Can audiophiles detect deficiencies in the hifiberry DAC's?

In short, I bought one and I'm disappointed and want to know if what I'm hearing is real or if something else could be wrong with the way I'm using it.

I'm A/B comparing it to an Onkyo 7030 CD player and an OPPO BDP-103 and both players are clearly superior.  The hifiberry is a DAC+ ADC PRO playing compressed FLAC files I ripped using EAC and stored on Sandisk USB pen drives .  The hifiberry is a pi4 and I'm using the standard raspberry power supply and Volumio as the player.  I don't go in for cables and power supplies and stuff because I generally have never been able to find a difference so everything like interconnects, cables and power strips are generic.  But the difference between the Hifiberry and the Onkyo is night and day.  When playing messy, complicated pieces with lots of content across the entire frequency range (like Hendrix's Voodoo Child), the Hifiberry loses detail in the highs and gets distorted in the bass.  I had initially tested the Hifiberry against an Audioquest Dragonfly Red using Sennheiser HD600 headphones and Bravo tube amp, but the Dragonfly, while a little more precise in the highs (cleaner?),  had an obvious lack of bass.  Then I bought a Schiit Fulla as a stopgap for the now-disgraced Dragonfly.  I'm not done testing the Schiit yet.  Bottom line is I've seen a ton of buzz around the Hifiberry and I'm wondering why something that everyone seems to like could be so disappointing against (an admittedly respected) <$200 CD player.  In addition I'm getting a random crackly-pop noise.  It consistently follows the Hifiberry but not any other part of the equation.  Maybe I got a defective one?  Are the hifiberry's susceptible to electromagnetic interference or anything like that?
The review on ASR was less than enthusiastic it was recommended as a cheap component but it did have noise in the audible range. The easiest way to compensate is reduce the incoming signal a few dB. I use a raspberry pi4 as a roon bridge into a DAC which works great. I was never impressed with the DAC Hats on raspberry pi’s. The pop noise could be the cheap connections on the raspberry or the Hat might not be seated good.
I tried a HiFiBerry DAC Pro+ a while ago in a secondary system. I thought it was remarkable for the $50 price. However, the sound was not as good as through a couple of audiophile DACS (Auralic VEGA, Classe CP-800). By comparison, the HiFiBerry was rather dull sounding, less transparent. I didn't notice distortion (though I didn't use it very much), but I definitely experienced loss of detail, as you did.

It's not your imagination.