1 week ago

DAC+ DSP review

Upcycle old speakers and add smarts to an analogue stereo with powerful digital signal processing.

HiFiBerry’s new DAC+ DSP (£60/ $80) hopes to take Raspberry Pi audio to another level, bringing digital signal processing (DSP) to a reasonably priced DAC (digital-to-analogue converter).

Regular readers may notice that it bears a lot of similarity to the recent Beocreate board (reviewed in The MagPi #72). The DAC+ DSP has much of the technology from the more expensive Beocreate (£149), but with only two RCA outputs (as opposed to the Beocreate’s four).

This article first appeared in The MagPi 75 and was written by Lucy Hattersley

Wired for sound

We found setup relatively straightforward. The board attaches directly to the GPIO pins of a Raspberry Pi 2/3 or Pi Zero, from which it draws its power. We tested it out with a Pi Zero W.
OSMC works right out of the box and LibreELEC required a one-line tweak to the config.txt file. HiFiBerry hadn’t got the online documentation up during our review, but it has detailed setup guides for all its other products and we found following the regular DAC+ guide good enough to get going.

DSP is where things get interesting. You can affect the digital audio output, adding your own customisations and effects with code.

HiFiBerry has a GitHub repository with a range of software options for DSP boards. One interesting option is to use REW (Room EQ Wizard) software to analyse the acoustics in your room.

You can also set up a speaker crossover; this takes the single digital input signal and creates multiple output signals of high-, mid-, and low-range frequencies that can be tweaked.

Verdict

8/10

We like this board a lot. It offers all the joy of a high-end DAC with an additional layer of coding for digital audiophiles.