So I’ve been listening to the pi2aes with the shanti linear power supply from Allo for a few days now. I just disconnected the power from the pi and pi2aes and connected the mean well supply to the pi2aes and the shanti linear to the pi. I could have just powered it with the mean well supply but I didn’t want to reconnect the jumper so I figured that leaving the pi powered by the shanti and just changing how the pi2aes HAT is powered would be fine. So to clarify this is a comparison between the pi2aes powered by the mean well supply and the pi2aes powered by the 5v 1a output of the shanti supply. In both cases the pi is powered separately by the 5v 3a output of the shanti and the jumper on the pi2aes is removed.
For this test I used the Ether CX as they isolate well and are pretty flat sounding. The main song I used to test this is California Soil by London Grammar as I am familiar with it and it has a good variety of things going on like vocals, cymbal hits, and bass but isn’t too busy sounding. For my test the volume was matched as I left the amp volume position in the same position while swapping the power connection to the pi2aes.
I do think that powering the pi2aes with the linear power supply as opposed to the mean well supply sounds better overall. When I first connected the mean well supply it just seemed wrong. It sounded thinner with less dynamics and the details were more “squished” together. I do think that improving the psu improves the imaging and separation and I think in this case the overall tonality was just more pleasing too. I have no science to back this up as these are just my listening impressions so do take this with a grain of salt.
If you have a pi2aes and willing to invest in a linear psu or just a higher quality power supply I do think that the upgrade is worthwhile.
Here’s a picture of my setup with a new dark acrylic case on the pi2aes so I don’t have a rpi light show in my room when I go to bed.