The Orchard Audio PecanPi+ is an audio streamer with a built-in DAC and headphone amplifier. It’s all housed in a simple black box with a single knob on its face.

Orchard Audio PecanPi+

It provides the functionality of several other components many times its price, and it sounds downright excellent.


Orchard Audio PecanPi+ Highlights

  • Housed in a small chassis that runs cool.
  • Its DAC can be upgraded when a new version is released.
  • Can be used as a standalone DAC with the optional S/PDIF coax input.
  • Can play music from USB drives and NAS drives (depending on the operating system used).
  • Can be used to play music through AirPlay, Amazon Alexa, Qobuz, and TIDAL (depending on the operating system used).
  • Can be controlled with a computer, phone, or tablet (depending on the operating system used).
  • Balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs.
  • Runs on Ethernet, not Wi-Fi, for more reliable connectivity.
  • Its headphone amplifier will drive a wide range of headphones.
  • The PecanPi+ streamer is Roon Tested, so you can use it as a Roon endpoint.
  • Can be purchased with a viewscreen in the Streamer Ultra configuration.

The Orchard Audio PecanPi+ is an audio streamer with a built-in DAC and headphone amplifier. It’s all housed in a simple black box with a single knob on its face. It is not the kind of component you just plug in and start listening to, but when it is set up it provides the functionality of several other components many times its price, and it sounds downright excellent.

It is a versatile component and can be configured to meet your specific needs. For example, if you don’t want a streamer, you can order a PecanPi+ with just a DAC and headphone amplifier. With that configuration, you get just the S/PDIF input, and it saves you $100.

You can also choose which type of outputs it has: RCA or a ¼-inch headphone jack. So, you can use it either as a preamplifier or a headphone amplifier.

PecanPi+ Specifications

Full specifications and test results are available here.


Networked music player with built-in DAC, S/PDIF coax input, and headphone amplifier. Other configurations are possible at the time of order.


  • One volume knob


  • Input socket for 9V power supply
  • Four USB 2.0 Type-A ports
  • One Ethernet port
  • One pair of balanced XLR outputs
  • One pair of single-ended RCA outputs (can also be configured with a ¼-inch headphone jack in place of the RCA outputs)
  • One S/PDIF coax input


  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR): 133dB (A-weighted)
  • Residual Noise: 1.174uV (A-weighted)
  • Dynamic Range (DNR): 129dB
  • Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N) @ 0dBFS: -116dB or 0.00016%
  • Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N) @ -6dBFS: -119dB or 0.00011%
  • Frequency Response: DC (0Hz) to 22kHz @ 48kHz sample rate
  • Frequency Response: DC (0Hz) to 44kHz @ 96kHz sample rate
  • Frequency Response: DC (0Hz) to 88kHz @ 192kHz sample rate
  • Output Voltage: 5.22Vrms (+16.6dBu)


  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR): 128dB (A-weighted)
  • Residual Noise: 1.308uV (A-weighted)
  • Dynamic Range (DNR): 124dB
  • Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N) @ 0dBFS: -112dB or 0.00025%
  • Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N) @ -6dBFS: -116dB or 0.00016%
  • Frequency Response: DC (0Hz) to 22kHz @ 48kHz sample rate
  • Frequency Response: DC (0Hz) to 44kHz @ 96kHz sample rate
  • Frequency Response: DC (0Hz) to 88kHz @ 192kHz sample rate
  • Output Voltage: 2.61Vrms (+10.6dBu)


  • Power into 32Ω: 1.7W peak
  • Power into 150Ω: 363mW peak
  • Power into 600Ω: 90mW peak
  • Output Impedance: < 60mΩ


  • Power into 16Ω: 851mW peak
  • Power into 32Ω: 425mW peak
  • Power into 150Ω: 91mW peak
  • Power into 300Ω: 45.5mW peak
  • Output Impedance: < 550mΩ


  • Input Connector: Barrel Plug, 2.1mm I.D. x 5.5mm O.D. x 9.5mm
  • Input Voltage: 9VDC
  • Input Power: 20W Max (w/ Raspberry Pi)


  • Sampling Rates: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192, 352.8, and 384kHz (S/PDIF limited to 192k)
  • Bit Rates: 16, 24, and 32-bits (S/PDIF limited to 24-bits)
  • Formats: Supports all formats. DSD is converter to PCM before playback.
  • DAC Compatible Raspberry Pi Models: 1B+, 1A+, 2B, 3B, 3B+, 4B, Zero, & ZeroW
  • DAC Compatible Asus Models: Tinker Board and Tinker Board S


  • DietPi
  • moOde Audio
  • OSMC
  • piCorePlayer
  • Raspian
  • Ropieee
  • Volumio
  • Others


