Connect hifiberry dac2 hd directly to amplifier

I have a NUC running ROCK and I want to create a Ropieee endpoint consisting of a Rpi 4 and a hifiberry dac2 hd hat. Can I connect the dac directly to an amplifier, i.e. no preamp involved? I am not concerned with having other sources connected to the amplifier as Roon is all I use these days. I’m wondering whether the signal from the DAC is strong enough to send directly to the amp. thanks for your thoughts.

I’ve got a couple of these (one XLR) and I’ve just plugged them straight in to power amps. If memory serves they’re a fairly hot signal into a mixing desk and often needed a little less gain than average.

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does your amplifier allow for adjustments to input levels (i.e., gain staging).

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Yes, no problem at all, although:

  • You do risk the RPi rebooting and the volume being set to maximum, I have had this happen a couple of times, so be careful when upgrading / rebooting. Ideally unplug the amp when doing this (or at least don’t have music playing in Roon while you’re doing it).
  • You may want to set a volume limit in Roon so that you can’t accidentally wack the volume up to the maximum.
  • As others have said if you have gain control on your Amp you might want to set it to a sensible level to protect your speakers from the volume being accidentally turned up full.
  • If your only using Roon it probably adds very little over Ropiee. But if your using a HiFiBerry hat then you might want to look at running HiFiBerryOS (which includes a RoonBridge/RATT client) rather than Ropiee.
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thanks for the replies. i think the amp can toggle between 23 and 29 db gain, if i remember correctly. that is a bit scary that i could not notice and have the volume maxed out. that is enough for me to probably spend some bucks on a preamp, though it seems a bit crazy if it’s really just for volume control.

i did not know hifiberryOS had RAAT. but i’ll almost for sure only use Roon so I can stick with Ropiee. I have two other Rpi + Hat +Ropiee boxes in other systems and they have worked very well, so I’ll likely stick with what I know.

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You can also set a ‘max volume’ from within in the HiFiBerryOS interface — not sure is there is a similar option in Ropieee?

I’ve been fine running directly from a HiFiBerry HAT into my active speakers for years now without issue. Although ‘in theory’ as my speakers are active the inbuilt amps shouldn’t be able to overpower the speakers. I guess it somewhat depends on how powerful your amp is vs the power limit of your speakers re. the risk there ie. if your amp is far more powerful than your speaker you may want to be extra cautious.

thanks, i will look into that. if Ropieee doesn’t have that option I’ll likely try the HiFiBerryOS.

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