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RPi USB vs HAT S/PDIF output

abdo123

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OK, it's a personal truth.

I didn't state that HAT beats USB. In other applications asynchronous USB is excellent. I've experienced it myself with a laptop and an Audiolab 8200CDQ I used to own. Superb.

I said that in my own experience, with my components, it made a huge difference.

it did. It wasn't remotely subtle. Far bigger than replacing the VDac with a cheapie DAC from ebay (£11) that I bought to test the coax output of the HAT... I'd rather listen to that than the VDac/pi through USB. That one surprised me the other way... it's pretty good for a few quid and I'd be worried about blind testing it!

For some reason you have made it your mission to demean my observations despite the fact that you weren't here, and didn't hear it one way or the other. I'm not promoting a belief system here, just reporting an observation. You, on the other hand, seem to have some preconceived idea that I can't possibly know what I'm talking about because my experience doesn't agree with your understanding.

What is a fact is that MF sold a V-Link unit for the V-Dac which took a USB output and converted it into a (I think) coaxial S/PDIF signal. Perhaps they knew there was a problem and came up with a solution. A cynic might say they engineered it badly in the first place to sell v-links. Either way they were openly saying that there was improvement to be had on their USB Implementation.

The VDac 2 I now have has the asynchronous v-link built in. Sometime I'll set up a comparison... you're welcome to come and have a listen. Bring your favourite headphones!

Can you get over yourself? This is not about you.

No body is challenging you in anyway, it’s just that there is no point in discussing something we’re not sure is real.
 

voodooless

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I have now removed the VDac from my system and chucked it in a store pile. I would be happy to send it to you or anyone else that can test it with a pi3 via USB and compare it against the optical input. If they can fix whatever is stopping the coax input working you can test that too. You can also have the minidac from ebay if you like, I suspect it's quite good for the money.
I'd like them back eventually, but I'm in no hurry, the VDac2 is doing the job very well!
Thanks for the offer, but for this to work you’d need to send the whole setup including your pi3 in active use. Since we don’t know the cause of the potential issue, you cannot rule out that it’s some kind of software setting, kernel version or some other quirk. It will be hard to replicate that with a second unit. Anyway, if your in the EU, it might be worth the effort, otherwise definitely not.
 

Stu23

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We used to be in the EU :mad: I'm on your sad, recently divorced, island neighbour.

You can't have my pi, but you can have the same memory card with volumio on.

Offer is open...
 

voodooless

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Sadly I don’t have a Pi 3. Cloning the card is a good idea though! Also, my audio interface ADC isn’t really upto current standards being about 15 years old ;).
 

TheBatsEar

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I'm wondering what people think the best option for using an RPi streamer is.......HAT with S/PDIF out to your DAC or simple RPi (no HAT) USB out to your DAC?

I have a RPi4 with Moode and use a Topping D30 via USB. Not sure if DSD via S/PDIF works. I have a S/PIDF hat as well, and it works fine, but never tried the more esoteric formats over it, so i can't tell.

I figure, the signal over USB is digital, and buffered on target. Should be as good as it gets.

Against the SPDIF hat speaks that the RPi wouldn fit it's enclosure anymore (Argon enclosure, can recommend).
 

Count Arthur

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I'm wondering what people think the best option for using an RPi streamer is.......HAT with S/PDIF out to your DAC or simple RPi (no HAT) USB out to your DAC?
I'm using a Pi4 without a HAT, I have a USB DAC and music files on a USB hard drive and I control it with Volumio from a tablet: https://volumio.org/

I originally had the Pi4 in the standard plastic case, but it gets quite warm, so I bought a neat little aluminium heatsink case:
A-RA09-M2B_g02.jpg


They make several versions: https://www.akasa.co.uk/update.php?...Fanless Chassis&type_sub=Fanless Raspberry Pi
 

Beershaun

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I use a hidiberry spdif hat on my pi3 because the music stream would drop out, click and pop when I tried to use USB. The spdif interface works great for me so I haven't bothered with trying to solve the problem using a pi4.
 

kchap

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I'm using a Pi4 without a HAT, I have a USB DAC and music files on a USB hard drive and I control it with Volumio from a tablet: https://volumio.org/

I originally had the Pi4 in the standard plastic case, but it gets quite warm, so I bought a neat little aluminium heatsink case:
A-RA09-M2B_g02.jpg


They make several versions: https://www.akasa.co.uk/update.php?tpl=product/product.list.tpl&type=Fanless Chassis&type_sub=Fanless Raspberry Pi
I like it's simplicity. I do use the Argon ONE case, explanation here: 12v Trigger.
 

