OK I'm going to buy a Raspberry Pi 3

What shall I do with it?  I was thinking of enabling a Pi > Hugo > SN2, as I'll be on the lookout for a good deal on a used Hugo just so I can hear it.  Does that make sense?  Any recommendations for software -- Rune perhaps?  Then how do I control playback from an iPhone?  And decent but inexpensive cables?

Should be a good 'winter project.'

Original Post

If that is using Pi with rendering software to stream digital audio direct to the DAC, it begs the question what is the output from the Pi? If USB I would think it highly likely that you would need to isolate the Hugo to avoid defpgradation by RF, e.g. Using something like Gustard U12 as I used between Mac Mini/Audirvana and Hugo.

I was thinking idly about this earlier, and had a quick look.

You can get various add-on boards for them, several kinds of hifiberry, for example. At least one of those has galvanic isolation, I believe, and things to do with accurate clocks.

Going by Rob Watts' comments, I'd have thought optical would be a good choice into a Hugo.

If you go through with it, Bart, please let us know how you get on. I'd be kind of interested in doing it, but also kind of can't be arsed without a clear 'here's the idiot-proif list of things you need. And here's an idiot-proof list of what you need to do with each bit'. No pressure

Dave***t posted:

I was thinking idly about this earlier, and had a quick look.

You can get various add-on boards for them, several kinds of hifiberry, for example. At least one of those has galvanic isolation, I believe, and things to do with accurate clocks.

Going by Rob Watts' comments, I'd have thought optical would be a good choice into a Hugo.

If you go through with it, Bart, please let us know how you get on. I'd be kind of interested in doing it, but also kind of can't be arsed without a clear 'here's the idiot-proif list of things you need. And here's an idiot-proof list of what you need to do with each bit'. No pressure

Frankly I'm hoping that someone here provides a clear list of things needed!

Well, I found something which might fit the bill.

A link would be against forum rules, but there's a guide by John Reekie called 'How to network your Mac music system with the raspberry pi and hifiberry' on the hifi zine website.

The title implies you'd need a Mac at the heart of the system, but after a quick read it looks like it could easily be made to work with, say, minimserver on a NAS.

I'm considering giving it a whirl just for a nerdy bit of fun.

Plenty out there on the web for this. I have 2 Pi3 one running Asset on Raspbian Jessie Lite with an HDD attached holding all my ripped music (FLAC) ... So basically using the Pi as a cheap low cost UPNP music server). That has been running for months with no issues. The second Pi I have played around with the main music based distributions (Volume, RuneAudio and Moode). They each have different features that you might prefer. I found Volumio to be the most reliable (and if AirPlay is of interest the one that works). This Pi feeds a Meridian Director Dac; the bedroom system.

Another option to play with given the rather nice kit you have might be to install Roon on a PC and use the Pi as a Roon Ready end point to feed music to the Hugo. I did install this and it worked (looked and sounded great). There is a 14 trial period. 

There will no doubt be puzzles to solve playing with these, but Google is your friend. 

 

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

I have a Pi1 and a Pi2 and use them for streaming (amongst other uses) via the home network.. I run minimserver on one and Asset on the other... works well into my NDX and other non Naim streamers... and I need no other attachments and no special operating system builds...all nice and simple.

HI Simon,

I seem to remember that you previously used a Netgear NAS. I take it that you have moved your music store to an external hard drive (or retain your music on the NAS, but no longer run media software on your NAS), and have replaced the NAS functionality with the Pi1 and Pi2 units. If this is the case, could I ask you why you have done this? Did you do it simply for curiosity, fun or were you of the opinion that it might improve your streaming sound quality?

Has this resulted in any detectable improvement?

 

Hmack - no I moved from Asset and MinimServer to predominately use my Netgear NAS and its inbuilt ReadyDLNA media server - it sounds better and I can see a definite difference on the wire which may account for the SQ difference.... however I keep the Pi's going for DSD and for beta testing - and they work well hence my comment to this thread..

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Hmack - no I moved from Asset and MinimServer to predominately use my Netgear NAS and its inbuilt ReadyDLNA media server - it sounds better and I can see a definite difference on the wire which may account for the SQ difference.... however I keep the Pi's going for DSD and for beta testing - and they work well hence my comment to this thread..

