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SPDIF Transport: Allo Digione or Allo Digione Signature Bundle (seeking opinions)

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raghupb

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Recent purchase of Allo Digione player by one of the FM from fabtolab, confirmed it's RPi4 1GB model. If more RAM is needed, can go for buying separate parts and assemble. Otherwise no need to worry, can go ahead and order from fabtolab.
Spoke to an Allo tech person to ask some basic queries and understand their ecosystem.
Waretohouse which is another Allo reseller was kind enough to connect me to them.
They have both RPI 3B+ and RPI 4B/1GB versions.
The Allo tech guy said for audio both RPI versions are fine.
RPI 4B runs a wee bit hotter (due to slightly faster clock)

Cheers,
Raghu
 

premoddev

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For media playing purpose, 4B's heating should not be an issue, it won't come unbearable as there won't be any CPU hungry processes all the time. But it will benefit on dedicated 1G network port and two USB 3 interfaces, where as in 3B+, the Gigabit port speed is limited to 300Mbps (due to sharing of bus with USB) and there won't be USB3 interfaces. There are other differences also, but not much relevant here.. so in my opinion you should go for 4B model only...
 

zeta148

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fyi: there was a comparison of rpi3b and rpi4b by Hans Beekhauysen on youtube and rpi3b sounded better in digione signature. I dont have any personal experience though
 

raghupb

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Update:
Placed order for Allo Digione Player (non signature version) from reseller Waretohouse.
- RPI3b+ based
- 16GB SD card with Volumio
- stock PS
- black acrylic case

Should be able to pick it up in a couple of days.
If I get it on Saturday, I have some playtime ahead of me this weekend :)

Cheers,
Raghu
 

raghupb

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Update:
Picked up the player today from the reseller.

After coming home and opening the box, saw that there was a gotcha!!
I had ordered a unit with RPI3b+ thinking that the regular HDMI will be useful for monitor connect.
Got a unit with 2 micro HDMI ports. It turns out that RPI4B has been shipped with the Digione HAT.
A bit of digging around the documentation cleared up the doubt. The monitor connect is required for IP address.
So plugged in LAN cable, Coax cable and powered it on.
The router app displayed the IP address. Typed in the IP address in laptop browser, and voila I'm in.
Connected my HDD, took about 5 mins to index (lots of movies, music, photos, and doc backups there.

Installed Spotify plugin, logged in and played a few tunes.
Very enjoyable. Definitely different presentation compared to CCA.
Was able to compare a few tracks on:
- Spotify --> CCA --> DAC (opt)
- Spotify (on Digione/Volumio) --> DAC (coax)

Digione sounded a bit more fuller in bass and vocals, definitely better control on the highs.
This was on the Parasound + MA pups + REL chain (see signature)
Yet to try it out with big speakers (KEFs)

Spotify app on Android phone allows to connect the player.
For now the streaming works from Laptop browser controlled instance or Spotify connect.
Happy to have found a solution for my requirements.

Allo-1-sm.jpg Allo-2-sm.jpg

More later ...

Cheers,
Raghu
 
Last edited:

raghupb

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Listening impressions of Allo Digione on the chain below:
Allo Digione (Spotify/Volumio) -->
CCA (Spotify/Casting) -->
Parasound NC200PRE (DAC, coax or opt) --> Lyrita DHT (Tube Preamp) --> AKSA55 (power amp) --> KEF R300 + REL T9i (high level connect)
No room correction or treatment; speakers and sub tuned by placement/ear.

Threw in a variety of English/Western tracks (condensed comparison summary below):
Hotel California (Eagles - Hell Freezes Over version)
- good control over bass and decent instrument separation/layering; (CCA seems a bit louder and sometimes a bit edgey on HF)
Nobody Home (Pink Floyd)
- piano/keyboards sounds very good; CCA sometimes makes some piano notes sound a bit louder, wonder why
Summer & Rain (Joe Hisaishi - Album Kikujiro)
- piano and violin tracks; violins sound good; CCA and Digione kinda same on these tracks, except for the occasional louder piano notes
Kelpie & King Henry's Madrigal (Jethro Tull - Album Stormwatch, SW Remaster)
- western flute and drums; here the Digione really shines, CCA loses often the plot on the drum pace and flute nuances
I'm Your Man (Leonard Cohen)
- male vocals, piano; Digione is definitely more laid back and fuller than CCA
Hallelujah (Rufus Wainwright)
- male vocals, piano; again Digione does a better job of presenting that raspiness in vocals
I'm Feeling Good (Nina Simone)
- female vocals, big band; Digione is definitely better than CCA; CCA sounds a bit edgey
Hit The Road Jack (Ray Charles)
- left/right interplay track; chorus girls on the right, Ray & piano on the left; Digione fares better in artist/instrument placement
Old Love (Eric Clapton - MTV Unplugged version)
- nice acoustic arrangement; Digione sounds a bit more natural compared to CCA
1000 People, Hole In Me (Blackfield)
- keyboards, tempo changes, dynamics; Digione manages it well; CCA doesn't do well in many segments
Buying New Soul (Porcupine Tree)
- complex music with shifts in tempo and scale; decent rendition by Digione

The following tracks are kinda difficult to listen if things don't come together; I call them general purpose "enjoyable" noise
Fear Of The Dark (Iron Maiden)
- drum pace on this track is not easily handled by many rigs; decent presentation, CCA does poorly
Fuel (Metallica)
- fast paced number; Digione handles it well
Dragula (Rob Zombie)
- hell yeah!! Can actually listen to it; CCA renders is just too loud to enjoy it
Twisted Transistor
- Nope; still can't listen to it without some EQ/Tone; sorry Digione

In general, I noticed that the height of the sound stage has increased a bit
With CCA, the sound seems emanating from 20"-30" inches from floor
With Digione, the sound seems to be from 30"-40" inches from floor and better depth
Although I think the depth is squarely AKSA's magic.
And of course, Lyrita DHT is not your usual tube amp; it is very lively. Brings in a decent tube 3d/holographic image.

