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Raspberry Pi 4 as a true high end music server


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On 10/13/2019 at 7:00 PM, Thaddeus Smith said:

 

As Justin mentions above, I too am using a Raspberry Pi 3 with a hifiberry digi+ pro for coax input into my AVR, running Ropieee OS,  with Roon as the overall software ecosystem.

 

I'm running the Roon server as a small linux VM on my unRAID server.

 

Then it's just control via laptop/iOS software. It's very effective and sounds good to my ears.

Running a very similar setup of my own based on conversations with Michael. I'm very pleased with this setup for the cost of it I can't complain. Roon is a little pricey but dare I say it..... you get what you pay for. It is without question the best music management software I have used. The Raspberry running Ropieee OS was a breeze to setup.

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I may have to break down and snag the parts and build one of these.  It would be handy for my main system to send the FLAC files from my NAS to the Onkyo stack but I don''t really need a DAC since the Onkyo pre has a Burr Brown DAC per channel for the digital inputs.  I've used a SFF Dell i5 PC for the last few years and used the USB out to an outboard USB DAC but dropped that once I got the Onkyo pre.  I'll probably keep the PC on that side as it's nice for browsing when I'm upstairs.  But for the other side, the 3 or 4 might be a worthy contender.  I'll have to brush up on my Linux as I haven't used it since college 9 years ago but I believe I still have some books and guides.

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Interesting time looking into all this the last few weeks.  I initially started researching the whole RPi thing and was getting ready to dive in.  My only concern was that from all reports, I would need a high quality HAT for the RPi to have good sound.  I wondered if there was software similar to Volumio that would run my current HTPC and turn it into a Linux based exclusive audio platform.  That was another rabbit trail, but produced very good results.  There are lots of options unbeknownst to me. I started with Volumio, but ran into some issues. Then I tried Euphony which worked perfectly out of the box, but I am not willing to pay nearly $300 for just software.....and, it honestly did not sound as good as my Windows JRiver setup.

 

Next I ran into SnakeOil, a Ubuntu based OS for JUST hi-fi players. I played with that for a full day.  Great options and lots of players you can use.  My problem was that I ran into some hardware issues that I could not solve since I don't know how to work with Linux. While I waited for some help from the author, I decided to try Daphile. 

 

Daphile was super easy to set up and ran perfectly out of the box.  Cost is $0. Loads super fast in my old HTPC.  Used the loaded music in .flac I had on my 1TB SSD and is totally headless.  Just what I wanted.  Initial sound impressions are very good.  Sounds as good, if not better, than my Windows 10 setup.  I have not done any critical listening yet, but this is very promising.

 

The nice thing is that all these offerings run from a USB stick for the first time. So, you can remove your Windows boot drive and play with these all you want. If you don't like the results, just replace the drive and boot back into windows.  No harm, no foul. 

 

Daphile has a built in server and who knows what else.  I will be playing with this the next few days.

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6 hours ago, Rudy81 said:

I wondered if there was software similar to Volumio that would run my current HTPC and turn it into a Linux based exclusive audio platform. 

 

Yes, it;s Roon. Put the Roon core on your HTPC. You can even stick with windows if you want. Roon will see your AVR as an audio device that you can control from anywhere in your house with a laptop, tablet or phone. Use Pi4s as extra endpoints for other zones around the house. Or get your hands on some Chromecast Audios (they're still available from ebay or the UK). A CCA is a stupidly good endpoint for Roon. In fact one drives my DSP for my 4 channel K510 rig. Sounds amazing.

 

Feel free to PM me with questions, I've been a Roon user for a couple of years now and been doing linux audio on Pis for maybe 4. I submitted a couple of bug fixes even for Volumio's airplay support.

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50 minutes ago, MenloBob said:

 

Yes, it;s Roon. Put the Roon core on your HTPC. You can even stick with windows if you want. Roon will see your AVR as an audio device that you can control from anywhere in your house with a laptop, tablet or phone. Use Pi4s as extra endpoints for other zones around the house. Or get your hands on some Chromecast Audios (they're still available from ebay or the UK). A CCA is a stupidly good endpoint for Roon. In fact one drives my DSP for my 4 channel K510 rig. Sounds amazing.

 

Feel free to PM me with questions, I've been a Roon user for a couple of years now and been doing linux audio on Pis for maybe 4. I submitted a couple of bug fixes even for Volumio's airplay support.

 

Hmmm.  Roon may be next on my list to look into. I was happy with my efforts with Daphile, but this afternoon I tried to add music to the second internal drive that contains all my music.  Daphile can see and use the drive with LMS, but the drive and all the files in it have a little 'lock' symbol on them.  I can see the drive from my network, but cannot manipulate any of the data.  What a bummer.  Been trying all sorts of things to fix this and no luck. 