Any experience or recommendations using the IPi as a client?

Bart posted:

I definitely contemplate using the Pi3B as a UPnP client for Minim or Asset running on a nas, to be connected to a Hugo.  Whether the Pi can/should be connected directly to the Hugo with a simple usb cable is a concern.

If you use the appropriate hifiberry board (digi+ transformer version), then there should be no problem using USB into a Hugo. The issue otherwise would be electrically noisy USB, as the Hugo isn't isolated. But that version of the digi+ is.

But why use USB? If you're going to use a hifiberry board at all, then into a Hugo I'd say you're better using optical rather than USB. That's what the designer of the DAC recommended, and it removes any electrical noise issues. In that case, the digi+ pro would probably be better, as it has more sophisticated signal clocking.

If you don't want to use a hifiberry board for whatever reason, I've no idea. They looked good, so I've concentrated my reading up around them.

Dave***t posted:
Bart posted:

I definitely contemplate using the Pi3B as a UPnP client for Minim or Asset running on a nas, to be connected to a Hugo.  Whether the Pi can/should be connected directly to the Hugo with a simple usb cable is a concern.

If you use the appropriate hifiberry board (digi+ transformer version), then there should be no problem using USB into a Hugo. The issue otherwise would be electrically noisy USB, as the Hugo isn't isolated. But that version of the digi+ is.

But why use USB? If you're going to use a hifiberry board at all, then into a Hugo I'd say you're better using optical rather than USB. That's what the designer of the DAC recommended, and it removes any electrical noise issues. In that case, the digi+ pro would probably be better, as it has more sophisticated signal clocking.

If you don't want to use a hifiberry board for whatever reason, I've no idea. They looked good, so I've concentrated my reading up around them.

I hadn't gotten as far as deciding on a hifiberry board (which includes optical toslink) or not.  It seems that for use as a UPnP client into a dac it's the right hardware.

If it's a matter of just wanting an economical front end for trying out a Chord DAC, I struggle to see why a Pi would be better than a Chromecast Audio. The CCA would be cheaper, too.

But as a project, it could be fun. Some people have really gone for it with toroidal transformers, full size hifi cases, touch screens etc. But a fairly basic setup would still be a good afternoon's tinkering.

For me it's at least as much as a project.  Just something I want to do / learn.  Some tinkering as you say.  And I can combine it with hearing the Hugo in my home if/when I find a used one cheap enough.  And I can figure out other tinkerings with it; there are a zillion useless things one can do with it.

David posted:

Simon, 

are you using FLAC or WAV files on the ReadyNAS? I switched to asset on a PI to enable on the fly translation to WAV, which is not available on the ReadyDNLA, at least not my version.

I must do a side by side comparison.

David

David I use FLAC and WAV, as ReadyDLNA doesn't transcode  - I also feed a Hugo from the NDX - and this way the difference between FLAC and WAV is very minimal and certainly not distracting in the way it is when I have used the NDX's internal DAC

Bart posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Hmack - no I moved from Asset and MinimServer to predominately use my Netgear NAS and its inbuilt ReadyDLNA media server - it sounds better and I can see a definite difference on the wire which may account for the SQ difference.... however I keep the Pi's going for DSD and for beta testing - and they work well hence my comment to this thread..

Any experience or recommendations using the IPi as a client?

Bart - no - I have only used the Pi as UPnP media server over the network.. - it also mounts the NASs over the network..

 

Dave***t posted:

If it's a matter of just wanting an economical front end for trying out a Chord DAC, I struggle to see why a Pi would be better than a Chromecast Audio. The CCA would be cheaper, too.

The CCA doesn't do gapless playback, so that's a reason to go for a Pi. 

Dave***t posted:

If it's a matter of just wanting an economical front end for trying out a Chord DAC, I struggle to see why a Pi would be better than a Chromecast Audio. The CCA would be cheaper, too.

But as a project, it could be fun. Some people have really gone for it with toroidal transformers, full size hifi cases, touch screens etc. But a fairly basic setup would still be a good afternoon's tinkering.

