Lost patience and faith in USB moved on

So I am thinking of ditching USB and going back to spdif. My Allo bridge has died after only 6 months it’s been a rocky road before that as it’s never really had a stable connection to my dac and always had to reboot when I dropped off. Not very WAF as it would always not work when she wants to play something. I switched from the Allo gui version of dietpi hoping this would fix it, fat chance if anything it was worse.

Allo are replacing the faulty board but it’s really knocked my faith in USB as connection playback method or this decide if I am honest. I have always used spdif before and never had any issues at all with a devices dropping off or sq. As I don’t really care about DSD and my dac doesn’t sound any better with upsampling I am thinking when the replacement board arrives I just resell the whole thing and get a Bluesound Node 2. I did contemplate the node 2 before I got the Allo but the price and the reviews of the Allo swayed me. Now its seems more appealing to get the Bluesound. It will cover all the other areas I need tsuch as Qobuz still got 2 month trial left of Sublime+ and Spotify. It will also possibly reduce my box count as I might use the inbuilt DAC if it sounds ok.

Anyway there it is.

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Convenience and reliability and “why isn’t this working?” trump ultimate sq quite often.


Trying usb out on my Ropieee pi which i normally use for control and now playing. Can’t say I notice much difference to what the Allo sounded like. It does start to click on higher than 192/24 though. It will do in until I decide on what to do, but no qobuz or Spotify.

It may just be that the USBridge board was faulty all along. I would at least try the replacement board and see if things are better. I’m not a fan of USB either, but I did have a USBridge and used it for about 6 months without a hiccup.

If you want to pursue the S/PDIF route, I’d look at a Pi/DigiOne combo. I have used a (non-Signature) DigiOne in direct comparison with a Node2 for a few months – it was noticably better. The Node2 is a very nice and convenient Swiss army knife – but the DigiOne has the edge in SQ. I still have one in my system to toy around with.

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I don’t think I would replace it with another Allo product. Once bitten and all. Besides I was looking to simplify this setup as it’s my second system but actually listening more on it. As I only use a fairly low budget actives with this setup I think the node 2 would be a better fit overall.

Can only share experiences here. I very much wanted to like the Node – functionality wise it is a great box (remote control, services integration, clean source switching, etc.). It is very stable, though WiFi isn’t great. In the end it just did not sound good enough for my main system.

I still have a Pulse 2 in the bedroom though.

Yep everyone to their own. I’ve bitten the bullet and ordered a used one that’s only a few months old for a bit of a steal on that well known site. So will see if it’s up to it.

If it is good enough in that setup, it is good enough – and you’ll have a very nice endpoint to toy with. Enjoy!

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@RBM can you say any more about what you noticed in moving from the Node 2 to the DigiOne, and how you’re powering it? I keep toying with the idea of doing the same but am not sure whether it’s worth it for the change in SQ and functioning grouped playback, plus I’d miss the option for Bluetooth.

Edit: Just seen your post from a while back on this topic (https://community.roonlabs.com/t/node-2-awesome-any-limitations-vs-allo-digione/34056/16) so it may be that your earlier thoughts still stand.

SPDIF won’t support anything above 24/192.

This is why I avoid RPi solutions and stick with solid purpose built hardware like the Sonore microRendu or ultraRendu.

As I said I don’t care about higher. I don’t own anything and never will. Also won’t be using spdif plan is to replace my dac to. Simplification is the key. Usb is not this as it’s not reliable enough for me.

I’ve used various USB bridges for over eight years now. I was there right from the beginning with the first M2Tech HiFace, which really opened up the game of USB bridges. I’ve never had problems with any of them, except one chinese USB bridge ~five years ago and its drivers. I currently use Mutec MC-3+ USB and it works like a breeze. Maybe Allo’s solution is slightly more DIY than many other USB bridges out there? Usually it’s pretty straight forward, plug’n’play and maybe install drivers on Windows 10.

In comparison, the Node was a bit flat/dull while the DigiOne was a bit more dynamic, but perhaps a touch overexcited at the top end. In my system both were connected to a pair of Meridian DSP5200 speakers, directly at first and later via MiniDSP/Dirac. In the end I hooked up a Meridian MS200 – this integrates nicely into the system and for me has the sonic edge over the other two.

Mind that S/PDIF is not rocket science and that differences are subtle at best. If needed, I could easily live with any one.

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Thanks Rene, that’s really helpful to know.

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I would not use a Raspberry or Allo for USB. They share the same controller for Ethernet and USB, which is a recipe for misery from the start.
How about simply using a NUC, which will not set you back more than an Allo USBridge?

NUC7CJYH (Celeron J4005, 2x2.0GHz, max 2.7Hz)
Kingston SA400S37/120G
1x KVR24S17S6/4

Should cost no more than 200 USD. Note that it does not run ROCK, as it is UEFI boot only, so you need to use dietpi / RoonBridge. Roon Bridge should indicate any updates in the Roon Control Interface.

The older Celeron NUC is legacy boot capable, so it should run ROCK. But it has significantly lower single core performance:

NUC6CAYH (Celeron J3455, 4x1.5GHz max 2.3GHz)
Kingston SA400S37/120G
1x KVR16LS11/4

Allo is not like the Pi it has a completely separate board for usb audio. Im using the pi as a temporary measure I know it’s problems already. I don’t want a pc for this or I would have used something I have as I have tons of low powered nettops that could do the job already. I’m not sticking with USB I don’t find it relieable and have ordered a Bluesound Node 2 instead to replace both the Allo and hopefully my dac as well. Aiming for simplicity.

Sometimes turnkey products are the best. Happy owner of Bluesound Node 2. Replaced Allo and my Arcam irDac ii. Sounds great into my actives, no messing round just plugged it in. Happy customer :slight_smile: . Now for some MQA listening.

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Fair enough. Bluesound definitely is not a bad choice.

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What’s the output on the node2 3.5mm Jack or phonos?
I have a Sonos bridge driving my AE active speakers in the kitchen, to be honest I’ve kept it because of the Sonos alarms I use when we are on holiday but just noticed the alarms extension so node sounds interesting.

Output is phono, optical or coaxial. Might be a 3.5 too but not looked for it

Update only a 3.5 mm headphone out, but they do provide a phono to 3.5mm lead anyway.

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