Budget RPI Upgrade Suggestions

I’m looking to upgrade my current RPI based streamer to something better, but still keeping the RPI at the core. Budget is <$500 all in. MY current setup is:

ROON/Tidal via Ethernet to:
RPI 3 with Hifiberry DIGI
Toslink to Beresford Bushmaster MarkII DAC
Integrated Amp: NAD B326BEE
Speakers: Tekton Enzo XL’s

From what I’ve seen there’s probably some positive gains to be made from upgrading the SPDIF board on top of the RPI. I’ve seen good reviews of the Allo DigiOne so that’s interesting.

I’m also wondering if it would make sense to upgrade the DAC. I have no real complaints about the current Beresford but it’s a few years old so just wondering if there’s something better that would still be in the budget. I have a Schiit Magni amp for my computer workstation setup and really like it so the Modi 2/Bifrost are interesting. Also, if there’s a RPI DAC that would be worthwhile I could see skipping the DigiOne and just putting a full-on DAC on top of the RPI. Maybe the Allo Boss 12S? Lots of options…

Any feedback or suggestions most appreciated!

Allo will be selling a new DAC for the Pi in June - “katana” which has very good specifications and measurements. If you can wait a little this may be a good solution for you.


That sounds very interesting. It looks like the price will be ~$200 or so? If so, that might be a good option. There’s no huge rush to change anything so I can wait a month or two to see what kind of reviews the Katana gets.

There was another dac option by orchard audio called applepi

May i ask what the reason for thinking you need an upgrade to the Pi are?
If i were looking at upgrades to your system I would start with the amp - the 326 was described as “A first step in the hi-fi that we will keep later affectionately, for a second channel in his office, which will officiate for years without asking any questions” in the review I found. I would have thought those Tektons would benefit from an amp able to control them better. They look like big full range speakers that could do with a commensurate amp first.

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But what would be an upgrade amp wise for <$500?

I think the NAD has the ability to use it as a pre-amp so maybe attach it to something with more grunt.

I just swapped a HifiBerry Digi+ Pro for an Allo DigiOne and found it a significant step up in SQ. I was a little taken aback.

My reasoning for upgrading the Pi is that the HifiBerry DIGI is a very basic board and because of that it may be negatively impacting the sound. It looks like there are some decent upgrades that are still reasonable in cost.

I have entertained upgrading the amp but so far the Tektons seem to be doing great with the 326. The speakers are very efficient (>90db) and we don’t normally listen at high SPL’s. Being an audiophile, I’m sure there is a new/better amp in my future, just not immediately.

Sounds like a plan! I think an upgrade to the Allo DAC, Digi one or the new board due out from them would be a good move. I have an Allo DAC and it is amazing the sound that comes from it.

Another happy Allo digiOne user.
Personally, I also find differences between sources relatively small, and would imagine the hifiberry is doing its job well. But the best way if you can is to try and borrow etc and see if a ‘better’ source makes any difference - there could be lots more beneficial ways to improve sound at that cost level, like buy a mic for room measurements and add room correction, or passive treatment if the room allows. I think changes in this area are massively more important than the digital source. And that advice holds IMO whatever the system level with even modest components that aren’t broken.
Plus you can tweak to your hearts content for free! (Or free in many cases at least)

There are other schools of thought that toslink isn’t a good output anyway as it’s higher jitter. Rob Watts of Chord Hugo design fame loves it however. Like all things it’s probably lots of factors. But maybe try other outputs on your hifiberry?

Funny you mentioned that. I’ve switched this weekend from USB to toslink on my Hugo 2 (switched endpoint) to test software related stuff, but also noticed much to my surprise that it sounded slightly better then USB. Of course I’m now ‘stuck’ with 96K, but you can’t have it all :wink:

Room treatments/calibrations are something that I’ve considered doing in the past but never jumped in. Do you have any suggestions for room measurement software?

I did go ahead and order an ifi iPower to replace (finally) the standard power supply that came with the RPI. I swapped it out tonight and the main thing I’ve noticed so far is there are no more mildly annoying “pop” noises coming from the speaker every 30 seconds or so. I’m assuming it was from the power supply since that’s the only thing I changed. Based on that alone, it was a worthwhile upgrade.

I would start right here. A guide how to do room correction and use it in Roon

It’s a big subject, spend a bit of time experimenting for free and trying a few things. All you need is a umik-1 and free software. Later there are paid options for more advanced software or people to do some if it for you. But I think it’s much better to experiment with rew and read a bit first so you understand it a bit more and find out what your rooms like and more importantly what sound curve you like.

Start as simple as you can as it can get complex but it doesn’t necessarily need to. Plenty of advice here esp topic above, and other forums.

Thanks! I will read through the thread and see what is involved. I just downloaded REW and I will check out the USB mic options.

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