Life of Pi

A place for DIY project discussions.
Forum rules
1. No ad-hominem
2. No spamming or shilling
User avatar
Fretless
Posts: 3254
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:15 pm
Location: Somewhere in Holland
Netherlands

Re: Life of Pi

Unread post by Fretless » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:42 am

Allo describing their DigiOne: "What we achieved, in our opinion and based on public measurements, is the best (SP/DIF digital audio) transport at any price point (yes, even when compared with 5k USD/EUR transports)."

Okay - after that you are really thinking: Arrogant marketing pitch. How can something the size of a credit card on an ultra-budget-priced computing-system designed for schoolchildren sound like proper audio?

Well I have been more than pleasantly surprised several times so far during my journey with Raspberry Pi and various attributes. The HifiBerry Digi+ card roundly trounced the popular Sonos Connect in audio terms, then HifiBerry came with the improved Digi+ PRO with double clocking chips. I thought that to be pretty well the ultimate in what this approach could do and ordered the Allo DigiOne as a bit of fun, not expecting there to be much difference.

It seems that the trick with digital audio lies in the timing of data streams. The more precisely the data can be synchronised and passed on to the DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter), the more accurately can the sonic waveform signal be created and the better your SQ is. So the engineers at Allo have packed their board with clocking chips and ensured that the circuitry is completely isolated from the electronically noisy environment of the Pi board. That enemy of good sound, Jitter (desynchronising of the bit-stream) is almost totally eliminated. Impressive - on paper.

Image

As with most Pi products - assembling the players in kit form is a half-hours fiddly fun and cursing when you find out you've done it wrong! But at last you come out with something that can be placed into a stereo rig. To provide for a direct comparison with the Pi / Digi+ PRO combo I hooked the Allo player up with the Musette DAC using the same Tomanek PSU, Profigold OCC cable and 2 AQ Jitterbugs (have to check if they are still needed - another time). Running the same Volumio OS, which just had to switch over the software from one I2S board to another, and we're ready to roll.

Ulp! did I think this would be comparable to the Digi+ PRO? No, it kicks it into the dust and leaves it standing. For the first time in this system it is as if the instruments and sounds become tactile - you can almost reach out and grab them they appear so solid. Accuracy is bizarre, detail phenomenal (help - I'm running out of adjectives here!), bass is rich, deep and tight, imaging razor-sharp.

Having never experienced a 5k streaming device I have no idea what it does, but this little player sounds like one. If there's anything better on the planet then just show it to me. Anyone looking for a network player - you owe it to yourself to try out the Allo DigiOne / Pi transport before you waste your hard-earned on something far more expensive and far less enjoyable.
NVA: P50sa - SSP - A40 - LS6 - Cube3
Digits: RPi 2B / Allo DigiOne / Volumio / Tomanek ULPS / AQ Jitterbug
CD Transport: Cambridge CXC DAC: Metrum Acoustics Musette
Cans: AudioQuest NightHawk Digital i/c: Oxypure OCC coax & optical

User avatar
George Hincapie
Posts: 943
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:50 am
Location: Buckinghamshire
Great Britain

Re: Life of Pi

Unread post by George Hincapie » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:22 pm

I am struggling with the paper on the acrylic TBH...
Main System: Allo DigiOne • Tomanek LPSU • Metrum Acoustics Onyx • NVA P90SA • NVA A80 MKII • NVA Cube 2 MKII • NVA TSCS • NVA TIS MKII • Custom Design SQ404

Headphone System: Auralic Aries Mini • LDA LPSU • Metrum Acoustics Musette • Metrum Acoustics Aurix • AudioQuest NightHawk Carbon • NVA SSP MKII

PC System: Cambridge Audio DACMagic Plus • LDA LPSU • Grado SR80e

Server: VortexBox Prestige 2 MX • Supra CAT8

User avatar
Fretless
Posts: 3254
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:15 pm
Location: Somewhere in Holland
Netherlands

Re: Life of Pi

Unread post by Fretless » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:25 pm

Fiddly, aint it.
NVA: P50sa - SSP - A40 - LS6 - Cube3
Digits: RPi 2B / Allo DigiOne / Volumio / Tomanek ULPS / AQ Jitterbug
CD Transport: Cambridge CXC DAC: Metrum Acoustics Musette
Cans: AudioQuest NightHawk Digital i/c: Oxypure OCC coax & optical

User avatar
George Hincapie
Posts: 943
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:50 am
Location: Buckinghamshire
Great Britain

Re: Life of Pi

Unread post by George Hincapie » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:28 pm

Proving impossible for my big sausage fingers at the moment :-?
Main System: Allo DigiOne • Tomanek LPSU • Metrum Acoustics Onyx • NVA P90SA • NVA A80 MKII • NVA Cube 2 MKII • NVA TSCS • NVA TIS MKII • Custom Design SQ404

Headphone System: Auralic Aries Mini • LDA LPSU • Metrum Acoustics Musette • Metrum Acoustics Aurix • AudioQuest NightHawk Carbon • NVA SSP MKII

PC System: Cambridge Audio DACMagic Plus • LDA LPSU • Grado SR80e

Server: VortexBox Prestige 2 MX • Supra CAT8

User avatar
George Hincapie
Posts: 943
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:50 am
Location: Buckinghamshire
Great Britain

Re: Life of Pi

Unread post by George Hincapie » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:23 pm

Got mine built now as well. Bloody fiddly case was fiddly!
Main System: Allo DigiOne • Tomanek LPSU • Metrum Acoustics Onyx • NVA P90SA • NVA A80 MKII • NVA Cube 2 MKII • NVA TSCS • NVA TIS MKII • Custom Design SQ404

