Can I run a Ext DAC from a Digi Hat on a Raspberry Pi Bridge

Hi Gents,

Just a quick question.

I have NUC Roon Rock (Core), Rasp Pi 3b with Justboom DAC HAT (Bridge) running into my (Old) Denon AMP and (Old) KEF speakers.

The question is

Can I swop the DAC HAT to a Justboom DigiHat and run (via Co Ax) into an external DAC? Just also wondering if Roon will pick this up in the signal path?

Looking to just get a bit better sound quality (budget is £250) than my existing Justboom DAC HAT.

Streaming from Tidal on Master Quality.

Thanks

Si

Yes that will work.

You will just need to reconfigure your DAC output in the Raspberry Pi distro.

Thanks Wayne,

I didn’t think it would be that easy, no problem with Pi distro. I was thinking of going for a Soncoz LA QXD1.

Just to confirm. The Roon Signal Path will pick up the Digi Hat and the Soncoz separately? I am a bit new to this sorry.

Thanks for your reply.

Si

Hi Si,

Yes as long as the Raspberry Pi is on the same network as your core and the DAC is configured correctly in your distro, then all is well.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the Soncoz DAC.

I’m actually doing the same as yourself using a Khadas Tone board.

I believe the guy who designed the Khadas is the same guy who built the Soncoz.

Thanks Wayne,

I will order up tonight and get back to you with the results.

Si

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Hi Wayne,

I have set up the Soncoz and the sound difference is obvious. Bass is so much less mixed and vocals come out and make sure I’m listening, where they used to glide over me. Mark Ronson’s latest album and Peter Gabriel Birdy are just so different, in a good way. I played Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez;Concerto for Guitar Adagio 2 and I just heard notes that I wasn’t aware of as the separation of instruments was so much more defined.

I only have a low end system, I know, but getting Roon, Tidal Masters and this new DAC is giving me the same interest in Music I used to have as a teenager, which is what I was after.

The Roon signal path is not showing the Soncoz and finishes at the Justboom Digi Hat so if you have any pointers on that great. If not no problem as I am happy just to listen.

Thanks again.

Si

Hi Simon,

Great to hear the new DAC is working out. I’m really impressed with the Khadas Tone Board so was pretty sure the Soncoz would be a winner seeing as its the same designer.

I think what you’re seeing with the Justboom is correct as that is what’s designated in your RPI distro.

Try feeding the Soncoz via USB and see if that makes a difference. This is how I use my Tone Board and that is recognised.

All the best

Hi Wayne,

The Justboom Digi Hat has Toslink and Co Ax output only.

The only place I can take a USB from is directly from the Rasp Pi so would mean taking the Justboom off and linking direct to the Pi.

Sorry a bit confused.

Si

Yes Simon, plug the Soncoz into the PI via a USB lead and then select USB output in your RPI distro. In other words, you will be taking the Justboom out of the equation.

What distro are you using?

Hi Wayne,

Just an update.

Tried running without the Justboom Digi Hat on the Pi. So Pi3B USB out to Soncoz. RCA to Denon (Old) amp and to KEF Q5 speaker. Recently upgraded the KEF HF units by soldering in new tweeters. Soncoz showed up in Roon (like you said) so made all the adjustments on the DSP.

Then tried running with Justboom Hat then Toslink to Soncoz. Could not see Soncoz on signal path. Rest the same.

What a difference. It just sounds fantastic with the second set up with the Digi Hat. Can’t be arsed about not seeing the Soncoz on the signal path as my ears are telling me it doesn’t matter.

Tested both set ups with Mark Ronson’s “late night feelings” Album to start with as a test. Vocals and the bass are the obvious places I have noticed a difference.

I am happy with that and apart from moving and getting a room that is more acoustic friendly, my set up is as good as I think it’s going to get.

Thanks for your advice.

Si

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Thanks for the update Si. Glad it’s all worked out. You’ve got me curious about trying the JustBoom with my Khadas Tone Board. I’m currently just using it with USB out from the Pi.
You’d say it’s a definite upgrade then?

Considering my original board was a Justboom DAC Hat RCA out direct to Denon Amp then adding the Soncoz via the Justboom Digi Hat is a great upgrade.

Your board looks a good level to start with so not sure what gains you would get for the extra money. Have you got a digital output on tour board?

Simon

Yes, there is a digital out on the Khadas so would just need to add the Jusboom Digi to the Pi. Might just give it a try for £30.

I had problems with USB output from my Pi3b to the Soncoz. It may have been that the USB’s and Ethernet outputs on the 3b are not isolated. Lots of interference when the internet was busy. When looking at cables, just get a decent shielded cable as I tried an Amazon basic SPDIF between the Justboom Digi Hat and Soncoz and every time my wife and I were using WIFI we got interference in the audio, not as bad as when using USB, still annoying though. Used a decent Toslink (that I had forgotten I had) and it all miraculously disappeared.

For £30, definitely worth a try. Be interesting to hear the results.

Si