  • Streamer / Ultra: 195 x 120 x 100mm (7.7 x 4.75 x 4.25in)
  • DAC: 97mm (3.82”) x 78.5mm (3.09”) x 38.1 mm (1.5”)


  • Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM) flagship AK4499EXEQ combined with AK4191EQ.
  • Clocking: Crystek CCHD-575 oscillator with ultra-low clock jitter of 82fSec


  • Cirrus Logic CS8416


  • True balanced, fully differential output stages
  • Uses OPA1612s
  • Low Noise Panasonic Resistors
  • Proprietary filtering topology


  • LT3045 (0.8uV noise) for positive op-amp power supply
  • LT3090 (18uV noise) for negative op-amp power supply
  • LT3042 (0.8uV noise) for DAC Chips


  • Dual parallel OPA1622s (regular headphones)
  • Quad parallel OPA1622s (balanced headphones)


  • $799.95 USD base price. $499.95 if purchased without the streaming option. $894.95 USD as tested with Volumio operating system, built-in RCA connectors, and gold 6” 3.5mm headphone adaptor. (Note that this adapter is no longer available, now that you can buy the PecanPi+ with a headphone jack in the back).



Orchard, audio, Raspberry Pi, PecanPi+, DAC, Volumio, Roon, headphone amplifier, streamer, DAC reviews 2023


Leo Ayzenshtat, the founder of Orchard Audio, has designed what he calls an “ultra-high performance next-generation stereo DAC for the Raspberry Pi and ASUS Tinker Board.” The DAC design of the PecanPi+ is centered around AKM’s SK4499EXEQ chip. This chip uses the latest multi-bit switched resistor digital-to-analog (DAC) method, employing VELVETSOUND technology. Also, AKM’s AK4191EQ delta-sigma modulator is employed alongside the AK4499EXEQ.

The AK4191 handles the digital processing, and the AK4499 handles the digital-to-analog conversion. By splitting these two functions into separate devices, AKM has minimized the effects of digital noise within the analog output, which brings a perceived improvement in the signal-to-noise ratio.

A word about updates

The first version of the PecanPi I had for this review employed two Burr-Brown PC1794A chips running in monaural mode for its DAC. After I returned it, Ayzenshtat sent me a PecanPi+ with the new AKM DAC chips. The improvement in the PecanPi+ was immediately apparent and far from subtle. I heard a vast expansion in soundstage; an improvement so startling I laughed out loud a few times while listening to standard Red Book CDs and seeing sounds swirl around my listening room. One improvement that improved the soundstage was the increase in clarity around instruments and notes as they moved around the soundstage. Also, the timing of the music became more coherent for me. I suspect that’s a result of the increased processing speed of the new DAC chips. These AKM chips are relatively new to the market and there aren’t many other DACs employing them as of this writing, and I think Ayzenshtat was wise to adopt them.

The streamer of the PecanPi+ uses a Raspberry Pi 3B for all of the processing. (If you’re into DIY, you can purchase the DAC as a standalone unit for $499US and use it to build your own custom streamer.) There is a wide and active community based around Raspberry Pi audio. There is also a variety of open-source and commercial operating systems used to run Raspberry Pi streamers.

Here’s a rundown of the operating system options:

  • Volumio, which is generally the most user-friendly and easiest to use (it also has the most built-in features).
  • PiCorePlayer, for those who use Logitech Media Server (LMS) and Squeezebox devices.
  • moOde Audio, for advanced users or tinkerers
  • Or, if you are a Roon subscriber you can use the PecanPi+ streamer as a Roon endpoint.

Keep in mind that you have to open the chassis to switch out the micro-SD card the operating system is installed upon. I chose to use Volumio with the PecanPi+.


The PecanPi+ streamer comes preconfigured with the basics to get it up and running quickly. For example, the DAC and volume controls are all already set up. I had two options to get the PecanPi+ to play music. One is to use it as a Roon endpoint, and the other is to control it with the Volumio app. I used both and they were relatively easy to get set up.

There is a Volumio app available for Android and iOS devices which greatly simplifies controlling the PecanPi+ from your device. So, I started the Volumio app on my iPhone, it automatically found the PecanPi+, and then I was listening to music. Easy. You can find directions for getting the PecanPi+ set up with Volumio here.

It is important for me to reiterate that the PecanPi+ does not have Wi-Fi connectivity. It uses only wired Ethernet. Ayzenshtat kept Wi-Fi out of the picture to minimize noise and keep the design as simple as possible. I understand and respect that design decision. But it may pose a challenge for some of you. I just happen to have my listening room wired for Ethernet so putting the PecanPi+ into my system was easy. If I did not have Ethernet in that room, I would have to find another way to use the PecanPi+, such as a powerline Wi-Fi extender or a Wi-Fi-to-Ethernet adaptor.

