Author Topic: Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC  (Read 2535 times)

Offline Wietsche

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Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC




Introduction:

Always interested in, and listening to music, I started my journey into head-fi with a modest Schiit Stack, comprising of the Magni 2 Uber and the Modi Multibit. (Scott Shipping Services assisted me to get them here safely all the way from Valencia, California in the US, hassle free. Thank you, Scott Kirby!) Over the last year I’ve been listening to many loaner DAC’s, amplifiers and headphones. I am very thankful for these various opportunities I had as it made me realise just how good this Schiit Stack was for the money I paid, and it made me quite proud of my purchase. I also know very well where the limits of my system are.

I use my Schiit Stack mainly at my PC. The Modi Multibit have 3 inputs: USB, Coax and Toslink. The USB is connected to my main PC for general sound, games and some dedicated listening through Foobar2000. Toslink is connected to my Chromecast Audio for listening to Google Play Music and my FLAC Library over PLEX. I use this option when I don’t need my PC to run: when I have to work or read for instance and only want to have music in the background. In this way, I reduce heat and noise generated by the PC. To switch between the two sources is as easy as a button push on the Multibit. I can then use my choice of headphones (for now, I prefer the Audeze EL8 open back headphones) or powered desktop speakers. Of the three inputs on the Modi Multibit, Toslink apparently suffers the worst from jitter. It also sounds the worst, from what I read... but it is obviously better than using analog audio from the Chromecast Audio. Toslink has one advantage though: it electrically isolates the DAC from the source to get rid of ground noise etc.

It took some time before I utilized the Coax input. I read many positive reviews about it: people had better listening experiences with Coax, even when compared to USB inputs. I too have found that sound produced through USB inputs on my Desktop PC would be polluted with all kinds of electronic noise. This motivated me to search and find the best Coax source I could afford. I wanted a source that would be super accurate and noise free, and that could serve as a high-quality dedicated listening front-end for my headphone gear. My research led me to a Raspberry Pi based solution: the Allo DigiOne Player. This is a kit that includes everything you need: a Raspberry Pi 3, an Allo DigiOne add-on board, Power Supply, SD Card, and a very nice laser cut acrylic enclosure. I ordered this from PiShop.co.za.

Through my interactions with Allo and PiShop I ended up obtaining another Allo product: the Allo Boss DAC board for the Raspberry Pi. This unexpected increase of equipment gave me so much to play with and compare that I cannot possibly put this all into one review. I failed at my attempt to strip this review down to the basics for fear of boring you with too much detail. But there is so much to share and show with clear pictures, it would be a waste to keep that info for myself.

I have therefore decided to post two separate reviews, one for the DigiOne and one for the Boss. Please note that some sections are the same in both reviews. I sometimes create references between the reviews to make reading as easy as possible. Each review provides a detailed overview and each has its own conclusion. The conclusions are labelled clearly so that the “just-give-me-the-gist-of-it” reader can jump straight to it. I trust that this approach will be helpful for a variety of shopper-personalities who want to make a good decision for their specific needs.

Enjoy!
Wietsche


Offline Wietsche

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Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2017, 12:11:05 AM »
 
Allo DigiOne Transport Review:

What it is, and what it’s not:
 
The DigiOne is essentially a sound card for a Raspberry Pi computer. The Raspberry Pi has a built-in sound card but the sound quality is not nearly acceptable for even a beginner computer audiophile. It has timing issues, power issues and noise issues to name a few. But the rest of the Raspberry Pi is great for building a low powered networked audio player that brings your high quality lossless music files to your audio system, with lots of online resources and help forums.
 
So why don’t we just plug in an external USB DAC into the Pi and be done with it? Because, the Pi has a hardware limitation where the USB ports and the network adaptors (LAN and WiFi) shares the same communication bus. This just means that there is not enough bandwidth to receive and send the music data between the network and the USB DAC at the same time for very high-resolution files. Typically, 24bit/192khz files and up starts to have issues where the music starts to make snap crackle and pop noises. In some cases when the Pi CPU was under load I got issues from 24bit/96khz.
 
