Question Best Raspberry Pi 2 DAC?

Discussion in 'Music Streamers' started by Obiit, Mar 31, 2016.

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  1. Obiit

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    After purchasing and really enjoying the multichannel analog of an Oppo BDP-103EU for movies i have moved onto trying music. The quality is still great but the management of music over a network to my NAS is awful (i'm a Squeezebox fan it must be said!). So I'm looking at upgrading from my Squeezebox Receiver to a Raspberry Pi 2 based player. I have tried PiCorePlayer which works really well but the sound quality out of the Pi 2 (fed via HDMI through my Oppo) has a lot of static/distortion and upon further reading i have found the Pi 2 is classed as a bit "noisy" on the USB and HDMI interfaces. So i am now looking at a dedicated DAC designed for the Pi 2.

    What experiences have people had with these dedicated dac's with regards quality and would they stand up to the quality of an Oppo? I have so far found Hifiberry, IQaudio and Audiophonics who make them and are supported by PiCorePlayer.

    Any help would be appreciated :)
     
  2. craigwhelan

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    Hi Obiit

    I'm looking to venture in to RPi myself very shortly and have three separate builds planned. I've always liked the idea and ethos behind Pi, never really had a credible use, until now! Which as it happens was trying to replace (and expand existing footprint) SONOS with a cheaper more flexible solution and provide the missus with an single interface to control 'all the tech' from...not sure the latter will occur mind.

    • RPi + DAC for wireless music to existing AV receiver (Onkyo NR1010)
    • RPi + Amp for wireless music to a pair of Eltax Monitor 3s I have collecting dust
    • RPi for HTC (Kodi I expect)

    The IQAudio definitely appears to have A LOT of positive feedback, and people specifically noting that you can talk directly with Gordon who designed and builds the boards. Given the IQ stuff is not much different in price to the HiFiBerry, I'd be inclined to go with the IQAudio. I don't know much about the different chips being used for DAC (Sabre v TI for example) but the one thing I'm reading that makes the biggest difference...power supply

    Apparently the ifi iPower 5V (Accessory – iPower) supply is ideal for the audio applications.

    Be interested to see more threads on stuff based on Pi, I would have thought this would be right up most peoples streets...

    Cheers

    Craig
     
  3. Obiit

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    Well Craig that's why I have asked for experience of the actual dac's themselves as like you I don't know about the differences either!

    As for the psu in general for pi's a decent one is required I.e. Not one used to charge your phone :)

    Hopefully more people will cotton to the pi's for audio and then more experiences can be exchanged.

    :)
     
  4. craigwhelan

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    I've emailed IQaudIO and hope to get some dates around the availability of the DAC equipment from them. I've been digging around and have found this thread on the volumio.org website which gives a bit of details of the DAC chips used on the HiFiBerry and IQaudIO DACs for example

    HiFi DAC PiCobber for Raspberry Pi : DACs - Volumio

    Interesting stuff, I almost got impatient and ordered HiFiBerry stuff anyway just to start a 'this is where it started' blog/vlog/thread. If anything, it's good to understand the reasoning behind the chip choice I guess and draw a comparison to any equipment we currently have with DAC chips in it.

    In any case, it's all just numbers to me, the proof will be in the listening as I haven't got a clue about anything that technical.

    I stumbled across this video on YouTube, which you may be interested in as the guy's using a USB DAC
    My Squeezebox/Logitech Media Server Setup with...
    and from the audio captured via his phone and his feedback, sounds like a better position than you may be in currently and hits the mark with Squeezebox...

    Craig.
     
  5. Obiit

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    I've been using a Logitech Squeezebox for quite a few years utilizing NAS's as the Servers and iPeng as a controller. It works really well but it's not got the same sound quality as the Oppo has hense the query.

    The gentleman in the video is very vague on the hardware but he does use piCorePlayer piCorePlayer which i have found to be very good. If you want here is the support thread for picoreplayer piCorePlayer = Squeezelite on Microcore linux. .An embedded OS in RAM with Squeezelit . Extremely long but covers just about everything! He also says HDMI works out of the box but it distorts on my system.

    I have thought about USB Dac's but i would prefer a dac that is properly supported by the software and hardware as even though the hdmi distortion is hardly noticable i notice it and i wouldn't want the same with USB.
     
  6. craigwhelan

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    Gordon from IQaudIO got back to me this evening after my query via the website earlier today, definitely coming across as a guy cares for the products he's providing - a very good start!

    Pi-DAC+ available end of the month / early May and DACZero available when testing on the boards in stock is complete.

    I'm going to order up the RPi, a standard PSU and MicroSD card tonight and get things rolling this end in anticipation of the end of the month.
     
