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£350/$450 to spend on a Pi/Tinkerboard music server....where to start (help)

mushymatt

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#1
I have all my music sitting on a Nas, so basically looking to build a server that can connect wired or wirelessly to the network.

And I'm basically lost - there's so many Dacs options out there, so much talk of power supplies I really don't know where to start.

So with that in mind, I'm thinking my best bet is to set myself a budget and see what other (more knowledgable people) recommend around that.

The minimum I need is a board (pi or tinker board) and a DAC. Any advice would be amazing

thank you
 

FooYatChong

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#4
I have a Pi 4 with JRiver and a Topping E30 (powered by the Pi).

Pi is managed with VNC viewer from my Mac over the network, JRiver is controlled with their iOS app.

Works and sounds great.

Got an Argon One Aluminum Case for the Pi and now it even looks great. Case routes all connections to the rear, has a power button and is passively cooled. It has a fan but it never turns on. Pi rarely exceeds 10% CPU usage, RAM usage never over 750mb and CPU temp usually between 35 and 40° C.
 

FooYatChong

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#7
The E30 comes with a DC>USB cable for power but not with a power supply (though you need one).

Tried my iPad charger and the Pi USB port and couldn't hear a difference.
 

Daverz

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#8
Excuse my ignorance, but when you say "powered by the pi" can I ask how, whats the means of doing this?
You can plug the DAC into the RPi4 USB bus for power. For the D10, power and data are on the same cable. The E30 has separate power and data cables.
 

somebodyelse

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#9
The Pi4 starter kit suggestion is a good one to get you going. You can add a nicer case, display,remote etc. later when you've got a better idea of what you might like to change. You'll find a wide range of tutorials with a bit of a web search. The Topping D10 and E30 are also fine suggestions, but if you've got feature requirements like balanced out, headphone amp or bluetooth input then there are others that might be better. The Loxjie D10 mentioned earlier has decent DAC performance and a reasonable headphone amp for example.

On the software front, one reason for going for the Pi is the wide range of available software, so there's a decent chance of finding something that works the way you prefer. I prefer PiCorePlayer but there's a long list of others (Volumio, moOde, Rune - I'm sure others will chip in with the ones I've forgotten). If you pick up a spare uSD card you can power down, swap the cards and power up again until you decide which you prefer. You can even buy card adapters that'll let you flip a switch to swap cards.
 

renaudrenaud

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#10
You can consider installing Logitech Media Server on your NAS.

Then use a Raspberry or better than that an Atomic Pi for 35/50$ and plug a DAC on the USB port. Use PicorePlayer on the Rasp or Daphile on the Atomic Pi. Buy some SMSL SU8 or Sabaj D5 or Sanskritt whatever you want as a DAC.
 

ZolaIII

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#11
The Pi4 starter kit suggestion is a good one to get you going. You can add a nicer case, display,remote etc. later when you've got a better idea of what you might like to change. You'll find a wide range of tutorials with a bit of a web search. The Topping D10 and E30 are also fine suggestions, but if you've got feature requirements like balanced out, headphone amp or bluetooth input then there are others that might be better. The Loxjie D10 mentioned earlier has decent DAC performance and a reasonable headphone amp for example.

On the software front, one reason for going for the Pi is the wide range of available software, so there's a decent chance of finding something that works the way you prefer. I prefer PiCorePlayer but there's a long list of others (Volumio, moOde, Rune - I'm sure others will chip in with the ones I've forgotten). If you pick up a spare uSD card you can power down, swap the cards and power up again until you decide which you prefer. You can even buy card adapters that'll let you flip a switch to swap cards.
When you take all in consideration including additional cost around ARM developer board isn't Nuc or refubished laptop a better choice?
 

sonci

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#12
I prefer PiCorePlayer but there's a long list of others (Volumio, moOde, Rune - I'm sure others will chip in with the ones I've forgotten). If you pick up a spare uSD card you can power down, swap the cards and power up again until you decide which you prefer. You can even buy card adapters that'll let you flip a switch to swap cards.
I`m also considering a Pi3, but except audio playing I`d like to use some internet browsing also, can I do this with a Pi dedicated audio OS?
 

ZolaIII

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#14
Yes, but Pi is a lot more fun..
Fun is fun and done is done.
Did that couple of years, not with Pi's but phone's and QC development board. Got tiered over the time but sure go & have some fun. ;)
 

Daverz

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#15
When you take all in consideration including additional cost around ARM developer board isn't Nuc or refubished laptop a better choice?
What additional costs? The complete kit is £59. Everything snaps together. Software config is all web-based.
 

ZolaIII

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#16
What additional costs? The complete kit is £59. Everything snaps together. Software config is all web-based.
Yes but when you buy & everything else (case, storage, display...) it's a completely different picture.
 

Daverz

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#17
Yes but when you buy & everything else (case, storage, display...) it's a completely different picture.
This isn't like the development boards you mentioned using. It's a complete single-board computer.

I suggest perusing this youtube channel if you want to learn about these kinds of single-board computers.


The case comes in the kit I linked.

You don't need a display for this application, you run the Pi headless and use a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to control the music server.

The OP plans to use a NAS for storage, though you could also connect USB storage. The Pi4 has 2 USB 3 ports.
 

ZolaIII

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#18
This isn't like the development boards you mentioned using. It's a complete single-board computer.

I suggest perusing this youtube channel if you want to learn about these kinds of single-board computers.


The case comes in the kit I linked.

You don't need a display for this application, you run the Pi headless and use a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to control the music server.

The OP plans to use a NAS for storage, though you could also connect USB storage. The Pi4 has 2 USB 3 ports.
I played a lot with S650, year's before and its quite more advanced in every way. You do what ever please you. For me this day's simplicity is the mother of invention.
 

somebodyelse

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#19
I`m also considering a Pi3, but except audio playing I`d like to use some internet browsing also, can I do this with a Pi dedicated audio OS?
Why the Pi3? The 4 is better in every way but power consumption, and barely different in price.

The dedicated audio OSs are made for use with no display, or a relatively small touchscreen. You'd need to swap the uSD for one with a more general purpose OS, or install the required audio parts on the general purpose one if you want to use it for internet browsing.
 

somebodyelse

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#20
When you take all in consideration including additional cost around ARM developer board isn't Nuc or refubished laptop a better choice?
Yes but when you buy & everything else (case, storage, display...) it's a completely different picture.
Apples/oranges comparison. There is no extra cost with the pi starter kit unless you want a prettier case to fit in with the rest of the hifi, a few lines of text display, or a touch screen interface. The NUC is significantly more expensive and doesn't do any of these, plus most of them have a fan. A used yoga-style laptop might just about fit the bill for a touchscreen interface, so long as you pick a fanless one. I did consider suggesting a used thin client as they're cheap and fanless, but they often have quirks so you need to do a bit of homework when you pick one.
 
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