Possible reduction in box count - help me decide

So following the simplicity bandwagon, I feel my box count for my second system is a little more than is needed. Currently I have Allo USBridge feeding an Arcam irDac iI which feeds some Qacoustics powered amplified speakers with a pi and touchscreen for now playing screen running Ropieee. I’m thinking of ditching the DAC and Allo and get a DAC HAT for the pi so I have one box for it all. So what recommendations would you give for pi DAC board. It needs to perform as well as my Arcam if possible which I am happy with, I just want simplication. I have only had HifiBerry amp boards and Digi boards so no experience of any pi DACs. I don’t want an external DAC at all so no Dragonflys please.

The Allo Boss is reasonable, certainly better than the IQaudio or Hifiberrys IMHO. I haven’t tried the Applepi dac but it may be worth considering.

Allo Katana?

Not from peoples bad experience with it here on the forum. I may try the new hifiberry dac+dsp as it has an optical in which would be useful as I am using my dac for optical out of the fire tv that’s in the same room. Non are that expensive though so might give the Allo ago as well and stick with the one I like best.

Might be difficult to use a screen with it. Given the triple stack I think it might be difficult to mount on the back of the screen. If you used the screen separately you would need a longer ribbon cable to connect it to the pi. Then there are all the power supplies needed to get decent sound out of it and the cost mounts, especially for a second system.

I like Allo products but I really am in two minds whether or not to try the Katana.

I used to mount a HIfiberry mp + before with the same screen its not an issue and I just powered the screen with another 5v psu. I am not one to follow the psu route of upgrade false economy in my eyes.

I think you need to look at the katana to appreciate its size. It is three boards on top of a RPi, not just one. Allo also recommends 3 (or 4 for best results) power supplies.

i am reducing not adding, I’m not buying anything that needs 3 psu’s thats just plain ridiculous.

I auditioned the Arcam irDac (not the II) and this was no improvement on my IQaudIO Pi-DAC+, so that may give you a reasonable baseline. The IQaudIO, HiFiBerry and irDAC (I) all use Burr Brown DAC chips and have a similar signature. I guess I’m saying that these hats are comparable to retail DACs up to £600. That’s my experience anyway.

If it wasn’t for your powered speakers I’d recommend the Pi-DigiAMP+. This has gorgeous clarity with my Monitor Audio in-ceiling stereo speaker. Works with the screen too.

I’m with you regarding multiple PSUs … PITA. I also think that simplifying the signal is the best approach.

IrDac II doesn’t use burr and brown they moved to using Sabre 32 reference DAC’s with this model.But I might try out the IQaudio DAC i think, not been that impressed with Allo’s reliabilty.

Hence why I suggested you don’t bother!

Seriously the Boss is better (and I have the IQaudio, Hifiberry too). Mine just works.

Maybe the AUDIOPHONICS I-SABRE DAC plus this case?



lol I was just looking at those.

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The ApplePi DAC and Ropieee works very well with a single PSU. It’s problem is it has no dedicated case at the moment as far as I know.

That’s not a problem as it will go on the back of the screen. My stand can accommodate a DAC as well.