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Review and Measurements of HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro

AudioSceptic

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I'm considering upgrading from the Hifiberry to a Topping D30. Are the measurement result differences audible in your opinion? Thanks!
I've been using the HiFiBerry since April. I bought it as a bundle with RPi and clear acrylic case* from the manufacturer and, after some issues with power (phone chargers are *not* sufficient, and neither are the USB ports on our Sony 40" smart TV), have been very pleased with it. The sound is surprisingly good, but all the same, I'm curious if there's more to be had, and I also want a headphone amp, so have ordered a Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital, to be delivered today. :) This is a huge jump in price, £33 to £295, but £295 is still super cheap compared with most of the "audiophile" DACs out there, and I get the head amp as an extra.

*This case is a really nice design. It slots together without any screws and works with a range of HiFiBerry boards.
 

xarkkon

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I've been using the HiFiBerry since April. I bought it as a bundle with RPi and clear acrylic case* from the manufacturer and, after some issues with power (phone chargers are *not* sufficient, and neither are the USB ports on our Sony 40" smart TV), have been very pleased with it. The sound is surprisingly good, but all the same, I'm curious if there's more to be had, and I also want a headphone amp, so have ordered a Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital, to be delivered today. :) This is a huge jump in price, £33 to £295, but £295 is still super cheap compared with most of the "audiophile" DACs out there, and I get the head amp as an extra.

*This case is a really nice design. It slots together without any screws and works with a range of HiFiBerry boards.
My Hifiberry's with the metal case which I like for the heat dissipation, but I worry about dust falling through the gaps over time. Heh.

Let me know how the upgrade goes! Curious to see if you find any audible difference.
 

AudioSceptic

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My Hifiberry's with the metal case which I like for the heat dissipation, but I worry about dust falling through the gaps over time. Heh.

Let me know how the upgrade goes! Curious to see if you find any audible difference.
I thought about the metal case, for the same reason, but then I thought the acrylic ones must be OK, heat-wise, or there wouldn't be so many of them on the market and anyway, I trust Daniel at HiFiBerry not to sell stuff that's bad for his own products. Certainly, I've seen no evidence of overheating (right now the RPi CPU is 56 °C on a warm day, 26 °C ambient). BTW I tend to use either Volumio or OSMC, each on their own microSD card. Do you have a favourite OS?

I'll report back on the Pro-ject in a day or 2. It won't be a blind test but I'll try to be honest.
 

Biblob

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Hi Arnandsway,

the measurements are from Hifi Test. The Report is still available online.

The nice thing about Teufel is that you can trial their speakers in-home for 60 days. Ofcourse you have to pay for them up front, but if you don't like them, you can send them back (at their expense) and get a full refund. So, I did indeed do an in-home comparison with my Monitor Audios and decided I liked the Definion 3 quite a lot. Typical of coaxial setups, the Definion 3 have a very wide listening field, which suits me well as my livingroom is also my office and I don't have just one specific listening position, something that the RS6 Silver were not really up to.
Thanks for linking it. I am very curious to Teufel, and how well their speakers perform. I haven't found any measurements yet, so seeing these, gives me hope they know what they're doing. Here in Netherlands they're quite popular too.
 

Jimster480

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Decent performance for such a low price.... but there are better offerings for just a bit more. I guess if you are driving some normal house speakers with something like this (provided that the speakers have their own power) it shouldn't be a problem since the performance is close to what is required for CD quality music (most all music available).
 

CRKebschull

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Decent performance for such a low price.... but there are better offerings for just a bit more. I guess if you are driving some normal house speakers with something like this (provided that the speakers have their own power) it shouldn't be a problem since the performance is close to what is required for CD quality music (most all music available).

Technically, the Hypex NC400 has a better SINAD than the HifiBerry. Which is interesting -- that doesn't happen often that your amp is more resolving than your DAC. However, you have speakers and your room and then in the end your ears, and at that point I think the HifiBerry is no longer the limiting factor. ;)
 

xarkkon

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I thought about the metal case, for the same reason, but then I thought the acrylic ones must be OK, heat-wise, or there wouldn't be so many of them on the market and anyway, I trust Daniel at HiFiBerry not to sell stuff that's bad for his own products. Certainly, I've seen no evidence of overheating (right now the RPi CPU is 56 °C on a warm day, 26 °C ambient). BTW I tend to use either Volumio or OSMC, each on their own microSD card. Do you have a favourite OS?

I'll report back on the Pro-ject in a day or 2. It won't be a blind test but I'll try to be honest.
Looking forward to the report!

I've exclusively been using Volumio. Love it so much that I'm gonna get another RPi / Volumio setup for a headphone amp. The only additional feature I'd love to have is multi-speaker grouping and I can get rid of my living room Sonos setup once and for all.

Your temperatures sound quite similar to mine. I was somewhat worried in the beginning as the case got quite toasty from time to time (doesn't help that I'm in the tropics with always-hot weather), but adding a small passive heatsink to the Pi has helped it out quote a bit.
 

Guermantes

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I'm considering upgrading from the Hifiberry to a Topping D30. Are the measurement result differences audible in your opinion? Thanks!
I would probably agree with @Krunok that the audible difference is negligible. For what it's worth, I also compared the D30 to an Apogee Rosetta 200 and suspected I heard more high frequency "excitement" in the Topping but I doubt I could be confident picking between them in an ABX comparison.

