Aged though they may be, we continue to enjoy our little fleet of Logitech Squeezebox music players. Sadly, as they age one common problem is the failure of the analog outputs.
The analog output has an electrolytic capacitor on each channel. As they age they dramatically change their electrical behavior. In our case the output level of one or both channels falls off dramatically. This fault has now befallen three of our five SB3s.
The faulty analog outputs can be overcome is a few ways. One of the easiest, albeit not the cheapest, is to leverage on of the digital outputs, adding an external digital-to-analog convertor (in audio-geek-speak, an external DAC.)
Late last year I found a Shiit Audio Modi 2 Uber DAC under the Christmas tree. This little box is not especially expensive, yet seems well regarded. It’s derived from the very well-regarded* Bifrost model, which is considerably more expensive.
The Modi 2 Uber now finds itself connected to the Squeezebox 3 in my office, which drives a pair of M-Audio BX5 D2s and a small JBL powered subwoofer. I’ve had this combination in place for several years, so I know it well.
To my admittedly aging ears the Modi 2 sounds every bit as good as the Wolfson DAC built into the SB3. It definitely sounds better than the extremely cheap DAC that I bought to use temporarily.
While the Raspberry Pi + HiFi Berry has proven a good solution for adding an entirely new playback node to our network, the Shiit Modi 2 Uber has proven more than satisfactory at overcoming a failed Squeezebox analog output.
* I cringe to reference some of these goofy audio sites as I don’t share most of their world-view. I believe in the value of principled engineering over the seemingly magical properties ascribed to devices by some writers.