The PecanPi could be an interesting and affordable solution to feed the Elac Narvis ARB-51!
I think it would be a great pairing seeing as the ARB-51 has a balanced XLR input, that will get you the best performance.
For near field listening, where you can easily reach for the PecanPi volume knob, it should be a nice combo.
For mid/far field listening, since there’s no remote control for PecanPi and of course no volume control for Navis, I would avoid relying purely on software volume control… While it can work, it can also be disastrous.
Unless of course you don’t mind getting up to change track volume when needed. Or you can set a reasonable volume with the PecanPi volume knob while using Roon’s auto volume levelling, to keep a more stable volume between tracks/albums. So this is more a combination of knob volume control and software volume control, and a bit safer that turning the volume knob all the way up and using 100% software volume control.
My only point is to be careful, since Navis has no volume control. I saw a forum where one guy bought Navis and a DAC, set it up at home. And only then realised he had no way to do hardware volume control…
I misread your post at first. You are correct you can use either full hardware volume control, full software volume control or a combination of the two.
The SW volume control can be done remotely.
I’ve got one of the few other fully balanced XLR DAC HATs (HifiBerry DAC+ Pro XLR) going directly into two Hypex NC400 monoblock amps, using the digital (not DSP) volume of the Hifiberry. This works well.
I use a Mackie BigKnob passive switch and attenuator to do A/B testing, in essence the volume knob on the PecanPi is the same combination of software/HW adjust, which is rather flexible and compelling.
I will I think also get a PecanPI - I had wanted to get an ApplePi, but I missed that boat (thanks Leo for having a look back a few weeks ago for any that might still be hiding in some drawers), and from the measurements the newer model is also a bit better.
I recently had the very good fortune to listen to a pre-release demo unit of Orchard Audio’s PecanPi Streamer as described earlier in this thread and on the OrchardAudio.com website. Most of my music listening over the last couple years has been via Roon which is what attracted me to the PecanPi Streamer. In a single small box, it functions as a Roon endpoint, a high quality DAC, a headphone amp and can operate via ethernet or wireless.
To say the least, I was quite impressed! Based on the excellent PecanPi specs, I was certain it would sound far better than just using my iPhone/iPad as a Roon endpoint and likely a good bit better than using my Squeezebox Touch as DAC and Roon endpoint. No contest on either. Throughout my listening, the PecanPi presentation was laden with immense detail, clarity and depth of soundstage. It’s also nice to know that there is a top-quality Squeezebox replacement in a single box. (For me, Roon replaced LMS over 3 years ago when Roon started supporting Squeezeboxes as endpoints).
I’ve also used a couple more upscale approaches to streaming Roon via their RAAT protocol to improve sound quality whether it be to headphones or speakers in my office. To do so included a Roon endpoint - a Sonore microRendu - along with either an iFi Micro iDSD DAC/Amp or a Schiit Bifrost Multibit DAC . The PecanPi Streamer stood up to these amazingly well, and, often nudged ahead sonically. (caveat: my music, my gear, my 66+ year-old ears But being able to do so at this pricepoint all within a single box makes the PecanPi a uniquely compelling product IMHO.
The Sonore microRendu/iFi iDSD combo has been my go-to kit for headphone listening over the last couple years. Perhaps not top-of-the-line, but to these ears, it provides an immersive soundstage with dead quiet background and excellent separation between voices and instruments - a sound quality I’ve come to know and love. The PecanPi proved to be equally engaging yet with a few notable differences… Foremost, the PecanPi conveyed great detail & clarity with a highly neutral tonal presentation whereas the microRendu/iDSD leaned to the warmer, richer side. This worked to the benefit of the microRendu/iDSD when listening via my Tin Audio T3 IEMs (IEMs known for their neutrality), but the PecanPi was a wonderful match for my Senn HD650 headphones - not surprising given that the HD650s tend to lean a bit toward the warmer side while enabling all the detail and clarity provided by the PecanPi to shine through. Often, the PecanPi seemed to be revealing more of what was going on in the music - fingers on bass strings, piano note decay, hall ambience, etc… With good recordings, this proved quite mesmerizing, but on lesser quality recordings, not surprisingly, it could turn a bit edgy.
