DSD streaming via Raspberry

Hello, complete stranger to Raspberry etc. I want to build a Raspberry based Roon bridge using one of the advertised kits with a Digi Pro card and connect it via optical or coax to my DAC (has its own power supply). I understand there is no USB option in any configuration.
Can I stream DSD music from my Roon core (Win10) through this bridge to my DAC (handles DSD128)? Is there any kind of volume control other at DSP?

Yes DSD will work fine. Your volume control should be at your DAC or preamp.

Klaus, it’s kinda hard to help you if you don’t specify exactly what DAC you’re talking about.
Your profile doesn’t make it much easier either to find out about that.

And of course you can use USB using a bare Raspberry Pi, no add-on board needed to do that.
I’d personally even recommend to use USB rather than coax/optical if offered by your DAC, since this avoids introducing an unnecessary jitter source.
Forgot to add that only with USB you’ll get native DSD.

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I have several setups to play with. In this case I have an older stand alone Denon USB 300 DAC connected through Roon bridge (Vaio notebook Win10Pro) which I would like to replace by a Raspberry based Roon bridge. Sorry for the confusing profile, will brush it up some time.

You’re DAC will accept only through USB DSD (DoP).
So it make sense to use a RIP 4 and connect it directly (without a HAT) to your DAC.
I’ll install Ropieee on the Raspberry Pi…

Thank you all. Ordered a Raspberry Pi3 B+ with accessories and will install Ropieee Roon endpoint software and see what it does. Cash outlay was only about €60… For volume control I ordered a ready to use Alps based unit with manual volume dial which will install between the output of the DAC and the input of the amp.

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It will be better to order a Pi 4 in using USB, because the PI 3 shares USB with LAN.

Even with the money spent already for the ALPS unit you could still compare its sound to the headphone output which includes volume adjustment.

The Pi 3B+ works fine with USB out, as long as you don’t try to also use the Ethernet connector. I use a 3B+ with WiFi in and USB out. If you want to use Ethernet, you should have a Pi 4.

Understood, but can I hook up the line in of my amp with the headphone out of my DAC?

Thank you all again for the input about the shared port. I will see if I can modify the order and move to a Pi 4.

Yep, and test against the line out with ALPS, then keep what sounds best to you.

I know that due to the RPi3 chipset sharing Ethernet & USB you would think that this situation would be bad. But I can tell you it isn’t. I’ve been using a RPi3 B+ with Ethernet and the USB feeding an Denafrips DAC. As an example, I play a lot of DSD files. Most are the DSD64 type, but I’ve played up to DSD512 without any issues.
Ropieee rocks!

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RoPieee does indeed rock!

I had drops and drop-outs using Ethernet to a 3B+, but I cannot certify that they were due to the shared bus. I did read through the code for the device drivers handling USB and Ethernet, with no firm conclusions except that there are some worries in the comments about handling interrupts in a timely fashion, worries that packets might be dropped. But that doesn’t mean that it actually happens in practice. After I switched to WiFi (the WiFi on the standard Pi works just fine and you don’t need a dongle or antenna) the issues went away, but it could well be that I also changed something else which I didn’t notice.

And this was all 2 years ago, too. Software often improves over time; could be the drivers are significantly improved.

This got me curious again. About 8 months ago I was trying to discover why I was experiencing very short intermittent dropouts. I was using a RPi4 and a Denafrips Ares2 DAC’s USB input. I tried different cables & power supplies and nothing helped. I submitted a feedback and Harry said he could see that the problem was Ropieee was losing the connection to the DAC. So, I swapped out the RPi4 for a RPi3 and with the RPi3 the issue went away (I’m using Ethernet & USB - no hat).

This has worked just fine for the past 8 months (I always applying the latest updates). So, when I replied to this thread (above) I decided to put the same RPi4 back in place with the Ares DAC to see if the problem returned. Of course, this time the RPi4 has the latest version of Ropieee. It’s been 5 days and I’ve had no dropouts!

Go figure ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Maybe one of the updates addressed this issue?

I think a recent version (December 5) of RoPieee bumped the version of the Linux kernel, which seems like a major change, so maybe that’s it?

Connected the headphone out 6.3 mm to the RCA input of the amp and voila, works very well if you keep the volume setting in check you don’t overload the amp. Impedance differences don’t seem to play a role anymore in today’s configurations. The Alps unit has not arrived yet and I doubt that I will hear a difference. So thank you for the hint with the headphone out

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Bought an RPi 4 with 4 GB (overkill I guess) and Ropieee setup was a breeze, works very well. As an experiment I up-sampled everything to DSD 128 and threw in a convolution file to torture the core with MQA files and 192/24 HiRes sources. Core i5 did fairly well with utilization well below 20% and little Pi4 just saw slightly increased temps from 55 C idle to 59 C after one hour of DSD 128 streaming. Guess a 1-2GB RAM would have been enough, but as they say too much power is about enough.
Once I was at it, at ran all my five zones on DSD up-sampling with convolution filtering (all the same filter) to find out out when the i5 waves the white flag and it was about to when running consistently at 95% load with spikes at 100 %. Mission accomplished and a good benchmark what this moderate NUC can do. Sorry for the thread drift and thank you for your contribution.


That’s what I expect. Yes there are known issues with USB on the Pi 3, but there also not only related to hardware.

The new kernel has a lot of (micro) improvements all over the place that help.

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Hi All,

am currently using Sonore microRendu connect to my dac and so far can play anything i throw into it up to dsd256 as my dac limitation.

Keen to build pi4 as roon end point as well, will pi4 able to do the same as microRendu ? native dsd/dop ? thanks.