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Allo Kali I2S Reclocker: a true gamechanger

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The Kali i2s Reclocker is a true gamechanger

I’ve been contacted by Ioan and Andre from Allo almost one year ago, and on our conversations it appeared that they were working on something quite innovative. They didn’t disclose so many details until Andre released this somehow cryptic post. Then of course curiosity startet to rise, both for me and the community…
Last week I finally received their package, filled with Allo’s range of product: a new single board computer called Sparky, a pair of DACs, Amplifiers, Power supplies and a misterious board.
We’ll cover in next articles all those products, let’s now focus on the last, strange item… The KALI I2S Reclocker.

What is a I2S Reclocker

In the digital Audio Domain, the accuracy of Clock is very important and it will greatly affect reproduction quality. To put in simple terms, a better Crystal Clock means better sound.
Things like sound details, instrumental separation, 3d image are hugely impacted by Jitter, and Clock directly impacts jitter. Most of the I2S DACs currently used with Volumio either feature a Master Clock integrated in the DAC, or an external Crystal. So, even if we use  I2S (the best audio connection) we are in a jitter-prone situation, especially when the clock is integrated in the DAC.

An I2S reclocker, and Kali is the first of its kind (at least for what I’m concerned), basically takes the I2S Audio signal and reclocks it , and sends this jitter-free signal to the DAC connected via I2S. In simple terms, reclocker makes sure (in the nanoseconds domain) that every bit of your track is played exactly at the moment it’s meant to.

Sound quality impacts of Kali I2S Reclocker

You might find all the above just a tedious explanation, when what really matters is what gets to your hears, right? Here’s my experience with it:

I was intrigued by this strange board, so I quickly read how to use it, I placed on top of my PI3 and attached the Collybia Mamboberry LS DAC+. Then fed the whole thing with Allo’s 5V PSU, enabled the DAC and started listening.

I was stunned, blown away like I never was before. And trust me, I’ve heard a lot of things. The immediate perception was that I was getting every fine detail out of my music. Mere example: on a guitar riff I could hear exactly guitair picks, and spot where a particular chord would stop and when the other would start. Or hear the singer taking its breath just before starting to sing. And this was just with my modest Headphone setup attached directly to the DAC ( Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, a less than ideal situation). When I tried the setup on my main system (also with the Piano DAC) I just confirmed my initial wonder. Also I could appreciate better the sound stage, at an unprecedented level.

I am not comfortable making this kind of enthusiastic statements, since I always try to be as objective as I can be. But this time I really mean it: the Kali I2S Recklocker is truly a gamechanger.

So, welcome Kali (the Indian goddes of Time), probably the most clever piece of equipment you can get for your Volumio powered PI. Why? For a reasonable price this little board will feed jitter-free music into your I2S DAC, resulting in a noticeable sound quality improvement. Not only that, power Kali with a 5V power supply, and it will directly feed clean Power both to the PI and your DAC.

And the good news is that it should theoretically work with any I2S DAC that uses Hifiberry DAC parameters, I am now doing compatibility tests with all the DACs I have (refer to the product page to see if yours is listed).

Unfortunately nor Hifiberry DAC Plus and IQ-AudIo PI-DAC+ work with the Kali (a driver issue), but we’re actively working to find a workaround. If you’re however curious to try the Kali, why not getting the Piano DAC or Collybia Mamboberry LS DAC+ as well?

Kali + Mamboberry LS

Kali + Mamboberry LS

Kali + Piano DAC, the Allo Combo

Kali + Piano DAC, the Allo Combo

To sum things up:

– It’s truly a gamechanger! The first time I listened to it, I was simply stunned (and this doesn’t happen that often…)
– Sound improvement is really noticeable: 3d image, details, instrumental separation are vastly better
– It works with virtually any i2s DAC you might have (tested with Mamboberry and DACs using Hifiberry DAC setting, to be tested with IQ Audio DAC+), refer to Compatibility section to know if your DAC has been tested with Kali
– With the Piano HiFi DAC, it makes a great bang\buck combo!
– With a single 5V Power supply, you will power the PI (or any compatible SBC) , the Kali and your I2S DAC. If you don’t have any, you can use Allo Power Supply

 

kali-i2s-reclocker-diagram1

 

Available now from Volumio Shop

And yes, you can get the Kali I2S Reclocker on our Shop, together with other Allo’s products:

I definetely thank Allo for bringing such a vent of fresh air into the Audiophile world, and I really think they are a great company (more of their products coming soon, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Be the first to review it and get it for free

Yes, you got it right. Get your Kali, then write a review on the product page sharing your experience, and if you’re one of the first 2 people doing it, you’ll get your Kali refunded!!!

I truly believe this is an amazing little thing, and I am really looking forward to see what your experience is as well!!!

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Michelangelo Guarise

Passionate. Heretical. Deeply in love with Technology and Music. I live in Florence, Italy where I teach Interaction Design and Marketing. I'm Volumio's founder and CEO, and I love every second of this great adventure. My audio gear is some strange mix of valve and digital amplifiers, all self built in some cold winter sleepless nights. And I just can't turn that volume knob down.
  • minio

    This is interesting!! Does it work With Cheapo DAC? I need an optical out.

    • volumio

      I don’t know… Which overlay does the Cheapo use?

  • sojer

    Hi,
    I am going to buy Allo Kali Reclocker, Allo Piano DAC and Rpi 3, Allo 5V PSU.

    Which Rpi 3 case should I buy for this setup?

  • I Shinichi

    HiFiBerry Digi+ can work on Allo Kali I2S Reclocker?

  • Mark

    Hi, I tried it with the Hifiberry Digi+ and unfortuntely it did not work.

    Is there a fix planed?

    • voladmin

      Hi Mark, no unfortunately. As this is not a software compatibility issue, but an hardware one…

  • Sean Wu

    Humm…
    I am using PiFi Digi+ (Hifiberry Digi+ clone).
    I guess that KALI won’t compatiable to it since it is not working with Hifiberry Digi+ so far.

  • Kyle

    Now if a handy-dandy board like this could be fabricated to break out a dual parallel 16 bit bus from an I2S… There are many older DACs I’d love to tinker with on the Pi!