Which DAC (if any) would suit me?

Sorry, newb question alert.

I was thinking I wanted a HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro for a while but have started to rethink as my budget is now very limited.

So I’d like to ask those here who have 12s DACS, how much noticeable difference they make.

I’m currently just taking a feed from my Pi2 3.5mm jack into my amp, I don’t find it too bad but find I have to crank the volume really high on my amp, resulting in more hiss than I’d like. Will a DAC improve that?

I’d also like to know how much benefit having the Pro version with it’s own oscillators makes.

Thanks in advance for any knowledge you’re willing to share.

An i2s DAC will make a ton of difference from the onboard Jack.

Which one should you choose? Depends… But if your main concern is budget, the highest bang for the buck you can have is the Piano:

If you want to have an headphone out as well, go for the IQAudioDAC+:

If you want to go to the extra mile, but still low budget:
(if you like detailed sound)
(if you like a more vivid presentation, with more punch and bass)

All the above are really high quality\price items, you can choose basing on your budget. You’ll be happy with any of these…
Of course, that’s IMHO, maybe wait for some other community member to provide an alternate feedback… :wink:

That’s helpful . Thanks very much for replying so quickly.

Don’t you have any HDMI inputs in your receiver ?

Yes and no. It’s a TX-SR506 and I think they only pass the signal through.

Okeeeey !
I read the manual, funny feature
If you connect a DVD do you have to separate Video and Audio then ?

Yes, basically. it’s a bit rubbish. I bought it when I had no devices that output via HDMI so never thought about it until I bought a Pi.
It’s not really a big deal for me.

I can tell you I’m not a audio guy at all, so I shall not judge ! But the HDMI has worked really fine for me . :wink:

Just for testing I also have one Pi with a Hifiberry Dac and another one with a HDMI to Optical converter all conneted to the same device, maybe a effect of my handicaps but I hear no difference, all sounds good in my ears :slight_smile:

As @michelangelo says, any decent I2S DAC will be a big improvement.

And if you go with the Piano or the Mamboberry for example, you can later on improve by adding the Kali and PSU to further improve.

This way, you don’t have to go for an I2S DAC with own oscillators to start with as you add them later via the Kali.

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Adding a Kali later ($70 list price) is a (relatively) expensive option.

The price difference between the Hifiberry DAC+ (uses the RPi’s clock) and the DAC+ Pro (has its own dual clocks) is $15. Similarly, the difference in list price between the IQaudIO Pi-DAC+ and Pi-DAC+ Pro is £12. In fact, you can buy any of these “Pro” boards (or, for that matter, the Allo Boss, which also has its own clock) for less than the price of the Kali.

I don’t know how sensitive you are to the jitter inherent in the cheaper boards (that use the RPi’s clock) but, if that’s an issue, your best course would be to put up the extra ~$15 for a “Pro” board with its own clock.

I don’t know that at this point either.
Thanks for the advice though.

I agree that adding the Kali is relatively expensive compared to the ~$15, but its reclocking capabilities is also of a different order than what most Pro boards offer. And also don’t forget that the Kali also powers the Pi and DAC in a much better way which also can make quite some difference. No/less need to get a better power supply for the Pi or solder a power input on the Pro boards.

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The Kali is a remarkable piece of engineering, and I expect that $75 is a fair price. But I would be interested to see some measurements indicating that the jitter performance of the Kali + one of the “cheap” DAC boards is better than that of the “Pro” boards (e.g. the Allo Boss).

Archimago measured the HifiBerry DAC+ Pro and its jitter performance is exemplary. I imagine the other “Pro” boards are similar.

In the same post, Archimago presented measurements of the noise when operating the DAC+ Pro:

  • with a generic switching power supply
  • on a 5V Lithium-ion battery (quieter than any linear PS in existence).

There’s no discernable difference.

I wouldn’t put money into a fancy PSU for the RPi+DAC.

(N.B.: the story changes if, instead of sending the audio out to an external amplifier, you’re using an onboard amplifier like the Allo Volt or the HifiBerry Amp+. But, then, you need a much beefier PSU anyway …)

@prof , i want buy a rapdberry 3 + kali + piano hi-fi 2.1 and i want use that system with ampli Yamaha Rx v471. This is a good configuration o i need buy volt+amp ? There is more difference? O rap3 -kali-piano 2.1 is a good way?

I don’t know enough about the Volt+ amp to pass any judgment on it. But the Yamaha RX-V471 is a perfectly nice amp. Why not just go with that?

Ok. If I use rap3 with kali, piano 2.1 and yamaha rx v-471 , what is the quality of sound? Is a good sound ? It’s a audiophile sound? Thanks . This is my fist experience whit raspberry . My actually configuration is a Xbox one + Yamaha Rx v471, o revo axis + Yamaha .

It depends what do you means to audiophile sound… is subjectively…
I use rpi3, Kali, Piano dac 2.1 and Kingrex.
I use also Volt +
My speakers are Q3050
My idea of “audiophile sound” is instruments separation, wide 3d soundstage, dynamics and micro details… realism…
I have this with my setup?
Yes… my setup is good enought for my… but i repeat, is subjectively…
What is audiophile sound for you? :slight_smile:

@marcellom I wish the same o similar quality of sound you have. Realism separation instruments. I can make this with rap3 -kali-piano 2.1 e yamaha rxv471 o i must buy volt+ in addiction a this setup?

Volt plu is a little great amp. I love digital amps class T/D… they have this great 3d soundstage. Volt plus is a 50w amp (more power, more dynamics with the right psu). Is better than your Yamaha? Im sorry but i dont know this amp… but Volt have a nice price…you can buy and ear yoursef :wink:

I try without volt+. After I decide. I had ear many months ago a Panasonic bdt700 in my system and it sound very very good. I hope that rpi3 base system delivery a mire better sounds of bdt700 .