10 Years HiFiBerry – Our DSPs

2017 was one of the most important years in the history of our company. Band & Olufsen contacted us to develop a product together with this. The initial idea was to re-use older B&O speakers in an elegant way. The Beovox CX50 and CX100 are design icons – and they are great speakers for their size. The massive aluminium enclosure does still do a great job. Today the first CX50 speakers are 40 years old! Yes, they will need some work, but if you can still find some of these – get them!

In our discussions with the B&O teams we quickly noticed that 2 channels won’t be enough for this project and additional equalisation was necessary to use the full potential of these speakers. The idea to create an amplifier with an integrated DSP was born. A DSP is a digital signal processor. It is basically a small computer just processing audio data that runs independent from the software on the Pi. While we already did some internal tests with a DSP product, it was never released. However, it helped us to create this new amplifier is a short time. And there is was: the Beocreate 4-channel amplifier.

In the beginning, the software was designed to work with B&O loudspeakers, but it was already possible for users to create their own DSP programs using a software names SigmaStudio. This isn’t a software designed for end users, creating your own DSP program with SigmaStudio is still not a trivial task today.

Therefore, we were very happy when one of the core developer of the B&O software developed a filter designer that works without the need to use SigmaStudio:

Another big step was the integration of automated room acoustics correction. This isn’t something completely new and tools like REW are around for a long time. We felt, that these tools are great for engineers that know exactly what to do, but not for users that don’t just want to learn anything about acoustics. And we did it: Room acoustics optimisation was integrated into HiFiBerryOS.

We knew from the beginning that Beocreate 4-channel wasn’t a product for every user. To make the DSP technology available for more users, we decided to start with a DAC/DSP combination – the DAC+ DSP was born.

Combining the DSP from the Beocreate with a simple 2-channel DAC and TOSLink inputs and outputs allowed us to create a much more affordable DSP product for different use cases. Most users use it as a DAC with an integrated DSP, but we have also seen users to create loudspeaker crossovers with it or simply use the TOSLink input to integrate the output of a TV into the sound system.

But what about a High-End DAC with a DSP? Or a powerful 2-channel amplifier with a DSP? We realized that creating a DSP product for each possible use case wasn’t the right way to go. Therefore, starting with our best DAC – the DAC2 HD we allow users to integrate a DSP in many of our products using a small add-on board: the DSP add-on was born.

Today, this small board can be used already with the following HiFiBerry sound cards:

We expect that more products will support this in the future.

December 15, 2023

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