Bart posted:

For me it's at least as much as a project.  Just something I want to do / learn.  Some tinkering as you say.  And I can combine it with hearing the Hugo in my home if/when I find a used one cheap enough.  And I can figure out other tinkerings with it; there are a zillion useless things one can do with it.

There's nothing to stop you trying out a Hugo or other Chord DAC without doing anything other than obtaining an SPDIF cable that may need to be BNC to RCA and possibly needing to obtain a cable suitable for the DAC's output into your preamp, and indeed trying direct into powervamp,if you wish (Hugo or higher)

Pi would complicate trying Hugo for DAC trial purposes, as its quality would be unknown. But as a basis for setting up a uPNP server, or a home-made NAS, or if rendering software is available, it is a an inexpensive and accessible tool to experiment with, and learn while at it, with little to lose if it doesn't work for you in the end. 

The Pi reminds me of the Sinclair Mk14 kit computer back in the 1970s, though a tad more powerful and versatile:  IIRC my brother's Mk14 had 0.5 kB of RAM, machine code programming with a hexadecimal keypad, a 7-segment calculator-style LED display, and no non-volatile memory. And with an external board with an additional 0.5 kB he claimed it was so in demand at university that he could swap for someone else's girlfriend for the night (But I have no idea if that deplorable behaviour was true!) The whole point of it was to learn about computers, and get it to do things. But Pi has rather more capability!

Innocent Bystander posted:
There's nothing to stop you trying out a Hugo or other Chord DAC without doing anything other than obtaining an SPDIF cable that may need to be BNC to RCA and possibly needing to obtain a cable suitable for the DAC's output into your preamp, and indeed trying direct into poweramp, if you wish (Hugo or higher)
 

Yes I can appreciate that if I want to "hear" the Hugo, pairing it to a Pi may result in me hearing the Pi AND the Hugo.  My NDS has a BNC digital out; I think I could use a DC1 BNC to BNC cable to connect the NDS to a Hugo, and then connect the Hugo to my SN2.  That's probably the right way to hear JUST a Hugo, correct?

I'm still going to play with a Pi  

I don't know about Hugo 2, but Hugo uses rca not bnc for spdif. Suitable cables are readily available, quite inexpensively, though when I had an ND5XS it came with a bnc-rca adaptor, which would allow use of an rca-rca cable, though it should be a 75Ω ("video") cable. If the NDS has an optical oiputput you could use that insread.

output of Hugo is rca.

Well, if you go through with it Bart, it's begging for a comparison between NDS and Pi into a Hugo, as well as an audition of the Hugo itself.

No one would expect to see your NDS on the market shortly afterwards, I'm sure, but it'd be interesting to see how close the little fella can get.

Bart posted:

What shall I do with it?  I was thinking of enabling a Pi > Hugo > SN2, as I'll be on the lookout for a good deal on a used Hugo just so I can hear it.  Does that make sense?  Any recommendations for software -- Rune perhaps?  Then how do I control playback from an iPhone?  And decent but inexpensive cables?

Should be a good 'winter project.'

Bart, just install plain Raspbian, it is the best distribution for the Pi. In a nutshell, you do: 

1) download Raspian Jessie Lite from https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/ and follow https://www.raspberrypi.org/do...ing-images/README.md to copy the image on a micro SD card. Do not use a large card. 16GB is more than enough and will allow you to make an image of your card (for backup purposes) in a few minutes.

2) Next, put an empty file named "ssh" in the boot partition of the micro SD card. Insert the card in the Pi and connect it to your router or switch through an ethernet cable. Connect to the power. Log in via ssh from any computer connected to your LAN with user "pi" and password "raspberry". You'll need to get the IP address of the Pi from your router, of course. You do not need to fiddle around with keyboard, mouse or monitor: just setup your Pi remotely.