  7. craigwhelan

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    Hi

    Very quick update until I can write something up properly...received my Raspberry Pi 3 today, along with an official 2.5A 5.1V charger and a SanDisk Ultra MicroSD card

    Downloaded RuneAudio image, and had music within a few minutes of having the image loaded to the Pi!

    Now, agreed, the audio from the 3.5mm jack is terrible, crackly and noisy.

    So I set about forcing the audio down the HDMI and plugged in to my AV receiver...and wow...well over AirPlay I've no reason to think I need to buy a DAC to be honest, I'm going to hook up my NAS share which will be connected via wireless and if it's good then I think job done.

    I'll look to disable all other unused hardware on the device but all in all, given it's literally been half an hour of messing about, I'm VERY impressed. Maybe a new Pi rather than a DAC Obiit? Or double check that PSU?

    Back later with more info after tinkering.
     
  8. stosoorok

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    RuneAudio is very good player and I've used it from the beginning with 16/48 flac's, but still no hi-res playback through HDMI (no dsd also).
     
  9. craigwhelan

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    I think I'll be double checking my rips and doing some side by side comparison - so far I'd be happy with where I'm at...apart from the not so polished UI

    Don't tell anyone I said I'd be happy with now...crikey that'll get me in to all sorts of bother!
     
  10. Obiit

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    That is a possibility a new Pi but not after just buying this one. The PSU was one recommended on forums so it should be fine. I think to be honest i will leave the project be for the moment and concentrate on getting more music to listen to. The OPPO is a fantastic disc spinner after all :)
     
  11. nickdc

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    I've been running a Hifiberry card on a Pi B+ for a year or so now and very pleased with it. I have Volumio on the Pi, my audio on an early QNAP NAS running Minimserver (utterly brilliant, check it out if not familiar, especially if you love classical music) and Bubbleupnp on Android tablet & phone to control it all. Via the same amplifier and speakers the sound is noticeably better from the Pi than my middle range Marantz cd player, and streets ahead of what our one Sonos Play can produce. So pleased with the setup I bought another Pi and this time a Wolfson/CirrusLogic card, as that has an ADC as well as a DAC and I want to use it to digitise my vinyl collection. Been too busy the last six months to set it up though, so unable to compare as yet. I'm not expecting to be disappointed though. To think I so nearly spent a lot of money on Sonos gear, which is already looking a bit left behind, while frantically trying to seem ahead of the game!
     
  12. CJT-80

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    Just stumbled across this post, ironically I am just getting into the Raspberry Pi myself. I purchased a QED UStream from a certain "main stream" HiFi Shop. It works but not very well, so it's going back later on today or tomorrow. I have purchased a Pi2 (As it doesn't need the fast processing power) and a HiFIBerry DAC+ Standard RCA. I did look at the IQAudio ones but they were not in stock, and today I double checked and they are in stock! :( No I am kicking myself as they are UK produced as opposed to the HiFiBerry. Still the HB arrives in a few days along with a case, so once it's up and running (with a suitable O/S) I will report back :)

    ** BTW it's connected to a MultiRoom Audio system from Cambridge Audio (Incognito) which works very well ** :)
     
  13. DVD Viewer

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    Hi I just thought I would add my thoughts on this thread.
    I've got Logitech Media Server installed on a QNAP TS 453 which runs it brilliantly. I've watched in dismay as Logitech abandoned the system but this thread prompted me to order an IQAudio DAC. I had bought a Raspberry Pi 2 a few months ago and followed the instructions here: Building a Raspberry Pi Squeezebox Player for £100

    I chose to install piCorePlayer. It was easier than I thought although I did have to gather information from a number of sources. However I'm very pleased with the end result and the sound is as good if not better than from my two existing Squeebox Touch players. I have a Sonos speaker as I thought I might move to that system but this is so much better.
     
  14. CJT-80

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    Good Morning the Pi 2 B is up and running well with the HiFiBerry Dac + RCA Standard and it's running RuneAudio (for now). It's my intention to find a player for Pi that suits my needs fully.

    DVD Viewer how are you getting on with piCorePlayer?
     
  15. kit1cat

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    Have a look at moode player, I have moved over to moode from picoreplayer.

    moodeaudio.org
     
  16. DVD Viewer

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    Absolutely fine. Does what I want with no problems.
     
  17. CJT-80

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    Question - Does MoodeAudio support Google Play Music or does PiCorePlay support it?

    Cheers.
     
  18. kit1cat

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    Neither moode or picore support streaming services directly. I have used AirPlay to stream Spotify from both moode and picore with good results using my iPad Spotify app, also works with Deezer. Sorry, can't help with google play, have never used it, but there may be a pluggin avaiable for picore.
     

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