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Currently I have:

Mac Mini (audio source) -> Cambridge Audio DAC -> Cambridge Audio Amp

And I plan to do either:

HifiBerry DAC+ -> Cambridge Audio Amp

or:

HifiBerry Digi+ -> Cambridge Audio DAC (using Toslink) -> Cambridge Audio Amp

And I don't which one to pick: DAC+ or Digi+?

On the picture of the DAC+ I see one round red connector and one round white connector, which I take it are named "RCA connectors". So far, so good: I'm not confused and this looks like the kind of output that go from my DAC to my amp.

But my confusion now becomes total because on the Digi+ I see one Toslink digital output (located where one of the two RCA connector is located on the DAC+) and then I also see a round, white, connector on the Digi+ (next to the Toslink). But I see only one such "RCA" (?) connector. What is it? Why only one?

Should I go with the DAC+ (and then not used my actual physical DAC anymore?) or with the Digi+ with a Toslink optical cable between the Rpi/Digi+ and my DAC? Apparently it's one or the other: you cannot have both the DAC and the Toslink on the same HifiBerry board.

  • Btw forgot to say: currently the Mac Mini is hooked to the DAC using an USB cable but that DAC also has a Toslink input... Which is why I'm considering the Digi+: to use Toslink between the Digi+ and my actual DAC. – Cedric Martin Mar 4 '16 at 14:36
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Actually, both would work and it is up to you. Either the DAC+ into your amp (using the RCA connector, red and white are the left and right channels), or the Digi+ for a digital connection to your DAC. Probably you wouldn't hear a difference, but who knows? If you want to use your DAC and have the input still free, use the Digi+. If you think you might need all the digital inputs of your DAC for something else later (a TV or whatever...), use the DAC+. Depends on how many inputs you have free in the end, and what you prefer.

The Digi+ has 2 digital outputs, one optical-TOSLINK and one electrical SPDIF (which looks like one RCA, but it's not, it's a digital output!). They are in the end the same, just an optical, an electrical signal. Use the one which fits with your DAC. Most DACs have multiple optical and electrical inputs, so, just use what you have free on the DAC, no real difference here. For the electrical, use a SPDIF coax cable, for the optical of course a TOSLINK. (of course there are some smaller differences in between these two: optical connection prevents of course any type of ground loop. But the optical cables can't be bended around sharp edges. For very long connections there might be differences, but inside one room not really...)

  • oh gotcha... Didn't realize that what looked liked a RCA connector was a electrical SPDIF output. I think I'll try the Digi+ with a Toslink and see what gives. Thanks a lot for these detailed explanation! – Cedric Martin Mar 4 '16 at 17:05
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To make it clear: actually RCA connector designation belongs to physical look and construction of the connector, not to any type of signal carried through it. So a pair of RCA's (typically red and white) can carry analogue stereo audio signal from dac to amp, single RCA can be used to carry digital electric audio signal, often called SPDIF (although SPDIF is name of the protocol used). RCA's are also used in video transmission (even though it's heavily replaced by digital connections now): analogue composite video signal (single yellow RCA) and analogue component video signal (triple red, greeen and blue RCA's).

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