However, I now run with the Topping D30 on my RPi simply because it measures better (peace of mind) and for the DSD functionality.

Here are a couple of spectragrams of a 20 Hz to 48 kHz tone sweep recorded out of the Hifiberry and Topping D30 for comparison. They were recorded with an RME Fireface UFX at 96 kHz/24 bit. You can see the Hifiberry has less aliasing suppression and apparently higher noise floor and distortion (note that it had approximately 0.4 dB lower peak level than the Topping in the captures).

Hifiberry DAC+ Pro rev. 2.4, Default FIR filter.
HifiBerry DAC+PRO spectragram 20-48k sweep.jpg


Topping D30
Topping D30 spectragram 20-40k sweep.jpg
 

xarkkon

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I would probably agree with @Krunok that the audible difference is negligible. For what it's worth, I also compared the D30 to an Apogee Rosetta 200 and suspected I heard more high frequency "excitement" in the Topping but I doubt I could be confident picking between them in an ABX comparison.

However, I now run with the Topping D30 on my RPi simply because it measures better (peace of mind) and for the DSD functionality.

Here are a couple of spectragrams of a 20 Hz to 48 kHz tone sweep recorded out of the Hifiberry and Topping D30 for comparison. They were recorded with an RME Fireface UFX at 96 kHz/24 bit. You can see the Hifiberry has less aliasing suppression and apparently higher noise floor and distortion (note that it had approximately 0.4 dB lower peak level than the Topping in the captures).

Hifiberry DAC+ Pro rev. 2.4, Default FIR filter.
View attachment 32182

Topping D30
View attachment 32183
That's a really detailed and useful reply. I like how you've provided both subjective feedback AND measurements. Thanks so much for that! I probably will get the D30 for my hifi setup (for the same reasons you have), and use the hifiberry for my headphone setup instead. :)
 

Beershaun

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Thank you for this great review. I have been n using this combination for a year. Would you be willing to do a review with an external linear power supply plugged into the 5v input plug on the DAC board itself? To see how it affects the noise floor and other parameters. On the recommendation of Hans Beekhuyzen I bought one and was able to get the right plug to simply plug it into a pre soldered 5v input plug already available on the board. This power supply now runs both the DAC and the rpi. I have enjoyed the sound of it with a linear power supply using Runeaudio image. I would love to see what difference a better power supply plugged directly into the DAC board makes.
 

CRKebschull

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Thank you for this great review. I have been n using this combination for a year. Would you be willing to do a review with an external linear power supply plugged into the 5v input plug on the DAC board itself? To see how it affects the noise floor and other parameters. On the recommendation of Hans Beekhuyzen I bought one and was able to get the right plug to simply plug it into a pre soldered 5v input plug already available on the board. This power supply now runs both the DAC and the rpi. I have enjoyed the sound of it with a linear power supply using Runeaudio image. I would love to see what difference a better power supply plugged directly into the DAC board makes.

I think Amir and Archimago have shown that linear power supplies make no (audible) difference in the performance of DACs, whether powered via USB or I2S as in the case of the HifiBerry.
 

Aprude51

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I have to say I’m surprised by the complete lack of specs & measurements provided by HiFiBerry for their products. They literally share nothing beyond the frequencies and bit-rates they support, not even the chipsets they use in their DACs. I contacted them to inquire about more details specs and was told two things:

1) They don’t provide specs or measurements because a single number or graph doesn’t tell the whole story (I’m not sure what’s stopping them from sharing more than one number...)
2) I should just listen to the product to decide if I like it

Needless to say, I was disappointed in their response
 

maltux

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I use my HifiBerry and it works well. Hooked up to Raspberry Pi 3 running Rune (linux Arch base - so its fast) connected via wifi to my FreeNas as a music library. I have seen others add a separate linear power supply to the HifiBerry DAC board and use a regular power supply to power the pie. In all honesty I really do not think I need one. This is hooked up to my Primary 2 channel Stereo system controlled by my Android phone. The case was $30 and a pain in the butt to assemble but thats another story and why I have a picture of the case and not the DAC and Pie naked. The Rune software is open source.

IMG_20200104_094738923.jpeg

HifiBerry and Raspberry Pie

IMG_20200104_094732272.jpeg

HifiBerry and Raspberry Pie

Screenshot_20200104-094816.jpeg

Screenshot of my phone showing the UI of Rune.
 

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Aldoszx

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I have 2 Hifiberry DAC+ Pro.
One of them is paired with a small headphone amp (CJMCU-6120) and 7" screen.
Very decent sound.
 

Hemicrusher

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I have been running a Pi3 with the DAC+Pro and Volumio to a PS Audio Sprout for a few years. Been flawless.
 

xarkkon

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I have been running a Pi3 with the DAC+Pro and Volumio to a PS Audio Sprout for a few years. Been flawless.
Doesn't the sprout have an amp? what made u choose to add on the hifiberry dac?
 

Hemicrusher

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Doesn't the sprout have an amp? what made u choose to add on the hifiberry dac?

The Sprout is an integrated amp and has a DAC, the HiFiBerry is just a DAC, no amp, just line out.

I had the HiFiBerry before I owned the Sprout running into another amp so I just kept using the line outs. Plus the HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro handles DSD, which the Sprout doesn't
 

xarkkon

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Ah, that makes sense. Thanks!
 
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