Help choosig Dac for RPI


This is my first post here.

I have ordered a Raspberry pii to run volumio on it, but i do not know what dac i will choose.

How do i know what dacs are compatible to volumio?

I have a Harman/Kardon hk 990 with built in 24-bit/96kHz dac built in, it has both spdif and toslink. The hk powers my Linn Majik 140 speakers.

Should i buy a dac for the rpi or should i just buy a hifiberry digi?

My two cents worth.

Get the Wolfson Audio Card and use the image provided by M3m3nto in this forum.

This arrangement is extremely satisfactory.

Best Wishes and Happy listening.

Yep, get an I2S DAC. No question. You’ll have less hassle in the long-run.

Haven’t heard the Wolfson, but I believe it has a lower output than the others, so if your amplifier is low powered and/or your speaks have low sensitivity, then you may not be able to get the volume you need - only 1 Vrms vs 2Vrms in some of the other I2S DACs. Just something to be aware of.

But anyway, luckily there are many I2S DACs to choose from:


I don’t think the lower output is a problem since my amp has plenty of power.

What about sound quality from the dacs in the list?
which one should i choose for best sound quality?
today i have a apple tv and airport express and i want the volumio to beat them in sound quality if it is possible.

That’s the million dollar question! It’s so subjective. All you can do is audition them. I reckon that’ll it’ll be hard to tell the difference.

Although it’s not such a silly idea. Many of the I2S DACs are cheap and easy to attach to the PI. Simply sell the ones you least like on Ebay. Maybe some of the developers would accept returns (as long as you pay return shipping).

I don’t think the Airport Express produces the best analogue output (, so I’m sure any of the I2S DACs will better that. I’m sure they’ll be better than the Apple TV as well, because it’s a (cheapish) jack-of-all-trades device.

I have been using the optical output at the airport express and it sounds good, but since airplay is 16bit only i wanted to try something else.

I ordered the wolfson to start with.

I’d say go for the Pi-DAC :slight_smile:

horses for courses.

  • Do you want hardware volume control?

  • Do you want >96 support?

  • Do you want 2v rms output?

  • Do you want optical out (again limited to 96)

  • Do you want mainstream linux or are you happy to hack around with patches?

  • Do you have a Pi B+?

All the above will drive you to your own particular solution.

Impressive check list.

Perhaps we could add :

  • Do you require various recording inputs (eg : Linein, SPDIF, etc.)
  • Do you require various playback outputs (eg : Lineout, SPDIF, etc.)
  • Do you require two outputs (eg : Lineout and SPDIF) at the same time to evaluate whether you prefer an external device (eg : DAC)