USB DAC without jitter

I have a RPi 3 that I want to hook up to headphones and speaker system. I use it for other things so to avoid overheating, I don’t want an I2S DAC such as the hifiberry.

Is there any combination of USB DAC (Audioquest Dragonfly or HiFimeDIY Sabre USB DAC?) and and for example an Jitterbug that can remove jitter/dropouts/clicks? I am by no means an audiophile, I simply want a pleasant experience for the average user. I plan to spend up to maybe 200 USD, though preferrably would want to stay within the 100 range. Is there any solution? Any advice is appreciated :slight_smile:

Asynchronous USB solved the jitter problem. Because the DAC buffers the audio stream from the USB-connected device, jitter in just about any USB DAC sold today is so low as to not be something to worry about.

Dropouts and clicks occurred with early RPi devices years ago, but are also a thing of the past with RPi 3’s and distros like Volumio.

So basically, just about anything you get is going to sound fantastic. I have an RPi 1 B+ driving a Schiit Modi 2 Multibit (which I just got) and it sounds awesome. $250, and I doubt I’d be able to hear better sound from a $5000 DAC. I also have a RPi 3 with an $50 IQAudio I2S DAC that also sounds great (not as good as the Schiit, but close), and it has a built-in headphone amplifier. The CPU load on the RPi 3 running Volumio 2 is typically under 6% with the IQAudio DAC, so I wouldn’t be concerned about running other things on it and overheating.

If you want to stick with USB DACs, I would suggest looking at Schiit’s products - no dealer overhead - and fantastic price/performance across the line.

Thanks for the fasr reply and detailed info!

I live in Norway so shipping and 25% extra import fee will apply so Schiit is prob out of my price range. Will the two USB dac i mentioned work and will i need the Jitterbug.

i use an usb dac behringer uca202
i dont hear any clicks and dropouts
i dont think i ever heard music much differently from now, so if it’s full of jitter, the world is probably full of jitter around me
i mean , for 25 €, it is accetpable.
i would love to compare to see how better it is without jitter.
not sure it helps but if you’re an average user, this solution might do it, even if i’m probably a “below than average” user

I read about that one. Yea i am not that picky, i mostly use spotify and will be using Spotify Connect via LibreElec :slight_smile:

I’ll try it out, can always upgrade later if I need to. Thanks!

No need for the jitterbug. I put that and similar devices into the snakeoil category of appealing to delusional audiophiles.

The HiFimeDIY SABRE DAC 2 works, however a person reported you needed to use a USB hub to get it to work properly:

USB DAC compatibility List
Postby learntofly » Tue Nov 24 2015 16:32

Name: HiFimeDIY SABRE DAC 2, UAE23+HP Asynchronous USB dac with headphone amplifier
Receiver: SA9023:
DAC: ES9023
Async: Yes
Working with Volumio: Yes
Tested Versions and Platforms: Raspberry Pi 2, Volumio 1.55
Harware Mixer on Volumio: Yes
HW Mixer string:
Comments: Keep cable short, can connect dirrect to pi, but had to use specific set up of a cheap unpowered USB 2.0 hub that was only capable of full speed (12mbs) not high speed (480 mbps) to get it to work with some other eqipment

Here’s a review of both Audioquest devices being driven by Volumio 1: … onfly-red/

Pretty sure they would work fine in Volumio 2 as well.

Thanks for the heads up. I want to avoid too many extra cables and definitely dont want to use a HUB. I think i will try the Behringer UCA202 first. Is the NuForce UDAC3 as bad as I keep hearing people say?

No experience with the NuForce. The Dragonfly family should definitely work though, and here’s a good blog posting with an in-depth test: … y-v12.html

People love their Dragonflys, however I would never buy one. AudioQuest’s business has been based upon selling $5 cables for $100 - $1000 with snakeoil claims of improved performance - all of which is BS. So while the Dragonfly USB DACs might be great products, I boycott companies that commit major fraud to consumers.

Well I am a complete novice when it comes to this stuff. I just want something better than the soul killing integrated minijack the RPi has

Fortunately that’s easy to do and for very little money. US$250 Dragonfly Red is hard to beat, but fortunately it’s possible, and a lot more fun to do yourself.

Asynchronous USB to I2S or USB to SPDIF devices based around the XMOS chip are plentiful and cheap, and you can get any number of them from aliexpress for very little money.

The best bang for the buck out there are combinations of XMOS based input and 24-192 DACs with high accuracy and low jitter master clocks. Also plentiful on the internet for very little money. It will be up to you to complete the builds into a nice enclosure. (and post pictures for our enjoyment)

Well I ended up getting a HiFime Sabre 9018 USB DAC. It’s adaptive, though apparently this is supposed to work just fine on the Raspberry Pi. I haven’t purchased any kind of USB isolator yet, will test it out without one first to see if I need it.

Might be a little OT, but there is something really interesting if someone of you already owns a good USB DAC: … reclocker/

I thought I had a good DAC (Opera Consonance Don Curzio), then I tried this and it reminded me a lot the effect of the Kali on I2S DACs…
I would give it a shot… :wink: