Newbie questions

I spent the last weeks extensively reading and getting familiarized with this amazing world of Raspberry pi based network players. My clear idea is to build my own player in the same way I have been building my own computers for 15 years now (except my Macs :laughing: ). I have slowly being getting into the wonderful and mysterious audiophile world, and am current running two setups at home. One based on a NAD C388 hybrid amp in the living room, and one based on an Arcam A28 amp in my bedroom. I stream a lot both rips and Hires files from my NAS and Qobuz from the internet. The only streamer I have now is a Bluesound Node 2 which now is in my bedroom as the Arcam has no DAC. I would like now to build a box for the living room. My idea is to buy my components from Volumio and/or Audiophonics. My questions:

  • Do I go for a streamer only and rely on my NAD’s DAC or do I go for a DAC/Streamer (i.e. will this improve the result)? My current gut feeling is the Audiophonics ES90382QM DAC which I think represents a good middle ground for a decent DAC. The Allo Katana costs almost double and I am afraid to make such a big investment at this first attempt.
  • I prefer to spend money on components rather than for example a nicer enclosure. An acrylic-based “floor mount stand” looks nice enough for me actually. I would rather spend the money on a decent power supply. and speaking of that - any recommendations (don’t want to go crazy here either).
  • Any other components you recommend?
  • And finally the subjective question - would this sound better than my Node 2 in DAC mode? I know this is not easy to answer but hey - always happy to get opinions.

Thanks again for the patience for my novice questions :slight_smile:

My personal feeling is that the fewer components involved in the sound reproduction, the fewer the opportunities to introduce errors. I’ve looked at the reviews of the NAD and they’re pretty positive about the sound from the DAC, so I’d probably simply use the RPi as a line source for the NAD. The actual chip used for the DAC is nowhere near as important as the actual usage of the chip, with especial reference to power supplies. That’d be a RPi4 + HiFiBerry Digi+ Pro (or similar) feeding the NAD via coax (better bandwidth than optical). That way, you get the control that Volumio offers, a straight-forward conversion to a line source, and then leave the NAD to do the rest.

As to the second question, I can’t help as I’ve never heard a Node2…

Chris M