Raspberry 4: best i2s dac?

Thanks to all I think at this point I will choose an external dac for ease of use and quality

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It’s funny, I own the same set - pi2aes + Sabaj D5, connected via i2s. Btw I can hear difference between the i2s and coaxial output, and i2s sounds better to me; this is strange because the coaxial spdif showed best results at audiosciencereview.com for pi2aes.
But actually it’s possible to connect rpi i2s output directly to the dac, but the wires must be very short, ≤ 10cm. I tried it with a pcm5122 dac board from aliexpress, and it works.

Nice. What speakers/amp do you have?

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Plinius 9100 & Dynaudio Contour 1.3 + REL Q50.

Ooo you have a much more resolving equipment that’s probably why you hear the difference

Do you have a schematic of how to connect the DAC like i2s?
does volumio recognize the dac normally by selecting i2s source?

I am surprised that no one here recommends HifiBerry. What do you say about the combination HiFiBerry DAC2 HD + DSP Addon Board.
Or who wants digital HiFiBerry Digi2 Pro + DSP Addon Board.

I think at the price-performance ratio HiFiBerry for RasPi is not a bad choice?


Take a look a the PecanPi DAC:

I have quite a few customers here, maybe they will chime in.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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Any ES9068q hat available? Even R-2R exists…

If I may add my two cents at this point, please check out the Allo BOSS2. He is a dream!
Ideally in an aluminum housing.

I highly recommend adding the Allo Nirvana power supply.

Thanks for your cents. I have had BOSS 1.2 for years now. It’s still ok, but I would like to update. I know that BOSS2 would be admirable candidate. I’m heavy user of Tidal and I would like to have something understanding MQA. I know, wise guys are telling me: buy decent DAC. But i have active speakers which have dac inside. So it makes sense to update just HAT with rca/xlr out. ES9068q does rendering MQA. I’m wondering what is the reason there is not any ES9068 HAT…

MQA will only certify devices not HAT’s or addon-boards as MQA delivers the firmware/drivers to enable it. With a device it’s a controlled/closed environment, with an add-on on random hard- and software, they can’t force/guarantee full compatibility.

So forget the Tidel hype and use Qobuz :slight_smile:

You might be right with MQA. I just would like to testify myself.
Though, ES9068Q is " first product to offer an integrated hardware MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) renderer". I would expect that board with chip should have drivers/firmware available.

Even though the chip can do it, it still needs a license (certified driver) in order to use it.

There are already ES hats…
Otherwise, the topping USB DACs are highly recommended.
But I don’t have anything like that and accordingly have no experience.

E.g. the D30 Pro

By the way, I also listen to Qobuz :wink:

Well, you can always contact MQA and ask if you can buy a license for their proprietary software :wink:

But be very patient.
I have a Pro-ject Pre Box S2 Digital, that stumbles upon MQA.
Pro-ject is already waiting for more than a year to get an updated driver…

It’s still doable. isn’t it?

See Wolfman74 reply.
But I think your cheaper of with a Zen DAC V2

I s there any general advice for playback opions if Rpi is feeding external USB dac? Starting from I2S/HDMI. Among others V2 is not on the list.