In summary, Digione does better than CCA in most situations.
I am using the stock PS (wall wart) for Digione. It is clean enough for my use/rig.

Having said this, I still think CCA is the absolute VFM toy, will still be used for Amazon Music, Gaana, etc
For its price, form factor, ease-of-use, the CCA's SQ is to be admired.

If anyone is exploring an upgrade or simply different sound as compared to your existing streamer/transport, give Digione a try.
If/when I observe anything new about Digione, will update this thread (maybe when I play FLACs out of HDD).

Cheers,
Raghu
 

raghupb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
2,127
Points
113
Location
Bengaluru

raghupb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
2,127
Points
113
Location
Bengaluru
On a side note:

I usually do not talk about cables and interconnects on the forum
But as a part of cleanup, rewire project (long pending) I had ordered 2 RCA-to-RCA cables from Allo
One meter length, cost about Rs. 350/- per pair
Pretty good build quality and makes firm contact; actually kinda locks in.

Cheers,
Raghu
 

shyamv

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2011
Messages
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Location
Bangalore
Listening impressions of Allo Digione on the chain below:
Allo Digione (Spotify/Volumio) -->
CCA (Spotify/Casting) -->
Parasound NC200PRE (DAC, coax or opt) --> Lyrita DHT (Tube Preamp) --> AKSA55 (power amp) --> KEF R300 + REL T9i (high level connect)
No room correction or treatment; speakers and sub tuned by placement/ear.

Threw in a variety of English/Western tracks (condensed comparison summary below):
Hotel California (Eagles - Hell Freezes Over version)
- good control over bass and decent instrument separation/layering; (CCA seems a bit louder and sometimes a bit edgey on HF)
Nobody Home (Pink Floyd)
- piano/keyboards sounds very good; CCA sometimes makes some piano notes sound a bit louder, wonder why
Summer & Rain (Joe Hisaishi - Album Kikujiro)
- piano and violin tracks; violins sound good; CCA and Digione kinda same on these tracks, except for the occasional louder piano notes
Kelpie & King Henry's Madrigal (Jethro Tull - Album Stormwatch, SW Remaster)
- western flute and drums; here the Digione really shines, CCA loses often the plot on the drum pace and flute nuances
I'm Your Man (Leonard Cohen)
- male vocals, piano; Digione is definitely more laid back and fuller than CCA
Hallelujah (Rufus Wainwright)
- male vocals, piano; again Digione does a better job of presenting that raspiness in vocals
I'm Feeling Good (Nina Simone)
- female vocals, big band; Digione is definitely better than CCA; CCA sounds a bit edgey
Hit The Road Jack (Ray Charles)
- left/right interplay track; chorus girls on the right, Ray & piano on the left; Digione fares better in artist/instrument placement
Old Love (Eric Clapton - MTV Unplugged version)
- nice acoustic arrangement; Digione sounds a bit more natural compared to CCA
1000 People, Hole In Me (Blackfield)
- keyboards, tempo changes, dynamics; Digione manages it well; CCA doesn't do well in many segments
Buying New Soul (Porcupine Tree)
- complex music with shifts in tempo and scale; decent rendition by Digione

The following tracks are kinda difficult to listen if things don't come together; I call them general purpose "enjoyable" noise
Fear Of The Dark (Iron Maiden)
- drum pace on this track is not easily handled by many rigs; decent presentation, CCA does poorly
Fuel (Metallica)
- fast paced number; Digione handles it well
Dragula (Rob Zombie)
- hell yeah!! Can actually listen to it; CCA renders is just too loud to enjoy it
Twisted Transistor
- Nope; still can't listen to it without some EQ/Tone; sorry Digione

In general, I noticed that the height of the sound stage has increased a bit
With CCA, the sound seems emanating from 20"-30" inches from floor
With Digione, the sound seems to be from 30"-40" inches from floor and better depth
Although I think the depth is squarely AKSA's magic.
And of course, Lyrita DHT is not your usual tube amp; it is very lively. Brings in a decent tube 3d/holographic image.

In summary, Digione does better than CCA in most situations.
I am using the stock PS (wall wart) for Digione. It is clean enough for my use/rig.

Having said this, I still think CCA is the absolute VFM toy, will still be used for Amazon Music, Gaana, etc
For its price, form factor, ease-of-use, the CCA's SQ is to be admired.

If anyone is exploring an upgrade or simply different sound as compared to your existing streamer/transport, give Digione a try.
If/when I observe anything new about Digione, will update this thread (maybe when I play FLACs out of HDD).

Cheers,
Raghu
That's a good summary. Glad that you like Digione. Happy listening!
 
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