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ALLO BOSS DAC 1.2 Performance
ALLO BOSS DAC 1.2 Performance
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Old 2nd February 2018, 03:25 PM   #21
SanjeevM is offline SanjeevM
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Allo is known for its low cost Audiophile products, and rightfully so.

It will be difficult for them to use the latest dac chip AND keep the price down. They 'may' opt for a slightly earlier chip.

I dont think they will cross the psychological benchmark of $100 ....
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Old 2nd February 2018, 03:47 PM   #22
wcwc is offline wcwc  United States
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Sounded like the Katana price would be between $100 and $200.
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Old 2nd February 2018, 04:25 PM   #23
soundcheck is offline soundcheck  Germany
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Nope. That's not it.

They'll use the latest DAC chip on the Katana - a ES9038Q2M.
And they also use state of the art parts on the boards.
Who else is using supercaps on a DAC board?
Allo - meanwhile - performs also pretty advanced on the SW/driver side.


It's the peoples mindset. Most people wouldn't expect such
a good soundquality from a DIY-HAT device.
That mindset might change and actually is changing slowly but surely. Allo is working on it. One step at a time. If the quality would again raise a big step
up I'd be also willing to pay for that. Many people would. I've seen several people changing from e.g. HifiBerry to the DigiOne. Most of them were also happy with the Hifiberry until they tried the Digione.

Actually many of us are hopping from here to there. Some more some less.


Selling a ES9038Pro HAT in volumes will be a challenge for them.
However. Considering that boards like the Soekris DAC or Twisted Pear
would be still more expensive I do think they have a working
business case in front of them.

All that sounds like an Allo commercial. Doesn't it??
The problem: There's pretty much no competition out there. IMO Audiophonics can't keep the pace up for the time being.


Enjoy.
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Old 2nd February 2018, 04:34 PM   #24
soundcheck is offline soundcheck  Germany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcwc View Post
Sounded like the Katana price would be between $100 and $200.
Quite a range!?!?

Did Allo mention anything about price yet?

They IMO can't go that high.

Of course it'll depend what they'll put on the board beside the DAC.
And what PS is required. If e.g. +-15V for the output stage would be
required the cost would rise again.

In the end there must be a reasonable price/performance factor attached.
There a ES9038Q2M boards sold at 40$ on Ebay. They can't ask anything they like.
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Old 2nd February 2018, 04:40 PM   #25
Greg Stewart is offline Greg Stewart  United States
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ALLO BOSS DAC 1.2 Performance
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundcheck View Post
I had a discussion over at AA.

There's a guy who compared the Boss1.2 with a tiny Apogee Groove USB-DAC (350 over here).
He prefers the Groove - not by a small margin.
Though he's saying that he also likes the Boss1.2 very much.

Now. Reading between the lines.

He's running a very basic setup on the Boss. There's a good chance that the performance would improve
with a little extra effort. Separate PS etc.

Nevertheless.

I do suspect the outputsection to make that "big" difference.
The Groove runs a ES9016 or 18 with 2*4 outputs paralleled - the effect is known - and a following constant current stage.
They basically are not facing any impedance issues. It'll be pretty much irrelevant what amp you're attaching.

I hope Allo is looking closely into the output section of the Katana.
However. A 9038Pro with 4 paralleled outputs would most probably be the better base.
But that chip alone costs a fortune. Who is gonna buy a >200$ HAT?

Enjoy.
Hey Soundcheck!

I looked at that thread too and have been restraining myself on replying. Agree, he is not hearing what one gets from a good RPi-based setup using basic supplies as he is doing.

What most don't get is that the DAC portion of a good $1000-$3000 DAC-chip-based (unlike something like the FPGA-based PS Audio Directstream or Chord DACS) is basically the same as what is in a good RPi DAC such as the Allo.com BOSS 1.2 & Piano 2.1. MOST of the parts cost for DACs in that range is for the power supply and the case. AND about as much is spent on the circuitry for the interfaces (USB, S/PDIF, Toslink, etc) as on the DAC and output stages circuitry.

With the RPi DACs, you don't need the interface circuitry because of the I2S feed from the RPi. So you have the basic DAC board and just need to add power supplies. Do that like they did in that thread on AA & you have the sound of a $200 DAC. Do it with good supplies like many of us use and you can approach $1000 - $3000 DACs.

I agree that the output stage contributes significantly to a DACs sound. That's what I found with Ian's prototype ES9018K2M DAC HAT and the Dial Audio DAC HATs, both the stock one and my HotRodded one. Where Allo.com has closed the gap is in a more sophisticated power filtering and regulation network than has been seen in a reasonably-priced RPi DAC so far... and that lets the admittedly limited output stage built-in to the PCM5122 perform as well as I have ever heard it.

But then there's the Katana... based on what I've read, they appear to be focusing a LOT of their efforts on the output stages!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wcwc View Post
Sounded like the Katana price would be between $100 and $200.
That's' what I remember too. Given the power supply circuitry they'll use to provide +- rail voltages for their custom Sparkos Lab discrete opamp output stages (and the cost of those opamp stages too!), I will be surprised if they keep it under $200. BUT they've surprised me before. AND I bet it will be worth it, especially with being able to apply the same techniques that work so well in the BOSS 1.2.

