Letters to the editor: Topping, RPi, Leica, Atacama, doorstops & more

  • Eduardo T. writes…

    Quick tip: if you see the “red” led blink on a Raspberry Pi it is a sign of “under voltage”.

    It may not be due to an inadequate power supply but due to a “thin” inadequate cable.



    Me: Yes, I see this sometimes on the Pi4 but only during video shoots when a longer (but thinner) cable has been used to set up the shot as we want it. But thank you — this is VERY helpful information.

    Mark S. writes…

    Hello John,

    I’ve noticed you’ve featured the Topping D10s USB DAC in a couple of your recent videos (Olaf’s video work is lush).

    Just thought I’d share with you a couple of super-cheap tweaks I’ve made to mine, that to my ears make an improvement.

    1) It’s super easy to swap the dual op-amp in the topping, I swapped mine for the TI OPA1656 (£14 on eBay)
    2) If you use a USB Dual power Y Adapter (£7 on Amazon) with a USB-A female socket Adapter (£3 on eBay) you can then power the topping from an iFi iPower Low Noise wall wart.

    Works for me.

    Really enjoy your work and making better audio accessible to people who love music.


    Me: Great tips. Thank you, Mark.

    Martell P. writes…

    Hello – I’ve been a big fan of yours for a long time regarding audiophile or as they say audiophileology { maybe I’ve just made that word Up, pertaining to the study of audiophile technology, listing and appreciation} however I’ve noticed that the sound quality that comes across on your YouTube channel with the selected audio tracks playing in the background sound really really good with depth and separation within the stereo field my question is is why is this and what are the measurements of quality for YouTube regarding audio?

    Me: There’s really no magic going on at my end. I simply put the hours in to find what I think sounds good, fits the mood of the video and won’t trigger any red flags with YouTube’s copyright scanning; all the music I use is fully licensed.

    Jonathan A. writes…

    Hello! I’ve what hopefully is a quick question for you – I’ve been looking for an answer in your videos and site but have yet to figure it out. In your videos and posts, eg. your recent on using a dac w/ Spotify, you’ve large silver cylinders sitting on some of your hardware. I’ve wondered what they are for quite some time and I was hoping you’d be willing to say? You’ve a fantastic site and I enjoy your videos. Thank you for all that you do to make audio so much more approachable and accessible!


    Me: Doorstops!

    John G. writes…

    Hi John,

    I think your reviews are very valuable and they help me through the dark days, so thank you!

    That said, I am looking for new desktop speakers. You previously reviewed the LSXs and they were therefore on my shortlist.

    However, I’ve seen reviews touting the Adam T5V monitors ($ 150 each). (Berlin manufacturer – that should appeal to you ;-))

    Combined with an RPi + HiFi HAT or the Bluesound Node 2i, I am curious if that combination outweighs the all-in-one solution of the LSX speakers.

    Something to consider as the T5Vs are incredibly cheap and deliver exceptionally good sound (according to many).



    Me: Thanks. I will give it some thought.

    Alan M. writes…

    Hi John

    Just wanted to let you how much I enjoy your Podcasts, YouTube channel and reviews/news.

    Always glad to hear you mention Australia too.

    Once again, thank you very much for your hard work and effort. It is appreciated.



    Me: Thanks, Alan. Kind of you to say so.

    Paul W. writes…

    Hi John,

    There are a lot of HAT DACs for the RPi now. (I don’t have any, but inspired one of your earlier videos I do use an Allo Digi One, sometimes into a Modi, sometimes into a Qutest).

    I wonder if it would be interesting to see a comparison of 3 or 4 of these DACs?



    Me: It would. But that’s one heck of a lot of work to insert into an already packed schedule. Try to keep in mind that it takes me one full week to discern a product’s sonic personality and any audible differences to other products. 🙂

    Arnfinn S. writes…

    Dear John,

    first of, thank you very much for all your insightful videos!

    I am wondering if you have ever heard of the Arylic (not Auralic) products? Probably yes, but I couldn’t find any opinion of you about it or on your website, that’s why I write to you 🙂

    They offer comparatively inexpensive Wifi and Bluetooth multi-room streaming solutions, quite like the RPI plus DAC solutions (which you reviewed a lot), but more out of the box with their own firmware & App.

    Their UI & usability seems to be really good – according to rare youtube reviews, as well as the multi-room streaming quality.

    Now they offer an add on DAC (ESS9023) or a Spdif output for increased sound quality.

    And now I’m wondering. Is it too good to be true? I mean, it’s so aggressively priced and offers so much. Am I missing something? I don’t own their products yet.

    I hope I won’t bother you, but maybe you find it interesting as well and want to have a look at it.

    Thank you!