The solution is to use an add-on board that plugs directly into the GPIO header of the Pi. This board (like the DigiOne) connects directly to the I2S (Inter-IC Sound) interface that is a separate data bus from USB. Now you can receive the music files over USB, LAN or WiFi and send the output to the I2S interface essentially eliminating this mentioned bottleneck. What makes the DigiOne special is that it has a “dirty” region that receives the noisy power and data signals from the Raspberry Pi, cleans it up with various kinds of high quality electronics, reclocks the digital audio signal, and sends it over to a “clean” region where the jitter and electronic noise figures are measured and published at 0.6ps and 50uV respectively. And this is achieved with using a switch mode power supply. This essentially means that you get a super clean digital signal ready for the DAC to receive. The DigiOne only produces digital audio out in the form BNC and RCA S/PDIF signals. Allo also produces another product, the USBridge, which does the same, but also provides a super clean USB connection.
 
In summary, what the DigiOne does is to provide your existing external high-end DAC with a super clean S/PDIF signal, with the music source file ideally received over the network or from a USB hard drive connected to the Raspberry Pi. You can see it as a replacement device for your CD player.

What it does not do, is convert the digital signals to analog audio ready for your hi-fi amplifier. In other words, it has no DAC function. It just transports music to your DAC.
 
 
How I got hold of it – the customer’s experience:

While reading about the Allo DigiOne on various forums, I noticed a few trends. The majority of the guys says it sounds very good. They replace their existing Raspberry Pi-based transports and mini computers with the Allo DigiOne. They use ordinary power supplies and still get better results, while other guys who use linear power supplies report marginal or no improvements. The other trend is that whenever someone had issues, the Allo team responded immediately, helping them out with replacement units or whatever assistance they needed.

I therefore decided to contact Allo directly to find out how I can get my hands on a DigiOne Transport board for my Raspberry Pi. Andre responded the same day, assuring me that even though they could help me directly, they recommend I avoid shipping and customs issues by ordering from PiShop.co.za , who is their local authorized distributor in South Africa. He said “Rest assured that they will handle any issues you may have in the same professional manner that we would”. I also asked Andre a few very technical questions, which he answered. He even put me in contact with one of their engineers for the ones he could not answer. Excellent!
 
When I contacted the PiShop, they informed me that they would order their Allo stock within 2 weeks, and would contact me when it arrived. They advised me to place my order on the website. I indicated that I wanted 2x DigiOne Player Kits, one for me and one for a friend. The kit consists of a Raspberry Pi 3, a Allo DigiOne add-on board, Allo Power Supply, SD Card and a very nice laser cut acrylic enclosure. The kit costs slightly less than the individual parts.
 
After just more than a month after my first enquiry and a couple of update requests, the order arrived at my office. The kits were perfect, complete and well packed. However, a few other parts that I ordered on behalf of friends were incorrect. My initial efforts to have these parts exchanged were initially met with little to no support, to my frustration. Eventually, after a quick call to the PiShop, Johan Burger, one of the directors, stepped in and quickly sorted out the mess. I was impressed with his service and the lengths at which he went to fix the relationship.

Looking back, I can wholeheartedly recommend dealing with Allo.com (Andre) and PiShop.co.za (Johan). They look after their customers.
 
Here are some detailed pics of the kit and parts used:








 
 
Assembly and Setup:
 
The assembly was like building some fancy Lego Technic or Meccano toys. Very satisfying! You are also done before it gets boring. See pictures below:
 





 
The difficult part is to decide which software you want to use. I can only recommend two systems that work out of the box for me. The first is PiCorePlayer that works with a Logitech Media Server (LMS) system and converts your RaspberryPi into a Squeezebox. The ideal would be to have a separate LMS machine somewhere on the network and with the PiCorePlayer as an endpoint, similar to the very popular Roon system. PiCorePlayer also allows you to run the LMS system on the same RaspberryPi if you want to use only a single device (not tested by me). The second is Volumio, which is a standalone Music Player Daemon (MPD) based system, a fully functioning standalone player that can use local or networked storage for storing and playing your media. Volumio might at first feel slow, but keep in mind that it takes a lot of processing to index your media library on the Raspberry Pi, etc. If you added a massive music repository, leave it over night to settle down and index. The Volumio interface looks beautiful and makes up for some performance issues. Both systems sound great. I had the best functional results with PiCorePlayer. Here are some pictures of the Volumio interface on a web browser and on the Android app:



Both systems install with ease, following the same basic steps. In short you download the system image of choice and write it to the SD Card you got with the kit or already have. Then simply insert it into the Pi, power it up and wait a few minutes. Usually the system starts up and do the basic setup for you. You then connect to it with any web browser or applicable app on any device on your local network. I recommend using a network cable connection to the Pi for the first-time setup and configuration. Setup your WiFi and then remove the network cable. The full instructions should be on the website of the system you chose.

