USB Audio output Pi HAT

Hi all

I know the Pi already supports USB audio out and you can probably add an Intona and/or REGEN to it’s output to better the quality, but is there an audiophile USB audio output HAT for the Pi?

And yes I know the sonicOrbiter SE, microRendu and SoTM SMS-200 exist :slight_smile:

Cheers !

My first thought is: is it really necessary? Yes, I know some audiophiles argue that it is, but on the other hand, some audiophiles would argue that the built-in USB is good enough.

Since I don’t have golden ears, I’m going to try out the RPi3 USB driving my DAC, and if I can’t tell the difference with my current setup, I’ll be moving across to a simple RPi3 + DietPi + Roon Bridge.

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I believe Allo are in the process of creating such a beastie for their Sparky board. There’s a little tidbit of info here:

Perhaps Johan can supply an update?


That’s good reading and stands on what I believe. Thanks for this link!

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Thanks Geoff. Which USB Dac do you use?

From personal experience only (not expertise) some Dacs benefit more from a higher quality USB audio source than others so whether it matters, that ‘depends’ as always - on the system and ultimately our ears as you say! :slight_smile:

Yep this sounds like it

The DAC is an ESS ES9018 (in a QUAD Artera Link ).

Very nice DAC there

Sorry for the silence…but we are busy testing. I can confirm now that USBridge board has been tested and working.

I will give a full update on Wednesday once all tests are completed.

Please note that once testing is successful we need 10 days for mass production. We have every component in stock already .


Very cool.

I’ll wait for the update next week but I’m wondering if USBridge supports DSD512 with PicorePlayer or if the DSD64 limitation is due to PicorePlayer itself.

One more thing…the title of this thread is USB audiohat for PI.

Actually this USB board works only with Sparky and will only be sold as a package (sparky + hat + acrylic box) . The PI has USB and Ethernet bus shared. On Sparky we have 2 USB buses (usb 2.0) and a third is on USB 3.0
Sparky has independent bus for ethernet 2xUSB 2.0 and 1x USB 3.0

If possible , one of the moderators please change the title .

Thanks for the reply and addition info Johan.

Actually I started this thread looking for solutions and Rene kindly tagged you for a possible solution.

But I don’t care if it becomes a USBridge thread or if something separate is created.

If other solutions come up it might be nice to keep them in this thread, maybe?

But i don’t care to be honest. One way or another if someone is looking for solutions they’ll find it by asking the forum anyway, whether this thread or another :slight_smile:

Agreed, its just that we try not to confuse people. But if you guys are not confused…no issue with us.

Now back to testing… (having some problems with one of the Murata chokes grrr)

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I guess I am getting confused. I thought you had a hat in the works, so to speak, with spdif output, and I thought that was the DigiOne. Would it be possible to summarize the various projects you have and the time lines for release?


Digione —coaxial/bnc digital output (for RPI only) (testing just started)
USBridge —USB output (clean power and recloaked USB stream) . Will work only with Sparky (testing has been going on for a while)


Thanks, that confirms my understanding.

First test is in.

We used a Modi2 USB dac with RCA output

Taking the power from USB2.0 of Sparky (that in itself its better/quiter than RPI usb 2.0) we got THD+ N of 82.136

Using USBridge and same DAC (SBC is powered with same PSU on both cases) we get a THD+N of 83.914

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USBridge is now shipping from India. We compared the output with RPI + DAC and USBridge with same DAC. 10db difference in THD+N…

All data is published on our website.

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Thanks for the update. Shipping to Europe - from India or from Europe? For Sparky+Usbridge combo: Is it technically possible to add the Kali reclocker? Or does the usbridge basically do the same thing?

To EU we ship from EU…but it takes a few extra days to get stock in EU. Kali works on i2s…this is a USB

Usbridge does re clock the USB packets with a much better oscillator (same as on Kali ) that is feed clean power using LDOs