Publisher Profile

Allo USBridge Signature Review

By: |

Allo’s USBridge Signature, introduced about this time last year, supersedes the original USBridge. I was keen to evaluate this new unit as I was so impressed with the original, and up until this new product was announced the original design was my go-to recommendation for those looking for such a solution.

The earlier USBridge was built around a Sparky board, but the newly redesigned USBridge Signature uses a Raspberry Pi, and I will get into that later in this piece.

The USBridge Sig, as it is officially referred, can be many things to many different digital audio enthusiasts: a network player, a streamer, a bridge, an endpoint, etc. It all depends upon the configuration and add-on options selected as well as the software being used. For the purposes of this examination I am going to take a cue from my readers and followers and write in terms solely of Roon.

Roon is the software that I use daily, for all its distributed network features, its seemingly enterprise-level back-end database, and its ability to not crash under the weight of a mammoth, ever-growing digital audio library. Sure, I do test others and have written glowingly about Audirvana, but that was/is in the context of a straightforward, portable, desktop solution.

Looking back on 2019 I can see from my correspondence and trove of messaging logs that Digital Audio was far and away the topic of choice, and heading the list were both software and hardware recommendations. I spent so much of the year trying just about every piece of software that was brought to my attention as well all manner of both Sparky- and Raspberry Pi-based solutions. It has taken sometime to write this piece as every time I would sit down to do so some other solution would come across my desk/workbench.

So, now it has been a few weeks short of year since I wrote about the USBridge and in that time, apart from the Orchard PecanPi integrated streamer/endpoint DAC solution, I come back to the Allo USBridge Sig for those who bring their own DAC to the party.

Fig.1 – The USBridge Sig with the Micro SD Card

For the purpose of this review I obtained pretty much the full suite of options with Roon as the focus.

  • USBridge Signature in a case capable of housing extension boards
  • DigiOne Signature Board providing BNC, SPDIF and USB
  • DietPi/Allo GUI operating system and interface
  • Shanti LPS (Linear Power Supply)

I went with the DietPi option as it is my favorite OS for working flawlessly in concert with Roon. For those who are not command-line jockeys the Allo GUI can be a godsend. I prefer going old-school and it is simply rock-solid. Unnecessary services and functions can be shut down/turned off either way. The less being run the better — minimize points of failure and everything should run smoother.

Fig.2 – Sample DietPi configuration screen


Fig.3 – Allo’s GUI highlighting software options and ease with which services can be made active and/or inactive.

Note: Allo supports a host of operating systems as shown in the screenshot below. I ran the majority of them on various Pi devices at my disposal just to see what they were all about, how they functioned, and how reliably. From this time served I decided to cast my lot with DietPi, as I found it took up no more of a footprint than necessary. It has not failed me in all this time and it is what I use to this day. All of the screenshots published in this piece are taken from my systems. And while I’m primarily devoted to Roon and Audirvana, I will not discount the flexibility of the USBridge in its support of Volumio and Moode. They function quite well on the platform, just not what I need or prefer.

Fig.4 – Index of Allo’s supported operating systems and software.

3 Responses to Allo USBridge Signature Review

  1. Dan Bonhomme says:

    I need specifics on sound quality and comparison to at least some competitor.

    • edward says:

      I have the AlloUSBridge and I compared it to normal Raspberrypi B 3+ and 4, all going USB out. The sound is not pleasing at all, rather thin sounding and non-engaging. Everything from the midrange down is lacking.

  2. Fredrik says:

    This review leaves the key element of an audio device review untouched. How does it perform, comparison against other products, benefits of using the tested power supply, sonic difference between Ethernet and wifi, etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Popups Powered By :