    Btw: Of course I am not affiliated with this company. I thought I should mention that 🙂

    Best regards,


    Me: Thanks for the heads up. I’ll look into it. But at these kinds of prices, it’s super easy for many people to find out for themselves how they sound / function, no?

    Yaman B. writes…

    Dear John,

    I would like to thank you for all the effort you put on the site.

    Even though being more inclined on the objectivist side (computer engineer) and even though don’t agree with much of the subjective claims by you or your guests, I very much enjoy your site, your Instagram feed and the videos. Especially I really appreciate the effort put into those videos. Disregarding the subject, the videos are always fun to watch.

    I’ve been a follower for quite a while and consider you as different from everybody from a marketing standpoint. From the very early days, your approach to your work with professionalism and creating a brand with all facets really impresses me.

    As I said I may not agree with much of the content, I still enjoy and prefer reading the industry news and most of the reviews from your site.

    Keep up the excellent work.



    Me: Thanks for the kind words, Yaman and for your maturity in looking past any possible points of disagreement to find some value in what I do. P.S. Nothing builds walls in the audiophile community faster than painting oneself (or others) as a subjectivist or an objectivist. Most audio folk I meet are a little bit of both and labels like that force us into black and white thinking in a world that’s 99.9% grey.

    Nathan J. writes…

    Hi John,

    Having started down the audiophile rabbit hole about a year ago, I stumbled across your YouTube channel and have been watching with curiosity ever since. I just wanted to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for all the work that you do, and I really appreciate your honest, unpretentious opinions.

    Many thanks,


    Me: Thanks, Nathan! Very kind of you.

    Matt M writes…

    Hi John and the team,

    Just a quick note to thank you for your YouTube channel and website, brilliant no fuss, no bs reviews and information, very very refreshing, well done! The channel has got me into the weird world of audiophila……still have no idea what all the terminology means but I don’t really care, it is the listening pleasure I am interested in. I just set up a pi with the HifiBerry Digi Pro hat running Picore with LMS based on your introduction; was it a pain to set up, yes, but well worth the effort (still have issues with Toslink and using USB atm which I’ll look at another day). Might try Volumio or another OS next for the fun of it, haha.

    Keep up the great work,



    Me: Thanks for the kinds words, Matt. 🙂

    Victor C. writes…

    Hi John,

    Just wanted to reach out and say that I love your videos and I’m glad you turned off the comment section. I’m sure your mental state suffered from the amount of brain rot the community possesses. I’m on the younger (?? I just turned 30; is that young anymore? Lol) side of your viewership and I wished I found you earlier. The gatekeeping in the community is what prevents it from bringing in younger people. It’s not as bad as when I first started though, so that’s progress, I guess. If only hi-fi companies took the younger generation more seriously or at least market their product for us, they would have a new generation of customers. I mean, if I was a CEO of a company, I would be concerned because all the boomer customers are dying. What then? There a lot of young money people out there. I know this cause I used to work for Leica and I would be selling $10-15k kits to people younger than me!

    That’s my rant, hope all is well. Keep up the great work,


    Michael S. writes…

    Dear Mr. Darko!

    I saw your video about the Wharfedale Diamonds 12.1 Loudspeakers and fell in love with the shown loudspeaker stands. Would you be so kind as to tell me the make and type of the stand?

    Thank you in advance for the trouble.

    With kind regards from Northern Germany


    P.S. I saw your videos on Youtube for the first time in the last few days and I am impressed by the quality of the factual and well-founded reports without the showmanship that is common these days. Thank you.

    Me: The stands are the Atacama Nexus 6i. 🙂

    Joel Ö writes…

    Hello Darko!

    I’ve been following your Youtube channel for some time.
    Old school raver/techno enthusiast from the North(see COLD) parts of Sweden. Also somewhat of an audiophile, started in the mid-nineties building stereo systems (NAD, Rotel, Totem, Dynaudio).

    Enough about me, to the subject:

    I absolutely LOVE your music taste! <3

    So many “new” artists I’ve found through your videos and seriously thinking of becoming a Patreon on your site, just to have good music recommendations! (If there’s such a thing on your Patreon?)

    Keep up the fantastic work! Stay safe and stay awesome!

    Freundliche Grüße

    Joel Öman

    Me: Yes, my Patreon is where I share playlists for each video that include the music heard in the video and the music talked about. Glad you dig. 🙂

    Pier V. writes…

    Hi Darko, you’re great.

    Now that the PI 400 is out, a very nice toy. No one is talking about the possibility to use the PI 400 for hi-fi music (DAC?, Volumio? etc..) May you write something about it?


    Me: I’ve thought about it but I’m not sure – yet – about what it might bring to the streaming audio world.

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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