out there that drives consumption and increases cost, largely by making claims and fostering expectations. The HiFi press are a serious part of it, and I have to accept that I’ve bought into it in the past. It took only a few seconds of the I2S DAC before She Who Must Be Obeyed looked up from her game of Spider Solitaire in surprise and stated that it was better. If I ever do become so rich as to consider a Chord Hugo or 2Qute, I’ll still do comparative tests in my home on my equipment, as I realise that the cost/hype isn’t borne out. As they say, Your Mileage May Vary but I found out that the HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro sounded better than the MF V-DAC II, all other things being equal. I may drop £100 or so on a Piano/Kali/PSU combo when the PSU can do a UK plug, as that’s within my spending power for “things that might not work” but that’ll be in a while when Allo add the adapter.

Volumio on RP3 usb into Chord Mojo or 2Qute sounds sooooo good that I stopped looking and reading DAC comparisons. Yes, it was a $500 leap of faith and I was ready to send it back if it wasn’t any better then my cheaper setup.

As long as Volumio doesn’t crash I’m not even tempted by any commercial solutions like SotM or Auralic, they are s lot more $$ outlay for the same thing that Volumio already does.

I can listen to my setup 24x7, no sound fatigue at all. I cannot find anything that is not right with the sound. If it is electronic there is plenty of bass to make my diaphragm shake, if it opera, mids, and highs are divine. Jazz sound sublime.
Chord DACs are so musical that all you do is just flow with the music, my music system disappears completely. They are very linear, by that I mean that all the frequencies are present at any volume level, nothing overemphasized if it is very quiet or very loud.

So which do you have, Mojo or 2Qute?


2Qute is in my main system. Mojo, mostly at work or home desktop headphone listening.

I’d never buy 2qute, it was just too expensive in my mind, but than I tried Mojo - the entry drug. After using Mijo in my main system for syste for 6 month, I got 2Qute, no regrets, it is worth every cent to my ears.