HiFi Digital Audio Player (DAP) Options - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 15 Old 02-24-2019, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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HiFi Digital Audio Player (DAP) Options

I struggled with what is the appropriate forum for this post. I could see it going into the 2-Channel Audio forum because that tends to be more geared towards hi-fidelity audio, or Networking, Media Servers & Content Streaming because my topic is about DAP. I opted for here. I apologize if it is not appropriately placed.


I have a library of 16 and 24bit FLAC files. I would like to have the ability to play these with a portable device.



I have been looking at a DIY option by building something on the Raspberry Pi platform combined with HiFiBerry (or something similar). The challenge with this, is that the UI for the player would effectively be my phone, and this could be troublesome when in an area where we have a stereo but no WiFi.


I also have a couple old phones (iPhone 7 and a Samsung Galaxy S3) that I wouldn't mind using as the UI for the player, but I don't know how to set these up to be able to play the 24bit FLAC files without them being down-sampled to 16bit. Could I buy an external DAC?



I know there are also personal audio players that can do this, but most of those are $400 or more (several being over $900).


My requirements are:
  • Play 24bit FLAC files without down-sampling them to 16bit
  • Analog out via RCA (does not need to be amplified)
  • UI that does not require WiFi (Bluetooth would be acceptable)
Nice to have:
  • Nice to have SP/DIF or Optical/Toslink
  • Battery powered
I am looking for advice on what my options are and where I can get the most value. Is going the Raspberry Pi route the best value? Or can I pair a DAC with one of those phones? What is the pro/con of each of these options? Am I chasing the wrong approach and should just save up and buy one of the commercial options?


Budget of under $200, and I would like to keep it closer to $100 to try it out. If this works out well, I may end up further investing in an upgrade down the line.
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post #2 of 15 Old 02-25-2019, 01:24 PM
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An external DAC would be the easiest and cheapest bet. There are several <$200 models that you can buy new or even more that are available on the used market.

It depends upon the format, bit depth and sampling rate of the files that you wish to play.

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post #3 of 15 Old 02-25-2019, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez View Post
An external DAC would be the easiest and cheapest bet. There are several <$200 models that you can buy new or even more that are available on the used market.

It depends upon the format, bit depth and sampling rate of the files that you wish to play.

I would like to be able to play SACD ISO's, FLAC, and possibly ALAC. Bit depth of FLAC & ALAC will be 16bit to 24bit, and 44.1khz to 192khz. I am not sure what the bit depth and sampling rate of SACD's are, they seem to report something about 5Mhz.


I will be playing very few MP3 files.
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post #4 of 15 Old 02-26-2019, 03:39 AM
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Phone/Tablet with SD card and external DAC. Some great examples later on in this thread. Use headphones or connect to preamp. Unfortunately, it looks like a lot of DanBa's pics are unavailable. But name model are still there. And there's probably newer things availble which you'll probably run into if you start tracking down some of the things mentioned.

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post #5 of 15 Old 02-26-2019, 03:41 AM
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In the past I couldn’t get USB audio to work on Android as my DAC is 24 bit.
Using Oreo (Android 8) it worked.
Never verified what happened under the hood but at least it sends 24 bits to the DAC.
So you need something with recent Android.

They say an iPhone with a camera kit also works, don’t know what sample rate and bit depths are supported.

Bluetooth is IMHO not an option as it is lossy (say high bitrate MP3)

A PI is a cheap solution.
Either combine it with a HAT or a USB DAC
Control by phone requires WiFi

If WiFi is not an option, add a screen and mouse/keyboard

Maybe this one gets you started: http://archimago.blogspot.com/2018/
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post #6 of 15 Old 02-26-2019, 03:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roseval View Post
In the past I couldn’t get USB audio to work on Android as my DAC is 24 bit.
Using Oreo (Android 8) it worked.
Android 5.0 Lollipop and above supports USB audio.

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post #7 of 15 Old 02-26-2019, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Android 5.0 Lollipop and above supports USB audio.
I think my Galaxy S3 only has Android 4.x.

Not sure it makes sense to pursue the iPhone 7 option if it doesn't support the full bit depth and sampling rate.

The main goal in using one of my older phones as the "player" was it would provide a screen/gui without the need for WiFi to control the RPi.

Thanks for the link Roseval. Will take a look.
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post #8 of 15 Old 02-26-2019, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spec1alk View Post
The challenge with this, is that the UI for the player would effectively be my phone, and this could be troublesome when in an area where we have a stereo but no WiFi.
Wherever the Pi is located you will have WiFi. The Pi can generate its own WiFi hotspot, that you can then connect directly to with your control device of choice. It's not dependent on a home network WiFi (router) to function.
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post #9 of 15 Old 02-26-2019, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Wherever the Pi is located you will have WiFi. The Pi can generate its own WiFi hotspot, that you can then connect directly to with your control device of choice. It's not dependent on a home network WiFi (router) to function.
This may be the best option for me then.
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post #10 of 15 Old 02-26-2019, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Any thoughts on the DAC? Is the one from HiFiBerry good? Or should I look at others?
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post #11 of 15 Old 02-26-2019, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
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Any thoughts on the DAC? Is the one from HiFiBerry good? Or should I look at others?
The HiFiberry DAC is fine, I've been using their DAC+ Pro (RCA) for a while now without issue. If you want digital out instead, they have the Digi+ They also sell cases to house everything. For player software I'm running Volumio, I haven't messed with any of the others. It's free to use if all you're doing is playing your own files.
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post #12 of 15 Old 02-27-2019, 02:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spec1alk View Post
I think my Galaxy S3 only has Android 4.x.

Not sure it makes sense to pursue the iPhone 7 option if it doesn't support the full bit depth and sampling rate.

The main goal in using one of my older phones as the "player" was it would provide a screen/gui without the need for WiFi to control the RPi.

Thanks for the link Roseval. Will take a look.
A used S4 with Lollipop is around $75.

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post #13 of 15 Old 03-03-2019, 03:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spec1alk View Post
Any thoughts on the DAC? Is the one from HiFiBerry good? Or should I look at others?
Maybe:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...y-pi-dac.4529/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...-pi-dacs.4164/
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post #14 of 15 Old 03-09-2019, 05:02 PM
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Rpi or equivalent

Hi,
If something as Rpi solution is attractive there are many options. HifiBerry is one, I think the cheapeast but good enough. Depending what you want (only analog output or digital also) Allo site have several better ones as Digione, Boss DAC, Katana Dac... . Also Pi2Design has the very good 502DAC that provide both analog and digital out. The Pi2Design are built in small batches so if is out of stock just send an e-mail to check next batch availability.
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post #15 of 15 Old 03-09-2019, 05:08 PM
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I’ve used Hifiberry and 502DAC (currently the last one) with Volumio and Moode Audio and I’m very happy with the setup. I use it mainly on AES digital out to my dac but as said it has also analog output.
Volumio offers a wifi hotspot setup so could be used as portable where no wifi available.

Also you could learn many things and you can upgrade it in future with more feaures (e.g. on diyaudio is a very nice IsolatorPi board offered on IanCanada Group buy for 49USD or FIFOPI board 99usd providing both isolation and reclocking).
Highly recommended.
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