A word of advice: if you intend to use WiFi as main connection to your Raspberry Pi, but you do not have excellent WiFi reception or your Pi is not located very close to the router, do not assume the Raspberry Pi 3 built in WiFi wil be adequate. In fact, it is shockingly bad. I had reception issues 2m from my router with no obstructions in between. I think it has to do with the extra Allo DigiOne board on top of the Pi, which interferes with the signals. If you want reliable WiFi connetion, get a USB WiFi dongle. Solves lots of problems and headaches. I can recommend the Edimax EW-7811Un nano USB dongle or the Edimax EW-7612UAn USB dongle with antenna, both available from RS Components SA. I specifically tested these two dongles and they work beautifully.
 

My listening setup:
 
I have a networked Media PC hosting all my music and movies, running Windows 10 with PLEX and LMS installed. It is tucked away under my staircase where its cooling fans and spinning hard drives can make serious noise without bothering anyone. At my desk in another room I have the Schiit Modi Multibit DAC, the Schiit Magni 2 Uber headphone amp, the Raspberry Pi DigiOne Player and a nice pair of Audeze EL8 open back headphones.
 
The Multibit DAC has 3 inputs. USB, COAX and TosLink (optical). As explained in the introduction, my computer is hooked up to the USB input, and my trusty Chromecast Audio is connected to the optical input of the DAC. The DigiOne Player feeds my Multibit DAC via COAX. To switch between the inputs is a push of a button on the DAC. The Schiit components both have the stock Schiit supplied linear power supplies, and the Raspberry Pi with DigiOne uses the Allo provided switching mode power supply. An interesting remark is that all 3 power supplies comes from the exact same OEM supplier, Xing Yuan Electronics, just different specs and model numbers.
 
I compared the different options by playing the same song over all the inputs at the same time and then switching between them. This took weeks... It was difficult to pin point the differences. Even if you could hear they sound different, you couldn’t immediately say what the difference was or which sounded better.
 

 
 
How does it sound:
 
The Allo DigiOne combined with the Multibit DAC sounds fantastic. In order of preference on the Multibit DAC I would say COAX first, then USB, then optical. Or is it USB first…? I can honestly say that to me there was almost zero difference between USB (fed from my desktop PC) and COAX on my DAC. Now and again I almost believed there was something different, and then I would revisit it later and not be able to hear it. So I can’t say there is a difference with clear conviction. Optical sounded slightly more closed in and not so transparent as the other two. But if you have to take the cost of this optical source into account vs the USB and COAX sources, you can’t knock the optical input as it is still ridiculously close to the others.
 
I can now go and try to define the sound qualities by using all kinds of audiophile phrases that is totally subjective and misleading. All I can say is the music sounds like it should. It sounds like my Schiit Stack I am used to and nothing different. That just means that the new COAX source is doing the right things and doing it very well at an affordable price.

Now, switching the USB input to feed from the Raspberry Pi is a different story. The DigiOne sound is for sure better than using the USB directly from the Pi. You hear those random pops and crackles very clearly (though I usually had to listen for about a half a minute to identify a clear pop), almost like the sounds a wood fire makes. These sounds are gone over the DigiOne output on the same Raspberry Pi. Take for instance the Tundra track from Amber Rubarth’s Sessions from the 17th Ward album that has lots of quiet pieces with loud percussions and echoes and some feint sounds coming from outside the building from the street. Turning up my amp a bit more, there was a slight but distinct hiss over USB from the Raspberry Pi, which is not there when you switch to the DigiOne. I could make out more details from the ambient sounds over the DigiOne than directly from the USB as the noise flushes over them. I have to also add that I used another exact same Raspberry Pi for USB input with the exact same power supply than the DigiOne, and thus the only difference is having the DigiOne on the one unit.
 

I found a glitch!
 
