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DAC32: A New Squeezebox Alternative From Germany

This week I was tipped to the availability of a new streaming music player from PolyVection in Germany. Their DAC32 is a nondescript little device that emulates the venerable Logitech Squeezebox.

The company has a nice little historical explainer about the Logitech Media Server & Squeezebox. We got our first Squeezebox back in 2004 (I think) well before Logitech acquired Slim Devices.

DAC32 is essentially an embedded host for Squeezelite, the very same player that is bundled with PiCorePlayer for use on Raspberry Pi. DAC32 includes the host platform & digital-to-analogue conversion (DAC) in a tidy, integrated package. Connectivity is provided by onboard 2.4 GHz b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Power is 5 vdc via a standard coaxial connector.

DAC32 streamer front

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Music on the Front Porch with HiFi-Berry Amp2

If you’ve been here before you may already know that we enjoy a multi-zone music system based upon the long-abandoned Logitech Media Server and Squeezebox network music players.

Actually, that’s only partly true. We still run LMS, but the Squeezebox hardware has gradually been replaced with a fleet of Raspberry Pi SBCs fitted with HiFi Berry DACs, paired to small, powered audio monitors. The four indoor zones all follow this pattern.

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Logitech Squeezebox 3 vs PiCorePlayer on Raspberry Pi 3B+

Long, long ago, in the earliest days of this blog, I described my DIY approach to a whole house audio system. The strategy centers around a collection of Logitech Squeezebox 3 streaming audio players, each mated to a pair of powered audio monitors. All this worked great until the aging SB3s started to fail. Drying electrolytic capacitors cause arthritis in electronics.

Squeezebox_v3

Faced with failing SB3s, and the occasional desire to grow the installation, I resorted to using a most excellent combination of the Raspberry Pi3 B+ single board computer running PiCorePlayer in combination with a HifiBerry DAC. I’ve got HiFiBerry DAC+ where –10 dbm RCA output is suitable and DAC Plus Pro XLR where +4 dbm XLR balanced output is required.

hifiberry dac  in steel case

The RPi, HiFiBerry and PiCorePlayer combination work great! They outperform the original SqueezeBox 3 in every way, save the lack of an IR remote control. Also, they cost less, even with the fancy metal case.

hifiberry pro xlr in case

All the above is preface to help explain something that I discovered this past weekend. There’s a fundamental difference between the behavior of the SB3 and a RPi/HFB combination.

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