Best DAC for PI 4 ?

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Best DAC for PI 4 ?

Postby mjlandy » 01 Oct 2020, 13:31

OK - I did search first and could not get an insight that helped. I have a new Pi4 with Rune 5 and my USB DAC died. I had the Dragonfly cobalt. I should say I indicate it died because its static as heck and I crushed it by accident.

I know the onboard audio isn't as good - I did hear that difference for a moment.

Whats the winner - or your top choice for this situation. I plan on buying another Dragonfly Cobalt later.

Mark TIA
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Re: Best DAC for PI 4 ?

Postby rastus » 27 Oct 2020, 23:22

https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/dac-and- ... -6384.html

PS: Or, (for now) use the HDMI connection on the Pi; this will/should give you 24bit 48kHz and use your receiver/amp's DAC. Maybe a temp method for now.
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Re: Best DAC for PI 4 ?

Postby surfninja » 10 Nov 2020, 23:49

I doubt it is the best but i'm using a allo boss HAT. seems fine for my mid fi system.

I like the hdmi idea but I don't use receivers and don't own one newer than the 70s.
rAudio 1, Raspberry Pi 2B
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rAudio 1, Raspberry Pi Zero W
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Re: Best DAC for PI 4 ?

Postby rastus » 11 Nov 2020, 16:09

surfninja wrote:I doubt it is the best but i'm using a allo boss HAT. seems fine for my mid fi system.


The ALLO BOSS V1.2 DAC was my first choice, but I got sidetracked and ended up getting the AUDIOPHONICS DAC I-Sabre ES9038Q2M. From all the reading I did the ALLO BOSS V1.2 DAC is reported to have exceptional sound quality.

Regards,

Rastus.
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Re: Best DAC for PI 4 ?

Postby PhilHill » 21 Nov 2020, 23:41

ALLO BOSS V1.2 DAC

runs 24/7 since 3 Years w. Pi3b
good sound quality,
no complaints.

kind Regards,
Phil.
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Re: Best DAC for PI 4 ?

Postby Biedronek » 14 Dec 2020, 16:00

Recently I have started a long-running process of upgrading my system (once again) - not clearly replacing, since I plan to move current one to bedroom and buy some new as primary one. This is why I would like to ask for recommendations.

Currently I use low-cost (apx 6$*) DAC purchased on aliexpress which is based on a decent PCM5102. The PCB design is simple but looks ok, I even wonder if it is worse than competitors at x10 price which look similar. For testing purposes I plan to purchase Topping D10 (ES9018K2M inside at apx 130$) which has good opinions the price does not put off. There are other alternatives based on ES9038Q2M which have good reviews like the ALLO BOSS mentioned before.

I don't really complain about current setup but it clearly shows it could be better... Also I don't intend to listen to money ;-) As of now I have Tannoy M3 with Denon PMA880R and plan to give TannoyXT6F or Dali Zensor7 or Pylon Pearl 27 a try - also no high-end range but probably much better. It might turn out that I will not notice any difference now, but I don't want the DAC to become bottleneck.

Please, share your experience, It's okay for me to eventually have 3-4 DACs at home but I would like to limit buy/sell cycles and look for best value/price ratio.
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Re: Best DAC for PI 4 ?

Postby rastus » 14 Dec 2020, 22:06

Biedronek wrote:Please, share your experience, It's okay for me to eventually have 3-4 DACs at home but I would like to limit buy/sell cycles and look for best value/price ratio.


I live in Australia, I was using the PiFi DAC+ (I think the same as the one you mention). I bought the AUDIOPHONICS DAC I-Sabre ES9038Q2M from a French company, had it delivered to Australia.

https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/dac-and- ... 12795.html

I have a Yamaha RX-V2065 Reciever, with two NS-777s, two NS-555s, two NS-333s, a NS-C444 and two YSTSW315 subwoofers. All Yamaha, because of price vs quality and performance.

1st impressions I-Sabre: Farqe me! From the first moment it was like something had changed, the sound was... amazing. It sounded 'different', better. I took to listening to every song I'd known, and I heard sounds coming from songs I knew intimately. I became obsessed with listening to every song I could think of. It breathed new life into my sound system, and my desire to listen to music. Deep, resonate low bass, and highs that combined perfectly with the rest of the music.

I was going to get the ALLO BOSS V1.2 DAC, after reading write ups online, and I still think it would be a great addition to my sound system, but the I-Sabre will never be replaced now that I have it.

I am 60 years old and have been designing and building sound systems since 1979 for myself and others.

I hope this answers some of your questions. Whatever you do, whatever you choose, move on from the PiFi DAC+ and you will not be sorry. Above all, enjoy the music.

Regards,

Rastus.
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Re: Best DAC for PI 4 ?

Postby Biedronek » 14 Dec 2020, 23:22

Thank you a lot for you comments, I agree with you in many places - after all it's about music in the first place, not sounds/hardware. However, once I moved from Creative 2+1 computer speakers to amplituner, and then to amplifier I did notice a difference. Moreover, recently a friend of mine invited me to listen to his system and the $20K did impress me - I don't plan to spend that much but this experience showed room for improvement.

My sound card is this one PCM5102 so even a few times cheaper that PiFi DAC+. I have roughly read its datasheet and I don't see a big flaw in design, but I am no expert here. Hifiberry looks pretty similar and is considered as a good device... Maybe the devil is in details, therefore I ordered the ALLO BOSS DAC this afternoon which is based on slightly newer PCM1522. TI claims the main difference is in HW volume control - this feature on its own probably will not be noticeable on my system. We will see :-)
There is however one important remark in you post - your sound card uses ES9038Q2M which is probably superior to the PCM1522, and this is reflected in your experience. Personally I opted for Tone 1 but I think between them two (or anything similar) the difference would not be noticeable.
The borderline is that if I want to get real improvement at later stages I shall target cards based on this chip.
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Re: Best DAC for PI 4 ?

Postby Biedronek » 18 Dec 2020, 14:38

I have just run a blind test on ALLO BOSS v1 ($55) and PCM I2S from Aliexpress (6$) and taking in account the following factors:
- budget setup (apx. $400-500)
- worsened hearing which effectively cuts off at 15 kHz but at the same time very sensitive to low volume at other ranges
- testing on well known to me .ogg good quality files
- the chips are from the same family (PCM5122 and PCM5102)
I conclude that subjectively there is little difference between the two soundcards, ALLO BOSS being slightly better. I will continue my tests with .flac files and higher volume and also give a try ES9038Q2M chip soon but I am afraid this will no help much with the rest of my system - and the audience ;-)

Of course YMMV but anyone looking for secondary setup may consider purchasing this low cost chip.
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Re: Best DAC for PI 4 ?

Postby rastus » 18 Dec 2020, 23:27

It is my understanding, from reading and experience, that it's a good idea to run the new DAC for 100 hrs run in before making a judgement.
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