Best Raspberry Pi DAC Reviews: Top Sound cards for Pi 3Mandip
The Raspberry Pi itself is a fully functional desktop-like computer which helps to make numerous electronics projects. You can create countless innovative and useful designs with the help of various Raspberry Pi boards. And the latest Raspberry Pi 3 is the fastest and smartest among its all family members. But, among all the goods and efficient specifications, one probably annoying lacking feature in any Pi model is that it lacks inbuilt Audio. Though the Raspberry Pi 3 comes with an HDMI and one audio port, you will need an AMP/DAC to turn it into an MP3 sound system.
There are a number of companies who claim to provide the best Raspberry Pi sound card. But, here I will review the top Raspberry Pi DACs as they will be good enough to pick one most suitable for your project (I think).
Best DAC for Raspberry Pi
1) HiFiBerry DAC+ – Pro
This digital to analog converter is capable of delivering a high resolution to your various Raspberry Pi models. HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro is designed specifically for the Raspberry Pi device which means you will get the peak audio quality on your music setup powered by Pi.
Top features of HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro Raspberry Pi Audio Card are:
- It is a Burr-Brown DAC with 24bit/192Khz audio frequency.
- The dual RCA jacks are completely gold plated which ensures you have the desired connection output.
- You do not need to buy any USB cable as the HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro has plug and play functionality. You can directly connect it to your Pi device.
- It is compatible with Raspberry Pi 3, Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, Raspberry Pi Model A+ and Raspberry Pi Model B+.
- Assembled and tested by the experts to make sure that you do not face problems while connecting it to your device.
- It does not support the older Raspberry Pi Model A and Model B.
- You will need a separate power supply for this DAC. The Raspberry Pi Power Supply may not work with this sound card.
For your projects like small music systems, multi-room audio playback devices, home automation systems, and other high-end designs that need audio commands; the HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro is the perfect sound card for Raspberry Pi 3. Its voltage regulator helps you to have dynamic audio experience by setting the low noise. Only the concern is about its compatibility with the original Pi models and also the need for an additional power source.
2) Pimoroni pHAT DAC Sound Card for Raspberry Pi
The affordable and top quality DAC from Pimoroni gives you one of the coolest and best Raspberry Pi sound cards. Initially, it was meant for the Raspberry Pi Zero board, but soon users found that it is compatible with all the Pi circuit boards which have 40 pin GPIO headers.
Benefits of Pimoroni pHAT Raspberry Pi DAC are:
- It is compatible with almost all the Raspberry Pi boards including Pi 3, Pi 2, Model B+, Model A+, and Raspberry Pi Zero board.
- You will get pHAT formatted and assembled sound card to have a high-quality audio output.
- Pre-attached 3.5mm stereo jack replaces the dual RCA phono connector to work with the I2S interface of your Pi.
- It is available at an affordable price, so you will have a hassle-free purchase without emptying your pockets.
- Easy to setup and use. Just solder the 40 pins, and you are good to go.
- Though it comes with assembled stereo jack, it lacks the twin RCA phono connector.
- There may be cheap DACs available with similar specifications for the Raspberry Pi Zero sound card.
For your projects like home-made radio, mobile music streaming system, and other home automation designs, the Pimoroni pHAT DAC is a perfect sound card to use with Raspberry Pi.
3) SainSmart HIFI DAC Sound Card Module for Raspberry Pi 2
Another tech giant company SainSmart designed and introduced audio card module for the Raspberry Pi Interface. This DAC expansion board comes with a PCM5122 chip which helps you to build your own network HIFI player.
Features of SainSmart HIFI DAC for Raspberry Pi 2 are:
- It is specifically designed to be used with the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B and Model B+.
- The PCM5122 chip comes with inbuilt hardware to control the audio.
- Works perfectly for the XBMC systems and for those who want to create their own HIFI player.
- LED lights help to know the current status of the DAC (Working mode, normal mode, and off).
- Two output interface to make sure that you can have your convenient connection with the external amplifier or any other component.
- It is not flexible to support the advanced Raspberry Pi 3 model.
- May not work with the older Raspberry Pi models like model A and model B.
If you want to create an audio system or home automation design with your Raspberry Pi 2 board, then this SainSmart DAC is an excellent option to have. But look for the other standard audio cards if you already purchased the latest Raspberry Pi 3.
I listed the most sought and top-rated Raspberry Pi sound cards that are available in the market. I will update the list as I find new, compatible, and perfect Raspberry Pi DACs.
Which DAC audio card you like the most? Are you using some other fantastic working sound card for your Raspberry Pi system? Let the world know about it. Hit the comment section below and share your thoughts.
Raspberry Pi Rocks!