Raspberry 4: best i2s dac?

Hello everyone with a Raspberry 4 mod B with 8Gb ram, Volumio 3.251-2022-03-31 and the PeppyMeter screenSaver that dac i2s (internal and connected directly to the rasp) do you recommend?
Thanks bye

Ciao Paolo,

I have the Orchard PecanPie DAC.
To my ears, a very good one.
If you want more info, feel free to contact me PM.

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I have a cheap i2s dac and it sounds pretty great with my Pi2AES + volumio

Does volumio need special settings to recognize it? Thanks bye

Just in the settings you switch the i2s switch, and then choose the appropriate driver for you board.


in fact, does the Sabaj dac exist in the volumio?

Oh no, none of them exist in volumio because you can’t connect an i2s dac to a pi. You need a hat to connect an i2s dac - the pi itself simply doesn’t have an i2s port.

So you use a hat and then you pick that hat in volumio.

Now here’s the thing - if the rest of your system (amp, speakers etc) doesn’t cost upwards of $2k - you will absolutely not get the benefit of i2s because it’s so subtle that only a reasonably revealing system will let you hear it.

So if I connect my sabaj dac via coax (as opposed to i2s) - there is absolutely no difference. And you can just connect it via USB and it’ll likely sound great.

Do you have a hat?

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for raspberry 44 no, i am looking for a dac to support it and i don’t know what is better if i2s or hat or which brand / model

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I think the raspberry pi just has an i2s output.
i2s from a raspberry pi you can just use to i2s input from a dac, as long as the cables are not too long then that’s fine.

here is an example of how I directly connected my current ES9018 dac … a dac hat is therefore not necessary.
Here is an example.


I have several dacs (philps TDA1543 NOS DAC hat, khadas tone1 usb dac and an ES9018 dac board) and personally I think ES 9018 sounds the best and it is directly connected to the i2s out raspberry pi to i2s in ES9018.

I also think that sound is personal, what one finds beautiful, the other finds crap.


hi i didn’t understand much, in the rasp you marked 4 pins (12 bck, 35 lrclk, 39 gnd, 40 data), in the dac you marked 5 pins (gnd, lrck … is lrclk on rasp?, data, bck, and mck not mentioned on rasp) … what am I missing?

this was more to illustrate mck or mclk (master clock) is not necessary and I have not connected it … by the way the raspberry pi does not have a master clock.

Just use USB from the RPi 4 to the DAC. Simple and sounds great (just put more investment into a good DAC)

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The Allo Boss series were brilliant, but now I’ve settled on the RME ADI-2 - absolutely superb!


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I listened to music with the Allo Boss 1.2 for a long time and was very satisfied.
A few weeks ago I bought the Allo BOSS2 and I am extremely excited and very happy that I have it. The upgrade was really worth it for me!
My power supply is the Allo Nirvana, it’s very good.
I have used many I2S DACs and I feel the Allo “BOSS2” is one of the best I2S DACs and I really recommend it!


The RME ADI-2 looks indeed very good. Do you connect your PI with a hat with spdf output (like Allo Signature) ?

Hi Paul,

I just use a short USB cable.


For less than 20 quid, the IQAudio Dac+ is a bargain with superb sound.
Picked one up last week and am well impressed.


Also using the ADI 2 and most happy.
Normal USB cable from the pi is fine.
No messing around with expensive hats and optical cables and expensive power supplies/filters (unless the county you live doesn’t provide a good Power supply).

I’m still of the thinking that Digital is digital, but at least with a high/good quality DAC it is able to process the signal fine, no worries with jitter etc.

I don’t have any i2s equipments but it sounds like a fancy connector. I didn’t Think optical was capable of the highest resolution signals either.


I have Topping D90SE with a Raspberry Pi4B 8Gb streamer.
An excellent experience with it.

Product info with I2S pinout:

Few reviews of this DAC - links below:

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