Toslink, USB or RCA analog to feed signal to NAD M32?

Hello, I’m pretty much a newbie who knows just about enough to be dangerous, so I’m testing a NAD M32, which I must say is growing on me. Speakers are DALI Opticon 8. The M32nis not a streamer, nor is it connected to WiFi or Ethernet. My only sources of music are Roon with Tidal and my local library. So I need an endpoint between the Roon core (running on a dedicated Windows machine in the basement) and the M32. I have some Raspberry Pi boards.

Choices are:

  1. RP 4 via USB
  2. RP 3 via Digi pro plus and SPDIF toslink
  3. RP 3 via HiFiBerry DAC + and RCA cable.

Option 1 seems to make more sense and to produce the best result, but I was wondering if there are other pros and cons I should consider. I think the NAD M32 has a good DAC, and to improve on that I would probably have to spend a lot of money that right now is not in the budget.

Ideas and opinions?


:rofl: ha ha ha, I haven’t heard someone say that in a long time. I understand where you are coming from though. I think the RP4 with USB is the way to go. You can really only be sure by trying the different options and seeing how you like the sound of them, but the NAD unit is a newer, pretty high end unit that I am sure has a really good USB interface. You will have to check the specs directly, but USB will accept a higher bit depth and sample rate than SPDIF should you choose to upsample in Roon.

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I agree, get the Pi 4, put it in a Flirc case and use USB. Enjoy the music!

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I have compared
a) Roon -> Rpi4 USB -> Topping D10s - > toslink spdif
b) Roon -> RPi4 with Digi+ Pro HAT -> toslink spdif
both connected to AVI ADM9.1 active speaker setup. As these speakers have two toslink inputs and a remote it is convenient to blind test both sources. I find it very hard to hear a difference if any. And if I hear a difference I cannot tell which one I prefer.
The Digi+ Pro HAT option is a cleaner install and the Topping D10s has a display which might be useful. In my setup I prefer the Digi+ Pro.
In your setup I would expect the result to largely depend on the DAC in the NAD. If possible I would test all options and stick to the setup you prefer?

You could even go for the two out of three ain’t bad option, if you go down either Hifiberry routes (I bought a Digi+ pro a couple of days ago). Then using Ropieee you can choose usb or coaxial or Toslink. The same option holds true with the Dac Pro as well.

So far a very small investment you get multiple options that should help bring the best out of the Nad