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Back in business.  After many hours of beating my head against the wall, I figured out that the ntfs drive I had formatted in Win10 prevented Daphile from changing permissions.  I hooked it back up to Windows and changed the User permissions to allow write permissions.  Now I can read, write, modify and delete songs on the drive.

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  • 2 months later...

Definitely going to do this as soon as I can. Sounds marvelous! Thanks fort the heads up.  This is not remotely a nerd project. Just follow the instructions and look up nerdy terms like hard drive and OS if you have to. If you can handle Ikea instructions you can do this. 

 

Dave

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've had several irons in the audio fire and this topic was one of them.  Seems I finally hit on a combination that will work for me.  I looked at Rpi, but decided to keep looking for a suitable pc based solution.  I purchased a used Intel NUC with 8Gig memory and an SSD.  I installed SnakeOil OS as that has been my preferred option due to it being open source AND it has many players you can try.  It is designed and operates as a headless OS for your music.  I had some issues originally with my current HTPC.  I am sick and tired of Windows 10 running updates and having high overhead. 

 

This little Intel Nuc turned out to be perfect with the SnakeOil OS.  Install went well and I have everything running except for the HDMI connection.  Not a huge deal and am using optical SPDIF.  All my .flac music is on a single drive with the OS.  I have always preferred JRiver for my music and was able to install the Linux Jriver in SnakeOil.  So far, it has worked perfectly and so I purchased an upgrade JRiver Master license for version 26 so I can update all my machines. 

 

So far.....a dedicated audio OS like SnakeOil is working great. I still have a lot to learn with this OS, but I got it up and running.

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  • 2 months later...

I have been running two RPI 3s (not the +) for a few years now.  I have one with a HiFiBerry DAC + Pro and one using an old HRT Music Streamer II+ I have from a previous system.  I use one to feed kitchen and patio speakers and the other to feed a little headphone amp at my desk.  If I ever add another HAT I will give ALLO a hard look.

 

I would like to have an RPI 4 now for the added RAM and AC wireless, but not quite worth the money at this time.  Don’t suspect the resale market exists.

 

I have run from the initial Raspbian through Volumio, Ubuntu MATE, and MoOde.  Am now back to Raspbian, which I think is Buster.  The reason is that the one for the kitchen I added XRDP and the wife can RDP in and listen to her Pandora.  You don’t get a browser with Volumio or MoOde.  I added Raspotify, which is a Spotify Connect client to both and use them as an endpoint/renderer from the Spotify computer I use for my main system.

 

Volumio and MoOde both can be used as endpoints for Spotify.  They also have a good NAS mapping capability.  Raspbian has a version of VLC, but I normally load Clementine to play anything from my NAS.

 

This are both pretty rudimentary setups, but they do quite a bit for not much.

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I love raspberry Pi for audio. Currently running a 3B with a Digi Plus Pro hat into a Schiit Modi 3. It runs Volumio. I stream flac files from a micro-sd card loaded into my wireless router and from Tidal using the built in Tidal interface, it'll do Qubuz too. It all works flawlessly, sounds damn good and is easy and inexpensive to do. Assembly of the unit and loading the Volumio operating system took about an hour. Use my phone or tablet to control it. Great stuff indeed.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/8/2019 at 11:39 AM, Edgar said:

My Pi2B transports multi channel audio over HDMI just fine.  There are DIYAudio forums and an Instructable to build a Raspberry Pi DSP music server that doesn't need an external DAC and accomplishes all DSP functions on the CPU.  Sounds great on my KSF10.5 towers.

 

On 10/8/2019 at 11:39 AM, Edgar said:

I cannot speak for the Pi 4, but in my Pi 3 there was a problem transporting multichannel audio over HDMI. I don't remember whether it was a hardware limitation or a driver limitation, but I could only get two discrete channels of audio through the HDMI port.

 

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  • 11 months later...
On 1/11/2020 at 6:04 PM, LotharX said:

Hello-

I would like to access a streaming service (Idagio) which is available via the BlueOS. I am using a Pi3B with a Hifiberry Dac+  (sounds great to my aging ears). Is there a way to run the BlueOS on the Pi?

Lothar

 

I doubt BlueOS is open-source and therefore available to run on a Pi. An alternative may be to use the chromecast bridge plugin in the Logitech Media Server so that the Idagio app on Android recognizes the Pi + DAC as Chromecast device. (Note that Chromecast is available only in the Idagio app on Android, but Android devices are relatively cheap if you do not already have one.). The whole thing is a bit of kludge, and lets hope that Idagio offers more options in the future. (Who can afford a Burmester system, one of the hifi-companies that Idagio appears to partner with? What sort of marketing decision was this?)

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  • 2 months later...

I stream Tidal on my Orchard Audio PecanPI (PI3 and O A DAC). It sounds great but of course Im gonna change to a PI4, just because its there and because it might sound better. I will post my findings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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