Allo USBridge vs DigiOne: USB vs. S/PDIF

For a DAC like Chord's Qutest that offers both USB and S/PDIF (BNC) inputs, is the Allo USBridge or the DigiOne the better route? From reading online, I am under the impression that S/PDIF is preferred over USB, but Chord appears to recommend USB -- this leaves me somewhat confused... Has anybody compared the two Allo products or similar ones?

Cheers! 

Original Post

Regarding async USB and SPDIF they should both be equivalent. I personally prefer the results with SPDIF from a good quality transport... SPDIF is purpose made for the job... I do believe the tolerances are tighter with the SPDIF interface specification compared to USB which might help.... but it will be down to personal choice and what your transport can support... if it can support both, choose what sounds best for you... for me that was SPDIF.

Thanks Simon for sharing your experience. With the Allo it is either or... Unfortunately they don't have a product that supports both outputs. When looking for reviews and user experiences, I am under the impression that the DigiOne (S/PDIF) receives more attention than the USBridge -- possibly fed by the perceived wisdom that S/PDIF is better? But why would Chord believe USB was better? That puzzles me... 

I need local memory and S/PDIF outputs and have developed a custom Raspbian image that I use on a number of Raspberry Pi devices. Thus, for me, the choice was obvious and I bought a DigiOne. I also have a Schiit Eitr that I sometimes connect to one of the USB ports of the RPi3B+ hosting the DigiOne. I have also tried a Mutec MC-3+ USB as an alternative to the Eitr and DigiOne.

Your choice also dependes on what you intend to use the DigiOne or the USBridge for. If the device is meant to act as a network player in your environment, you could also consider alternatives like the Sonore microRendu and ultraRendu, the SoTM sMS-200 and sMS-200ultra, etc. They should provide a better USB output than a Raspberry Pi. Apart from the DigiOne and the HifiBerry Digi+ Pro, I do not know devices that can act as S/PDIF network player or server. Perhaps the dCS or the discuntinued Sonore Signature Rendu.

T38.45 posted:

did you check Shiit Eitr as well?

 

I have read about it, but to be honest not looked into this one in detail. I am a bit worried about getting into a spaghetti system... It would certainly get me into trouble with the wife, if the living room got to messy... ;-)

Yes, the Allo would serve as a renderer. I quite like the Chord sound (ergo, my interest in the Qutest); and I would like to experiment with Roon. So getting a Chord DAC and keeping the ND5XS doesn't appeal. But I am a bit reluctant to leave the Naim eco-system... Maybe I should just order a Digione and a Coax BNC cable -- to experiment and see how I am getting along with Roon and other software solutions... 

I started my Roon journey over a year ago and have ended up with a Sonore IltraRendu with an LPS1 PS and that feeds. Mutec 3 USB but i use the Spdif to connect to nDAC and NDX . I have been very pleased with the results and Roon has changed the way i listen to music . With that said all that add-on kit will go once i get my NDX2 !! 

I had the NDX2 on the radar, but I am terribly put off by the price-tag. And I am actually even more put off by Naim telling dealers and the world that the price would be very similar to the NDX — and then announces a 5K price tag... Rather unprofessional where I am coming from... Obviously I haven’t heard the NDX2, but I very much doubt that I could justify an NDX2 considering what Chord offers in the DAC market at rather competitve prices. A great pity — would have liked an NDX2, but Naim certainly lost me here... Ergo, my interest in Allo and other transports... 

Timo posted:

Yes, the Allo would serve as a renderer. I quite like the Chord sound (ergo, my interest in the Qutest); and I would like to experiment with Roon. So getting a Chord DAC and keeping the ND5XS doesn't appeal. But I am a bit reluctant to leave the Naim eco-system... Maybe I should just order a Digione and a Coax BNC cable -- to experiment and see how I am getting along with Roon and other software solutions... 

If I am not mistaken, the ND5XS has a SPDIF BNC input. In this case I would indeed get a DigiOne and set up a Raspberry Pi + DigiOne combo as a Roon endpoint. This will cost you about 150 EUR and give you a very good starting point. It also will give you a straightforward way of comparing the Qutest against the ND5XS. If you decide to go for the Qutest, you can always replace the DigiOne with an ultraRendu or with a sMS-200ultra later, if you find out that the Qutest deserves a better source. I do not know the price of the Qutest but if you are reluctant to leave the Naim system and want to enjoy Roon, you could also consider a second hand Naim DAC (again, fed by a Roon endpoint or by a Roon server + endpoint combination) or wait for the NDX 2 to become available. Anyway, I have found playing around with Raspberry Pi devices and with the DigiOne interface extremely rewarding, not only in terms of sound quality and value. The user experience is very good and the possibility of opening the booklet of the currently playing album (with BubbleUPnP) is just great, especially for classical music.

