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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 3:17 pm 
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Location: Chilliwack, BC, CA
So I made a post about my journey in building a stereo system here: http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/forum/vi ... =4&t=39574

I thought I would make a separate post in this subforum in case anyone is interested about my experience building a cheap dedicated music server system using the Raspberry Pi 2. I don't see there is much information about using the Raspberry Pi on this forum so I thought I would share my experience with anyone who is interested. There is lots of resources on the internet...but maybe this post will give you some ideas. Basically this system will cost you approximately $150 CAD (or less) and will give you functionality of standard music server once you attach a USB flash drive, USB HDD or NAS to the it. It will allow you to access and control your playlist from your phone/tablet/computer through a nice web GUI interface. You will also be able to play Internet Radio streams in *.PLS or *.M3U file format. It is also compatible with Spotify Premium. The quality is decent...for $150 (or less)...you will be surprised at how nice and musical it sounds. Sure I will not say it sounds better than a $3000+ dedicated audiophile quality media server...but I am sure you would have to spend at least 10x to get much better quality.

So, for those who do not know, the Raspberry PI is a miniature computer board that is more than powerful enough to serve/decode music. There are multiple versions, but I used the Raspberry Pi 2 which is the latest and most powerful version. It costs about ~$50 (approximately $44 + shipping). It has HDMI out, Ethernet port and 4x USB plugs. They look like this:

Image

You can buy a case to put the Raspberry Pi board in....but you can run it naked without a case as well. Cases will run about $10 - $30+ depending if you want something made out cheap ABS plastic or if you want something made out metal. Some people have built their own case using Legos or wood. I purchased a cheap plastic one called "HighPi" from a Canadian Raspberry Pi retailer. You need to feed the Raspberry Pi power through a micro USB connector. Usually, an old cell phone charger should work--it needs about 2A. If you don't have one you can buy a power supply for $10-$15. You also need a micro SD card to install the OS on...approximately 8GB+ is preferred. If you don't have one you can buy one of these for $8-$12.

The Raspberry Pi 2 itself does not have a very good audio output stage. The recommendation is to get a DAC. There are two thoughts on this. You can just plug in a USB DAC to the Raspberry Pi, but I have read that there are some complaints regarding pops and noise over the USB. Something with its own clock source might work well here.

The other cheaper option is to buy a expansion DAC daughter board that will plug directly into the Raspberry Pi 2 over the I2S bus. There are lots of choices here...but the two popular ones are either HiFiBerry (based in Switzerland) or iqaudio (based in the UK). They range in price between $35 - $45 USD plus shipping. Probably will cost you about $60 CDN when all is said and done. HiFiBerry has a daughter board that will output to Optical (Toslink) connection if you want to hook it up to an existing DAC.

I personally purchased the HiFiBerry DAC+ PRO which has its own internal clock source and outputs to gold RCA connectors. It stacks on top of the Raspberry Pi 2 like so (photo shows the DAC+ model instead of the DAC + PRO):

Image

You can use the software installer on the HiFiBerry website to create the system software for the microSD from their website: https://www.hifiberry.com/guides/hifiberry-installer/

The software is free. I run Volumio which has all the functionality I care for. I can select MP3 or internet radio streams off my phone/tablet/computer using the web interface. A sample screenshot is here:
Image

The Raspberry Pi 2 is hidden behind my receiver. I connected it to an old 500GB external hard drive to the USB of the Raspberry Pi 2 that has all my old MP3s and ripped CDs files (make sure the external HDD is self powered and doesn't require power from USB as the Raspberry Pi 2 will not provide enough power through USB). At first I was skeptical...how good would a $60 DAC and $50 computer sound? But overall, it sounds very musical and I am happy. For $150 this is a great little setup. Hope this write up helps someone. Let me know if you have any questions.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 5:03 pm 
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I am glad that someone finally posted a comment on RasPi.
A big benefit of this setup is that the CPU communicates with the DAC chip directly through I2S and not through Toslink/spidif/USB.
Besides, most Raspi DACs use chips that do not require analogue filters/buffers at the output - the IC pins directly connect to the RCA.
However, most DAC boards use dac chips that only deliver around 100 dB dynamics (as opposed to around 130 dB).
Anyway, for a $100 setup Raspi sounds great to me.
I sometimes swap the DAC card to Toslink/spdif card and connect RasPi to my PSaudio DAC.
BTW: volumio 1.55 will soon be recoded and the new release wiil be released.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:42 pm 
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spaceaudio: Thank you for initiating this thread.

OK, shoot me for being under a rock so long, but this whole Rasberry Pi is new to me as of last week, and the hifiberry is just so exciting and potentially HUUUUUUGE I can't contain my enthusiasm.

As someone who uses an (excellent value) Emotiva XDA-2 just to get the (very) limited radio stations off my AppleTV, but wanted to go up a level (the usual audio hobbyist curse), it is daunting. DACs get expensive fast. And, how do you know you're making a smart purchase?

The conventional wisdom I've come across is "don't make a big purchase". Why? Because the technology is changing so fast.

The hifiberry seems to have come out of nowhere, and to my reasoning, it's the answer. As a newby web developer, I love open source. It's here, and it's the future. To see that this open source philosophy has crossed over to the audio world is very exciting and it makes it possible to pursue the hobby at a low cost.

