I've been running Volumio for 2 years or so. I had a Behringer UA202 on-hand (I think it came with a guitar interface I own), so that's what I used for a DAC. I never was really wowed by the UA202. Sure it's wayy better than the analog out of a Raspberry Pi, but that's about all I can say. I think I have a decent one; out of curiosity I opened mine up and saw it has the Burr-Brown chip (mfr date 2011). Maybe it's just because the output voltage is kinda low, so it's a few dB down from my other sources. I dunno. Just kinda meh.
Anyway, I decided I wanted to spice things up a bit. Why not get a DAC with a VU meter? Well, how many of those are there, really? Not many! The only ones I could really find were intended for Pro Audio use. The Motu M4 seemed especially nice. But I couldn't really justify spending quite that much just for a VU meter. So I looked for used ADC/DACs on Reverb. I found a PreSonus Studio 24--of which the 24c seems to be the current revision. Anyway, it had a VU meter, and a few other features that might be handy down the road for other things. What the hell; for $70 I took a chance.
And wow! This is actually SO much more enjoyable. I can't quite articulate why a few LEDs has transformed the way I use Volumio. I guess it went from being "something hidden" in my rack to something that actually had signs of life. I rarely used Volumio in the past. But now I WANT to cue up my music on it!
In order to get the device to work properly I had to add a powered USB hub. The Raspberry Pi doesn't have enough juice on its own to power the thing--or rather, it would try, but keep dropping out. With the USB hub in the chain, it's been rock-solid.
Anyway, bottom line is this: every DAC should have a VU meter. We listeners deserve a little light show with our music!
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I agree. I'm actually considering getting a Motu M2 and the meters are one of the reasons.