3) Install MinimServer on the Pi following http://minimserver.com/install-raspbian.html. This is a great pleasure, the documentation is simply perfect. If you want your Pi to also work as a renderer (directly connected to a stationary USB DAC, to a USB to SPDIF bridge or to a portable DAC + headphone amplifier for playing music on the go) with support for TIDAL and Qobuz, install upmpdcli http://www.lesbonscomptes.com/upmpdcli/index.html. If you want to setup you Pi as an access point (very useful if you want to create a private network, for instance, for straming on the go on in a situation in which you cannot or do not want to rely on an existing LAN infrastructure) follow https://www.elektronik-kompend...berry-pi/2002171.htm. The text is in german but the installation steps are self evident.

You can add up to 1TB of memory on mSATA drives, SD card or external SSD or PiDrive. For enclosures for the PiDrives, check http://wdlabs.wd.com/category/pidrive-enclosures/. You'll get the smallest package with a mSATA adapter and a Pimoroni enclosure:

Best, nbpf

(Edit: you can control playback from iOS or Android devices with Linn Kazoo or any other control point. You can stream from the Pi to local renderes on mobile devices with Air Player (iOS), VLC (iOS and Android), Bubble UPnP (Android) ...)

 

Dave***t posted:
Bart posted:

I definitely contemplate using the Pi3B as a UPnP client for Minim or Asset running on a nas, to be connected to a Hugo.  Whether the Pi can/should be connected directly to the Hugo with a simple usb cable is a concern.

If you use the appropriate hifiberry board (digi+ transformer version), then there should be no problem using USB into a Hugo. The issue otherwise would be electrically noisy USB, as the Hugo isn't isolated. But that version of the digi+ is.

But why use USB? If you're going to use a hifiberry board at all, then into a Hugo I'd say you're better using optical rather than USB. That's what the designer of the DAC recommended, and it removes any electrical noise issues. In that case, the digi+ pro would probably be better, as it has more sophisticated signal clocking.

If you don't want to use a hifiberry board for whatever reason, I've no idea. They looked good, so I've concentrated my reading up around them.

I have not tried the hifiberry boards, I guess they are fine. If you want to keep the hardware simple and slim, you can always install a UPnP server and a renderer on a bare Pi and use a USB device (for instance, a Meridian Explorer) to provide optical and electrical SPDIF outputs and headphones amplification. You can also power the Pi with a battery pack like Anker PowerCores. Best, nbpf

nbpf posted:
Dave***t posted:
Bart posted:

I definitely contemplate using the Pi3B as a UPnP client for Minim or Asset running on a nas, to be connected to a Hugo.  Whether the Pi can/should be connected directly to the Hugo with a simple usb cable is a concern.

If you use the appropriate hifiberry board (digi+ transformer version), then there should be no problem using USB into a Hugo. The issue otherwise would be electrically noisy USB, as the Hugo isn't isolated. But that version of the digi+ is.

But why use USB? If you're going to use a hifiberry board at all, then into a Hugo I'd say you're better using optical rather than USB. That's what the designer of the DAC recommended, and it removes any electrical noise issues. In that case, the digi+ pro would probably be better, as it has more sophisticated signal clocking.

If you don't want to use a hifiberry board for whatever reason, I've no idea. They looked good, so I've concentrated my reading up around them.

I have not tried the hifiberry boards, I guess they are fine. If you want to keep the hardware simple and slim, you can always install a UPnP server and a renderer on a bare Pi and use a USB device (for instance, a Meridian Explorer) to provide optical and electrical SPDIF outputs and headphones amplification. You can also power the Pi with a battery pack like Anker PowerCores. Best, nbpf

Yes I will probably go this way, as I'm interested (for some reason) in the RPi more as a client than a server.  But I'll play with it as a server too, and install Minim on it.

Bart posted:
nbpf posted:
Dave***t posted:
Bart posted:

I definitely contemplate using the Pi3B as a UPnP client for Minim or Asset running on a nas, to be connected to a Hugo.  Whether the Pi can/should be connected directly to the Hugo with a simple usb cable is a concern.

If you use the appropriate hifiberry board (digi+ transformer version), then there should be no problem using USB into a Hugo. The issue otherwise would be electrically noisy USB, as the Hugo isn't isolated. But that version of the digi+ is.

But why use USB? If you're going to use a hifiberry board at all, then into a Hugo I'd say you're better using optical rather than USB. That's what the designer of the DAC recommended, and it removes any electrical noise issues. In that case, the digi+ pro would probably be better, as it has more sophisticated signal clocking.

