• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

MINIBOSS DAC For PI ZERO Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 3 2.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 20 13.2%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 87 57.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 41 27.2%

  • Total voters
    151

TheBatsEar

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
3,179
Likes
5,159
Location
Germany
is it uncommon for dongles to output 2V? I don't think so.
$179.
Yes, i think most in the same price range for the Miniboss (less than $50) don't make it to 2V sadly.

To those who are looking for RPI Zero 2W alternatives, I'd recommend Rock Pi S.
Does Volumio support it? Does Moode?
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
16,033
Likes
36,383
Location
The Neitherlands
is it uncommon for dongles to output 2V? I don't think so.
The device was measured with volume at 97 so at max volume might be 1.94V or so maybe even higher ?
The DAC chip can do 2.1V (it has internal charge pump to create -3.3V so 6.6V is available and a rail-to-rail out opamp should be able to provide 2.2V.
 

mash

Active Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
Messages
130
Likes
274
Is Allo still alive as a company? There has been online speculation on this point. They have not been responding to support requests on their official support forums (audiophilestyle.com)....at least for their Boss2 DAC product (which I own and love). Unfortunately, it has known OS compatibility issues that Allo has been silent on.

I can understand how the RPi supply chain disruptions must have thrown them for a major loop but ignoring support for your existing customer base is NEVER a good strategy.
 

Berwhale

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
3,954
Likes
4,962
Location
UK
That's right.
Sadly the RPi Zero 2W is rarely on the market. Get a RPi 3 A+ instead, costs 30€ and is available everywhere, same CPU power.
The DAC works with any RPi, even very old ones. The streaming software is zippier with newer RPis however.
Also, Moode is an alternative to Volumio and adds CamillaDSP. :cool:

Here is a source for RPis:

Eben says they are upping production to 1 million units per month (although it doesn't say what models this covers)...


*edit* There's a lot more detail here: https://www.tomshardware.com/news/r...scusses-stock-updates-industry-prioritization
 

TheWalkman

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2020
Messages
385
Likes
1,012
Thanks for reviewing this @amirm.

The Pi Zero version was a bit slow but the 2W works great.

I’ve been running Volumio on several variations of streamers based on Pi Zero 2W since they first introduced it and couldn’t be happier. They’re unobtrusive, responsive, energy efficient and sound great. I also store/ serve my 300 CD collection on the internal 64 GB high endurance SC card with half of the storage to spare.

When I read about people using a Synology NAS, x86 PC or even a Pi 4 to do the same, I honestly chuckle. I guess you can use tractor trailer to haul a case of beer, but a little red wagon like the Allo Pi, does the job quite well for me!

IMG_3211.jpeg
 

charleski

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 15, 2019
Messages
1,098
Likes
2,240
Location
Manchester UK
$179.
Yes, i think most in the same price range for the Miniboss (less than $50) don't make it to 2V sadly.
TemptoTec Sonata pro:
2Vrms for $54.
Fiio KA2:
4Vrms (balanced) for $60
iBasso DC03:
2Vrms for $70
If you look around there are quite a few, but you do need to check that it's been properly measured.
 

charlielaub

Active Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2023
Messages
197
Likes
284
Name one that does 2V.
USB dongles that provide 2Vrms output have been around for a good while now. For example:
I first purchased one from HiFiMeDIY 7 or 8 years ago. The fact that the product is still around after all this time should tell you something. The company sells similar DACs that also can output audio at up to 2.2Vrms.
 

juliangst

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 11, 2021
Messages
975
Likes
1,000
Location
Germany
Moondrop dawn 3.5 or 4.4mm is also a good alternative.
I'm using the 4.4 balanced version because that was the cheapest way to get 4V balanced outs with SOTA dac performance
 

VQR

Active Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2021
Messages
142
Likes
334
But how does it sound? ;)

No, telling people this DAC is transparent is very rude and disingenuous! o_O
 
Last edited:

Billy Budapest

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 11, 2019
Messages
1,852
Likes
2,772
not bad, but unless very specific housing i don't see a reason why one wouldn't prefer a regular „dongle dac”. similar price, likely better performance.
Likely because you could not use that as a Roon endpoint, which you can do with this setup.
 

juliangst

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 11, 2021
Messages
975
Likes
1,000
Location
Germany
Having a small all in one box is the main selling point for a DAC like this one. But getting any Pi nowadays is nearly impossible unfortunately
 

Billy Budapest

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 11, 2019
Messages
1,852
Likes
2,772
To those who are looking for RPI Zero 2W alternatives, I'd recommend Rock Pi S. It is not the same form factor so you can not use your case and other accessories for it however it uses USB-C for power instead of micro USB, and USB OTG and power delivery is on the same port, meaning that you can power it from the same device that is the source of digital audio, and it can output audio from its USB 2.0 port meaning that you can connect it to any DAC you want that has USB input. And it is available on AliExpress for $27 delivered.
That unit really opens up possibilities for DIY Roon endpoints.
 

shuppatsu

Active Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2023
Messages
135
Likes
185
not bad, but unless very specific housing i don't see a reason why one wouldn't prefer a regular „dongle dac”. similar price, likely better performance.
I don't know about the RPI Zero 2W, but I know RPI 3s have problems with dongle dacs because wifi and usb share a bus and have limited throughput. So there's value in having a HAT version. Also, at least with the original RPI Zero W, people were having power management problems with USB Dacs.
 

enricoclaudio

Major Contributor
Audio Company
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Messages
1,109
Likes
2,193
Location
Houston, TX - USA
Thanks for reviewing this @amirm.

The Pi Zero version was a bit slow but the 2W works great.

I’ve been running Volumio on several variations of streamers based on Pi Zero 2W since they first introduced it and couldn’t be happier. They’re unobtrusive, responsive, energy efficient and sound great. I also store/ serve my 300 CD collection on the internal 64 GB high endurance SC card with half of the storage to spare.

When I read about people using a Synology NAS, x86 PC or even a Pi 4 to do the same, I honestly chuckle. I guess you can use tractor trailer to haul a case of beer, but a little red wagon like the Allo Pi, does the job quite well for me!

View attachment 290765
Pi Zero V1 is fine for low demanding tasks. I just got yesterday a pair from Amazon that I use with our cameras tally lights system at church. They work great with ATEM Constellation 8K video switcher.
 

MCH

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 10, 2021
Messages
2,650
Likes
2,257
First little surprise trying to use a modern dongle with a pi zero (any model) is that it only has microusb host ports, and most cables the C side is the host side... yes, there are solutions, but it can take a couple of iterations to find the right one if you don't pay attention from the start.

On the other hand, you need a zero with header to use the miniboss, that limits even more your chances of finding one if you are not willing to solder 40 pins...
 

Barrelhouse Solly

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2020
Messages
375
Likes
359
Does anyone know it this supports Linux kernel 6.1? I know that the Boss2 does not. Allo is completely silent on this problem. I'm currently running a version of Moode Audio that's two point revs behind the current one because of the kernel support problem.
 

doug2761

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 23, 2020
Messages
155
Likes
271
could you explain why often a level below 100% is optimal?
Many DAC chips, especially the ESS ones, don't handle full scale digital signals gracefully so backing off just a hair often gets better performance. The folks at RME talked about this when they switched to ESS chips from AKM. Having a max digital volume to the DAC that's a few DBs below full scale avoids these problems.
 

juliangst

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 11, 2021
Messages
975
Likes
1,000
Location
Germany
Do streaming OS like Volumio or moode run significant worse on a Pi Zero compared to a Pi 4 or do they require so little computing power that there won’t be a difference?
 
Top Bottom