My next Raspberry Pi project was to stream music to my stereo system. Since I’m all Apple at home, I decided I need something that uses Apple’s Airplay and the Raspberry Pi seemed the natural choice.
After some research, I learned (unsurprisingly) that the earphone jack on the Pi would be insufficient. It just doesn’t have a high enough bit rate DAC (Digital/Analog Converter) driving it. The first option I explored was to use an external USB DAC. There are some fine ones but they are expensive and bulky. I have to admit though, some of the tube-based DACs look pretty good and I’m sure the sound is impressive but they are cost prohibitive. What to do?
I found HifiBerry. They have a few choices of DACs that plug right into the GPIO (general purpose I/O) port on the Pi. They also sell cases that hold the Pi and DAC very nicely. I found the HifiBerry DAC I wanted on Amazon, added the case and Pi 3 B to my cart but found that ordering a bundle straight from HifiBerry was about $20 cheaper. I already owned a spare MicroSD card an power cord so the project cost me around $100.
I decided on the DAC+ Standard. I didn’t need the DAC+ Pro with its gold plated RCA connectors because I don’t think they make a difference. But some real audiophiles will disagree.
Ordering a bundle from HifiBerry was a bit confusing. What comes with the bundles and what do I need to add? Turns out you need to pick your package and customize everything. For me, I selected the DAC+ Bundle and added the DAC+ Standard, the HifiBerry Universal case, and the Raspberry Pi 3B. If you need a power supply you might find one cheaper elsewhere. If you don’t have an adapter to plug the SD card into your computer, you will need one and HifiBerry’s seems a reasonable price.
If you buy from HifiBerry, the order ships from Switzerland so expect some delay. Shipping information from Switzerland to JFK was provided but once it hit JFK, shipping info disappeared. Since I didn’t get a notification that it was stuck in customs I decided to wait. Ten days later it showed up via USPS. So if time is important, you might pay more and get it from Amazon.
Instructions below the fold…