Upgrading Streamer / DAC - Looking For Opinions

I am using raspberry pi 4 feeding signal via USB into a Denafrips AERES II. I had never heard of the Pi2AES HAT. This component will allow me to feed the DAC via SPDIF. Do you think this will be a noticeable improvement in sound quality? Thanks

I have 3 lumins and love them to bits…2 D1’s and a D2. My first D1 I got 2nd hand from a guy who replaced with a CXN-V2 then traded the CXN with another guy I knew with some cash to get a D1 back again. Lumin really is rather clever if you have others in the house that want to play things like Spotify or tidal or airplay without having to change settings like one does for a dac connected via a sotm sms-200 or a sonore rendu endpoint.

The T2 is even better for extra USB DaC option and connectivity worth it if you can get a deal


There is also the Allo Digi One. I have the player and it is tremendous with SPDIF Coax.

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Auralic is amazing

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New guy here, who, after reading this thread, thinks he’s missing something.

I’ve recently switched to a headphone only setup in my house. Presently, I have a pair of focal utopias. My dac is a chord hugo2 which I then amplify with an ifi ican pro.

My Roon core lives on a qnap and my endpoint/remote is either my iPhone 11 or iPad Pro who are connected via usb cable to the chord.

Does using the iPad or iPhone as an endpoint mean that they have some influence on the signal processing? Should I invest in a microrendu or similar and just use the iPhone/iPad as a remote?
And finally, what settings/dsp options should I enable to ensure the highest sound quality through my chosen setup? Should Roon leave the signal alone so that the chord Hugo can do it’s work?

Thank you all for your time. Im new to this part of the audiophile world…

IIRC the ipad isn’t Roon Ready (RAAT) but an Airplay device. The microRendu is a nice device. I have two of them. My office microrendu is connected to a Chord Qutest via BNC cable (downstream from a Sonore Ultradigital I2s/ BNC splitter converter). You could connect from USB. Makes good musuc.

Depending on how you use it ,the iOS devices can act as an end point but then you are effectively using the iPad DAC . Good as they are they are not going to be anything like the quality of your Chord.

I use an IPad for background music in the kitchen via a Bluetooth speaker for example.

You can get a USB C > USB Female cable to allow a USB DAC to be connected (I use a AudioQuest Dragonfly Red) that will by pass the iPad DAC

For a static system you are far better with a static end point even something as cheap as a Raspberry Pi . Run it on Ethernet for best results then go USB to the Chord. Job done under $100. Then you would be using the iPad/phone just for control which works really well (I have a Mini and a 12,9 Pro)

The Micro Rendu is an upmarket end point compared with the RPi but does the same thing (probably ?? Better, some would disagree)

Just as an example , I too am 95% headphones , my system is

Win 10 Core PC > Ethernet > RPi4 / Allo Digione > Audiolab M-DAC > Sennheiser HD800

Good luck , any more info needed just shout :grinning:

My apologies - I just be missing something here… if you’re saying

and I am connecting my iPad pro 12.9 > multiport adapter > usb a to usb micro > Chord Hugo
wouldn’t this also bypass the iPad DAC?

Most likely not, and you would loose the higher resolutions, which only work through USB.

If you would like to change your streamer because you believe that a USB signal can be improved, there are many solutions: SoTM, Sonore, and Allo seem to be the most common around here. You want to make extra-super-duper-sure that whatever you buy natively supports your DAC, so be very careful if you choose to go that route.

The best way to tell is try it

Does the Chord show the sample rate passed to it. What you are doing should by pass themail DAC , Put on a 24/192 track on and see what the Chord says is playing

If it’s passing by Airplay, which it might be, it will give 24/48 at best


The Hugo shows a colour per sample frequency

Well, for this question there is no generally accepted or acceptable answer. There are many ‘beliefs’ and few facts. I agree with @Xekomi that you probably won’t hear a difference. I don’t agree with the suggestion that you would possibly do better with the USB output of another device by SoTM, Sonore or Allo. That’s my belief.

The only way to find out if in your situation, using a Raspberry Pi 4 and a Denafrips Ares II DAC, there is a difference between connecting the Pi4 via USB or via S/PDIF is trying it out. You must listen yourself to your setup and decide for yourself if you can hear a (positive) difference. Or maybe you can get some useful information from other Denafrips users who have already made that comparison for themselves.

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I’m using both the Cambridge CXV (V2) and the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge in my system, but in two different use cases. The CXN drives an Accuphase Pre/Power amp set up and B&W N804s and the Mytek drives a headphone set-up–Focal Clear and Hifiman Arya. Obviously missing MQA with the CXN, and the detail particularly with the Mytek/Arya combination is stunning. That said, although there are certainly more revealing streamer/DACs than the CXN, it works very well for me, and not feeling compelled to swap it out.

All this from an iPhone? What a freaking waste.

That’s terrifically unhelpful. It should be somewhat evident that knowledge here is not standardized; I’ve now heard that the iPad is only an airplay capable device, when on a another forum it sounds like it is actually RAAT capable when running the n app, meaning this is a lossless path.
So, is you’ve some amazing knowledge about how this is a poor device for my needs, given that there is no real consensus here, a little explanation, to a newbie, would be a whole lot better than just exclaiming blah.

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Karim, what you can do is look at the signal path in Roon… there it will be made clear how the signal travels from your Core to your endpoint. Maybe, if you wish, you can post here a picture of your signal path while playing to your iPhone/iPad.

I’m not the one to proclaim the questionable benefits of $2000+ streamers. There are others here that will and have done that. Maybe those people will explain what is wrong with using an iOS device as an endpoint.

What other forum? Since iOS devices can’t run Roon, RoonServer, or RoonBridge and they are not designated as being RoonReady, I don’t see how they can be RAAT capable.

Lossless it may be, but probably not capable of passing anything higher than 48/24. If it can only run Airplay then that is limited to 44/16. If you don’t care about that, then I guess it doesn’t matter.

You’ve got around $10,000 invested in your headphone setup. Now is no time to get cheap. Spend a little more on an endpoint.

If you install the Roon App for iOS on iPhone or iPad, this includes the Remote functionality (front-end GUI to Roon) and it is and endpoint, as well.

When I stream to my old iPhone it goes with RAAT to the phone. It is not true that iPhone/iPad are Airplay-only devices.

I have not tried connecting a USB-adapter and going from there to a USB DAC. I wouldn’t do that. I agree that for little money better endpoints can be had.

What res is the iPhone capable of? Probably 192/24?

I don’t know. I only have tried with 16/44.1 to my iPhone, and then to its own internal DAC.

But I think it’s entirely possible that @Karim_Rafaat can connect an USB-adapter and stream from his Roon core via his iPhone as endpoint to an external USB DAC - in high-res. If it’s good practice or advisable to do so is another question.

You might want to surf the Roon Knowledge Base. There is some good info to be had there. @Karim_Rafaat

From my point of view, you would gain system improvement by adding a Roon Ready streamer to your setup. Using an iPhone an your endpoint is like driving a Porsche sports car with Bias Ply tires.