Hip-pop(!) with RPi and USB DAC

Hi, guys

First post here, so please be gentle with me(!).

I’ve recently installed Volumio and have been SUPER impressed with its use via iTunes, so much so that I have donated some cash, and would urge you to do the same - what the boys have done here is AWESOME and FREE! :smiley:

Unfortunately, I have been suffering the dreaded pop/click/dropout issues when running from the Raspberry Pi through a wired Ethernet connection using asynchronous USB - 10 definite problems within about 90 seconds on my last test (one VERY loud! :astonished: ). Just so I don’t waste any time/money, I wanted to ask a few questions to confirm my understanding:

  1. If I replace the RPi with another ‘server’ (e.g. CuBox), is this GUARANTEED to remove the pops, click and dropouts?

  2. Despite Michelangelo’s blog (http://volumio.org/raspberry-pi-i2s-dac-sounds-so-good/) and other comments about i2s DACs, I have a very good DAC (of the Zillion Dollar USB receiver -> I2S -> Zillion Dollar DAC -> Interstellar Amplifier variety :wink: ). The DAC sounds much better when connected via asynchronous USB than optical (Toslink) via an Airport Express, so I want to keep the DAC and connect via USB. Is there a BEST device (‘server’) for this solution (CuBox vs Utilite vs UDOO) or is it just a question of whichever I like the look of? In short, is there a best TECHNICAL solution to stream music over wired Ethernet to a high-fidelity asynchronous USB DAC? (It’s an Audiolab 8200CDQ, in case you were wondering)

  3. If I buy multiple devices (e.g. 2 x CuBox) and ensure that they have different IP addresses and give them different names (like this: http://volumio.org/forum/change-airplay-name-t172.html), can I stream to multiple devices in synch? Has anyone done this themselves? I know that sound@home allows something similar, but I don’t have any Android devices. I currently do this with three Airport Express units to good effect, but want to know that it will DEFINITELY work with Volumio devices before I commit more time and cash to this…!

Thanks in advance for your help - any factual guidance will be much appreciated!

I can speak regarding udoo vs utilite, first I don’t have hip-pop in udoo as in utilite.
Regarding quality to my hears both are good but the udoo produce a more analogical sound, simply stellar sound quality.
P.s. I have the quad udoo version and the intermediate vers of utilite

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Hi, keres

Thanks for your response. Just to clarify, are you saying that you DO get pops, clicks and drop-outs with the Utilite, but that you DO NOT with the UDOO?

Following on from that, with your comparison of sound quality, are you connecting both the Utilite and UDOO in the same way, i.e. is it a like-for-like comparison?

If so, that is an interesting result, as the high-level specification of the Utilite Standard and the UDOO look quite similar - the big difference seems to be the number of cores (and hence the processing capacity), but they are the same type of core (Freescale i.MX 6 ARM Cortex-A9 CPU Dual/Quad core 1GHz). Whilst the Utilite should easily be capable of processing audio only, maybe this highlights something bigger going on with the transfer of (USB?) data…

Thanks again

No, pardon my english.
Utilite has not pops or click and udoo has not pops or click.
Simply with volumio + udoo + dac I have the best quality, very high and stunning quality.
With utilite the quality is good but not as good as the udoo.
I compared those with the default power supply, but I am now using a linear stabilized power supply with udoo.
I like a lot the sound of the udoo and never I get out from a pc a similar analog sound. Imho.
Yes the utilite is nice but it sound a bit digital.
The Udoo win imho and in my set up.

But to clarify the question totally I ordered an adaptor to use my linear power supply with the compulab utilite and try if the sound quality is the same as Udoo with the same linear power supply.
The adaptor is just arrived this morning and tonight I will try this, now I’m out of my home and I’m writing with a smartphone.

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Finally I’m testing the udoo with my linear power supply and now I know that in utilite a good power supply make a huge differece.
The sound now with same power supply is pretty equal between the udoo and the compulab utilite.

The fact remains that a good linear power supply makes a big difference especially with utilite.
Now my preference remain for udoo platform but if I I try quantify the difference … it is too small to quantify.
To tell the truth I am not very sure that there is a difference

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Hi, keres

Thank-you again for responding & for clarifying your previous comment. Please do not apologise for your English - I am very grateful to all on the Forum for the help they give to inexperienced Linux & Volumio users like me.

You are not the first to suggest that improving the power supply also improves sound quality. The danger with this line of discussion is that we may be about to start another “cables don’t make a difference debate”! I will be interested to hear about any change in sound when using the same linear power supply for both the Utilite and the UDOO. Please do let us know how you get on.

Best regards

Hi Keres, BMFDrums, all:

I recently got things pretty much how I want it with Volumio on an RPi–it works well except there are times (not always) when I get clicks and pops. Not sure of the cause; I’m using a standard inexpensive 1.5A power supply (based on Keres’ experience, could that be it? about $10 from Amazon) and a Dragonfly 1.0 DAC. I did not find anything conclusive on the forum or elsewhere. If anyone has any suggestions, don’t hesitate (noting my limitation as largely a noob at all of this, and unfortunately with very weak linux skills).

But in some ways a more important question relates to the udoo; I will soon be reassigned to a foreign location and will leave my RPi server with my wife…but I will need another to take with me. And I am wondering whether perhaps an udoo would be a better choice.

From an audio standpoint it sounds like the answer may be yes (though my ears are probably not at the audiophile level). And I am wondering if there have been any issues with the setup, or whether it has in fact been straightforward.

Thanks for any thoughts.