TheBatsEar

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I use a hidiberry spdif hat on my pi3 because the music stream would drop out, click and pop when I tried to use USB. The spdif interface works great for me so I haven't bothered with trying to solve the problem using a pi4.
Do you know if there are limitations for more esoteric formats like DSF or extreme bitrates?
 

TheBatsEar

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I like it's simplicity. I do use the Argon ONE case, explanation here: 12v Trigger.
On the PCB is a place for an infrared sensor. You could populate it (sensors can be bought at ebay for cents) and use any existing infrared remote to trigger actions, like shutdown, or track forward or whatever is needed. The V2 version of the Argon case let's you even startup using infrared.

There is also an addon to the Argon cases available, allows you to use a M.2 SSD inside the case.

Also, V2 uses large HDMI out, which makes a lot of sense i think.

Argon cases is where it's at, it seems. :cool:
 

kchap

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On the PCB is a place for an infrared sensor. You could populate it (sensors can be bought at ebay for cents) and use any existing infrared remote to trigger actions, like shutdown, or track forward or whatever is needed. The V2 version of the Argon case let's you even startup using infrared.

There is also an addon to the Argon cases available, allows you to use a M.2 SSD inside the case.

Also, V2 uses large HDMI out, which makes a lot of sense i think.

Argon cases is where it's at, it seems. :cool:
Yes, I originally got the Nanosound ONE case, which is a custom version of the Argon One case with DAC hat. It came with remote and I also bought the M.2 SSD extension. The remote and the SSD worked well however, I was not using the remote very often and I ran out of space on the SSD. When I went to a USB DAC I went for the standard Argon ONE. Without either the remote or SSD. For storage I now use NAS.

If you want a power button I would recommend the Argon ONE V2; if you need remote or SSD they work well on the Argon ONE. For something simpler the Akasa mentioned by Count Arthur seems a good choice.
 

cancunia

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Interesting thread.
I'm thinking about changing from the USB DAC on my Pi Zero to an I2S DAC on the Pi headers but can't think what/why/if there would be any gain from doing so? One thing that would change is the I2S DAC would be line level, whereas the USB DAC is headphone level.

Thoughts & Opinions welcome.
Thanks
 

Beershaun

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Interesting thread.
I'm thinking about changing from the USB DAC on my Pi Zero to an I2S DAC on the Pi headers but can't think what/why/if there would be any gain from doing so? One thing that would change is the I2S DAC would be line level, whereas the USB DAC is headphone level.

Thoughts & Opinions welcome.
Thanks
The line level is nice in that you are removing whatever the amplifier is in the headphone output and the associated noise and distortion. You should simply compare SINAD to understand what the difference would be in your two devices. There are plenty of USB DACs that support line level out with excellent SINAD so I wouldn't go to i2s for that reason alone. The second is packaging. You would have a more compact little box that takes up less space and is cleaner looking. The downside is less choice. There are many more DACs that plug in to USB than there are i2s for rpi.
 

amper42

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I'm using a Pi4 without a HAT, I have a USB DAC and music files on a USB hard drive and I control it with Volumio from a tablet: https://volumio.org/

I originally had the Pi4 in the standard plastic case, but it gets quite warm, so I bought a neat little aluminium heatsink case:
A-RA09-M2B_g02.jpg


They make several versions: https://www.akasa.co.uk/update.php?tpl=product/product.list.tpl&type=Fanless Chassis&type_sub=Fanless Raspberry Pi

My RPi4 was running warm to the touch so I moved it to the Armor Case with dual fans. It's dead quiet. I can only hear the fan if I place the case within 3" of my ear. :D It's the best RPi4 case I have tried yet. Leaves plenty of room for connectors and keeps the RPi4 amazingly cool.

full speed fan.png
 

kchap

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Interesting thread.
I'm thinking about changing from the USB DAC on my Pi Zero to an I2S DAC on the Pi headers but can't think what/why/if there would be any gain from doing so? One thing that would change is the I2S DAC would be line level, whereas the USB DAC is headphone level.

