Raspberry Pi HAT

Hi Everyone,

I’m starting to plan out my first build of a Raspberry Pi with the intention of using it as a Roon endpoint and connecting to speakers. I’m going to go with Vanatoo Transparent Zero’s and feed them from the Pi via TOSLINK for 96/24 in and let the speakers do the digital to analog conversion. I know I’m going to need some kind of HAT for the Pi in order to do this. Is anyone using a similar setup that can offer some insight as to which HAT, why, etc.? Lastly, it doesn’t seem possible from what I’ve read, but is there any HAT I could install that would double as an amp/DAC for headphones but not do any digital to analog conversion for the speakers? This area is new to me; I didn’t know if there was a way to bypass the conversion for some devices but not for others. It seems like I’d be better off just plugging in a Dragonfly to the Pi itself to accomplish this, but I’m curious.

Tyler, if you’d like to have headphones in addition to the speakers, I’d go with an external DAC/Headphone Amp connected to the Pi via USB, and using the DAC’s analogue out to connect to the analogue input of your speakers. I bet that even an inexpensive DAC like the iFi Zen DAC (USD130 at Amazon) would sound better than using the speakers internal DAC. And the Zen DAC has an integrated headphones amp.

What would be the advantage to two separate Pi’s besides being able to dedicate each one? Say I built one Pi with a HAT for the speakers (which I have to have because of the previous issues I explained with new Mac audio outs), couldn’t I just connect the Dragonfly (or potentially iFi Zen) to the USB on the Pi If I wanted to use headphones? Unless I’m unaware and installing the HAT limits the output of the Pi elsewhere?

Yes you can run a HAT with RPi and have as many DAC’s as you have USB ports available assuming they are not going to load the power supply of the RPi. Playing to all of them concurrently is not perhaps going to work very well however but with a LAN cable connection you should be ok for 2 at least together as long as you stay under the 24/192 rate.

I highly recommend ropieee.org as the OS of choice.

I have moved this to the #audio-products:raspberry-pi area

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