HiFiBerry DAC2 Pro & HD review

By PJ Evans. Posted

HiFiBerry was one of the first firms on the scene with a range of DACs, (digital-to-analogue converters) that take Raspberry Pi’s modest audio capabilities and puts them right up there with the audiophile best. In Raspberry Pi terms, a DAC is an add-on (HAT) that provides much higher quality audio output than you would normally expect.

A rule of thumb is that the more you pay for these boards, the higher sound quality can be achieved (although the law of diminishing returns most definitely applies). HiFiBerry is offering two products, the DAC2 HD and Pro, that sit in sensible places on the spectrum between the basic sound and the ultimate hi-fi.

On the more affordable end is the DAC2 Pro. This features a dedicated 192kHz/24-bit DAC, low-jitter clocks, and low-noise voltage regulators, all with the purpose of producing the best sound possible at that price point. It also features a headphone amplifier for convenience.

A lot more punch

If you’re looking for something a little more special and suitable for professional use, the DAC2 HD packs a lot more punch by separating out many of the Pro’s components into discrete parts, allowing HiFiBerry to source the best quality in all cases.

Thoughtfully, HiFiBerry offers a dedicated operating system that makes installation as simple as connecting the DAC and powering up. We instantly had features such as Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay with zero effort. In both cases, the sound was impressive and rich. If you’re looking to build a whole-home audio system or something for studio work, these boards are fine choices.

Verdict

8/10 Another impressive bit of hardware design from HiFiBerry, offering both choice and quality at sensible prices. Combined with HiFiBerry OS, these boards are ideal for home audio projects.

Price

Pro: £35 / $42; HD: £90 / $108

Specs

DAC: Dedicated 192kHz/24-bit high-quality Burr-Brown Signal-to-noise ratio: 112 dB Sample rates: 44.1-192kHz Compatibility: All 40-pin GPIO Raspberry Pi models

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