When you introduce any power spikes or dips to your DigiOne setup, the DigiOne stops working! Everything responds as it should, there is just no sound produced. To fix it, you simply soft reboot the Raspberry Pi and all is well again. No need to power cycle. This is super annoying! Apparently the DigiOne is super sensitive to sudden power spikes/dips as the designers were overprotective with the circuitry. This is probably a good thing for longevity of the device. I have posted this issue on the Volumio Forum and there are now two solutions to this. See https://volumio.org/forum/allo-digione-sound-after-cable-change-amp-switch-t7729.html.

Allo very kindly offered to exchange customer's original units for a factory-modified DigiOne. So just keep this in mind when you decide to order and want yours already modified. This issue was particularly painful when you leave the DigiOne Player switched on, and switch off your amplifier or DAC, or change Coax cables, or change between BNC and RCA connector to hear differences and do comparisons. Some users have reported a similar issue when switching on lights on the same mains circuit.


Conclusion:
 
The most common DAC inputs are USB, Coax and Optical. To me there are pros and cons to all. This is my take on the 3 options, bearing costs in mind, and also not pairing with outrageous super high-end DACs and amplifiers, and headphones or speakers. Also bear in mind that the Modi Multibit DAC is limited to 24Bit/192khz.
 
For USB input, you need to spend some more money on a source computer, like at least an ODRIOD with proper USB implementation and faster CPU, maybe the Allo USBridge, a laptop computer, or some Apple device. But you need clean power and preferable no moving parts and noise. This could become expensive. You can also easily run into USB driver issues. You will probably have lots more processing power for DSD decoding on these devices. You can use a Raspberry Pi, but I really think you are missing out on super high-resolution files and DSD for instance. If you just have Redbook quality music and don’t care much for details, sure, try the standard Raspberry Pi, but at least upgrade the crappy power supply to a linear power supply to try and get rid of most of the noise. Lots of info on this online.
 
For Optical S/PDIF, you will be hard pressed to find something more user friendly, simple, efficient and CHEAP than a Chromecast Audio. Sure, there are other things available that might be cheaper, but try configuring and managing streaming services from the comfort of your seat on your phone with super-fast interface response times. I had a WD-Live Player, Mede8er, PlayStation and some other things with optical output. They are slow and suck against the Chromecasts. I also don’t think if you use an optical source that you are seeking super high-fidelity sound. Optical is limited to 192khz and seems to have lost of jitter by design due to conversions to and from optical apparently. But it is electrically isolated from the source that can be handy when you have lots of noise from ground loops etc.
 
For COAX RCA S/PDIF, I think the DigiOne is a winner. It uses a cheap Raspberry Pi as base. It can use a cheap power supply as it cleans up the nasties nicely by itself. The sound quality is as good as USB on similar equipment. It is dead quiet, generating no distracting ambient noise. OK, COAX is limited to 192khz as well, but it is less prone to jitter. If you can clean the electrical noise (and the DigiOne does) this is the better S/PDIF connection for your trusty external DAC. There are other add-on boards for the Pi you can try out, but reviews pointed me towards the DigiOne as overall better sounding than the direct competition. It is more expensive as well, but not by so much. It’s easy to setup and looks stunning on the desk or in a rack.
 
I now use all of the above inputs connected at the same time and it provides me absolute joy! I can have great PC sound over USB for YouTube, games and music while I work, usually using closed back headphones. For dedicated high-resolution music listening, in a quiet environment with open back headphones, I switch to the DigiOne Player over Coax. For multi room audio and background music using streaming services etc. over desktop speakers, I use the Chromecast Audio over the optical connection. I think I have found a very nice and versatile setup feeding my headphones and desktop speakers. I think that if I upgrade my Schiit Stack later, I will still keep the current digital sources as is. The DigiOne is a keeper and a very welcome addition to my collection of audio gear.
 
 

Offline Wietsche

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Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2017, 12:12:57 AM »
Allo Boss DAC Review:

 
What it is, and what it’s not:
 
The same section under my DigiOne review is applicable here as well. Please read that if you have not done so already.
 
Just as with the Allo DigiOne, the Allo Boss is also an add-on sound card for the RaspBerry Pi. It plugs into the GPIO header and utilizes the I2S (Inter-IC Sound) connections to communicate with the Pi. All the reasoning for doing this is exactly the same.
 
What we end up having with this Raspberry Pi and Allo Boss DAC combo is a complete networked music streaming device in one little box. It uses the Texas Instruments PCM5122 DAC chip, more commonly known as a Burr Brown DAC chip, capable of 384 kHz/32bit sound outputs. The Boss then provides stereo RCA outputs that you just have to connect to your amplifier. You need no external DAC as with the DigiOne.
 
