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  1. #1
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    Jan 2008
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    Raspberry Pi DACs - what's good these days?

    Hi all,

    I'm in the process of building a Picoreplayer system for a buddy, and he'd like an integrated DAC solution - what's the current state of the union these days? The go-to hat is, I guess, the Hifiberry DAC, right? Does anyone have any experience with the new wave of DACs? A quick google search shows up Orchard Audio, NanoSound, Khadas for three examples. Are there any others that I should be aware of, or should I just stick with the Hifiberry?

    This unit is going to feed a reasonably high-end system - MartinLogan speakers and Krell amp, so the recipient wants me to do my due diligence and search out any potential improvements over the Hifiberry.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    Feb 2015
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    5

    Pi DACs

    I recently discovered this forum and suggest you might want to take a look: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/

    Amir, who runs it, does detailed, objective tests on audio equipment and he has looked at Pi hats from HiFiberry, IQAudio, Allo Katana. The first two came up OK, Allo came up pretty well, but the interesting thing for me is that you can get significantly better performance (judged mainly by low noise and low harmonic distortion) with quite inexpensive external DACs connected by USB to the Pi. Might be worth considering for high end audio.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by robjordan View Post
    I recently discovered this forum and suggest you might want to take a look: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/

    Amir, who runs it, does detailed, objective tests on audio equipment and he has looked at Pi hats from HiFiberry, IQAudio, Allo Katana. The first two came up OK, Allo came up pretty well, but the interesting thing for me is that you can get significantly better performance (judged mainly by low noise and low harmonic distortion) with quite inexpensive external DACs connected by USB to the Pi. Might be worth considering for high end audio.
    Iĺd certainly look at Audioquest Dragonfly on a Pi4 but not had a chance yet
    VB2.4 storage QNAP TS419p (NFS)
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  4. #4
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    Norway
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    Hi doctor_big

    You're pointing at some fairly low-end DACs there. I'd steer away from anything based on inferior DAC technology. I'm pretty satisfied with my Orchard Audio ApplePi, but I believe they're not available anymore and replaced by separate DAC which AFAIK includes the Raspberry Pi and all, named the Pecan Pi.

    Therefore, if you're into doing your own build and setup, I'd recommend the Allo Katana (the low THD version). It's been through several rounds of reengineering, but I believe they're done now (IOW don't buy a used one second hand, if you're looking for the best one).

  5. #5
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    Jan 2008
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    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I'll look at the Katana, and at external USB DACS.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
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    May 2016
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    2

    AV Receiver DACs?

    Please excuse me if this is a dumb question but;
    Most AV receivers have excellent DACs in them already these days. What is wrong with just going HDMI to the receiver and letting it handle the DAC chores?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Apesbrain's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
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    East Coast, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by pprjack View Post
    What is wrong with just going HDMI to the receiver and letting it handle the DAC chores?
    Nothing wrong at all with this approach.

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