Perfect FLAC streaming from a NAS to a Pi 3?

Is perfect playback of 44.1khz FLACs streaming from a NAS on a Pi 3 an unrealistic proposition?

A few months ago I switched over from Rune Audio, installing Volumio on an Intel NUC I had lying around. This worked brilliantly but I feel like using an NUC just for audio playback is overkill so I’ve switched to a Pi 3 running Volumio. My setup is: WD MyCloud-> WiFi -> Pi 3 -> Denon DA-300USB USB DAC.

However, I’m just a little disappointed by the playback. It’s quite close to being fine, but I get one or two glitches at the start of most songs and usually one or two more in the middle of each song.

I know the Pi USB and WiFi share the same bus (or something like that, I’m no hardware expert). Does this mean that I’m asking for too much from the hardware? Or can I optimise the playback in the software? I’ve tried increasing the buffer size without much luck.

Failing this, can anyone offer any alternative hardware suggestions? I’d be willing to spend another £100 or so to get perfect playback.

I think my current options are:

  1. Try a Pi 2 with a USB wifi dongle (not sure if this would be an improvement).
  2. Ditch the USB DAC and try something like the Hifi Berry DAC
  3. Reluctantly return the the NUC, which I really want to use as a media centre.
  4. Investigate other Pi-like computers - any suggestions?

Thanks for your help!


you could try an ALLO Boss on top of your Pi 3, this is brand new and promises excellent results.
There is a small review here:
Or consider a Kali + Piano bundle, also an excellent choice, also plenty of info in the DAC section

No :slight_smile:

Using the RPi’s USB bus for feeding into a DAC is risky. The USB bus of the Pi is not really suitable for this purposes and it over asks the maximum possibilities of the Pi. Search this (and other) forum for more details about it.

If you are willing to drop the USB connection in favor for another input. My suggestion would be using the COAXial SPDIF input of the Denon.

So looking at a (HAT) module for the Pi that is capable of feeding your DAC with a good SPDIF signal might be a worth looking into.

Not likely that it will give any improvement/change on a better USB connection

Ditching the DAC and use a DAC directly on the Pi is definitely a good option. If you don’t want to go the SPDIF route.


Options enough for the Pi :slight_smile:

You are welcome and good luck

Thanks so much for that advice.

I never really considered that I’m not limited to USB output. I picked up a hifiberry digi HAT and it works perfectly and sounds better than ever.

Enjoy it then, welcome to USB freedom :smiley:

In the future, consider also the DAC that Gé suggested… You might be very surprised…
Enjoy it!