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:
(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) ...)
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.