I2S vs. S/PDIF

I have a Raspberry pi 2 with a Hifiberry+ clone (I2S). It is a Hifiberry+ clone but since they use the same PCM 5122 chip, I think they are the same. I use Volumio 1.55.

My test is to rip an audio CD using iTune to Applelossless format and play the songs via the Raspberry pi + Hifiberry and compare to the same songs played using a DVD player connected to a low end DAC via an optical S/PDIF.

I found the DVD player + S/PDIF sounds much better than Volumio with Raspberry pi/Hifiberry+.

Is it expected? Are people having the same results? Anything I can do to improve Volumio + Raspberry pi + hifiberry combo?


I may be wrong here but I always thought that the jitter of low end CD players adds a harshness or brightness to the sound that could be interpreted as “better” than the true flat response of a good dac. But I’m interested in hearing what others say.


Are you using the Hifiberry DAC? (I think as you refer to the PCM 5122 D/A chip) So not the Hifiberry Digi+.

You should consider compare to a wav file instead of using any compression.

In general, most external DAC’s will outperform the simple I2S DAC’s. The used powersupply plays an important role as well.

IMO, source is the most important part of the system. Can you try to compare the system without an extrenal dac, connect your dvd directly to your amp. If it is still better than hifiberry than you may think your raspberry system has a problem. There is another possibility; you may think that your dac is a low profile but it may not be :slight_smile: it can be better than hifiberry.