High performance platform for usb dac

Hi All,

My current setup is Raspberry Pi B+ and hifiberry Digi +. It has it’s own chassis, dual power (separate for Raspberry, separate for hifiberry) and this performed excellent with older SonicFrontiers DAC (CD quality). Now with new (L.K.S. Audio) I’m looking for high performance board capable of playing every material the DAC can handle (384K, DSD), so in reality only the USB port is necessary for it (no need to care about I2s).

Currently for some reason on USB connection the DAC is found without any issues (Amanero board) but I have drops in the signal even with 44K.
I’ve read the comment that even cubietruck may have issues with hi-res, that’s why I was thinking about Cubieboard 4 or Odroid XU4.
There are actually 2 questions:

  • which platform would be the most suitable to do the job
  • is there any Volumio port I could use on that platform


Hi michal,

I’m using volumio on a CuBox-i2eX over usb to a Auralic Vega Dac. During normal playback I have no issues with at least 24-192 or DSD 64/128.

Sometimes at startup I get dropuots but I think that’s more related to the Dac not being warmed up, it never happens after a couple of minutes of playback. My dac has a high precision femto clock that is supposed to have high requirements on usb feed (good score for Volumio).

Other issue I have is dac specific and is that usb does not recognice the dac if I go into standby mode, I have to reboot Volumio every time.
This was not an issue before but after I reinstalled volumio this showed up. (But that unrelated to your question)

6moons.com/audioreviews/auralic5/1.html - A dac from outer space - it’s amazing.
Also amazing is that a project like Volumio works well in a real highend etup.

I bought my CuBox from Israel, but after the order I saw there where resellers within Europe that shipped faster.


Hi Michalg,
don’t have any experience with a Cubieboard.
In my opinion, a single setup with an XU4 would be overpriced, it does not have an I2S driver either (though there is a pinout).
For what you want to use it for, it has no real advantage over an Odroid C1/C1+ at about half the cost.
XU4 also has a fan, which could disturb too.
But, XU4 could be an excellent choice as a powerful server in a Volumio multi-room setup with Snapcast in cases where HiRes needs to be downsampled.

Note, there is no Volumio port for an XU4 (yet), perhaps for Volumio 2 if there is enough interest.


My point is - capabilties of my DAC is for PCM 384K and DSD up to 256 and for Win drivers it’s even 512. My point is to just use the board and USB on the board to connect to DAC include all possible formats the DAC can accept, so I don’t really care about i2s connector. I just want to replace traditional laptop with some nice, headless aluminium chassis like I have now.
I’ve tested RPi2 - it works better than RPi1 - i’ve tested PCM 44.1k - working ok, 88.2k - working ok, 192k - not working, with RPi1 I had drops even at 44,1k.
It seems that it is only related to the board capacity. It is known that RPi has throughput issues when DAC is connected through USB, as I’ve found some posts describing it, so I’m just looking for strong board, on which I can have Volumio installed. My understanding is that bus speed is the key here. Since XU4 is USB3/Gigabit capable - I guess it should have enough power to do the job.

Best Regards

OK, got your point, just use a USB Audio device and being able to play everything without glitches.
What I’m trying to say is, that you would not need a XU4 for that. A C1 is perfectly capable to do that for you.
I’m using an XMOS 384K/32bit USB audio device (PCM5102 based) which plays it all, tested up to 352.8 without resampling. No dropouts, no glitches.