This DAC implementation is done in Master Mode. This means that the DAC is not using the bad Raspberry Pi clock signals directly, but uses two of its own clock oscillators of high accuracy and quality (one for the 44.1khz and one for the 44khz multiples) to call and play the music data from the Pi at its own rate. It also cleans up the power source from the Pi, as in the case of the DigiOne, before it is used for its digital to analog conversion process.
 
Allo has a very nice explanation with lots of technical details and specs on their website if you want to read further about the Boss DAC.
 
 
How I got hold of it - the customer experience:

I got this little add-on DAC board with the compliments of PiShop.co.za. I did not plan on getting the Allo Boss, but Johan from the PiShop sent me this board to try out, provided I write a review of it from a user perspective and compare it to my existing gear mentioned.
 
So, getting it was easy. The DAC board with the familiar beautiful acrylic enclosure arrived via courier with some other parts I had ordered from PiShop. I already had all the rest of the components I needed to assemble a completely functioning Allo Boss Player.
 
This can be ordered as a complete kit with all the necessary bits and pieces at a slight discount from the PiShop.co.za. Currently the kit is not listed as such, you have to ask for it.
 








 
Assembly and Setup:
 
The same section under my DigiOne review is applicable here as well. Please read that if you have not done so already.
 
I took a spare Raspberry Pi 2 I had laying around, an Allo Power Supply I used for my Pi Zero, and a 16GB class 10 SD card. I then combined it with the received Boss DAC and Enclosure and stacked it together to see what the kit would look like. I then went to work and started building the complete player.
 
It was again the familiar satisfying Lego Technic or Meccano building experience as with the DigiOne. No surprises here. I just need to mention that putting the SD card into the Pi before you start assembling is much easier than doing so afterwards with the aid of a tweezer.
 
I used an Edimax EW-7612UAn USB WiFI dongle with antenna to access my network. The Pi 2 does not have WiFi, but that is not a drawback, since the Pi 3 Wifi is shockingly bad. More about this to be found in my DigiOne review under the same section.
 
I used PiCorePlayer as my choice of music streaming system, making use of my LMS server. I formatted and wrote the system image to the SD card and booted up the system within a couple of minutes. Configuration was very easy to set up. Just follow the online instructions for the software you have chosen.
 
Here are the pictures:
 










My listening setup:
 
I used the same basic setup as explained in the DigiOne review. But I introduced some further aids to help with the comparisons.
 
The Schiit Multibit DAC was now my benchmark or reference to gauge how the Allo Boss sounded. But now I also introduced the Schiit SYS passive preamp into the mix for instantaneous switching between the two DACs as the source to my Schiit Magni 2 Uber headphone amp, and my choice of headphones. The SYS is very basic and does nothing to the sound. It is basically a high-quality source switch with a volume control that is set to full volume all the time. Switching is a simple button press and the response is immediate. My headphone amp was the only volume control used. The volume levels of the two DAC’s were the same as far as I could tell. I verified this with a simple SPL and DB meter app for sanity.
 
I used the exact same interconnect cables and lengths from each DAC to the SYS, and then my usual Cardas interconnect from the SYS out to my headphone amp input. This means that the audio path for both DACs to the amp was for all means and purposes exactly the same. If anything was affecting the sound quality, both DACS would be affected in the same way.
 
Power sources used were the stock linear power supplies from Schiit and the Allo power supplies for the Raspberry Pi’s. Thus, all power supplies come from the exact same OEM supplier, Xing Yuan Electronics.
 
The Multibit DAC was receiving digital input from my PC USB port as well as from the COAX port from the Allo DigiOne Player for some variety. To change between these two inputs, you just push a button on the Multibit.
 
I mostly used the DigiOne Player as input for the Multibit, since I have already determined the difference were negligible in my system between USB and COAX to the same DAC. Also, with PiCorePlayer and LMS you can synchronize the Allo Boss Player and the Allo DigiOne Player to play the exact same track at the exact same time using a single LMS player control. Basically, this is how you would set it up for Multi Room Audio.
 
At this point I simply push the button on the SYS to switch between the DACs and the music just flows continuously, making a mere split second disconnect sound as the source changes.
 
