Odroid C1+ and its brand new HiFi shield just landed, and the combo sounds extremely interesting.
We already talked about the excellent Odroid C1, and its great priceperformance ratio. There was just one thing missing: an i2s DAC.
As you know, I2s DACs are becoming the audio interface of choice for Audiophiles using Volumio on their embedded devices. Both Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black already offer a compelling choice on such field.
Hardkernel just addressed this by releasing their C1+ HiFi Shield, thus making the newly released Odroid C1+ a great valuable choice for Audiophiles. Quoting from them, the new HiFi Shield offers:
1. The DAC chip uses a high-end PCM5102 chip from Burr-Brown company (now part of TI) which utilizes the I2S interface. It supports 16 to 24 bit audio formats with minimal distortion (-93dB) and ideal dynamics (100dB+), plus amazing sampling rates of 192kHz.
2. The output ports include gold-plated stereo RCA terminals and a 3.5mm audio jack.3. An ultra-low noise dropout regulator is coupled with two solid capacitors for the power supply, significantly reducing power supply noise and greatly increasing the signal to noise ratio.4. The I2S interface allows for direct decoding of the digital input to analog output using master clock synchronization.
3. An ultra-low noise dropout regulator is coupled with two solid capacitors for the power supply, significantly reducing power supply noise and greatly increasing the signal to noise ratio.
4. The I2S interface allows for direct decoding of the digital input to analog output using master clock synchronization.
5. The PCB surface is comprised of gold-plating on top of 2 oz. of copper, ensuring signal continuity and reducing signal reflection and refraction.
And here it is:
Hardkernel provides also instrumental measurements:
- Signal Noise Ratio (SNR): 111,8
- Noise Level: -107 dBm
- Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise Ratio (THD+N): 0,007
(average, my calulations from their data)
Aside from such measurements, my listening impressions are more than positive. I’ve been listening this combo (on Volumio 1.55) for some time now, and results are really good (you know I’m not used to make comparisons, nor making sommelierish statements about how something sounds to my ears).
There is however a clear miss on this DAC: the absence of an Hardware Mixer. This means that in order to change volume the Software Volume mixer on Volumio should be selected, resulting in a small but audible sound degradation.
Volumio 1.55 is compatible with Odroid C1+ HiFi Shield, let’s see how to enable it:
- First, prepare Volumio SD Card as usual and connect everything (LAN, USB memory if any and power). Then, enable the HiFi Shield from Settings Menu.
- Then, reboot the player. Once restarted, select C1+ HiFi Shield from Playback MenuTo enable remote volume control, just enable software mixer
- Done! You’re now set and ready to enjoy. If you wish, you can now enable Spotify from Settings Menu (requires a reboot to take effect.