Comparing the Schiit Bifrost Multibit DAC was a bit of apples to oranges since I used an external headphone amp as well when not listening via powered speakers. I also did some of my listening with the Bifrost fed via USB from my computer as well as via the microRendu. But in all cases, the results were similar - the Schiit, like the iFi, presented a more relaxed yet engaging presentation whereas the PecanPi conveyed a more neutral, highly detailed soundstage that, with well recorded music, offered an engaging and immersive musical treat.
Bottom line, I was very impressed with the PecanPi Streamer. The exceptional sound quality is all about the high quality of the PecanPi DAC, no doubt. If you love clarity and detail, this seems a no-brainer. The ability to have a top-quality DAC, headphone amp and Roon endpoint in one small box, the ability to use ethernet or wireless, and a high-quality volume control all make the Streamer a pretty awesome bang-for-the-buck product.
Am I correct the streamer has the peacon pi dac onboard? I assumed I had to buy both the dac and the streamer.
The Streamer has the DAC already built in, you do not need to buy both.
The Streamer comes fully assembled and ready to go out of the box.
If you want to build it yourself you can buy DAC and associated case kit.
Thnx. Wasn’t clear to me. Makes it much more attractive!
Hope the price will be the same till the end of May. Will get one then.
Preorder pricing ends on May 15th.
For what it’s worth, here’s a write-up I did to evaluate the effort of setting up a RPi Roon Endpoint with this DAC (the unassembled DIY approach):
I was a bit confused initially on what constituted the Streamer, but as Leo stated, the Streamer is all inclusive - PecanPi DAC, Raspberry Pi, case, volume control, OS and power supply. But you could go the route of the kit and put it all together yourself. Might save a few bucks but I’m not sure where you’d find a suitable case for it - something I’m scratching my head about in order to place an order before the May 15th pre-order pricing cutoff…
I sell the case as an option when you buy the DAC. Unless you are talking about a different case all together.
How can I make it more clear that the Streamer is a fully assembled and ready to go device?
This is the link to the assembled device.
It’s quite clear there. Maybe link this in the very 1st post so people get taken straight to the assembled device?
Leo, your site does an excellent job describing the PecanPi Streamer as a fully built, ready-to-go product. No worries there. To avoid the slight initial confusion as mentioned by me and @PhiloMelos, you might simply state in the PecanPi Streamer description that it incoporates your stellar PecanPi DAC. Of course, your video makes it quite clear as well.
LEGO. Always LEGO!
Another great review:
“I then played Looking for a Home, two guys and two guitars or, more accurately, Kevin Greeninger & Dayan Kai at 24bit/192kHz. The string manipulation from the guitars was impressive as was the silence sitting behind the pair: the contrast set up a soundstage heavy with emotion from this serious song. The sense of clarity was also excellent as the PecanPi took advantage of the superior sound source file while the imagery that set the singers and their instruments on the soundstage was excellent. Even the bass-infused foot stomps from the guys, keeping a beat, were easily heard here. The sense of tonal balance allowed me to increase the gain without having my ears bitten off.”
“If anything, DSD output (despite the non-native processing) was the most impressive file output across the entire sound test as inherent noise was very low. Small and subtle details were able to flow easily from the rear of the mix and the 3D structure around the stereo image added layers and a busy, almost market square feel to the song which seemed packed with people and instruments. A party atmosphere, if you will. Harmonicas here, acoustic guitars there, an accordion, mandolin, 57 varieties of percussion but throughout the PecanPi allowed this detail to reach the ear unimpeded.”
“The PecanPi sits within an attractive price point and at that price it offers plenty: impressive sonic abilities being top of the list. Specifically, an attractive blend of dynamic force, rich imagery and layered detail. A bit of a bargain, then.”
Preorder pricing is being extended to May 31st by popular demand.
The DAC case option says “including all required hardware” - does that include the raspi?