Headphones used were the Sennheiser HD600, Sennheiser HD650, Audeze EL8 and the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80 ohm.


 
 
How does it sound:
 
This was by far the most fun and most time-consuming experimentation session I had in a long time!
 
You probably heard it before, but DAC burn-in is very real with the Allo Boss. I left it on for a week and played random tracks through it when I was not listening and comparing. The first day, I could pin point the Multibit in a blind test without a doubt. I am very familiar with that smooth, accurate and fast sound the Multibit produces. A friend and I could also distinguish between the Modi Multibit and the stock standard Modi 2 DAC within about a minute. This was verified by double blind testing. After 2 days it was still clear when the Multibit was the selected source, but it was slightly more difficult to detect. After 4 days, I had to sit a bit and got it wrong a couple of times. After a week it was super hard to distinguish the difference. There was only a very small selection of properties that remained different between the two DACs. But this was like splitting hairs. And the headphones I used were definitely capable of lifting out the details and differences.

The Boss DAC produced a slightly warmer sound, and I found the mid-range and vocals a bit more forward, true and enjoyable.
 
The sound of the Multibit was slightly faster and more detailed, especially the highs. But it was more neutral and analytical overall, and the warm fuzzy feeling the Burr Brown gave was not so pronounced.
 
While I love the detail of the Multibit, I also enjoy the Boss very much! Let me emphasize, however: it’s not day and night, its micro shades of grey. It is flavoring. Neither DAC is unpleasant in any way.
 
As explained in my introduction, I am proud of my Schiit DAC and believe it was a good purchase. However, I found a sound competitor in the Allo Boss, which costs about half the price and functions as a standalone, low powered, silent music streamer as well. I was hoping my DAC would humble the Boss, but it did not. It just kept up with it. They were so close that if I stepped away and came back and did not look at the source selector, I could not tell which was playing.
 
I made a plan then to test my sanity and called in our local Head-Fi veteran, Francois de Villiers (AKA ScubaDude on AVSA forum). I had set up everything up so that he just had to push the button to switch between DACs. He listened, compared and made blind test notes. And then we talked about it. Guess what… he chose the Boss. At this point I was happy and sad at the same time. I was happy that I was clearly not insane or have hearing problems. But I was disappointed that my DAC was being beaten by a cheaper unit. This Boss is good. It is very good. It’s not a toy or cheap junk at all. It is new value proposition for someone needing a network streamer at a price that most people can afford. This is good news for us hobbyists!
 
We also then switched the Multibit to the PC USB input and compared, with much more effort using Foobar2000 and trying to sync the same source file playing on the Boss and the PC. Here Francios liked the Multibit a bit more at times, but at other times heavily confused what source he was listening to. He was also very surprised about the result and the awesome sound coming from the Allo Boss Player.
 
Here is Francois’ own words: “On SPDIF: both nicely tidy performance but Allo seems to have better timing, bass control and more even tonal response. By comparison Modi sounded a little shouty and closed in. Not by much but noticeable. Switching to USB input on the Modi made a big difference, with the Schiit showing off what it can do. In this arrangement the Multibit came across as the more controlled, even, detailed and dynamic performer, with a confident, convincing and realistic portrayal of the music. Considering the versatility and high performance of the Allo it is highly recommended as an entry to mid-level front end for a computer based system. Would love to compare it back to back to something like a SB touch”.


 
 
Conclusion:
 
What do you need? This determines my recommendation.
 
If you need a networked music streaming endpoint for your hi-fi system, one that you can be confident will grow with you, one that sounds more expensive than it is, this is it. Get the Allo Boss Player and be done with it. Enjoy the music.
 
If you need a standalone unit that plays your music and movies etc, still go for something like a Raspberry Pi with the Boss DAC and change the software on the SD card to something like Kodi or Rasplex. No additional costs and the flexibility is all there in the software you choose.
 
If you have nothing to start with, if you have a limited budget, or you are not sure what to get, but you are desperately seeking sound quality that is comparable with the likes of a Schiit Multibit DAC, then I wholeheartedly recommend starting with the Allo Boss Player kit. If you decide later you need to change this, go for it! The Raspberry Pi, power supply and SD card are all reusable for other interesting projects. For instance, home automation (love this stuff), smart mirrors, remote IP cameras, NAS devices, print servers (Google is your friend here). You get my point. It will not be a waste of money and a hell of a lot of fun to get a Raspberry Pi and add an Allo Boss DAC board to it!
 
