6 Best Audiophile Raspberry Pi HATs to get you started

by Pete
Published: Updated: 11 minutes read

Attention all audiophiles and Raspberry Pi enthusiasts! Have you been searching for the perfect combination of top-notch sound quality and compact design for your audio setup? Look no further, because we’ve got you covered. In this post, we’ll dive into the world of Raspberry Pi Hats, and present to you the 6 Best Audiophile grade Raspberry Pi HATs.

Whether you’re looking to create a compact, portable hi-fi system, or a complete home audio setup, these Hats offer the versatility and performance that you need. Get ready to elevate your audio experience to the next level with our hand-picked list of the best Raspberry Pi Hats for audiophile-grade sound.

Let’s get into it

These 6 quality Rpi HATs will get your Hi-Fi system pumping in no time! There are others, but this list will get you started. In no particular oder.

The HiFiBerry DAC2 Pro is a top-of-the-line digital-to-analog converter (DAC) designed specifically for the Raspberry Pi. It utilizes two high-quality Burr-Brown DAC chips to deliver an exceptional audio performance with a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 123 dB and a total harmonic distortion (THD) of -110 dB.

The DAC2 Pro can handle sample rates up to 192 kHz and a bit depth of up to 32 bits, ensuring that the audio output is of the highest quality possible. It is also compatible with a range of Raspberry Pi models, including the Raspberry Pi 2, 3, 4, and Zero.

One unique feature of the HiFiBerry DAC2 Pro is its built-in hardware volume control, which ensures that the audio signal remains pure and uncompromised even when the volume is adjusted. Additionally, it has a gold-plated RCA output and can be powered by the Raspberry Pi or an external power supply.

The BOSS I2S DAC V 1.2 is a premium audio add-on board designed to deliver superior sound quality to your Raspberry Pi. It utilizes the latest generation ESS Sabre32 DAC chip, capable of delivering audiophile-grade sound with ultra-low jitter and distortion.

The board features a high-quality 384kHz/32bit audio interface with dual master clocks, allowing it to operate with extreme precision and accuracy. It also includes a high-precision femto-clock system and an integrated voltage regulator, providing ultra-low noise and stable power supply to the DAC chip.

The BOSS I2S DAC V 1.2 is compatible with the Raspberry Pi 2, 3, and 4 models, and it can be easily connected to your Pi using the I2S interface. It supports a wide range of audio formats, including FLAC, MP3, AAC, and DSD, and it can handle up to 32-bit/384kHz audio signals.

The BOSS I2S DAC V 1.2 delivers exceptional sound quality with a high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 125dB and total harmonic distortion (THD) of less than 0.0003%. It also includes a programmable hardware volume control, allowing you to adjust the audio output level without affecting the sound quality.

The IQAudio Pi-DAC+ is a high-quality digital-to-analog converter designed for Raspberry Pi boards and other SBCs. Its advanced circuitry and premium components, including an ES9023 DAC chip, ensure exceptional sound quality and accuracy.

With support for high-resolution audio formats up to 192kHz/24bit, the IQAudio Pi-DAC+ can reproduce every detail and nuance of the original recording with stunning clarity and fidelity. Its low-jitter clock and high-precision components ensure that the audio signal is preserved throughout the entire signal chain, resulting in a natural, lifelike sound.

The JustBoom DAC HAT is a high-fidelity digital-to-analog converter designed for Raspberry Pi boards and other SBCs. Its advanced circuitry and premium components, including a Burr-Brown PCM5122 DAC chip, ensure exceptional sound quality and accuracy.

With support for high-resolution audio formats up to 384kHz/32bit, the JustBoom DAC HAT can reproduce every detail and nuance of the original recording with stunning clarity and fidelity. Its low-jitter clock and high-precision components ensure that the audio signal is preserved throughout the entire signal chain, resulting in a natural, lifelike sound.

The AUDIOPHONICS I-Sabre DAC ES9023 TCXO is an audiophile-grade Raspberry Pi HAT that boasts exceptional audio quality. The ES9023 Sabre DAC chip, which is renowned for its accuracy, is used in this HAT. This DAC supports up to 24-bit/192kHz audio, providing excellent sound quality.

This HAT has a built-in high-precision TCXO clock, which reduces jitter and provides accurate timing to the audio stream. This feature is particularly beneficial to audiophiles who value accurate timing and low noise.

The I-Sabre DAC ES9023 TCXO is compatible with most Raspberry Pi models and features a plug-and-play design, making it easy to set up and use. The HAT also includes an RCA output, allowing you to connect it to your stereo system.

This DAC has an excellent signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 112 dB, ensuring that the audio output is free of noise and distortion. It also has a Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) of 0.0016%, providing high-fidelity audio playback.

The HiFiBerry DAC+ DSP is an advanced digital-to-analog converter that boasts high-quality audio output for audiophiles. It is designed to work with the Raspberry Pi, making it easy to install and use.

One of the standout features of the HiFiBerry DAC+ DSP is its onboard DSP processor, which allows for advanced audio signal processing. This means that users can fine-tune their audio output to their liking, making it ideal for high-end audio systems.

The DAC+ DSP also features a high-quality Burr-Brown DAC chip, which provides excellent signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion. This ensures that the audio output is clean and accurate, with minimal interference or noise.

In terms of connectivity, the DAC+ DSP supports a variety of input and output options, including RCA and 3.5mm audio jacks, as well as S/PDIF and Toslink optical outputs. It also supports up to 192kHz sample rates and 24-bit resolution, making it a great option for high-resolution audio playback.

Comparison Table

Keep in mind that most of the boards are capable of higher sample rates, they are limited based on hardware/software of some Rasperry Pi models.

Board NameDAC ChipMax Sample RateSample Rate Limitation on RPi Model
HiFiBerry DAC2 ProBurr-Brown PCM1794A192kHzN/A
HiFiBerry DAC+ DSPBurr-Brown PCM5122192kHzN/A
JustBoom DAC HATBurr-Brown PCM5122192kHzRPi 3B/3B+/4B: 192kHz
IQAudio Pi-DAC+Texas Instruments PCM5122384kHzRPi Zero/Zero W: 192kHz, RPi 3B/3B+/4B: 384kHz
BOSS I2S DAC V 1.2Burr-Brown PCM5122384kHzRPi Zero/Zero W: 192kHz, RPi 3B/3B+/4B: 384kHz
AUDIOPHONICS I-SabreES9023192kHzRPi 3B/3B+/4B: 192kHz

HAT Comparison

Hat NameDACSNR (dB)THD (%)Max Sample RateBit DepthOutput
IQAudio Pi-DAC+Burr-Brown PCM51221120.002384 kHz32-bitRCA and headphone jack
JustBoom DAC HATBurr-Brown PCM51221120.002192 kHz32-bitRCA and headphone jack
HiFiBerry DAC2 ProBurr-Brown PCM51221230.0012192 kHz24-bitRCA and 3.5mm jack
BOSS I2S DAC V1.2Burr-Brown PCM51221120.002192 kHz32-bit3.5mm jack
Audiophonics I-Sabre DAC ES9023 TCXOSabre ES90231120.005192 kHz24-bitRCA and 3.5mm jack
HiFiBerry DAC+ DSPBurr-Brown PCM51221230.0012192 kHz24-bitRCA and 3.5mm jack

In Summary

No matter your budget or preferences, these 6 audiophile-grade Raspberry Pi HATs are sure to provide you with exceptional sound quality and a premium listening experience. Note, there are others that do different things like output to TOSLINK or digital coax – so be sure to do you own research!