Systemic Development => Digital Audio Devices => Topic started by: orchardaudio on March 29, 2020, 05:58:23 AM

Title: PecanPi® Rev 2.0 - Streamer and USB DAC
Post by: orchardaudio on March 29, 2020, 05:58:23 AM
The PecanPi® line of products has been upgraded for 2020: (

Published test results here: (

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Title: Re: PecanPi® Rev 2.0 - Streamer and USB DAC
Post by: orchardaudio on April 30, 2020, 01:20:09 PM
Latest Customer review of PecanPi USB- DAC and Headphone Amp:

Title: Re: PecanPi® Rev 2.0 - Streamer and USB DAC
Post by: dflee on April 30, 2020, 07:40:53 PM
Hell to try and read. Think you could size it so it's readable?

Title: Re: PecanPi® Rev 2.0 - Streamer and USB DAC
Post by: orchardaudio on May 01, 2020, 04:06:41 AM
Hell to try and read. Think you could size it so it's readable?


Here it is text only:
What an overachiever!
Let me first start by stating that the Pecan Pi is a really good DAC. Not just for its price, but compared to DACs at double, triple or quadruple the Pecan Pi's modest asking price. The Pecan Pi has a number of strengths and only a few subjective weaknesses, none of which detract significantly from it's excellent overall performance.

In mRead more about review stating What an overachiever!y listening tests, I compared the Pecan Pi to a Chord 2 Qute (US$1500 - discontinued, now replaced by the Chord Qutest US$1900) and a Kinki Studio DAC-1 (US$2000). An unfair comparison, perhaps, but I wanted to hear whether the Pecan Pi could go toe-to-toe with DACs in the next class up (price-wise at least). Could this new light-weight contender slug it out some the with best established middleweights? The Chord and Kinki have excellent reviews and as an owner of both, I was very familiar with their particular sonic attributes, strengths and weaknesses.

One of the first things I noticed about the Pecan Pi is its wonderful sense of pace and timing and significant dynamic prowess, which is comparable to the Chord 2 Qute and superior to the Kinki DAC-1. The Pecan Pi is no shrinking violet and brings a real joie de vivre and foot-tapping boogie factor to musical proceedings.

Bass through the Pecan Pi is deep and tuneful with excellent transient attack and little or no overhang. There is very little to choose between all three DACs when it comes to bass performance - perhaps the Pecan Pi just shades the other two with slightly more texture apparent, but none of the DACs will leave you wanting more when it comes to the low end.

The mid-range of the Pecan Pi is lifelike and full-bodied, with performers and instruments existing in their own clearly defined space, yet remaining connected as part of the overall fabric of the performance. It is more sophisticated than the mid-range of the 2Qute , if not quite up to the standard of the DAC-1. Treble is clean and extended with only the faintest wisp of sibilance present, once again a step up from the 2Qute, although falling slightly short of the silky smooth treble of the DAC-1.

The background noise floor of the Pecan Pi is extremely low and instruments are spread across a wide soundstage which extends significantly beyond the left and right speakers. As per the bass performance, there is very little to choose between all three contenders in terms of soundstage width and the sense of music emerging from an inky black background.

On balance and in absolute terms (with cost removed from the equation) the Kinki DAC-1 is still by go-to mid-riced DAC. The areas (as I hear them) where the Pecan Pi falls just short of the Kinki in absolute terms are in soundstage depth, centre image focus, treble sophistication and harmonic decay. The soundstage via the Kinki DAC starts at the plane of the speakers and extends many feet to the rear. By comparison, the soundstage on the Pecan Pi is slightly foreshortened, extending a little in front of the speakers and a little behind. Or put another way, the Pecan Pi's perspective has you sitting in the front few rows of a concert rather than in the middle or rear of the hall. With the Pecan Pi there is also a sense of a slight smearing of the centre image and the merest hint of a silvery sheen in the treble region, but this was only noticeable in comparison to the Kinki DAC. Likewise, the Kinki provided a greater sense of harmonic decay as notes trailed off - through the Pecan Pi they seemed ever so slightly truncated.

If that sounds a little harsh, on the positive side, the Pecan Pi made the Kinki DAC sound a little soft, slow and small. Everything seemed energised and supercharged via the Pecan Pi, which made for a thoroughly immersive and engrossing listening experience. Overall the Pecan Pi reminded me an awful lot of the musical presentation of the Chord 2Qute, but with some definite improvements in the mid-range and treble. By comparison, the 2Qute sounds a little coarse and rough about the edges - like a rowdy party animal compared to the more sophisticated Pecan Pi.

