A silly question on DACS

Having now got Roon working well with my Sonos system and a couple of other end points, I’m about to bring my “vintage” hifi back to life. This consists of a Cymbol amplifier (maybe a CA1?) and a pair of Ruark floor standing speakers, maybe Crusaders. Then there’s a Marantz CD transport and some other stuff no longer required.

Anyway. I’m sure this is a silly question, but I know I need a DAC to convert digital music from Roon to analog (the amp has RCA inputs). But if I get something like a Chord Qutest, do I also need an Rpi with a wifi card/dongle to connect to my WiFi which then connects to the Qutest?

So, Rpi with wifi, hifiberry DAC with optical or USB out into the Qutest, RCA from Qutest to the amp?

Otherwise, how does Roon find the Qutest? I can’t install it close enough to my core for USB out of the core to the DAC, so it has to be over WifI.

Or feel free to suggest a better solution, of course!

With Raspberrypi 4 you can just connect usb to dac directly.
I guess RPi as endpoint with installed ropiee will be enough to work with Roon.


This is redundant DACs. If you go RPi with the HifiBerry DAC you don’t need the Qutest. If you go RPi only then you need an external DAC to convert from digital to analog. Hope that helps.

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Ok, thanks. So the RPi4, with no extra boards, with Ropiee (or Hifi Berry OS? I already have one set up with a DAC for another speaker, so I have some idea how it works) connectS to the Qutest via USB.

Any other software/hardware needed or just install the OS and plug it in?

If you go with just an RPi then you need an OS like Ropieee. Then you run USB out of the RPi to the DAC and you are good.


No offense to the Chord or RPi communities, but another, arguably better, solution is to just get a streaming DAC that you can connect by Ethernet or wi-fi directly to your Roon Core. I have a Matrix Element X (around $3,500) and a Matrix Mini I-3 Pro (around $1,000), both of which work great. (I also have a Mytek Brooklyn Bridge that I would sell you for a good price. :wink: )

Nice to see that you are unselfishly helping out here.



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The RPi’s are fun but if you want a olug and olay solution I have been very happy with my Bluesound Node 2. Not sure what your budget is. If that’s too expensive there are other streaming DACs. I’d go that route personally.


I agree. I get very good results from my Bluesound Node 2i with Roon and, by all accounts, the latest Node incarnation is even better.


Thanks everyone, some good suggestions here. I probably don’t want to spend thousands to start off, since I’m just getting back into this after a few years and I’m not sure the rest of my kit at the moment warrants it.

I looked at that Bluesound Node - it looks nice, just want to confirm this is a plug and play, i.e. I connected to my Wifi and then jut enable in Roon core?

Any opinion on Argon Audio? Argon Audio SOLO | Streamer with AirPlay2 & Spotify Connect

The Bluesound Node is exactly that once you’ve installed the BluOS app and completed the initial setup.

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I have a i5 Roon NUC, and a Tone Board 1 from Khandas. I use it to decode the DSD stream that my NUC provides via USB. The TB1 is now, sadly, discontinued.

The March DAC1 is based on the Khandas TB March Audio DAC1 | Headphone Reviews and Discussion - Head-Fi.org

Since you’re already a Sonos user get a used Sonos connect off eBay. $50 bucks and done. I’ve got three throughout the house that feed old stereo systems.

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The OP is trying to bring back classic audio components to a new life. Do you honestly believe that a Lumin T1 makes an audible difference to a Raspberry running Ropieee in that chain? Oh boy…

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So what I’m thinking of now, since it’s an almost disposable set up is:

Rpi3 (since there are no 4’s and another inmate is providing this for me)
HiFI Berry DAC2 Pro
Acrylic Case
HiFi Berry OS

This gets me up and running cheaply, while I decide what to do next.


Good choice. I have a similar set up on one of my music systems. I really like that Hifiberry DAC.

Then maybe to start off, just look for a Chromecast Audio, using them for years in some of my vintage set up throughout the horse. Very stable and easy to set up, just plug into whatever audio input in the back of your old receiver and that’s it. . Also use a Node 2021 and so far has been very solid, even though I haven’t had the time to hard wire it.


I have some experience with most all the suggestions made.

I use a Chromecast Audio to deliver sound to my shop, I like it a great deal. These units are discontinued, you buy British version on Ebay for about $60.00. The DAC is surprisingly good. To be clear though this barely qualifies as “audiophile,” if you have a decent system, this will be the weakest link by far.

I recently retired a Matrix Element-X. This is a very good unit, and can accept just about any input you can come up with. The volume control is far better than the Roon control, so it also makes a pretty nice preamp. It lacks a tight grip under 300Hz or so, so it is less visceral than a high end DAC.

I have a great deal of experience with a bunch of different RPi solutions.
I have found the USB out on the RPi to be terrible.
I have found the HiFiBerry DAC to be only marginally better than the Chromecast Audio - it is not an especially good DAC and probably not worth it when the Chromecast is almost as good.
I have found the various Allo bridges to be pretty good, and if you are willing to invest in good power supplies than can be very good.

I used an Allo USBribgeSig for quite a while and found it to be the best all around RPi solution. It is an RPi compute board with special filtering on the USB. So not only will it connect your wifi to a USB out, you can drop any hat onto it you want like a regular RPi. $400.00 will get you both a power supply and the board - you will probably not come close to this quality for anything near this price.
Alternately, you can just get an RPi 3B+ (not a 4x, they run too hot and sound worse because of it), and add any of the various available bridges to convert wifi to USB/Ethernet/etc over I2s. I used an RPi 3B+ and an Allo DigiOne to convert it to SPDIF and was pretty happy with it.
I will add that the Allo Katana DAC hat can be made to sound extremely good if you power each board independently - this gets expensive fast and you can easily cross $1K.

How does all this compare to “good” stuff?
Upgrading to a Sonore Optical Rendu was a really huge improvement and quickly led to upgrading the Katana to the Matrix Element which was another huge step forward. Adding a Matrix USB to I2s convertor was a modest improvement and greatly helped getting the most from the Element-X. Replacing the Element-X with a Holo May KTE was far more of an upgrade than I was expecting.

Hope these thoughts were helpful.

I don’t think you need to spend thousands for streamer and DAC these days. USB from the RP4 delivers bit perfect data and a cheap, modern cookie cutter DAC will do just fine, especially if you feed a vintage amp. People love their Lumin, BlueSound, Matrix etc. for lots of reasons, and I won’t argue with those folks, but if all you want is sending audio to your amp via Roon, I would say invest the money further down your audio chain.

Edit: missed your Hifi Berry post. Allo Boss2 would be another easy solution if you want a single box, albeit a bit more expensive if you get the Rpi3 for free.