odroid-hifi-shield.jpg

Volumio and the new Odroid C1+ HiFi Shield

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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:

C1+HiFiShieldBoarddetail

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.
      select

 

    • Then, reboot the player. Once restarted, select C1+ HiFi Shield from Playback Menuselect2To enable remote volume control, just enable software mixerselect3

 

  • 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.

The HiFi Shield is available from Hardkernel Store and Volumio 1.55 for Odroid C1+ can be downloaded as usual from the Download Page.

 

 

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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.
  • Renato Laus

    So, the Hi-fi shield costs 10$ more than the Hifiberry Dac+ but it actually offers less functionality? Doesn’t sound like a good deal…

  • Soul_Est

    The ODROID C1+ is however a better value against the Raspberry-Pi in raw hardware specifications. There also isn’t anything preventing a 3rd party from creating and releasing their own DAC as Hifiberry has done for the Raspberry-Pi.

    • Michael Kelly

      My company, Pi 2 Design has come out with two new DAC boards. One is Raspberry Pi and Odroid C1+/C2 compatible, while the other is for the Pi-Zero. We are porting Volumio now and testing on the Odroid C1+. We should have it all ready within the next few weeks. My apologies if this inappropriate to mention here.

  • Malin

    I want near perfect audio and wants this combo bad, but but I am concerned about
    how much of a degration of sound quality the lack of h/w volume control cause?
    Anyone?

  • TJ Roelsma

    Hello, I’m new to this forum. My name is TJ, I’m currently running Volumio on a Raspberry Pi B and I’m looking for an upgrade.
    I basically have the same question as Malin. Michaelangelo can you tell how much degradation is caused by the lack of a hardware volume control in the DAC? Is it a few % or is it 10’s of %?

    • Michael Kelly

      Maybe I am wrong, but since the ouput is line level and goes to some downstream amp, any HW volume control should be in that amp, bot in the DAC. IMHO.

  • GC

    am looking for an economical solution, leaning toward C2?, is this what u recommend?

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