Khadas Tone Board

Hi All,

Have you already tested the Khadas Tone Board?
Here are some links:

Thanks for your help!

Regards,
Adrian

I will test it in about 2 weeks :wink:

Just for info in case you test with a Khadas VIM board, I did some technical tests and first hearing tests with it.
At first I was very disappointed, but quickly found out why and was able to use a workaround.
There are some issues with the VIM image/kernel you need to be aware of.
At startup the Tone board will not be recognized/ initialised properly, therefore only show as a 12M (USB 1.1) device.
Hence support only reaches up to 96kHz, see /proc/asound/card/stream0
It does not make a difference whether the board is connected as a HAT or connected via usb-c
When connected to a usb-c port, disconnect and re-connect, then the board will reach its full potential as a UAC2 device.

When connected as a HAT, you can do the same. After startup, shortly connect the Toneboard via usb-c (which will cause the board to switch) and disconnect (switches the board back to the GPIO usb port)…
This also resets the usb connection to the proper speed.

Hi!

That’s really cool!
Please do not forget to compare it with other DACs (e.g. Katana, Boss 1.2, Piano 2.1, Apple Pi etc.)

Thanks!

Best regards from rainy Munich,
Adrian

I had the VIM2 and I really can not imagine some HATs on the top of it - this SBC gets really hot.

I tried to use the VIM2 (max version) as a small Android desktop replacement: it works fast but many apps are optimised for a touchscreen and not for keyboard+mouse.
Khadas provides also a tailored Ubuntu version which was pretty slow.

I was forced to put coolers on the CPU and memory (on both sides of the board).
Even these coolers were hot while using the board. At the end I kept the board in a vertical position, so all coolers get some air.
I was also considering using the heatpipe cooling from an old mainboard chipset.

My recommendation is to connect the boards not directly but using some flat cable and let the VIM2 breath (fire) freely.

Regards
Adrian

Hi,
the VIM board (don’t know about VIM2) is still OK with the HAT when using it for Volumio, which is not cpu-bound of course.
But the S905X (like the S905) tends to run hot with the risk of throttling.
Adding the heatsink would help, even without the fan, though it is still not ideal with a HAT on top.
The Odroid C2 is very similar in that sense, the heatsink’s efficiency is far less when the HiFi shield is mounted.

Some manufacturers have started to put the CPU + memory on the bottom side of the SBC and add a heatsink (like FriendlyArm).
While those heatsinks are certainly more efficient for our purpose, mounting at the bottom appears controversial too.
Just google a little…

HI Volumiers!

The vim2 is a real disappointment, it heats up a lot, the heatsink does not help, and the fan is very noisy.

The Toneboard is something else, connected by usb I do not think there is a better dac for that price, it is above any of the dacs of Allo that I have tried and I have taken to the extreme with linear power and regulators ldo, no doubt (no I’ve tried Katana). It’s also far superior to ifi micro idsd, and it’s very close to my dac philips 1541A, which is the best dac I’ve ever heard and costs 30 times more.

Yes, so good is Toneboard: the sound is really analog, it’s the first USB dac I’ve heard that really seems immune to the jitter caused by the usb (and I include dacs as good and expensive as Chord Hugo and Chord TT), I could not compare it with terraberry dac2 because it died recently (reliability problems?), I can only say that I was more impressed by Tone, and terraberry dac2 impressed me a lot.

I would recommend your purchase to anyone, and I have nothing to do with Xxxx, in fact Vim2 seems a lousy computer (although very nice), and for streaming there are better solutions (also more expensive) such as Nvidia shield tv.

Best

Hi jazz

Does the Khadas work OK with the RPi over USB? Does it get its 5V power over USB from the RPi or can it be powered separately?
And are you saying it sounds better than Katana?!

Best, jonners

Hi Jonners!

Unfortunately, I have not been able to hear Katana,. Months ago, Ioan told me that I could test it but for the time I’ve forgotten hahahaha,

Toneboard takes the power without problem from rapsberry pi and is recognized without problems, and sounds really good, right now reproducing Tidal from Volumio with Khadas Toneboard. Michalenagello, congratulations for that!!!

Sound really good … and cheap. Ferran Adrià (great Spanish chef) said that McDonals was the one who could give cheaper to eat in the western world, that is debatable. But I think that Khadas Toneboard is the one who has given a sound of so much level as equipment of thousands of euros, for less money, and that for me is indisputable.

Best regards

Thanks, jazz.
Can you get hardware volume working with Khadas/Volumio?

Best, jonners

Only software, Jonners.

Try the tone board by spdif and you will wonder again!!! Great gear!!

I am looking for a taylor-made metal case but it costs me around €55 which is a lot compared to the board.

Big con however is a double noticeable pop during boot and on/off which in the long term easily could damage if not destroy your speakers/headphones.

It has only the USB-C for power/data. It can be powered by a power bank when used via SPDIF.

Interesting. What are you using to generate the spdif signal?

DigiOne non-Sig.

I can only confirm, this DAC is incredibly good…

I made a box (25€):

Dominique

Nice case!!! Want it!!!

Hi Jazz

will be interesting to see how it stacks up against Katana , will arrange a sample and looking forward to the review (good or bad)

Let’s wait for Michelangelo’s review.
I am really curious about how the listening experience is compared with other top tier DACs, beside the “hard” parameters.

@Michelangelo: please give it a try using a smart phone (android and apple).

Regards
Adrian

Hi Ioan,

I will be happy to do that review Ioan, plus I have the means to feed Katana with triple linear power supply, including Ldo regulator or Lifepo batteries.

Best redargs