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IQaudio Pi-DAC Pro Streamer DAC

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the IQaudio Pi-DAC Pro DAC for the Raspberry Pi streamer/single board computer. It was purchased by a kind member and drop shipped to me a while back. The Pi-DAC Pro costs £ 44.40 or about US $59.

You have seen one Pi DAC, you have seen them all:

IQaudio PI-DAC Pro Pi Audio Streamer Audio Review.jpg

This one has a headphone out which I did not have time to measure.

I tested the PI-DAC Pro using a Ropieee Roon endpoint allowing me to stream test files to it from Roon player. As usual, since my Audio Precision analyzer cannot control streaming platforms, I can only test with unchanging signals. So no sweeps.

Streaming DAC Audio Measurements
As usual, we start our dashboard playing a 1 kHz tone using Roon to push the content to the Pi platform:
IQaudio PI-DAC Pro Pi Audio Streamer Audio Measurements.png


Nice that we can get over 2 volts output. But distortion is quite high, causing the SINAD which is the sum of that plus noise to not be that good:

Best Raspberry Pi DAC Review.png


As noted, if I reduce the digital volume in Roon by 3 dB, distortion goes down substantially to a more reasonable value of 93 dB. Alas, other DACs such as HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro don't need such help and produce that SINAD at full output.

Multitone test uses lower amplitude tones and demonstrates the lower distortion:
IQaudio PI-DAC Pro Pi Audio Streamer Multitone Audio Measurements.png


Jitter shows decent results for a platform like this:
IQaudio PI-DAC Pro Pi Audio Streamer jitter Audio Measurements.png


But again, not as good as HifiBerry.

Conclusions
I don't see the value/merit of this DAC. It has lower performance than HifiBerry DAC+ Pro yet costs more. Maybe if you are local to them the transaction cost is lower. Otherwise, I would pass on it.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

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#2
Is there any hope that not soldered balanced outs (right side on the board) will perform better?
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #3
No. Here is the Ti spec for the DAC chip they are using:

1576304449025.png


Best case SINAD is 94 dB which is more or less what I got in unbalanced. All of them seen to be using these low cost and easily to implement DAC chips which limit performance. For something better you need to go to what Allo and others like them use but of course at much higher cost.
 

ZolaIII

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#4
Actually it's interesting they didn't lie regarding THD+N. The DAC may not be all that bad but amp certainly is. For the money more comprehensive discreet portable solution can be optained with now dirty cheap ES9018K2M DAC. If you pick up one with reference Sabre implemented SABRE9601 amp you will get much more. Don't get me wrong it's still entry lv solution good enough to do 96 KHz properly. For more than that you will have to go either balanced (two DAC's) or much higher tire DAC.
 

restorer-john

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#5
As usual, since my Audio Precision analyzer cannot control streaming platforms, I can only test with unchanging signals. So no sweeps.
Why not zoom in at 0dB on the multi-tone point samples to give a reasonable frequency response plot? We are seeing around -1dB at 20Hz and 20K.
 
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#6
Amirm, can you test the last Airport Express form Apple ? A lot of people have this product "couteau suisse" :

- In : Wifi, Ethernet...

- Out analog after DAC 16/44.1 or PCM in SPDIF toslink...

My be, you have one...
 
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#8
Oh a pity for no measurements (yet?) of the headphone out, very curious about that.
 
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Soniclife

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#9
I don't see the value/merit of this DAC. It has lower performance than HifiBerry DAC+ Pro yet costs more.
If the headphone out is decent it might have value, but only if it has more power than a phone or dongle.
 
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amirm

amirm

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