I have a Roon Nucleus which I love. It contains my music on a SSD. Until yesterday, it was connected to a dCS Bartók (Streaming DAC) by Ethernet.
Because of personal reasons, I have had to sell the Bartók, which was was quite painful. Hopefully this will only be short term. 6-12 months.
Before I had the Bartók, I simply connected the Nucleus to a Matrix Audio DAC (now gone) by USB, then the DACs RCA to my Naim 282 preamp.
At the moment I am looking at the ‘Shiit Modi’ on it’s own, or a ‘Allo USBridge’ Signature Player, with the Modi? Basically a £200-£300 budget. Terrible isn’t it, considering my amplification is Naim 282/300DR and Kudos Titan 606 speakers!
I have no idea how to put together a Raspberry Pi, or how to configure it. I’m not interested in Tidal or Spotify.
I would be very grateful if someone could point me in right direction, simply to get my system up and running again, with a cheapish Roon Endpoint.
I bought an RPi 4B with DAC2HD HAT from HiFiBerry in an acrylic case. Downloaded the HiFi Berry OS image file to a Micro SD (full details and instructions are on the website), plugged it all together (it’s like Lego),
Plug in a network lead, power up and you have a networked Roon endpoint with a high quality DAC.
I had no idea about Raspberry Pi (and still don’t! )
<£160 including shipping.
Thanks for that info Graeme, I’ll check out HiFiBerry.
if you only use your Pi as Roon endpoint… do yourself a favour: install RoPieee and just forget about it
There are a lot of tinkerers on this list, and it doesn’t sound like you are one of them.
So I would think a ‘DAC hat’ on a Raspberry Pi might be a bit too much. I’d go with a simple Raspberry Pi with no hat and no fancy power supply, just the regular Cana kit from Amazon. It snaps together in a couple of minutes. Put RoPieee on it.
Then get a good Chi-Fi DAC – there are many to choose from. I went with a Topping D70, but there are a number of manufacturers doing them. They are basically packaged DAC chips, and the good ones perform quite well. Run a USB cable from the Pi into the DAC, and you’re good to go.
Look for the RoPieee threads, or go to RoPieee.org.
Here’s a super basic summary:
Buy a pi kit
Buy a 16GB micro sd card
get a usb adapter for the micro sd card if your computer doesn’t have a port for it
Go to ropieee.org and download latest disk image, and save it to your computer
open etcher and “flash” the SD card with the ropieee disk image (it walks you through it)
put the newly flashed micro sd card into the pi
hook up ethernet cable
hook up USB to a USB DAC
hook up power supply and it should auto boot
let it do its thing for 5-15 minutes, and watch for the green light to flash slowly (like 1/2 hZ?)
open a web browser on your network and go to ropieee.local and you should see the pi
open the “audio” tab in roon settings and find that pi endpoint and enable it.
done. (I think.)
(DISCLAIMER: I’M ON A MAC. THE SD CARD FLASHING PROCESS MIGHT BE SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT OTHERWISE)
microRendu with linear power supply from Small Green Computer.
I’d echo the above suggestions. Even if you’re not a ‘tinkerer’ the Raspberry Pi options are now at the level that almost anyone can follow a few simple instructions to get a Roon endpoint up and running. No need for a monitor or keyboard attached to the RPi. You burn Roopiee to an SD card using your laptop, insert the SD card into the RPi and attach the power. If you need to make any configuration changes you do it via a web browser/interface.
One box (using a hat)
Two box (using an external USB DAC)
Great…Thanks Bill. Why did you choose the D70?
Thanks Chris, very helpful
The recent Topping line has good measurements at audiosciencereview.com, to begin with. Almost bought the D50, but I wanted an integrated power supply, not a dongle; I wanted balanced XLR outputs; I wanted a remote so that I could use it as a preamp. Considering you’ve got a Naim 282 in your stack, you probably don’t need that last bit. But you don’t have to use the pre-amp mode with the D70, it can just be a pure DAC.
And then we got RoPieee adjusted so it turns off the Topping display when there’s no music playing over the USB connection, so all is swell!
@j_a_m_i_e Very comprehensive, thank you.
Is it better to have, say a Digione on top of the Pi, then the DAC2HD on top of the Digione, or can that not be done? I was given to understand that SPDIF was a better connection from the Pi to a DAC?
Thank Bill. I don’t need the balanced outputs, as the 282 doesn’t have them. Is the quality of the D50 the same as the D70?
If you ultimately want an analog RCA output (ie. as opposed to a digital optical/coax output) then just plug the DAC2HD directly onto the Raspberry Pi. It simply pushes/plugs in. It will then use the internal I2C bus (which is as good as you can get). No need or benefit of using a Digi (S/PDIF) hat first even if you could (which you can’t anyway).
If you want to use an external USB DAC no need for a hat of any kind. Just connect the standard RPi to the DAC via USB. Any previous issues with the USB port are now resolved with the RPi4. There’s little point in using a Digi hat to connect to the DAC via S/PDIF as USB will be fine with a well behaved/supported DAC and in some ways better.
The 2GB RPi will be fine in both cases, as will the standard RPi power supply.
Very helpful, thanks @j_a_m_i_e
You can also get an add-on DSP board for the DAC2HD that allows you to perform room correction within HiFiBerryOS. Won’t make up for losing your Bartók but might give you something fun to play with until you get it back.
In terms of external DACs if this is just a stop-gap and you’re trying to keep within budget the Topping E30 might also be worth considering.
Frankly, I wouldn’t use any of those hats. The whole Pi extension system strikes me as having high potential for failures of various kinds.
It’s not. The S/PDIF protocol is older and source-clocked; the USB connection is the more recent and with USB Audio 2, the two-way protocol that’s used, can be adjusted by both sides to correct clock mismatches.
Take a look at the review I linked to. I think I might go for the newer Topping D30Pro these days, though. There are a raft of these excellent Chinese-made DACs available, you might want to browse through the reviews there.
Given that you are price-constrained, why not go for a pre-built streamer-DAC combo like https://orchardaudio.com/shop/ols/products/pcnp-strmr or one of these RaspDAC | HiFi Sono DIY | Audiophonics - Audiophonics? Some of the DAC discussed on the thread may be somewhat better than the built-in DACs in these, but they may not.
Schiit gear seems hard to get in Europe currently because of COVID-19 production bottlenecks.
Thank you Bill for clarifying that.
Before the Bartók, I had a Matrix Audio Pro Sabre DAC (£1,800). It was connected directly to my Roon Nucleus by an AudioQuest USB 3m cable. It has been discussed many times, and still is to this day…that a direct DAC to Nucleus does work, but has it’s limitations.
So, what are the advantages of having a Pi connected to an external DAC, or a DAC2HD connected directly to the Pi, as opposed to the Nucleus to DAC setup?
The one thing I definitely do not want, is a DAC or other device that can only be updated via a Windows Computer. As great as the Matrix Audio DAC was, it’s firmware could only be updated by using Windows.
I have no idea how Topping stands up against Schiit DACs, (Modi) or the difference in quality between the DAC2HD, Topping and Schiit?
Thank you to everyone who is helping me on this topic It looks like I will go in the RPi direction. But just a tad undecided which DAC to go for. DAC2 HD or external…
A general question…Some of the kits come with a fan, even with a RPi 4.
My idea is to buy a RPi 4 and a metal case, then stick Ropieee on it. Do I need a fan?
Also, the RPi 4 is powered by USB C, I have read somewhere that a Phone/iPad charger with USB C is an option for charging the RPi??