If you don't want to use a hifiberry board for whatever reason, I've no idea. They looked good, so I've concentrated my reading up around them.

I have not tried the hifiberry boards, I guess they are fine. If you want to keep the hardware simple and slim, you can always install a UPnP server and a renderer on a bare Pi and use a USB device (for instance, a Meridian Explorer) to provide optical and electrical SPDIF outputs and headphones amplification. You can also power the Pi with a battery pack like Anker PowerCores. Best, nbpf

Yes I will probably go this way, as I'm interested (for some reason) in the RPi more as a client than a server.  But I'll play with it as a server too, and install Minim on it.

Have fun! If you need assistance in setting up the Pi, you can send me a message at botta at member dot fsf dot org.

Pis make excellent Roon endpoints with the appropriate HiFiberry hat (Digi+ pro is my choice). See the Roon forum for details.      DietPi makes the set up quite easy and is the most robust OS if, like me you never shut down the Pi properly.  (DietPi apparently doesn't write to the card so less chance of OS corruption)

MadScientist posted:

Pis make excellent Roon endpoints with the appropriate HiFiberry hat (Digi+ pro is my choice). See the Roon forum for details.      DietPi makes the set up quite easy and is the most robust OS if, like me you never shut down the Pi properly.  (DietPi apparently doesn't write to the card so less chance of OS corruption)

Yes, can try Roon as well!

nbpf posted:
Bart posted:

What shall I do with it?  I was thinking of enabling a Pi > Hugo > SN2, as I'll be on the lookout for a good deal on a used Hugo just so I can hear it.  Does that make sense?  Any recommendations for software -- Rune perhaps?  Then how do I control playback from an iPhone?  And decent but inexpensive cables?

Should be a good 'winter project.'

Bart, just install plain Raspbian, it is the best distribution for the Pi. In a nutshell, you do: 

1) download Raspian Jessie Lite from https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/ and follow https://www.raspberrypi.org/do...ing-images/README.md to copy the image on a micro SD card. Do not use a large card. 16GB is more than enough and will allow you to make an image of your card (for backup purposes) in a few minutes.

2) Next, put an empty file named "ssh" in the boot partition of the micro SD card. Insert the card in the Pi and connect it to your router or switch through an ethernet cable. Connect to the power. Log in via ssh from any computer connected to your LAN with user "pi" and password "raspberry". You'll need to get the IP address of the Pi from your router, of course. You do not need to fiddle around with keyboard, mouse or monitor: just setup your Pi remotely.

3) Install MinimServer on the Pi following http://minimserver.com/install-raspbian.html. This is a great pleasure, the documentation is simply perfect. If you want your Pi to also work as a renderer (directly connected to a stationary USB DAC, to a USB to SPDIF bridge or to a portable DAC + headphone amplifier for playing music on the go) with support for TIDAL and Qobuz, install upmpdcli http://www.lesbonscomptes.com/upmpdcli/index.html. If you want to setup you Pi as an access point (very useful if you want to create a private network, for instance, for straming on the go on in a situation in which you cannot or do not want to rely on an existing LAN infrastructure) follow https://www.elektronik-kompend...berry-pi/2002171.htm. The text is in german but the installation steps are self evident.

You can add up to 1TB of memory on mSATA drives, SD card or external SSD or PiDrive. For enclosures for the PiDrives, check http://wdlabs.wd.com/category/pidrive-enclosures/. You'll get the smallest package with a mSATA adapter and a Pimoroni enclosure:

Best, nbpf

(Edit: you can control playback from iOS or Android devices with Linn Kazoo or any other control point. You can stream from the Pi to local renderes on mobile devices with Air Player (iOS), VLC (iOS and Android), Bubble UPnP (Android) ...)

 

Hi nbpf

A nice neat solution there.

I've had Pi's in my system for the last four years and have used them in various configurations both as servers and players. During this time I have also used the HiFi Berry DAC+, DIGI+ and USB out to an external DAC.

The DAC+ didn't stay in my system for long - it sounded like a cheap but decent CD player and I was looking for a bit more than that.

