Connecting specific DAC directly by I2S

Hello :wink:,
In the beggining I would like to say that you are doing great job. Now to the subject.
I oredered HiFiberry Digi+ which I am going to connect with external DAC. I found this one very interesting. It`s price is a bit high, but it may pay off with quality.
DAC mentioned above also have direct I2S input. My qustion is:

  • Will RPi work with that DAC when connected directly (without digi+)?
  • Would it give better quality?
  • Does Volumio have the necessary drivers for that DAC?
    I know that RPi lack MCLCK pin which is somehow necessary.
    Thanks in advance,
    Cheers, Mathew.


Some External DAC’s might work
Some definitely won’t as the i2s input is designed specifically to work with the manufacturers transport’s. :imp:

Can you please specify which external DAC you are working with.

In theory I would say yes. The audio path will be shorter and there are less points of failure.
However the HiFi world is not well known for a simple Theory vs Quality payoff :open_mouth:

One of the drivers might work (not by design intention).
Will depend very heavily on the DAC you are working with.


Thanks for Your answer Kevin. I really appreciate Your help.

This one DAC. I just forgot to paste the link. … 1259596887

I am looking forward to get the best quality (the one that will sound the best for me). Having DIGI+ and this DAC will allow me to check sound with DIGI bettewen or without. Of course if it will work without DIGI.

Cheers, Mathew.


The DAC looks a pretty open and intended for the DIY market :smiley:

I cannot offer any Specific Advice as I am not familiar with this DAC product. I can offer some Generic stuff that might help.

I saw from the link that you can use an Internal MCLK on the MAMBO DAC. If you use this then your concern about the Master Clock should go away. I would keep the interface as simple as possible for your tests.

I recently got Volumio to work with the following DAC, you will notice that it is a Sabre ES9023 based DAC too :-

I use the following RPI Pin Outs, I didn’t connect the MCLK. You will have to refer to the MAMBO documentation for the termination points.


Regarding the driver you will have to have a play and see if one of them works (unless someone has some specific experience). I got the Audiophonics DAC to work with the HiFiBerry Driver on the Volumio UI System Settings Page:


Good Luck


Hey Kevin,
Thanks for help once more.
Time to order this DAC. DIGI+ is being shiped to me anyway, so if direct connection won`t work I will conect DAC via Digi+. No matter what I will get it working.
In about 2-3 weeks I should be able to tell You more about this DAC. I will share my experiences with it in this thread.
See you soon, Mathew.

Nice One Matthew,
Reviews for this DAC board seem pretty solid.
Let us know how you get on.