Recommend me a cheap dac

I’ve been looking for a dac that meets a few requirements for my rpi model a. I’d love to hear from you what is possible here as Ive been around google a few times but I am not sure what I need/what is possible.
my requirements are these:

  1. does not need an extra power outlet.
  2. cheap.
  3. not usb.
  4. analog jack

I am not super tech saavy but I can follow easy instructions and easy soldering. The only option I have found so far is the hifiberry. Are there other options? I have no need for superb quality but I tried volumio using the onboard jack and I thought the audio was pretty bad. I used a 2A charger (ebay china though) and I could notice huge differences compared to my model b with a $1 usb soundcard attached.

Try this i2s Sabre ES9023: … -8396.html

The XO is already installed, you just need to solder P5 pin for i2s connection on the Rpi.

Wow this one seems great but please Benny, school me, what does xo mean? Thanks a lot :slight_smile:

XO is thr crystal oscillator, sometimes we just shorten it to Xtal or XO. That tiny little thingy injects 50MHz clock pulse to the DAC chip in asynchronous mode as Rpi cannot provide the master clock service to that MCK I2S pin.

Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk

There’s a growing collection of I2S DACs for the Raspberry Pi, here are some more:

IQaudIO Pi-DAC - $41 including shipping:

BerryNOS mini - $70 including shipping: … er=product

BerryNOS 1543 - $105 including shipping … er=product

RASPYPLAY3 - $44 plus shipping (Serbian site, so hard to understand for me!) … berry%20Pi

Here’s another that doesn’t fit on the Pi itself but is easily connected via patch cables (out of stock at the moment though):

HIFIMEDIY ES9023 I2S DAC ~ £15 including Oscillator and shipping: … uct_id=127

Hi, thanks for the suggestions. I am leaning towards the first and the last due to their costs. Trying to keep it on the cheap. Both of these doesn’t seem to connect to the raspberry board and should be connected with wires. I would love to be able to put it on top of the PI to keep the footprint small. Have any of you tried to keep them “layered” by using a spacer or something else and connect them via wires?

I basically bought wrong models. The guy who sold them had pictures of the model b and sent me model a (to his defense he didn’t say anything about which model in the text). However I thought they’d be perfect to use as cheap airplay players using wifi and stick them around the house.

Yes, the IQaudIO Pi-DAC or the HifiBerry look your best bet as they’re pretty easy to set up, have a small footprint and are good value. You may be able to fit them in a conventional Pi case if you remove the phono sockets from the board and wire them instead.

I have the Sabre ES9023 at the bottom, and although the cheapest, because of the I2S wires, it’s a pain to fit in a normal Pi box.

I have no drop-outs or stuttering with I2S, and for that reason alone it’s worth upgrading from USB.

Being in the UK, the IQaudIO would be quite a bit cheaper than the HiFiBerry for me (taking into consideration shipping and tax), so that’s the one I would go for if I hadn’t bought my ES9023 days earlier!

Hi, well I am in the same boat as you as I am located in Europe as well and have very low threshold for VAT.
However, I am using model A so I want to use the single USB port for wifi. I would like to not having to use more power outlets than the one for the pi itself. That is why I really like these boards. As long as I can layer these boards in some way, i’m content with having to find an alternative to regular pi cases. I might try to use a spacer (if possible) to have it sitting on top of the Pi, or have them sitting next to eachother and connected by wires like you suggested, using a larger case. Maybe some sort of junction box? Would be cool to get as small a footprint as possible though. Thank you guys !:slight_smile:

Farnell are selling a CamdenBoss box marketed as being for the Pi and the Wolfson Pi audio card … nAudioCard

The Wolfson Pi card is one that fits on top of the Pi, so it may be that the CamdenBoss box would work for you if you got the HifiBerry or the IQ Audio Pi-Dac.

Here are some examples from the HifiBerry website, the IQaudIO Pi-DAC looks around the same size as the Hifiberry: … creations/

Here’s another thread started by me where people have posted their creations:


I am using RPI-DAC.
This is a very good solution from Tortsen Jaekel.
It sounds much better than the HifiBerry and even better than my DragonFly 1.2 USB Dac

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you know that the last post is from april 11?

“sounds much better” should be interpreted as “possibly sounds slightly better”.

No. It sounds much better! @jerry: I mean RPI-DAC (with PCM1794A) not RPI-DAC-RCA which is much like hifiberry. (Uses PCM5102)
I just testet RPI-DAC with RPI-DAC SPDIF and USB with my CuBox-i
The sound is a revelation. Much better than RPi with i2s and all i2s-DACs for it.
RPi produces a lot of jitter and CAN NOT play 24bit audio via i2s. 24 bits are always converted to 16 bit.

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RPi produces a lot of jitter and CAN NOT play 24bit audio via i2s. 24 bits are always converted to 16 bit.

Would really like to see your proof on that please.

I totally agree !

I’ve tested almost 10 I2S DAC without any trouble playing 24/192khz files

By the way, the cheapest good dac i know :

Could you recommend me an i2s dac around $50? Which ones are better at this price?

Hifiberry? Audiophonics DAC Sabre ES9023PI Raspberry Pi GPIO P5? IQaudIO Pi-DAC or something else?

Will it sound much better? Now I’m using a HifimedDIY Sabre USB DAC
with Raspberry model B. Thanks in advance

I’ve tested both off them, for me the best sounding DAC are ES9023 or AKM4399 based.

But its a matter of taste …

Hello IRoN,

Isn’t there a place for the great and versatile Wolfson Audio Card in your consideration?

Thank you.

Ok but which specific DACs?