I never had a RPI but this is what a guy write in other hifi forum:
I have had several problems with raspberry and an undersized power supply 5v: after having put a more powerful everything is back in place.
So I think it is possible that you solve the problem with another power supply, but not guaranteed

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Hi, guys

Keres, sorry for missing your post - I must have been typing mine (on a 'phone) when you posted yours. :blush:

Questions for you, keres:

a) Are you using a DAC that requires power from the Pi? If so, I believe that upgrading the power supply will make a bigger difference than for DACs that use external power. That’s what Gary is doing with the Dragonfly - I would expect a decent power supply to make a big difference for him. Because the issue with the pops & clicks appears to be related to the use of both wired ethernet and USB at the same time, I would not expect a different power supply to make a big difference for me, as I am not using power from the USB. My DAC is a mains-powered unit, so I doubt that a new power supply will help, although I will see if I have a different one to try…

b) Are you able to use both the UDOO and Utilite at the same time? (even with different power supplies). I don’t know how you have things set up, but as you have two devices already, maybe you could experiment with Airplay to two units at the same time? Please don’t go buying new kit just to try, but I think that would be very useful feedback for the forum, especially for the (many?) people that use iTunes to stream to their devices. It would also answer my original Question 3, so I would be very happy! :slight_smile:

Thanks again, and best regards

So I just checked - I was already using a 5V power supply. It’s not a linear phase supply, but it should be plenty good enough for the job.

I thought some more about what I had written previously. Improving the quality of the power supply unit when you are using a device like the Dragonfly effectively improves the quality of the power supply to the DAC - that’s probably why it makes such a big difference.


Yes my xmos based usb dac require external usb power.
The udoo is powered by a linear power supply and xmos usb is powered by an external Anker battery.
This config is the best in my set up.
To replay the second question at moment a 2° dac is on the way but for now I can only use one platform, udoo or compulab.
I don’t have any apple platform and consequently don’t use Itunes.
Last night after long session listening I have to say that udoo remain my choise n°1, it have a little bit more relaxed sound signature then utilite.
I never feel tired if I use udoo platform, I can listen for hours without getting tired.
Udoo is more analog than compulb utilite, yes at the end I had this kind of sensation.

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Thanks, keres, BMFDrums.

In my case the amount of power should be sufficient according to what I have read; the Pi needs 700-1200ma and 1500 has been recommended. I’ve also tried it with a 2000ma supply. Quality is another issue, though I have not heard of people having issues with this supply (or at least for non-audio applications…).

Keres–any issues with getting the udoo up and running with Volumio? Or was it pretty much plug and play?


The udoo is pretty plug and play same issue in my network with nfs mount it go well with cifs/dlna mount, but I use udoo with usb disk and no issue.
You have to know I am not a linux expert guy :slight_smile:

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Thanks, Keres. That is good to know; I will also be using a USB disk. I just saw in another thread that Michelangelo will shortly start work to support the udoo duo…but I think I would probably just get the quad.

BTW, Michelangelo, if you read this–thanks for all the really great work. Happy to buy you drinks in Florence sometime (should be there occasionally sometimes later this year) !


Keres, thanks again for all of your responses. I find it really interesting that you are seeing (hearing!) differences due the power supply to the ‘server’ only with a powered external DAC. Out of interest, which linear power supply are you using?

I am not yet decided on which devices to buy to replace the RPi, but the advice here on the UDOO and power supplies will help with my choices. At the moment, I may go with the CuBox i2-Ultra with an improved power supply, as this could prove to be the best combination of processing power & sound quality whilst avoiding the pops & clicks that I am currently hearing from the RPi.

Gary, if you’d like to buy me drinks, too, that would be just fine…! Thing is, though, I’ve not done anything as cool as Volumio…

All the best

I am using a Mael linear power supply modified by an extremly competent friend. The Mael has low ripple and it has 13 v - 4A.
I think the cubox i + linear power supply is another very good choice.

I ran the tests on udoo and CompuLab with the sennheiser hd 800 + violectric v200

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Again, many thanks for your responses.

It looks as though the CuBox devices will not be available for a while - website currently says 20 March! Still, I am in no rush, and would allow me to be sure that this is what I want to do - I noticed a couple of people on the forum reporting problems with the CuBox using Volumio.

All the best

Hi Keres,

I’ve just got my UDOO quad and it’s performing really bad, not playing any flac’s with a resolution higher than 48KHz. I bought the udoo after some tests with volumio and raspberry pi which were somewhat frustrating since the RPI was always clicking and only played with massive noise and glitches. So, I decided to buy the UDOO Quad having in mind that a quad core processor would be powerful enough to play with my usb Block DAC100. Now the result is more than frustrating especially after this relativly high invest on the udoo which I bought with european cable kit and power supply (switching ps 12 V).
Since you are that happy with the udoo, might be you have a tip where to start fixing the situation?

Sincerely f.i.s.h

what the usb chip in the block dac 100?
Is the dac 100 using a cmedia 6631? If so you can try to apply the fix in the web ui under sistem option.
Anyway I have same very rare clicks and pops only with the upsampling options active.
But in default configuration I don t have any clicks at 192 khz for example.
You are using udoo with usb disk or lan disk or in wifi?

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thanx a lot for all your answers to all of us. As far as I know the Block DAC100 works with a Burr-Brown PCM1794 Chip. I’m using the UDOO via NAS (OpenMediaVault), wired, 1000MHz connection. I already used this constellation with mpd installed on a Dell Latitude D531 and with the Dell MPD it works flawlessly up to 384 KHz flacs. So I think the problem is the UDOO.
What are the specifications for your power supply - I’m getting the impression that this might be the magic key to succcess!

Best regards