Later!

Greg in Mississippi
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Old 2nd February 2018, 04:47 PM   #26
wcwc is offline wcwc  United States
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Based on the Katana thread, it is actually 3 stacked hat boards due to the power supply regulation and the output stage. Guess we will see when it comes out.
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Old 2nd February 2018, 04:59 PM   #27
Greg Stewart is offline Greg Stewart  United States
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ALLO BOSS DAC 1.2 Performance
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundcheck View Post
Nope. That's not it.

They'll use the latest DAC chip on the Katana - a ES9038Q2M.
And they also use state of the art parts on the boards.
Who else is using supercaps on a DAC board?
Allo - meanwhile - performs also pretty advanced on the SW/driver side.


It's the peoples mindset. Most people wouldn't expect such
a good soundquality from a DIY-HAT device.
That mindset might change and actually is changing slowly but surely. Allo is working on it. One step at a time. If the quality would again raise a big step
up I'd be also willing to pay for that. Many people would. I've seen several people changing from e.g. HifiBerry to the DigiOne. Most of them were also happy with the Hifiberry until they tried the Digione.

Actually many of us are hopping from here to there. Some more some less.


Selling a ES9038Pro HAT in volumes will be a challenge for them.
However. Considering that boards like the Soekris DAC or Twisted Pear
would be still more expensive I do think they have a working
business case in front of them.

All that sounds like an Allo commercial. Doesn't it??
The problem: There's pretty much no competition out there. IMO Audiophonics can't keep the pace up for the time being.


Enjoy.
Soundcheck,

Great summation! Agree on all you've said including Audiophonics offerings not being at the same level a Allo's.

I think they've also done a great job of maximizing their DAC board performance while still using a single power supply for both the Pi and the DAC board... and I suspect that the latest configuration they are using on the BOSS 1.2 is the best they've done in that realm while also minimizing any negative impact when using good separate supplies.

Where I think they should focus is in educating their potential customers on both the importance of power supplies to good sound and the 'stepping-stone' nature of their products... you can start with a BOSS 1.2 or Piano 2.1 directly on an RPi with a single supply for decent, if not great sound. Then later add separate supplies, an Isolator, and for a Piano 2.1, a Kali (maybe for the BOSS 1.2 too... we'll see). And that each increment provides significant SQ improvements with the end result providing SQ of DACs well above what they've spent.

I've commented some on the BOSS 1.2 also over on the CA thread here:

BOSS v 1.2 - DAC - Digital to Analog Conversion - Computer Audiophile

If I can say I would still be satisfied musically when replacing my SDTrans384 -> Soekris setup with an RPi -> Isolator -> BOSS 1.2 setup, that says a LOT about how good the latter is. NO, it doesn't beat the higher priced setup. BUT it is not a letdown from it either.

AS MUCH AS ANYTHING, I believe it is a matter of education, marketing, and clever product design that enables a stepping-stone path from basic to great. Allo.com already has great products at seriously real-world prices!

Greg in Mississippi
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Old 2nd February 2018, 05:03 PM   #28
Greg Stewart is offline Greg Stewart  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcwc View Post
Based on the Katana thread, it is actually 3 stacked hat boards due to the power supply regulation and the output stage. Guess we will see when it comes out.
Which is what is needed to get the best sound out of a RPi DAC setup, due to the limited space in the DAC HAT board size.

What many don't get is that you still have to supply those boards with good power to sound their best... and that means more boxes (or adapters) and real-estate taken.

Greg in Mississippi
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Old 2nd February 2018, 05:17 PM   #29
wcwc is offline wcwc  United States
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I am building a Dam-1021 setup now, but still waiting on parts to finish the power supplies. So I have researched all about the benefits of good power supply. I was going to try it with I2S in from the raspberry pi (with isolator and Kali2 (when it comes out)) and the Allo DigiOne to see which one I like better. Possibly looking at a Boss1.2 or the Katana for another location.
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Old 3rd February 2018, 08:35 AM   #30
soundcheck is offline soundcheck  Germany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Stewart View Post
Agree on all you've said including Audiophonics offerings not being at the same level a Allo's.

I've been working with Audiophonics current top-of-the-line ES9028Q2M HAT DAC for about 2 weeks.
1 week alone to get that driver working!

What's nice. It can run as single HAT with just one 5V supply.
What's bad. It must run with just one 5V supply and that one must power the PI too.

However. There are numerous more "so-and-sos".

I received that device free-of-charge to be able to do some DOP testing and integration testing for Moode.
That's why I won't go into more details.

The fact that the driver is not part of the rpi-kernel though is a NoGo from my perspective.
I actually had the kernel patch prepared, working and tested myself.
They were not interested! OooooKaye. I kept it for myself then.

To have a working SW driver process in place is key to success. Especially
on more advanced DACs that require quite some software.

Verdict:
Most of you know what I'm currently running in my main system.

On the other side.
Allo (inmate cdsgames) listens very closely to what we have to say.
You'll find several features that are based on feedback from this site.

Enjoy.

Last edited by soundcheck; 3rd February 2018 at 08:38 AM.
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