Thoughts & Opinions welcome.
Thanks
Stick with USB. RPis have a general problem with limited power for peripherals. This negates some of the advantages I2S HATs. Putting a HAT on a RPi also limits the cooling options. There are solutions to both issues but they always seem a bit messy and/or expensive.
 

MarcosCh

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Interesting thread.
I'm thinking about changing from the USB DAC on my Pi Zero to an I2S DAC on the Pi headers but can't think what/why/if there would be any gain from doing so? One thing that would change is the I2S DAC would be line level, whereas the USB DAC is headphone level.

Thoughts & Opinions welcome.
Thanks
i have been using a miniboss on a zero for a while now. i am very happy with it, but as kchap mentions it will use more power and in my case it wont work well or at all with any usb charger below 2.5A.
Cooling has not been an issue for me.
To me, the advantage of zero+hat dac is that it is still super small compared with anything else and that i am able to run it with a powerbank.
 

cancunia

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i have been using a miniboss on a zero for a while now. i am very happy with it, but as kchap mentions it will use more power and in my case it wont work well or at all with any usb charger below 2.5A.
Cooling has not been an issue for me.
To me, the advantage of zero+hat dac is that it is still super small compared with anything else and that i am able to run it with a powerbank.

I'm using the LG / B&O HiFi Plus USB DAC which has favourable reviews on here & it sounds ok but as mentioned in one of the posts above it's using a headphone amplifier before the phono out & of course it's at headphone level, no surprises there as that's what it's designed for.
As the HiFi plus is also powered via USB, I'm thinking that an I2S DAC board should be comparable in terms of power requirements?
The Miniboss has good reviews so is a potential candidate, I'm also thinking about trying the Pimoroni Audio DAC shim to get a comparison. It's very low cost but uses the less illustrious PCM5100A.
 

MarcosCh

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I'm using the LG / B&O HiFi Plus USB DAC which has favourable reviews on here & it sounds ok but as mentioned in one of the posts above it's using a headphone amplifier before the phono out & of course it's at headphone level, no surprises there as that's what it's designed for.
As the HiFi plus is also powered via USB, I'm thinking that an I2S DAC board should be comparable in terms of power requirements?
The Miniboss has good reviews so is a potential candidate, I'm also thinking about trying the Pimoroni Audio DAC shim to get a comparison. It's very low cost but uses the less illustrious PCM5100A.
I see your point. I cannot help you there, don't know how the power requirements of the miniboss or other i2s dacs compare with the usb dongles. I was actually quite surprised that below 2.5A i would not get sound, however, once you know this, just need to use a usb charger that provides enough power and forget. Remeber that the pi zero has one usb for power and another for data, so unless you plan to use it with a powerbank, the power consumption isn't really an issue in practical terms (on the contrary to a phone that you can't charge and use with the dongle simultaneously. Btw, if someone knows a solution for this, i would be interested to know)
 

kchap

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I'm using the LG / B&O HiFi Plus USB DAC which has favourable reviews on here & it sounds ok but as mentioned in one of the posts above it's using a headphone amplifier before the phono out & of course it's at headphone level, no surprises there as that's what it's designed for.
As the HiFi plus is also powered via USB, I'm thinking that an I2S DAC board should be comparable in terms of power requirements?
The Miniboss has good reviews so is a potential candidate, I'm also thinking about trying the Pimoroni Audio DAC shim to get a comparison. It's very low cost but uses the less illustrious PCM5100A.
Maybe we need to know how you intend to use the DAC; we might start suggesting more expensive solutions than you need.

I gather you are connecting headphones, what model? Are your music sources streaming services such as Spotify, a USB drive or a NAS? Are using the WI-FI option?
 
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