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Can you get "audiophile" sound using a native RP4 USB port into a DAC? - Printable Version

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Can you get "audiophile" sound using a native RP4 USB port into a DAC? - rebbi - 03-24-2021

Does anyone have experience comparing the on-board RP4 USB ports as a transport to a DAC vs. the sound quality of an add-on board like the Allo DigiOne or DigiOne Signature, or something similar? 
Wondering if it pays to try coaxial (SPDIF) with one of those HATs.
I have an excellent DAC with optical (TOSLINK), Coaxial and USB inputs, so I have choices. But since I already have an RP4, I want a transport that makes use of that unit.
Many thanks,

Steve


RE: Can you get "audiophile" sound using a native RP4 USB port into a DAC? - Mark Dirac - 03-24-2021

No, I do not have experience, but here's some comments:

I have looked for months for a reliable review of RPI4 vs. Allo USBridge Sig. Nothing. Surprising.

I would guess that with a good DAC such as you have, that you would not be able to hear any difference. In theory. Since buying my USBridge Sig, I have bought an RME ADI-2 DAC. In theory, this has excellent attenuation/rejection of noise and jitter. As do all modern decent DACs nowadays, I am led to believe.

Now, I have not compared my RME DAC on RPi4 vs. USBridge Sig. But, I have compared USBridge Sig vs. a (probably) very noisy high-speed Intel NUC PC (their "Skull Canyon") via USB. And I can hear no difference. Using high-resolution Sennheiser HD800S headphones. I probably would not have bought the USBridge Sig if I had known I would be buying my RME DAC.

I reckon my Allo USBridge Sig + RME DAC sounds absolutely fantastic. In reality, some of my satisfaction probably comes from the irrational psychology of knowing that with the Allo (instead of a naked RPi4) that the DAC is performing at its absolute best. So this may for others be some (superstitious?) justification for taking the Allo route.


RE: Can you get "audiophile" sound using a native RP4 USB port into a DAC? - quattr0 - 03-24-2021

I have a somewhat different experience w Mark. I have the RME ADI-2 PRO FSR BE (wow what a name!!!)

My RPi4 using wall plug that comes with the device, USB output to ADI-2 Pro sounds really nice! (using RoPieeeXL tho)

Surprisingly RPi3B+ using iFi plug with Hifiberry Digi+ Pro with coaxial output sounds close to setup 1 above using Moode 7.0.1 and Alsaequal.

I tested both Roon and songs from my DLNA server over wifi.

The RPi is a wonderful transport!!!

To answer your question...I would use USB out to see how you like it. When listening using Roon from either of my setup, I can't tell the diff much if you have a good DAC.


RE: Can you get "audiophile" sound using a native RP4 USB port into a DAC? - Manni - 03-25-2021

@ rebbi

I have an Allo USBridge Sign connected via USB to a RME ADI2 FS DAC.

And if you can/will hear a difference is very much depending on your gear, your room and your ears.

On the Allo USBridge Signature you have a "clean" USB out and a normal USB. I can hear a difference between these 2 USB outputs on my RME DAC.

But, one needs to understand the rest of my system to understand how I come to this conclusion and why I hear a difference.

Contrary to many members on the RME forum and RME themselves this DAC benefits a lot from an upgraded linear power supply. I did an DIY powersupply with 25VA trafo and 15.000uF filtering caps followed by 20.000uF storage caps adjusted to 12,8VDC. I can hear the effect of changing the brand of the final bypass cap of 10nF.
The RME only draws approx 600mA at 12,8VDC, which is less than 8 VA.

On the Allo USBridge Sign. I had originally the Shanti LPS, but changed this as well to a better DIY power supply, same as above, only adjusted to 5,1VDC output. Switched off in moOde all functions except MPD and UPNP. In this operating mode the USBSig draws approx 700mA at 5,1VDC, which again is less than 4 VA.

There are endless discussions about USB cables and if they sound different. In my system - Yes, this is why I use a JCAT Signature USB cable (900€/1m).

And I use Audirvana on my MacBookPro to stream to the Allo USBridgeSign. This makes an audible difference to i.e. mconnect via UPNP to moOde.

