Why does my ipad sound better ?

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Why does my ipad sound better ?

Postby Damdam » 10 Dec 2016, 17:19


So, I have a HIFI system (Rega DAC, Arcam AMP, B&W speakers). So far, I was playing music in non-compressed format from my ipad. Gives a pretty good result for the money.

Recently, I decided to turn to the Raspberry Pi3 and Runeaudio to try something handier...ipad is nice but storage limited. So I have a Pi 3 and HIFIberry DIGI+ card. I connect this to my DAC with a high quality COAX...

And whatever I do, it never sounds quite as crisps, precise than my ipad...can't get why. Has the ipad such good electronics ? The ipad is connected through the lightning port with a USB cable specific for HIFI systems.

Now I have tried to read my files from a USB hard drive connected to the pi3...not great. Then I put the files on a NAS and connected the pi3 to the NAS...much better but still, the ipad gives more clear, sharp and precise output. It is particularly true with classical music and blues music with guitar solos...

So...any input ? Does anybody knows whether it's not possible to get results from a Pi3 with runeaudi and the Digi+ as good as an ipad ? I wish I could !

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Joined: 10 Dec 2016, 17:13

Re: Why does my ipad sound better ?

Postby Discovery » 28 Dec 2016, 11:57

Hi Damdam,

Have you tried outputting sound from the USB port and NOT using the Digi+? I have both and prefer the USB sound.

I presume you are using the same source music files.
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Location: Cambridgeshire, UK

Re: Why does my ipad sound better ?

Postby Damdam » 28 Dec 2016, 16:48

Hi Discovery,

I am indeed using the same source file. I tried with the Digi+ using either COAX or optical. I tried directly from the Raspberry into my DAC using USB...nothing beats the ipad yet.

I just talked with a expert in digital signal transmission and conversion. Here is what he said:

- Optical: the optical converting module on the Digi+ is not of sufficiently high quality. In theory, optical transmission should be better than using the Coax...but that requires the use of good quality converters... That's also why, according to him, your are better of using coax with quite a number of stereo system, because they are not using components of high enough quality for the optical transmission...but if they were, this would be better than coax and would be actually cheaper for the user if she/he wants to get HIFI results, as you don't need such a good isolation of the wire etc...to avoid deterioration of the music.

- Coax: there should be no reason why, in theory...except that the electric components used in the pi and digi+ system will be of overall lower quality, and much less well isolated.

Anyway, right now, I am sticking with my ipad because the pi + digi+ + Runeaudio is not as good. Hopefully in the future !
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Joined: 10 Dec 2016, 17:13

Re: Why does my ipad sound better ?

Postby aholloway17 » 22 Apr 2017, 17:41

I'm curious to know what you finally decided? Newly immersed in the RPI pool but not to audiophile quality I just finished my streaming DAC player. If you're using Coax (SPDIF) or Optical out your DIGI+ board is not converting the digital signal to analog (DAC digital audio converter). Whatever you are feeding the signal to (stereo) is doing that. If you are still using the Ipad you might try using a different stereo or other component that contains a DAC. I think you will find there is a significant difference.

Best of luck,
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Joined: 20 Apr 2017, 12:23

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