Best Raspberry Pi DAC - Best Raspberry Pi-Compatible Digital to Analog Converters

The Raspberry Pi is a versatile single-board computer (SBC). Capable of serving as the foundation of several different projects, the Pi is particularly well-suited for music projects. Whether that's a do-it-yourself musical instrument or music streaming server, the RasPi is more than up to the task. If you're creating a hi-fi Raspberry Pi music streamer, you'll want to have the right hardware, which includes a DAC, or digital to analog converter. Check out the best Raspberry Pi DAC options on the market!

What is a DAC and Why do You Need One?

A digital to analog converter, or DAC, is a device that, simply put, converts a digital audio signal to an analog signal. As such, you can play audio using a DAC on speakers or headphones. Most devices such as MP3 players, laptops, and smartphones feature DACs which allow you to listen to audio using a built-in headphone jack. 

Using a DAC with a Raspberry Pi lets you create a hi-resolution music streamer. You can spin up a do-it-yourself music server using Volumio, Plex, Emby, or any number of software options. Then, a digital to analog coverter lets you pipe that audio into an amplifier or a set of high-end headphones rather than utilizing the Pi's onboard HDMI output. While the Raspberry Pi does have a headphone jack, a dedicated DAC lets you experience high-quality, distortion and artifact-free, high-bitrate audio playback. 

What is a DAC: A DAC is a digital to analog converter which lets you output audio using analog stereo connectors. 

Best Raspberry Pi DAC Overall - IQaudio DAC Pro

Best Raspberry Pi DAC - IQaudio DAC Pro

The IQaudio DAC Pro delivers best-in-class audio with its Texas Instruments PCM5242 digital to analog concerter. There's a high signal-to-noise ratio for little to no artifacting or distortion. A standard 40-pin header provides plug-and-play compatibility with the Raspberry Pi 3, 3 B+, and Pi 3 A+. IQaudio's DAC Pro boasts 24-bit 192kHz full high definition audio. It's powered by the Raspberry Pi's power supply unit (PSU) meaning no additional power input is required. An onboard power LED offers a signal state indication, while its built-in EEPROM allows for auto-configuration. 

Sporting support for Volumio, Rune, MoodeAudio, and Rune, the IQaudio DAC Pro works with most of the major Raspberry Pi music software options. A headphone socket, pair of phono RCA outputs, and compatibility with a set of XLR connectors using its dual 3-pin headers, the IQaudio DAC Pro is the best Raspberry Pi DAC on the market. 

IQaudio DAC Pro Features:

  • Standard 40-pin header
  • Texas Instruments PCM5242 DAC
  • Full HD 24-bit.192kHz audio
  • Headphone amplifier, phono RTCA output
  • Power LED indicator
  • EEPROM for auto-configuration
  • Supports Volumio, Max2Play, MoodeAudio, Rune
  • Solder-less installation
  • Works with the Raspberry Pi's PSU
  • Supports Raspberry Pi 4, 3/3 B+, Zero/Zero W, any Raspberry Pi with a 40-pin GPIO header
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Best Raspberry Pi DAC and ADC - HiFiBerry DAC + ADC Pro

Best Raspberry Pi DAC - HiFiBerry DAC + ADC Pro

The HiFiBerry DAC + ADC Pro provides a digital to analog converter alongside an analog to digital converter. It connects directly to a Raspberry Pi using a standard 40-pin connector. A set of gold-plated RCA audio outputs send a high-quality signal. There's hardware and volume control for its ADC and DAC functions. Offering input and output support for sample rates up to 192kHz, the HiFiBerry DAC + ADC Pro provides high-resolution audio. There's a solderless design, and direct power from the Pi itself. EEPROM for auto-configuration makes setup and installation a breeze. 

HiFiBerry DAC + ADC Pro Features:

  • Gold-plated RCA phono output
  • 3.5mm analog input
  • 40-pin connector for solderless, plug-and-play design
  • 192kHz/24bit high-quality DAC and ADC
  • No additional power required
  • 3 x ultra-low-noise linear voltage regulators for optimal audio performance
  • EEPROM for auto-configuration
  • Supports Raspberry Pi 4, 3/3 B+, Zero/Zero W, any Raspberry Pi with a 40-pin GPIO header
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Best High-Fidelity Raspberry Pi DAC HAT - InnoMaker Raspberry Pi HiFi DAC Hat

Best Raspberry Pi DAC - InnoMaker Raspberry Pi DAC HAT

The InnoMaker Raspberry Pi HiFi DAC HAT is an excellent digital to analog converter. Supporting any Raspberry Pi with a 40-pin connector, the InnoMaker HiFi DAC HAT works with the Raspberry Pi 4, 3/3B+, Zero, and Zero W. It doesn't require any additional cabling, wiring, or soldering. 

Compatibility with Kodi operating systems (OSes) such as OSMC and OpenELEC along with the likes of Volumio, PiCorePlayer, Moode, RuneAudio, PiMusicBox, and Max2Play mean you can utilize the InnoMaker DAC with pretty much any software you like. You'll find a pair of gold-plated phono RCA outputs. A PCM5122 DAC delivers top-notch high-fidelity sound. In addition to the stereo audio outputs, the InnoMaker RasPi DAC features a headphone amplifier and a 3.5mm headphone out jack. 

InnoMaker HiFi DAC HAT features:

  • PCM5122 DAC
  • Gold-plated RCA phono outputs, 3.5mm headphone-out jack
  • High-fidelity TPA6133 headphone amplifier
  • 384-kHz/32-bit sample rates
  • Works with OSMC, OpenELEC, Volumio, Moode, PiCorePlayer, PiMusicBox, Rune, Max2Play, etc.
  • Supports Raspberry Pi 4, 3/3 B+, Zero/Zero W, any Raspberry Pi with a 40-pin GPIO header
  • Solderless design
  • Powered by Raspberry Pi
  • EEPROM for auto-configuration
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Best Raspberry Pi DAC Options - Top Raspberry Pi-compatible Digital to Analog Converters

A digital to analog converter can be a great addition to a Raspberry Pi music streamer or media centre running Volumio, PiCorePlayer, OSMC, or another supported software option. The IQaudio DAC Pro is the best Raspberry Pi digital to analog converter for most DIYers. HiFiBerry's ADC + DAC Pro combines a digital to analog converter with an analog to digital converter. And With its PCM5122 DAC, the InnoMaker Raspberry Pi HiFi HAT is an outstanding DAC that works with the Raspberry Pi. 

Your turn: What Raspberry Pi DACs are YOU using?

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