NanoSound DAC Pro review

By Rob Zwetsloot. Posted

There are a number of DACs available for the Raspberry Pi – digital-to-analogue converter add-ons that let you play high-quality audio from the Pi. We’ve reviewed many of them in past issues of The MagPi, so it’s always interesting to see a DAC do something different. The NanoSound DAC Pro from Nanomesher is one of these devices that sets itself apart.

Like a lot of DACs, it comes as a HAT add-on for the Raspberry Pi, sitting snugly on top of the GPIO pins. This one covers the entire board, going over the top of the USB and Ethernet ports of a full-sized Raspberry Pi (think B+, 2, 3, etc.). However, it does this to offer more options – namely a little LCD screen and some physical buttons.

These buttons and screen are one of the most interesting parts of this solution, allowing you to use the Pi and the DAC together as an all-in-one music player which you can then hook up to your favourite speakers. There’s even a 3D-printed case you can get, with the files downloadable for free. It all works together with Volumio, an open-source music player that works on the Pi and is optimised for playing your music in the highest quality possible. With a few tweaks you can get it to accept the button inputs of the DAC and display song information on the screen, which is very smart.

The kit even comes with a remote control you can control the system with as well. It’s a really neat little package, and it still outputs the great-quality sound it’s primarily meant to do.

As well as the fully featured Pro version we reviewed, there is a cheaper Basic version for $48 / £35 that doesn’t come with a screen if you don’t need it (although you can get a kit to solder one on). At the very least it does come with the buttons and the remote, which are arguably more important than the screen anyway.

It’s a great bit of kit, and maybe something to consider as an alternative to our music box tutorial on page 20 of our media player projects feature...

Last word


A lovely all-in-one music box solution for your Raspberry Pi that adds everything you’d need bar speakers. It sounds good as well.