So, for me, I'm dropping the thought of investing in something like a Creek Evolution 50CD, which does a ton of things well, but is $1,500 (U.S.) and getting a Sony UHP-H1 for $350, and also get started on a hifiberry with Volumio. https://volumio.org/


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:18 am 
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I have been kicking the idea of a Pi3 and buyapi.ca has a promo for a board only for $35... not bad!

Read up and found this DAC is supposed to be quite nice and people have said some good things:

http://www.audiophonics.fr/en/diy-dac/a ... 10657.html

Definitely a little more expensive, but am curious the improvement over the HiFi Berry DAC... which is supposed to be quite nice as well. The only question is how many Pi's to order, as I can think of about a million uses for them.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:36 pm 
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Getting ready to give this a try and trying to determine best approach. My Meridian Dac only has USB input. Is there a way of integrating it with the Pi and digital output board? Or do I need to forego the Meridian altogether and go with the DAC board. Or perhaps look st another Dac with coax or spdif input?

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:44 pm 
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milesian wrote:
Getting ready to give this a try and trying to determine best approach. My Meridian Dac only has USB input. Is there a way of integrating it with the Pi and digital output board? Or do I need to forego the Meridian altogether and go with the DAC board. Or perhaps look st another Dac with coax or spdif input?

USB dacs work well with the PI.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:51 pm 
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Funny this thread just came up. Just bought a Pi 3 for my work set up. Volumio was super easy to install to SD, and the interface is really easy. Worked with Schiit Modi no problem. My issue is actually that my work uses WPA-Enterprise Wifi (basically you connect and have to put in your specific credentials). Volumio's interface doesn't work so well with this, so I've had to give myself a bit of a crash course on the more advanced elements of Raspberry Pi and coding (nothing too complicated, but I'm not overly technical). If you have home internet with a simple password, setting up Volumio should be no issue.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:01 pm 
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Jared Rachwalski wrote:
USB dacs work well with the PI.

I had mixed results. I originally purchased a nuforce uDac3 (which connects via USB) and it did not work with my Raspberry Pi (model 3) at all. (It worked just fine with both Windows and Linux PCs so the problem would seem to be with its interaction with the Pi.)

I then tried a HifiBerry Dac+ (RCA version) and it has worked perfectly.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:08 pm 
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aleknevicus wrote:
Jared Rachwalski wrote:
USB dacs work well with the PI.

I had mixed results. I originally purchased a nuforce uDac3 (which connects via USB) and it did not work with my Raspberry Pi (model 3) at all. (It worked just fine with both Windows and Linux PCs so the problem would seem to be with its interaction with the Pi.)

I then tried a HifiBerry Dac+ (RCA version) and it has worked perfectly.

What I mean is that the PI is USB dac comptable (HAT dacs not mandatory).

As with all USB dacs, each DAC/Player/OS combo is unique.

I know the Meridian Explorer and RaspyFi works:
http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f10-m ... rer-17061/

ALEKNEVICUS: what OS did you try?

A user here reports sucsess with the udac2 and Rune Audio OS
http://www.runeaudio.com/forum/listenin ... .html#p770


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:55 pm 
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Jared Rachwalski wrote:
milesian wrote:
Getting ready to give this a try and trying to determine best approach. My Meridian Dac only has USB input. Is there a way of integrating it with the Pi and digital output board? Or do I need to forego the Meridian altogether and go with the DAC board. Or perhaps look st another Dac with coax or spdif input?

USB dacs work well with the PI.


Quick edit to my post in light of Jared's latest. The link posted was from 2013, so other software packages would quite possibly have a more modern kernel with support for more devices. RaspyFi has morphed into Volumio.

My own recent use has me set on Moode for software, to accommodate the Digi+ Pro board. Having tried Max2Play, Rune Audio, and Volumio which don't support this board in my trials. Good thing that imaging the microSD cards has proven trivial with utility software.

Going to experiment with a physically attached library, as wireless NAS access isn't giving me results that I like.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:25 pm 
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airdronian wrote:
Going to experiment with a physically attached library, as wireless NAS access isn't giving me results that I like.


Once you physically attach and have a NAS, you can potentially get it to boot off the network (you need a Pi3 to make this work).
https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... utorial.md


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:45 pm 
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I am going to chime in and give my opinion on the Raspberry PI 2, which I purchased from a CAM member.

This was more of an experiment, as I was already very happy with my Zotac mini PC running JRiver on Windows 10, a Schiit Modi dac, an IFi micro dac and a M2tech, I kind of use one or another out of the mix.

So I tried Max2Play and Runeaudio, neither of which worked for me. I then tried Volumio and while it worked well with the PI 2 and the HIFIBerry DAC. I didn't find it sounded as good as my JRiver setup. Others may have a different experience.

I also loaded OSMC software ( which is really a version of Kodi), for playing back media files and Movies/TV shows.
Some work is required in loading Kodi add-ons and you're good to go. So there is potential there for Raspberry PI 2 &3 as a media streamer/player other than for audio only. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:02 pm 
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On the buyapi.ca site they have the Boss DAC and the Hifiberry DAC+ Pro. Any recommendations on which would be better?


Last edited by Kaygem on Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:00 am 
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Give this link a try

http://www.dimdim.gr/2017/03/mamboberry ... reclocker/

Plus

https://community.roonlabs.com/t/allo-b ... view/20575

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:14 am 
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I'm using the Digi+ board along with the piCorePlayer software as I use the Logitech Media Server software. The Digi+ outputs coaxial to my Ydddrasil. Very impressive! I also just received an LPS-1 power supply to connect to the Pi 3 so I'm looking forward to comparisons.


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