Asynchronous DACs??

Does the Pi with Volumio support asynchronous USB DACs? If so, which DACs does it support?


Yes of course, most of USB input chip are supported but the best way to achieve good quality is I2S.

Wich product are you thinking about ?

I have been using a sabre 9023 async DAC (with it’s external PSU) with my Rpi for months now. It’s a very cheap and imho a value for money solution:

I intended to buy a Meridian Explorer…

Of course, as long it is UAC2 compliant… As USB transport I personally prefer XMOS2 based ones…

PCM5102 based DAC, you can find the same thing for 8 to 10 time cheaper :

Nothing special (electrically) in that device but it is all wrapped up in a nice small enclosure and has a respected brand name etc.

You can get better bang for buck (especially on the Pi) elsewhere.

I totally agree ! :wink:

Then why does the Pi-DAC I have installed sound so awfull? Does it need to burn in?

BTW: The Explorer gets fantastic measurement specs.

What are the issues with the USB speed on the Pi?

Awfull? Really? In what way? I’ve not received any email from you - happy to help resolve that if you wish.

Maybe you have the volume set to +4db? Maybe you have a grounding issue? Can you check these please?

PCM5122 vs PCM5102 specs - PCM5122 wins, there are a few examples of graphs showing noise floor and THD around to check.

I can shove a PCM5142 on the Pi-DAC for you if you want?

USB speed, sorry don’t understand your question. Can you elaborate?

Feedback appreciated, we’re all still learning.


Awfull in the sense that my ears start ringing and even physically hurting, and the listening is very fatiqueing. I also find the detail, depth and positioning of the sound very poor. The sound sounds a little ‘distorted’… My CD player and radio tuner don’t have this issue. I already had the Pi-DAC switched for a checked new one. I am currently having the Pi-DAC undergo a burn-in session…

Volume at 0db (not +4). How to resolve a possible grounding issue with switching power supply for Pi? USB refers to reports I’ve been getting about the limited capacity of the USB ports on the Pi.

The Pi-DAC doesn’t live up to its promises, I find alas… maybe there is something wrong that we aren’t aware of?

This is a matter of taste.
if the PCM sound doesnt suit you, try a ES9016 or AKM4399 based DAC

I had the Pi plugged into a different netpower group than the rest of my audio (amp, etc.). I now have the Pi plugged into the same group and I am having a go with it… :stuck_out_tongue: Am still interested in how to resolve a possible ground loop though…

WOW! Sounds pretty nice now! :slight_smile:

UPDATE: Alas, still aching ears. Can’t explain… :frowning:

I’m sure it is a great DAC, and it also sounds very good indeed. The only thing is that my ears start aching, litterally. Perhaps my ears are too sensitive or something…

UPDATE: Replugged the powersupply of the Pi, and it looks like the aching ears are history. But still keeping a eye on it. :wink: Looks like all the little things matter when handling hi-quality equipment! :wink:

UPDATE: The Pi-DAC sounds really great, but there is a kind of stress/pressure on the side of my head above my ears, and the sound is a little tinny/metallic.

Add him a Linear power supply, you’ll discover a brand new world :wink:

I think you are wearing the speakers to tightly around your head. Try placing them 3m in front of you :laughing:

As I’ve alluded to previously the feedback we’ve had on the Pi-DAC has been tremendous. Maybe try one of the competition’s devices and see if you still suffer. Everyone has their preference.



I haven’t given up on the DAC yet! :wink:

Will do! :slight_smile:

Linear power added. Sounds different. The overall sound of the Pi-DAC is impressive! It sounds appealing! :slight_smile:

Things I’ve changed:

  • The cables of my set (planned);
  • Plugged the RPi into the same power group as my HiFi;
  • Used a linear power supply (in stock);
  • Tried to resolve possible ground-loop issues.

Still to do:

  • Use a better interlink (planned);
  • Burn in a little more.

Happy you are making progress and enjoy the Pi-DAC

Bought the Meridian Explorer. Worthless. Ringing ears. I think my ears are too good.