The DIGI+ with PiCorePlayer gave excellent results in to a NDAC - certainly as good as the ND5XS that I had before. This was further enhanced when I added a MUTEC MC-3+USB re-clocker and it was my best sounding digital front-end to date. Great clarity, presence and musical insight.  I used PiCorePlayer on the player Pi and LMS on a separate server Pi. Very easy to implement - you never even see the LINUX prompt, as all configuration can be done through web-browser interfaces.

The existence of the MUTEC meant I also had a device that could work as a USB bridge to the NDAC and so I configured a Pi as a USB digital player. In isolation, I would probably have concluded that it was fine but compared to the DIGI+ there was a disappointing loss of clarity and presence - not a massive loss but there none-the-less. Reading around, I discovered that I wasn't the only person to have reached this conclusion and it was often attributed to the Pi board sharing the Ethernet and USB buses. I've no idea whether this is the reason for my disappointment but I began to look for other boards that separated USB and Ethernet.

When you start looking around, you'll discover that there are dozens of these little boards - it's just that the Pi is the most well-known and supported. In the end, I decided to try a design based on a Cubietruck. It is a bit larger and more expensive than a Pi but it does have several advantages: it has SATA connections on board, comes with a basic case, has a more powerful processor and, as I discovered, doesn't need a HAT to sound it's best as a digital player - so the price difference of the project isn't much compared with a Pi. I've used it in various configurations - USB player, separate sever and, as I currently have it, an all in one server/player, similar to yours, with SSD on the SATA port. It sounds excellent - every bit as good as the DIGI+ player and so there might be some truth about the USB/Ethernet conflict in the Pi design. I've done it based on an Armbian LINUX image. Installing Squeezelite is easy as it's in the Debian repository but LMS is a bit of a fiddle.

What's the catch with the Cubietruck then? Once you more away from the Pi, you discover that support is much, much weaker and you have to work out a lot for yourself. I found a lot of information on the WWW but much of it was out-of-date rubbish. As is often the case, the eventual solution was quite easy but you have to find it! And there's lots of work at the system prompt and editing system files.

So, my conclusion about homemade solutions is that if you want something easy but good - the DIGI+ route is the one to go for - and there's a new DIGI+ PRO now with better clocks but I haven't tried it. If you want the very best results with USB-out then you're better off looking at boards other than the Pi. Of course, YMMV but this is what I've found.

Chris

 

 

 

 

Sloop John B posted:

I have on order an allo sparky,  where the USB bus is separate. 

It is supported by dietpi so hopefully will be as easy to setup as the Pi. 

I have read that the Pi3 has better USB out performance even though the architecture doesn't seem to have changed. 

 

,SJB 

SJB

I've not heard of the Sparky before but it will be a great solution if it fixes the usb "problem " without losing alny of the resources and support available for the Pi. I'll be interested to hear how you get on!

 

chris

Chris Shorter posted:
nbpf posted:
Bart posted:

What shall I do with it?  I was thinking of enabling a Pi > Hugo > SN2, as I'll be on the lookout for a good deal on a used Hugo just so I can hear it.  Does that make sense?  Any recommendations for software -- Rune perhaps?  Then how do I control playback from an iPhone?  And decent but inexpensive cables?

Should be a good 'winter project.'

Bart, just install plain Raspbian, it is the best distribution for the Pi. In a nutshell, you do: 

1) download Raspian Jessie Lite from https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/ and follow https://www.raspberrypi.org/do...ing-images/README.md to copy the image on a micro SD card. Do not use a large card. 16GB is more than enough and will allow you to make an image of your card (for backup purposes) in a few minutes.

2) Next, put an empty file named "ssh" in the boot partition of the micro SD card. Insert the card in the Pi and connect it to your router or switch through an ethernet cable. Connect to the power. Log in via ssh from any computer connected to your LAN with user "pi" and password "raspberry". You'll need to get the IP address of the Pi from your router, of course. You do not need to fiddle around with keyboard, mouse or monitor: just setup your Pi remotely.

