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Old 13th August 2015, 10:14 AM   #1
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Sjślland, Denmark
Default External USB DAC with OpenElec on Raspberry Pi

Forgive me if this is off topic!

I want to use an external USB DAC with the Rapsberry Pi - and somtimes the Pi finds the DAC, and sometimes is doesn't which is pretty annoying. With the Hifiberry dac is is possible to force the beast to use the Hifiberry by adding a couple of lines to the config.txt.

My question is: Is it possible to do the same with other DACs, and if so: What do I write (I am almost Linux illiterate!)

When the Pi finds the DAC it looks like this in the /storage/.kodi/userdata/guisettings file:

<audiooutput><ac3passthrough default="true">true</ac3passthrough><ac3transcode default="true">false</ac3transcode><audiodevice>ALSA:@:CARD=Audio,DEV=0</audiodevice>

This is the DAC I use:
32BIT192K AK4399 SA9227 NE5534 Support PCM DAC USB Decoding Completed Board YJ | eBay

(Though I use Broskie's Unbalancer instead of the op-amp (which gives a much sweeter sound)).
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Old 2nd September 2015, 10:42 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: California
From what I have read (not first had experience) the SA9023 USB chip is not all that reliable under Linux. OTOH I have read that the Tenor TE7022 is a more reliable interface.

Your board has the SA chip. Seems to follow the pattern. Otherwise, nice board but not too useful if it only sometimes works!

I am currently using very inexpensive ($12each!) PCM2704 based DACs. Highest rate I can do is 16/48k, but it's plug and play on the Pi under Raspbian and I like that very much.

I have been eyeing the Hifimediy Tiny Sabre USB DAC, which runs about $30. It uses the a PCM2706 and an ES9023 at up to 16/48k.

A step up from that is the HiFimeDIY Sabre USB DAC. This uses the TE7022L and the ES9023 at up to 24/96k. This would probably be a good solution for you if you cannot get your current DAC to work reliably with the Pi.
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Old 3rd September 2015, 05:56 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: California
Wanted to add that some Ebay sellers advertise their DAC as having a TE7022L IC, but in the text and pictures that show that the TE7022L has been replaced by an SA9023. Make sure that you actually get what you think you are getting!

Also SA9227 seems to have positive feedback when used under Linux, with the Pi, etc.
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Last edited by CharlieLaub; 3rd September 2015 at 06:20 PM. Reason: updated
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Old 3rd September 2015, 06:46 PM   #4
Gregje is offline Gregje  United Kingdom
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: London
I am using Hifimediy SABRE DAC with Raspberry Pi 2 with OpenElec. Works like a charm. Never had problems with this configuration.
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Old 3rd September 2015, 07:31 PM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Sjślland, Denmark
Thanks everybody for the input!

My experience is also that the SA9227 works reliably most! of the time, but it is not good enough when other (less nerdy!) members of the household need to use the set-up. So I decided to invest i Hifiberry Dac+ and Digi+ - and they are reliable all of the time. They sound good too - perhaps not in the absolute top notch category, but the price-performance equation is unparallelled. It'll do - as the leader of the big band I once played with said when we were tuning: It's good enough for jazz!
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