So there you have it - the Pecan Pi is absolutely capable of stepping up a weight class and slugging it out with several highly-regarded DACs in the US$1500 - $2000 range. It's a wonderful all-rounder and strikes a beautiful balance between dynamism and natural tonality and will rarely leave you wanting for more. If it lacks the nth degree of treble purity, image focus and harmonic complexity, that is only noticeable in comparison to a DAC that is five times the Pecan Pi's asking price. I preferred the Pecan Pi to the Chord 2Qute which for several years was one of the critics favourite in the under $2k DAC category - yes, the Pecan Pi is that good and for its asking price is an absolute steal and a massive sonic overachiever.

Bravo Leo!
Title: Re: PecanPi® Rev 2.0 - Streamer and USB DAC
Post by: orchardaudio on May 10, 2020, 05:55:24 PM
Title: Re: PecanPi® Rev 2.0 - Streamer and USB DAC
Post by: orchardaudio on May 24, 2020, 04:25:42 PM
Another great customer review...

Much more impressive than a sub-$500 unit has the right to be!

Wow! As an owner of three digital to analog music systems - the SOtM Ultra Trio, Allo's Kantana with two TeraDak LPSs, and now Orchard's PecanPi, it is amazing to me just how good the all in one end point units have become. Summary - The PecanPi is a no-brainer purchase for anyone looking to stream hi-resolution music to their stereo system. The Allo Kantana, the unit my PecanPi will now replace, was no slouch and an excellent unit in its own right...but, there are a number of things I like better about the PecanPi.
But before I go into a comparison between the similarly priced Allo Kantana and the PP, I have to disclaim the advantages the Allo Kantana had during this comparison (to an off the shelf PecanPi). a) The Kantana was powered with two TeraDak LPS (which added about $300 to the base cost). The PecanPi was set-up in its base form, which is what Leo recommends. When I bought my Kantana a year ago, purchase of external LPS was highly recommended and I can state 1st hand that the Kantana improved vastly with the addition of each of the two LPS units. The standalone Kantana was lifeless and blurred without LPSs. b) The Kantana was connected with a Kimber KCAG RCA interconnect during the comparison versus the PP equipped with a much less expensive/reviewed LFD RCA interconnect. NOTE: I can hardly wait to hear the PP with its native balanced XLR outputs.

My subjective, comparative impressions (and why I believe the PP is an incredible value):
1) Soundstage - the sound stage thrown by the PP is incredible. Immediately noticeable and quite a benefit if you speakers cannot have optimal placement. With this, the depth of the stage and instrument separation seem to be more precisely placed. The Kantana had what I thought at the time was a great soundstage, but the PP was exceptionally better at this.
2) Ease of listening and midrange delight - the vocals produced by the PP are easy, emotional, and delightful. While the Kantana has its own unique way of producing great sound and range, the PP is just more pleasurable to listen to over extended periods.
3) Ease of set-up and support - this clearly goes to the PP without question. Set-up was simple, well-explained and for the single question that I had for Leo, my answer came within minutes. Allo support was coming from India and whilst it was not bad, it is a world of difference with Orchard Audio. My pontification on this subject is as follows - when one gets into the sub-$500 USD price range, the support for a complex digital component is not set-up to deal with individuals that lack a basic computer skill knowledge and ability to search forums and follow detailed instructions...a point my 26 YO continually reminds me of :). The PP is a unit that I could easily set-up and run. The Allo on the other hand, required considerably different skills and knowledge...that of a 26 YO CS Major.
4) Build Quality - The PP comes in a self-contained steel enclosure that while quite light, is study and substantial when compared to the Allo Kantana's plastic assembly. The Kantana feels fragile, exposed and flimsy by comparison to the PP. The Kantana is quite easily moved around by the weight of the wires and has exposed electronic parts. Both structurally and aesthetically the PP is an 9/10 and the Allo is a 4/10.
5) Accessories - the PP is built with balanced XLR outputs and Orchard provides a pair of his proprietary RCA adapters for those requiring single ended inputs. Balanced is a big plus for me although all my listening to date has been single-ended RCA. Orchard provides a 3.5mm headphone jack for a very modest charge, allowing those who wish to use headphones to connect in.

I am really blown away with the quality, versatility, and sound of Orchard's PP. It is a magnificent leap forward for digital audio and without question a steal at its price.

Please note: I paid for my unit, just like everyone else. My review here was just to provide my personal insights into affordable hi-end audio.
System used to evaluate (because this always comes up) - Roon Nucleaus Server streaming to PP with LFD Spiroflex single-ended interconnects + Allo Kantanta (w/2 TeraDak LPS). The units are connected to an LFD Mk IV SE integrated amplifier connected with LFD Grainless speaker wires to Meadowlark Kestral Hot Rod speakers. (
Title: Re: PecanPi® Rev 2.0 - Streamer and USB DAC
Post by: orchardaudio on September 05, 2020, 04:25:33 AM
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