3) Install MinimServer on the Pi following http://minimserver.com/install-raspbian.html. This is a great pleasure, the documentation is simply perfect. If you want your Pi to also work as a renderer (directly connected to a stationary USB DAC, to a USB to SPDIF bridge or to a portable DAC + headphone amplifier for playing music on the go) with support for TIDAL and Qobuz, install upmpdcli http://www.lesbonscomptes.com/upmpdcli/index.html. If you want to setup you Pi as an access point (very useful if you want to create a private network, for instance, for straming on the go on in a situation in which you cannot or do not want to rely on an existing LAN infrastructure) follow https://www.elektronik-kompend...berry-pi/2002171.htm. The text is in german but the installation steps are self evident.

You can add up to 1TB of memory on mSATA drives, SD card or external SSD or PiDrive. For enclosures for the PiDrives, check http://wdlabs.wd.com/category/pidrive-enclosures/. You'll get the smallest package with a mSATA adapter and a Pimoroni enclosure:

 

Best, nbpf

(Edit: you can control playback from iOS or Android devices with Linn Kazoo or any other control point. You can stream from the Pi to local renderes on mobile devices with Air Player (iOS), VLC (iOS and Android), Bubble UPnP (Android) ...)

 

Hi nbpf

A nice neat solution there.

I've had Pi's in my system for the last four years and have used them in various configurations both as servers and players. During this time I have also used the HiFi Berry DAC+, DIGI+ and USB out to an external DAC.

The DAC+ didn't stay in my system for long - it sounded like a cheap but decent CD player and I was looking for a bit more than that.

The DIGI+ with PiCorePlayer gave excellent results in to a NDAC - certainly as good as the ND5XS that I had before. This was further enhanced when I added a MUTEC MC-3+USB re-clocker and it was my best sounding digital front-end to date. Great clarity, presence and musical insight.  I used PiCorePlayer on the player Pi and LMS on a separate server Pi. Very easy to implement - you never even see the LINUX prompt, as all configuration can be done through web-browser interfaces.

The existence of the MUTEC meant I also had a device that could work as a USB bridge to the NDAC and so I configured a Pi as a USB digital player. In isolation, I would probably have concluded that it was fine but compared to the DIGI+ there was a disappointing loss of clarity and presence - not a massive loss but there none-the-less. Reading around, I discovered that I wasn't the only person to have reached this conclusion and it was often attributed to the Pi board sharing the Ethernet and USB buses. I've no idea whether this is the reason for my disappointment but I began to look for other boards that separated USB and Ethernet.

When you start looking around, you'll discover that there are dozens of these little boards - it's just that the Pi is the most well-known and supported. In the end, I decided to try a design based on a Cubietruck. It is a bit larger and more expensive than a Pi but it does have several advantages: it has SATA connections on board, comes with a basic case, has a more powerful processor and, as I discovered, doesn't need a HAT to sound it's best as a digital player - so the price difference of the project isn't much compared with a Pi. I've used it in various configurations - USB player, separate sever and, as I currently have it, an all in one server/player, similar to yours, with SSD on the SATA port. It sounds excellent - every bit as good as the DIGI+ player and so there might be some truth about the USB/Ethernet conflict in the Pi design. I've done it based on an Armbian LINUX image. Installing Squeezelite is easy as it's in the Debian repository but LMS is a bit of a fiddle.

What's the catch with the Cubietruck then? Once you more away from the Pi, you discover that support is much, much weaker and you have to work out a lot for yourself. I found a lot of information on the WWW but much of it was out-of-date rubbish. As is often the case, the eventual solution was quite easy but you have to find it! And there's lots of work at the system prompt and editing system files.

So, my conclusion about homemade solutions is that if you want something easy but good - the DIGI+ route is the one to go for - and there's a new DIGI+ PRO now with better clocks but I haven't tried it. If you want the very best results with USB-out then you're better off looking at boards other than the Pi. Of course, YMMV but this is what I've found.

Chris

Thanks Chris,

I very much appreciated your report! Perhaps we should start collecting experiences about the Raspberry Pi in a dedicated thread at a certain point.

