Help finding the right DAC

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Help finding the right DAC

Postby Stags6969 » 12 Nov 2020, 17:11

Complete newbie to trying to run a music player through a raspberry pi, so please bear with me.
I have a raspberry pi 3B rev1.2 and have just installed RuneAudio+R e6.
I’ve managed to connect up a share on my mediaserver pc and also added tracks on a local usb had.

I currently connect the pi to my Denon AV receiver through a headphone to phone Jack cable, but am considering purchasing a DAC to go between the pi and amp.

Can someone tell me the most reasonable priced DAC to do this please.
Would I be better with phono connections, or with optical / coaxial connection? Having typed that, I’m now confused? Aren’t the optical and coaxial a digital output? Why would I need a DAC to use these?

Please help.

BTW, uk based if that has any bearing on the recommended DAC.

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Location: UK

Re: Help finding the right DAC

Postby Ears of Tin » 12 Nov 2020, 18:59

If your looking for reasonably inexpensive, easy to setup and widely supported DACs I would suggest something from Hifiberry or Allo.

I2S boards like these attach on top of the Rasperry Pi without special tools or skills. Then connect to your audio system with standard RCA cable. Provides a compact setup but you may need to buy taller case.

Else you can buy a stand alone DAC which will take digital input via optical coax or USB. Will likely cost more but can be used in a non-Raspberry environment. The sky is the limit on prices but some popular DACs run ~100USD such as Shitt Modi. You might still need a board with digital output to connect to the stand alone DAC depending on its inputs.

If your Denon has digital input then you already have a DAC in the receiver. Then you would need a board that provides digital output to connect to the receiver or if so equipped try HDMI.
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Re: Help finding the right DAC

Postby Stags6969 » 12 Nov 2020, 19:57

Thanks for that. Very informative.

The last sentence has just made to realise how stupid I am.
I’m inputting into a AV receiver, so lots of HDMI inputs, and pi has a hdmi output that will output the digital audio.

Just waiting for my database to rebuild, as I’ve disconnected my local usb device, then I will try via the HDMI. If that doesn’t work I’ll explore the avenues you suggested.
Thanks again.
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Joined: 12 Nov 2020, 16:10
Location: UK

Re: Help finding the right DAC

Postby rastus » 13 Nov 2020, 00:17

The PiFi DAC+ (24bit 192kHz) is the cheapest, and does have a good sound. The ALLO Boss DAC (32bit 384kHz, confirm?) is a very, very good sounding DAC and not much more expensive than the PiFi. If you can afford it I'd go with the ALLO Boss, you won't regret the little more you have to pay for it.

The HiFiBerry DAC, while a good DAC (better than the PiFi), is not (in my opinion) as good as the ALLO Boss DAC.

For now, for good sound quality (24bit 48kHz) use the HDMI connection on the Raspberry Pi to your Denon Receiver. The HDMI connection has better sound quality than any other connection on the Raspberry Pi (until you get a DAC, or not).


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