And I do have a lot of other tweaks, dedicated power supply lines for Amps and separate  powerlines for source components, treated listening room, etc, etc,

So under these conditions I do hear a noticeable difference.


RE: Can you get "audiophile" sound using a native RP4 USB port into a DAC? - Jandu - 03-25-2021

(03-24-2021, 03:11 PM)rebbi Wrote: Does anyone have experience comparing the on-board RP4 USB ports as a transport to a DAC vs. the sound quality of an add-on board like the Allo DigiOne or DigiOne Signature, or something similar? 
Wondering if it pays to try coaxial (SPDIF) with one of those HATs.
I have an excellent DAC with optical (TOSLINK), Coaxial and USB inputs, so I have choices. But since I already have an RP4, I want a transport that makes use of that unit.
Many thanks,

Steve

Depends on a lot of factors. Even the cable quality and lengths, how the dac implemented  each connection to its processor would drive a different  sound signature.

After a lot of tweaking and turning things off, I can get a Rpi4b with USB out to sound as good as the Allo USBridge sig using the clean USB out. However, if you are not willing to spend resources to tweak, just out of the box, the Allo USBridge sig sounds better.

It also depends on your set up as well as your taste of music.

If you decide to go the regular Rpi4b route, make sure you have a very very clean, stable and good power supply.


RE: Can you get "audiophile" sound using a native RP4 USB port into a DAC? - rebbi - 03-25-2021

(03-25-2021, 02:33 AM)Jandu Wrote: After a lot of tweaking and turning things off, I can get a Rpi4b with USB out to sound as good as the Allo USBridge sig using the clean USB out. However, if you are not willing to spend resources to tweak, just out of the box, the Allo USBridge sig sounds better.

It also depends on your set up as well as your taste of music.

If you decide to go the regular Rpi4b route, make sure you have a very very clean, stable and good power supply.

What would you consider to be a good upgrade power supply for the RP4, then? Thanks for responding.


RE: Can you get "audiophile" sound using a native RP4 USB port into a DAC? - rebbi - 03-25-2021

(03-25-2021, 01:30 AM)Manni Wrote: @ rebbi


And I use Audirvana on my MacBookPro to stream to the Allo USBridgeSign. This makes an audible difference to i.e. mconnect via UPNP to moOde.

And I do have a lot of other tweaks, dedicated power supply lines for Amps and separate  powerlines for source components, treated listening room, etc, etc,

So under these conditions I do hear a noticeable difference.

@Manni I also have a MBP running Audirvana, which I was hoping to replace with the RP4 streaming setup because it's my work laptop and plugging it in and our of my stereo rig is cumbersome. But I don't understand how you are using your MBP with the AlloUSBridge? Are you taking the USB output from the laptop and using the Allo as an intermediary into your DAC?


RE: Can you get "audiophile" sound using a native RP4 USB port into a DAC? - Jandu - 03-25-2021

What would you consider to be a good upgrade power supply for the RP4, then? Thanks for responding.

https://m.intl.taobao.com/detail/detail.html?id=633664880034
https://www.ebay.com/itm/ZEROZONE-30VA-LT1038cp-mini-linear-Power-supply-DC5V-9V-12V-15V-18V-24V-L158-23/191889072543?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&redirect=mobile

http://www.simplebest-gd.com/jldysmpbfq

Allo Shanti

Daitron Lfs150A

Above is a list of PS that I have tried, in order of my preference, the lower the better. Allo Shanti and Simplebest are about same depending on other equipments. You may not need a Daitron, it depends on the rest of your set up. The first one could be the only one you need. You can be the only judge in this hobby.


RE: Can you get "audiophile" sound using a native RP4 USB port into a DAC? - DRONE7 - 03-25-2021

and not forgetting this wonderful power option ;-)
https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/power-supplies/336685-adapter.html


RE: Can you get "audiophile" sound using a native RP4 USB port into a DAC? - hifinet - 03-25-2021

Even with a linear power supply for the RPi4, there are still switching regulators on the RPi4 generating noise. The USBridge Sig would seem to be a more complete solution. No personal experience.