Terrysmi posted:

I started my Roon journey over a year ago and have ended up with a Sonore IltraRendu with an LPS1 PS and that feeds. Mutec 3 USB but i use the Spdif to connect to nDAC and NDX . I have been very pleased with the results and Roon has changed the way i listen to music . With that said all that add-on kit will go once i get my NDX2 !! 

I am not interested in Roon myself but I see that, with 4 S/PDIF inputs and a modern streaming platform, the NDX 2 could, in principle, be a very interesting proposition. For me, the NDX 2 could become attractive only if two conditions are met: 1) that its S/PDIF input and DAC stage turn out to be superior to those of the nDAC and 2) that Naim finally manage to address the software issues and limitations of the new platform in a convincing manner. So far, many questions have been left unanswered or they have been answered in a manner that I found unconvincing. We will see, time will tell.

Has anyone here heard about 502DAC hat from Pi2design? It's called DAC, but it's effectively doing the same job as DigiOne. Technical specs seem to be similar with DigiOne and it can also be powered separately from RPi board. I couldn't find many reviews though, although it gets a lot of praise on a Russian forum, where many people claim it's better than DigiOne...

I have ordered an Allo Digione Player -- and it has arrived today.  Experimenting with it, I have set up a Roon Core on my QNAP, and installed Roon on the iPad. Now I can air-play to Mu-so.

But I am struggling with the ND5XS -- I cannot enable the networked device in the Roon app. In the Roon Forum, I read that I need to set Allo DigiOne as soundcard, which I did -- but it still doesn't work. I am feeling rather silly that I am struggling with this. I hope it's an easy fix -- guidance would be most appreciated! Many thanks!!  

P.S. A side-note, looking at what Roon did to my meta-data, I am not sure whether Roon is ideal for classical music. Also, with Tidal meta-data being not ideal, further mess is created. Maybe it's just a settings issue -- more to explore...

Timo posted:

But I am struggling with the ND5XS -- I cannot enable the networked device in the Roon app. In the Roon Forum, I read that I need to set Allo DigiOne as soundcard, which I did -- but it still doesn't work. I am feeling rather silly that I am struggling with this. I hope it's an easy fix -- guidance would be most appreciated! Many thanks!!  

What do you mean by "it still doesn't work"? What does not work? Which device cannot you enable in the Roon app? Is your DigiOne connected to the S/PDIF input of the ND5XS? Have you selected this input on the ND5XS?

Thanks for your post NBPF! This morning I managed to make it work. Well I didn't do much actually. At first, I still couldn't "enable" the DietPi in Settings>Audio, but then an update notification popped up out of the blue. Updated the software, and the I could enable the DietPi. 

I have now started to learn about Settings to make the appearance work better for me. One thing I haven't figured out. Is there a way to have Album View in Composers (rather than by Compositions). Also, the "mis-alignment" of Roon's and my Genre tagging is a bit annoying...

But what I like a lot so far is the integration of Tidal -- it is rather nice to have his own Library and Tidal integrated. Much nicer browsing. Also, I like that one can edit Tidal's at times dreadful meta-data -- good for people like me who tend towards OCD... 

Timo posted:

Thanks for your post NBPF! This morning I managed to make it work. Well I didn't do much actually. At first, I still couldn't "enable" the DietPi in Settings>Audio, but then an update notification popped up out of the blue. Updated the software, and the I could enable the DietPi. 

I have now started to learn about Settings to make the appearance work better for me. One thing I haven't figured out. Is there a way to have Album View in Composers (rather than by Compositions). Also, the "mis-alignment" of Roon's and my Genre tagging is a bit annoying...

But what I like a lot so far is the integration of Tidal -- it is rather nice to have his own Library and Tidal integrated. Much nicer browsing. Also, I like that one can edit Tidal's at times dreadful meta-data -- good for people like me who tend towards OCD... 

Glad you managed to get the DigiOne working! I have actually never tried DietPi or Roon. Thus, I cannot offer any help in this area, I'm afraid. My system is entirely based on MinimServer and upmpdcli, both running, among others, on the Pi that hosts the DigiOne. Best, nbpf

Timo posted:

One thing I haven't figured out. Is there a way to have Album View in Composers (rather than by Compositions).

 

I think this is an unresolved feature request but I remember reading about a workaround on the Roon community. Suggest you head over there and search for album view composers or similar.

Terrysmi posted:

For me the biggest change wasn't with Tidal but with my own collection of ripped CD's and Hi-def downloads ( 2000+ titles) The "Discover" function is worth the price of admission on its own in my view 

100% agree. Roon has allowed me to rediscover my collection. Combined with Tidal it depth and new avenues are amazing. 

As for Allo. I moved from NDX/XPSDR to DigiOne/Hugo1/Roon. No loss in overall quality, obviously a different sound to the Naim but just as good. 

Rob

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