If, like me, you need some more versatility on the input side of your DAC with sources coming from your PC, your Allo DigiOne, your Chromecast or your AVR optical port, then get an external separate DAC with multiple different inputs and avoid cable swapping and software tinkering. Your different needs will then always be covered with some sort of a digital source that you most probably already have.




Offline canman1971

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Re: Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2017, 06:45:28 AM »
Well written, very comprehensive, hats off to Wietsche for the amount of effort ploughed into this review. Well applauded in my books.

Offline Prince

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Re: Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2017, 10:26:53 AM »
 :cool:

Thanx for this detailed review. It explains alot to me, as I was considering the Allo Boss Dac, as an entry-level Dac for Kodi or Music Streamer listening. I have played with my Pi B and a cheapy Hifi-Berry knock-off, and via Volumio it does make a difference in the music being played and videos being watched via Kodi. Yes, its not audiophile quality, but the improvement is also noteworthy enough for the little amount of R300 spent on it.  :point:

And on the Pishop service, yes they are great, in supporting their customers, so you can buy a product from them with confidence.

So, that Allo Boss kit will be added to my wishlist!

Thanx again
 :notworthy:
"F5 Amp Power + Pedal Power = F5 Pedal Power"

Offline Wietsche

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Re: Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2017, 11:56:15 AM »
Thanks for the compliments guys! Absolute pleasure it's been! 

Comments and recommendations welcome, as always.

Enjoy!  :groovy:

Offline Mars67

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Re: Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2017, 12:49:56 PM »
Thanks for the great reviews and your insights Wietsche.

It would have been great if one could throw the Piano 2.1 with Kali re-clocker into the mix as well.

Offline itscraig

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Re: Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2017, 03:29:01 PM »
yoh boet, you have too much time on your hands, last time i saw that much typing and detail was a report i HAD to do

thank you for the read.

Offline Wietsche

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Re: Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2017, 09:49:33 PM »
Thanks for the great reviews and your insights Wietsche.

It would have been great if one could throw the Piano 2.1 with Kali re-clocker into the mix as well.
Pleasure! Would love to do if I get the opertunity. The Allo products seem to be worth the effort so far.

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Offline Wietsche

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Re: Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2017, 09:54:44 PM »
yoh boet, you have too much time on your hands, last time i saw that much typing and detail was a report i HAD to do

thank you for the read.
Yea, I went a bit overboard didn't I... hehe!

But I just went for it and thought I'll see where I end up. Was actually much less effort giving it all than cutting out some of the details. I figured we do high resolution here, so what the heck, and post it.


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Offline nubble

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Re: Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2017, 08:35:41 AM »
Thank you for a great review of RPI DACs. this is very useful to me.

Offline Mars67

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Re: Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2017, 10:25:58 AM »
In which area are you located Wietsche? Perhaps we can make a plan to compare my Allo Piano 2.1 and Kali?

Offline Wietsche

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Re: Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2017, 08:09:37 AM »
In which area are you located Wietsche? Perhaps we can make a plan to compare my Allo Piano 2.1 and Kali?
I am in Centurion. Will send you a PM, maybe we can make a plan. Would be very interesting to have an overview of all the popular Allo Pi DAC boards.

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Offline ALLO

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Re: Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2017, 02:13:12 PM »
Hi to all !
I guess I'll make this my intro post.

My name is Andre, I live in France and I work @ ALLO.
I decided to join the forum to congratulate Weitsche for the review and make myself available in case any of you had any questions about our hardware.

I will also contact admin to see how we can become a sponsor.

Regards
Andre
Andre
CMO
ALLO.com
kali / boss / digione / usbridge and more...

Offline gavinbirss

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Re: Double review: Raspberry Pi based Allo DigiOne Transport and Allo Boss DAC
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2017, 02:23:01 PM »
Hi to all !
I guess I'll make this my intro post.

My name is Andre, I live in France and I work @ ALLO.
I decided to join the forum to congratulate Weitsche for the review and make myself available in case any of you had any questions about our hardware.

I will also contact admin to see how we can become a sponsor.

Regards
Andre

Andre, Welcome.

Perhaps send a forum member or 2 a Kali to review?