With all of that said and done, I could finally get down to listening to some music. I used the PecanPi+’s XLR output to connect it to my Orchard Audio Starkrimson Ultra amplifier. Speakers used were the Polk Audio Legend L600s.

Using the PecanPi+ as a DAC

For this test, I used the S/PDIF coax output from my Oppo UDP-205 and fed it into the PecanPi+. The PecanPi+ will automatically handle the audio signal from an external device attached to the coax input when it detects a signal. Its sound quality was very much like the Starkrimson Ultra amplifier, giving a surprising depth of inner detail and a vast soundstage.

When it comes to playing Red Book CDs, I have been using my Oppo UDP-205 only as a transport and sending the digital output to a DAC, such as the Schiit Bifrost 2 or the Meier Audio DACCORD. I’ve also been playing digital files on USB drives through that Oppo UDP-205 for many years. Playing the same digital files through the PecanPi+ via its USB 2.0 ports surpassed the Oppo in every way possible. I started hearing a surprising depth of inner detail and a vast soundstage from FLAC files I did not think possible with my system when played through the Oppo. This is the second time an Orchard Audio component has had that effect on me.

Listening to 16-bit/44kHz FLACs ripped from a Red Book CD of AC/DC’s Powerage, I very easily heard the different guitar tones of Angus and Malcolm Young, but I could also see very well where each of them was in the soundstage. I heard inner details of Cliff Williams’s bass playing I had never heard before. And the room echo of Phil Rudd’s floor toms was easy to hear as well. All in all, listening to music at Red Book resolution FLACs with the PecanPi+ was better than I expected.

Orchard Audio PecanPi+ Terminals

Using the PecanPi+ as a headphone amplifier

When you buy a PecanPi+, you can choose whether you want RCA outputs or a ¼-inch headphone jack. That decision comes down to whether you want to use it as a preamplifier or a headphone amp.

If you get the PecanPi+ with the RCA outputs, using it as a headphone amp is a bit awkward, because the RCA outputs are on the rear of the unit, and you need a 3.5mm headphone adapter. But if you buy the PecanPi+ with the ¼-inch headphone jack instead of the RCA outputs, it’s much easier to use as a headphone amp. This thing isn’t built for luxury, it’s built for sound quality, but you can buy it in a configuration that best meets your specific needs.

But after you’ve got your headphones wired to the PecanPi+, the sound quality is superb. The PecanPi+ produced more than enough power to comfortably drive the HIFIMAN Arya Stealth and Focal Clear Mg headphones. I didn’t hear distortion in either pair of headphones and there was enough power on tap to keep the music dynamic.

Using the PecanPi+ as a streamer

First things first. If you’re going to use the PecanPi+ as a streamer, you must first remove the S/PDIF cable. The sound quality of the streamed music processed by the PecanPi+ DAC was energetic with great sound staging. For a test, I thought I’d ask the Funk Mothership to touch down in my listening room, so I listened to Parliament’s “Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)” streamed through Qobuz in 16-bit/44kHz and the PecanPi+, well, did, in fact, tear the roof off the sucker. The bass was tight without any smearing and the mids were easy to distinguish from other frequencies. The high frequencies really shone through; the brassy sass of the trumpets in the song came through without sounding strained or too bright.

Yes, you can have a streamer and an amplifier in a single chassis.

Orchard Audio also sells the Starkrimson Streamer Ultra, which is a Starkrimson Ultra amplifier with a PecanPi+ streamer built in. You can order it with a S/PDIF coax input, so you can also use the Starkrimson Streamer Ultra as a DAC with an external disk transport. And you can get separate DAC outputs in RCA or XLR. So, you get the excellent sound and functionality of the PecanPi+ streamer and the awesome power of the Starkrimson Ultra amplifier to drive your speakers all in one box. That is an excellent combination.


Orchard Audio PecanPi+ at a glance

As configured, the cost of this PecanPi+ is $894.95 USD. That price gets you an excellent DAC, a powerful headphone amplifier, and an excellent music streamer, all in one box. To get all of that functionality in a component from a major audio equipment company would cost you at least twice that price. The PecanPi+ provides a lot of functionality with excellent sound quality for a very good price.

  • Very transparent sound quality.
  • Very lightweight and easy to move around.
  • Both the hardware and software can be upgraded.
  • Combines the functionality of several components into a single box.
  • Orchard Audio proprietor Leo Ayzenshtat is quick to answer technical questions.
Would Like To See
  • Nothing

The PecanPi+ really surprised me. I have been listening to a Raspberry Pi with a HiFiBerry DAC for some time and thought that the sound quality was pretty good. I was in no way prepared for the improvement I heard with the PecanPi+. The sound quality of the new DAC with the AKM chips alone makes the PecanPi+ a great deal. This component does quite a few things, and it does all of them well.