On your experiences with the Pi as a USB digital player: is it conceivable that the loss of clarity and presence that you have reported might be due to the fact that the MUTEC does not provide galvanic isolation? I do not know what galvanic isolation precisely means. But it has been reported to be important when a USB to SPDIF bridge is used to feed a Hugo or a Naim DAC. If the USB bus of the Pi is particularly noisy, the lack of isolation could perhaps explain the losses in sound quality. In this context: have you tried different power supplies for the Pi?

I have been looking a bit into alternative boards but I have no first hand experiences to report. There seem to be folks that are going in your direction and others that go to even lower power devices like the Pi 0, for instance in http://www.superbestaudiofrien...ade-me-happier.1970/. As I said, this is newland for me. I have setup the Pi3 as in the picture above as a test and as a means of giving my wife access to our well tagged music collection on holiday. For this porpose, it works fine.

Since about 3 years, our main system at home has been based on a fitpc3 (https://www.tinygreenpc.com/co...t-pc/fit-pc3-3i.html) connected to a Naim DAC via a M2Tech hiFace Evo bridge. Both the fitpc3 and the M2Tech are powered by TP PSUs. I am actually very happy with this source but I have been wandering whether a better bridge or a computer with even lower power could bring any improvement. I have considered testing a MUTEC MC-3+USB or an Hydra Z but so far I have not managed to do so. 

I am thinking about trying a Pi with the new DIGI+PRO with BNC connector directly connected to the DAC. If this is not worse than my current system, I might be able to replace 4 small boxes with just the Pi and its PSU. Can you suggest a good linear PSU for the Pi?

Best, nbpf

nbpf posted:
On your experiences with the Pi as a USB digital player: is it conceivable that the loss of clarity and presence that you have reported might be due to the fact that the MUTEC does not provide galvanic isolation? I do not know what galvanic isolation precisely means. But it has been reported to be important when a USB to SPDIF bridge is used to feed a Hugo or a Naim DAC. If the USB bus of the Pi is particularly noisy, the lack of isolation could perhaps explain the losses in sound quality. In this context: have you tried different power supplies for the Pi?

Hi nbpf

Yes, the MUTEC does have galvanic isolation.

Most of the time, I ran the Pi with a large USB battery but I didn't find it made a great difference.

Chris

 

Sloop John B posted:

I have on order an allo sparky,  where the USB bus is separate. 

It is supported by dietpi so hopefully will be as easy to setup as the Pi. 

I have read that the Pi3 has better USB out performance even though the architecture doesn't seem to have changed. 

 

,SJB 

HI SJB

Thanks for the reference to dietpi.  Very useful. It largely overcomes the issue of lack of support if you wish to use something else apart from the Pi. The cubietruck isn't there but the bananapi pro also has an Allwinner A20 processor and so it may well work.

 

Chris

 

Chris Shorter posted:
nbpf posted:
On your experiences with the Pi as a USB digital player: is it conceivable that the loss of clarity and presence that you have reported might be due to the fact that the MUTEC does not provide galvanic isolation? I do not know what galvanic isolation precisely means. But it has been reported to be important when a USB to SPDIF bridge is used to feed a Hugo or a Naim DAC. If the USB bus of the Pi is particularly noisy, the lack of isolation could perhaps explain the losses in sound quality. In this context: have you tried different power supplies for the Pi?

Hi nbpf

Yes, the MUTEC does have galvanic isolation.

Most of the time, I ran the Pi with a large USB battery but I didn't find it made a great difference.

Chris

 

Thanks for the precisation Chris, I was under the false impression, the Mutec had no galvanic isolation! Best, nbpf

Sloop John B posted:

...

I have read that the Pi3 has better USB out performance even though the architecture doesn't seem to have changed. 

...

I understand that the only improvement is that the USB ports can now deliver currents up to 1.2A whithout having to set the "max_usb_current" boot option.

For those who are using Roon and are looking to add a RAAT endpoint, I highly recommend the RPi3 + HifiBerry DAC+ Pro combo with the metal case; this works exceptionally well with DAC-only Naim (and other) products, such as the original Supernait.

You can roll your own Micro-USB power supply to suit; the Roon 1.2.2 image can be downloaded from the HifiBerry site.

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×