Poor quality sound

Hello -
I recently set up my hifiberry and DAC+ running Volumio and am not pleased with the sound. I have a library of ALAC (Apple Lossless) files, and when perfoming an A/B test of the same song on CD and through the hifiberry, the sound just doesn’t compare. The CD sounds rich, loud and full, while the pi sounds weak and thin. I switched the interconnects between the 2 components, and heard the same results.

Volumio shows the track playing at 16/44.

I have just a couple audio tracks on a USB stick. Does this hardware make a difference? Would a better HDD impact the sound? Is there possibly an issue with Volumio playing ALAC files?


I have a pi2 and hifiberry dac+ connected to Musical Fidelity m3si(+Focal aria 906 speakers). I have tested audio quality via Cambridge audio Stream magic v2 in same setup(obviously without pi2). I know this is subjective but to my ears- As compared to stream magic v2 - Pi2 with dac+ has wider sound stage, sounds clearer, excellent music timing. Stream magic v2 does sound a bit more solid as compared to pi2(which you described as thin). in NZ at last check - Streamagic v2 is about 10 times price of pi2+dac+. pi2 +dac+ still sounds great perhaps a little bit less weighty
you may need to disable cmedia fix under system which is enabled by default in my setup. sound did change for a more solid sound after disabling cmedia fix. l2s dac should be enabled for matching product.
My m3si has a USB input and volumio does recognize and play audio via m3si usb directly but i found usb audio quality very poor. dac+ changes audio quality dramatically for better in my setup.

*I have just a couple audio tracks on a USB stick. Does this hardware make a difference? Would a better HDD impact the sound? Is there possibly an issue with Volumio playing ALAC files? *

I am using latest version of volumio and have no issues in quality of alac files. I am playing alac files via network from a nas( network drive in volumio).

Do you know how to ssh? Go to alsamixer and set playback to 100% (it should say 0dB). Leavy PCM at 96% and playback gain at 0%. This sets the output to 2VRMS, the correct setting. See page 6 in the PDF of the DAC chip: ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/pcm5122.pdf. In my case, the sound is now identical to my stand alone DAC.

This all depends on the version of the pcm5122 driver being used as part of the kernel build.

I have tried to document this clearly in the user guide.

The driver was also changed by the Asoc maintainer to separate out the different mixer / gain controls exposed in the driver for the pcm5122. I originally had it as a single mixer with a range of -103db to +4db (the chip will go to +23db IIRC).

So with latest linux
Analogue should be 100% - this moved the output max from 1vrms to 2vrms
Analogue boost adds a 0.8db boost - it sounds better to some
Digital is your volume mixer from 0 to 100% where 100% NOW EQUATED TO 0db

Hope this clarifies.

If in doubt, load up alsamixer and watch the db range as you adjust the volume. On older linux 0db = 86% or thereabouts.

Any questions on IQaudio products, drop me an email to gordon@iqaudio.com or ask the ASOC driver maintainers of the kernel.


hello friends,
On Ubuntu (every version I tried since about ~2009 or 2008), the sound quality is noticeably different than on Windows XP, regardless of what program I use for playback (YouTube, listening to MP3s, Spotify, etc.)

The sound is clearly worse and less natural on Ubuntu: my laptop sounds somewhat like a tin can (for lack of a better way to describe it), and when the volume gets even moderately high, the laptop case starts to resonate (which is just awful, and never happens on Windows XP, not even at the highest volume).

Please note—this is not a subjective quality difference: the laptop case will resonate on Ubuntu as soon as the volume gets turned up to mid-level. It does not on Windows even at maximum volume.