Headphone System: Auralic Aries Mini • LDA LPSU • Metrum Acoustics Musette • Metrum Acoustics Aurix • AudioQuest NightHawk Carbon • NVA SSP MKII

PC System: Cambridge Audio DACMagic Plus • LDA LPSU • Grado SR80e

Server: VortexBox Prestige 2 MX • Supra CAT8

User avatar
Fretless
Posts: 3254
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:15 pm
Location: Somewhere in Holland
Netherlands

Re: Life of Pi

Unread post by Fretless » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:53 am

Having got over the traumas of assembling the Allo casing, I have been giving the new unit more attention. a couple of the comments I have read on the web say that the difference in SQ between the DigiOne and HifiBerry's Digi+ PRO are only marginal - which surprises me as I find it a clear-as-night-and-day improvement.Could it be that the transparency of the NVA set reveals information that other systems just aren't able to ?

The second output from the DigiOne is a BNC socket on which I have fitted a BNC-RCA adaptor. Running from this is a far more modest headphone system consisting of a Cambridge DacMagic100 with a secondhand 1970's Sansui AU217 amp, and for this test I was using mid-price Sony MDR 100AAP cans.
With this budget gear the differences in performance between the two digital sources were still very apparent: wider, more detailed soundstage, a far greater resolution of small-scale detail and a generally, richer, smoother character.

Now I am not really into 'big sound', my hifi goal is to have a fairly small installation that allows me maximum access to the music at relatively low volumes. Using the Allo DigiOne certainly helps in this as even when the main NVA system is running quite quietly there is still a definite 'presence' and weight to the sound, with (to me) an exquisite layer of detail and refinement.

Yet again I run into the feeling of wanting to play all my old favourites, just to see what I have been missing all these years.
:grin: :guiness;
NVA: P50sa - SSP - A40 - LS6 - Cube3
Digits: RPi 2B / Allo DigiOne / Volumio / Tomanek ULPS / AQ Jitterbug
CD Transport: Cambridge CXC DAC: Metrum Acoustics Musette
Cans: AudioQuest NightHawk Digital i/c: Oxypure OCC coax & optical

User avatar
George Hincapie
Posts: 943
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:50 am
Location: Buckinghamshire
Great Britain

Re: Life of Pi

Unread post by George Hincapie » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:49 am

You are making me so jealous - wish my Roon enabled Diet Pi SD card would hurry the f*ck up :guiness;
Main System: Allo DigiOne • Tomanek LPSU • Metrum Acoustics Onyx • NVA P90SA • NVA A80 MKII • NVA Cube 2 MKII • NVA TSCS • NVA TIS MKII • Custom Design SQ404

Headphone System: Auralic Aries Mini • LDA LPSU • Metrum Acoustics Musette • Metrum Acoustics Aurix • AudioQuest NightHawk Carbon • NVA SSP MKII

PC System: Cambridge Audio DACMagic Plus • LDA LPSU • Grado SR80e

Server: VortexBox Prestige 2 MX • Supra CAT8

User avatar
George Hincapie
Posts: 943
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:50 am
Location: Buckinghamshire
Great Britain

Re: Life of Pi

Unread post by George Hincapie » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:07 pm

Have the DigiOne up and running in my system. Currently listening to London Grammar and it is insane. I can only echo everything Fretless posted. This is the best audio I have had out of my system. Ever.

The DigiOne destroys any other digital transport I have used (including the £1500 TOTL Auralic Aries with LPSU). An incredible little board.
Main System: Allo DigiOne • Tomanek LPSU • Metrum Acoustics Onyx • NVA P90SA • NVA A80 MKII • NVA Cube 2 MKII • NVA TSCS • NVA TIS MKII • Custom Design SQ404

Headphone System: Auralic Aries Mini • LDA LPSU • Metrum Acoustics Musette • Metrum Acoustics Aurix • AudioQuest NightHawk Carbon • NVA SSP MKII

PC System: Cambridge Audio DACMagic Plus • LDA LPSU • Grado SR80e

Server: VortexBox Prestige 2 MX • Supra CAT8

User avatar
Fretless
Posts: 3254
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:15 pm
Location: Somewhere in Holland
Netherlands

Re: Life of Pi

Unread post by Fretless » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:21 pm

... nice ! .... 8-) :guiness;
NVA: P50sa - SSP - A40 - LS6 - Cube3
Digits: RPi 2B / Allo DigiOne / Volumio / Tomanek ULPS / AQ Jitterbug
CD Transport: Cambridge CXC DAC: Metrum Acoustics Musette
Cans: AudioQuest NightHawk Digital i/c: Oxypure OCC coax & optical

User avatar
George Hincapie
Posts: 943
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:50 am
Location: Buckinghamshire
Great Britain

Re: Life of Pi

Unread post by George Hincapie » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:27 pm

I am using that new Mamboberry LPSU ATM Fretless. Will try the Tomanek for comparison later. The DigiOne is supposedly unaffected by supply; not sure I believe that but we'll see.
Main System: Allo DigiOne • Tomanek LPSU • Metrum Acoustics Onyx • NVA P90SA • NVA A80 MKII • NVA Cube 2 MKII • NVA TSCS • NVA TIS MKII • Custom Design SQ404

Headphone System: Auralic Aries Mini • LDA LPSU • Metrum Acoustics Musette • Metrum Acoustics Aurix • AudioQuest NightHawk Carbon • NVA SSP MKII

PC System: Cambridge Audio DACMagic Plus • LDA LPSU • Grado SR80e

Server: VortexBox Prestige 2 MX • Supra CAT8

Post Reply