DIY Raspberry Pi HiFi



I’m researching the use of the Raspberry Pi SBC as a base for a low cost, high fidelity audio player. I have found four boards that look promising and two software platforms.

Does anyone have a home built player/headphone amp they would like to share?


I have two Rasperry Pi’s with the Hifiberry DAC+ standard version. I run the pre-built Roon Bridge image on both and use them as Roon endpoints. One is hooked up to my living room HiFi receiver, and the other to my desktop headphone amp. I like them both quite well. The Hifiberry boards with their Burr Brown DACs measure pretty well and sound good to me ear, and in particular mellower than my ESS Sabre based devices like the LG V20.

I also have a third Raspberry Pi which I use as a transport for a Topping NX4 (also Burr Brown).


I think the stuff from Allo is pretty great. I have a DigiOne player and a Boss DAC 1.2 along with a USBridge. They all do different things but all run Roon and can run other things depending on the software build you choose. I prefer RoPieee. Seems to work very well.


From the little research I’ve done so far, it appears most of the Raspberry Pi DACs use the PCM5122 IC. One, the Allo Piano, uses the PCM5142, and another, the IQAudio Pi-DAC Pro, uses the PCM5242.

So, the question, do any of you know the differences in these chips? All Burr Brown/TI but is there a progression?


If I intend to use a Pi as a dedicated Roon Bridge endpoint, just to pass the sound off to an external DAC, does the built in Pi dac matter much?


I think not. You’d probably want to use the Pi to handle either the transport to the external DAC or use a DAC board to convert the digital signal to analog for amplification. Either way, you bypass the Pi’s built-in DAC to get better filtering and conversion.

Some boards also include a built-in headphone amplifier but it seems the best separate DAC and amp to get the best signal processing.