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A Raspberry Pi as a music server

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#1
Maybe someone found it useful. Most of solutions here propose a music server as music files storage with a possibility to stream its content to any local and possibly an external machine. I use a little different solution. All music get stored on a big (1Tb or more) drive connected to Raspberry Pi. The machine gets connected to a receiver using HDMI, or any other DAC as in the review of Allo Boss Raspberry Pi DAC. A music player runs on Raspberry Pi and can be controlled by web interface on a mobile phone or any other computer. I found such solution very convenient for a small apartment or flat.
 

BillG

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#2
Just about any computer built in the 21th century is capable of being used as a simple file server, which is what we're discussing here. Even a single core Pentium machine from the 20th century would probably work just fine. Reading a file from disk and passing it on through whatever interface that one prefers isn't very demanding of CPU resources, neither is audio file decode and playback.

The RPi is merely a very versatile single board computer that applies to DIY. Others use mini PC, NUC, laptop, and desktop machines for the task. Even Android mobiles can be used as such - I'm not kidding... :cool:
 
OP
M
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Thread Starter #4
Yes, it is always on in my case doing other jobs, for example a Git server.
 
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#5
Just about any computer built in the 21th century is capable of being used as a simple file server
Indeed.

I bought a secondhand MSI 135 10" netbook at the weekend, for £17. It's got a 60GB SSD and 2GB of RAM, running Win7 Ultimate.

I installed MusicBee, and it will happily act as a DLNA server, or DLNA controller. In the latter case, it takes about 5% CPU casting to my DLNA renderers around the house, from my NAS file server. I also installed BubbleUPnP Server, which will create a proxy DLNA renderer to re-cast to Chromecast Audio devices and groups.

I also have an RPi running Volumio, accessing the NAS.

I also have a £35 Android media box connected to the TV, running BubbleUPnP, that can also at as a full DLNA suite (DMS, DMC, DMR).

The NAS also provides a DLNA server. As can any of the Windows PCs around the house. In fact, I explicitly had to disable the Windows Media Server service on the netbook, as I've got too many servers appearing on my network, and I only really need one: the NAS....

Oh, and my router has a USB port on it. If I connect a HDD to it, it will create a file server and a DLNA mdia server from that disk... That's probably the cheapest file/media server option you've got, and routers are usually 24/7, or, if on a time control, your servers will go down when your router goes down; and you wouldn't be able to access a 24/7 server without a router...
 

bsheckler

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#6
I built my first Rpi music server last year based on a Rpi2b+ and a HiFiBerry Dac Plus Pro with the 7" touchscreen and two ea. 256mb usb sticks for .flac storage. I was listening to a twenty five year old stereo in a remote location. I was happy when I got everything working properly, but I wasn't thrilled about the SQ.
I upgraded the cabin stereo over the spring, and the DAC in the $150 Onkyo DXC390 CD Changer sounded noticably better than the DAC in the HiFiBerry Dac Plus Pro...
I upgraded the Rpi to the Rpi3b+ and changed the HifiBerry to an Allo Digione SPDIF transport. I also purchased a Topping D50 DAC and a 4ft Signal Cable SilverRes-Digital-ProFi. The DAC rests on a large block of hard maple. I replaced the thumbdrives with a Samsung 500GB SSD on a Sabrent USB adapter cable.
This combination was both much more responsive, and much better sounding !
Herbie's Babie Booties made an improvement to overall SQ when applied to the DAC.
Not so much to the Rpi or the SSD.
Best Regards,
Bil
 

renaudrenaud

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#8
I use an Orange Pi One. Consumption is lower and power is more than Pi3. My total system with amp is less than 15W and it is important for me.
 

Wombat

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#9
I built my first Rpi music server last year based on a Rpi2b+ and a HiFiBerry Dac Plus Pro with the 7" touchscreen and two ea. 256mb usb sticks for .flac storage. I was listening to a twenty five year old stereo in a remote location. I was happy when I got everything working properly, but I wasn't thrilled about the SQ.
I upgraded the cabin stereo over the spring, and the DAC in the $150 Onkyo DXC390 CD Changer sounded noticably better than the DAC in the HiFiBerry Dac Plus Pro...
I upgraded the Rpi to the Rpi3b+ and changed the HifiBerry to an Allo Digione SPDIF transport. I also purchased a Topping D50 DAC and a 4ft Signal Cable SilverRes-Digital-ProFi. The DAC rests on a large block of hard maple. I replaced the thumbdrives with a Samsung 500GB SSD on a Sabrent USB adapter cable.
This combination was both much more responsive, and much better sounding !
Herbie's Babie Booties made an improvement to overall SQ when applied to the DAC.
Not so much to the Rpi or the SSD.
Best Regards,
Bil
Is Herbie your son?
 

Eirikur

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#10
The DAC rests on a large block of hard maple.
Coffee-table?

Herbie's Babie Booties made an improvement to overall SQ when applied to the DAC.
Erm, you do know that a DAC has no moving parts inside? Why would you put shock absorbers on it and how exactly did you establish that elevating it by 0.25" made a difference in SQ?
If you're thinking about "lifting the sound up one more step" you'll only get that 0.25" of visible lift according to the spec. May save it when you spill your drink on that coffee-table though;)
 

Berwhale

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#11
I put cheap 20mm square rubber feet on my Topping D50s DAC and JDS Atom Amp to elevate them. They both sound much better now because you can no longer hear me complaining that the Atom's volume control is too fiddly to use due to proximity to desk surface.
 

Martin

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#12
I run Volumio on a 2GB Raspberry Pi 4 in my audio room. My music is stored on a Synology DS918+ NAS in my office. Volumio accesses the files using wi-fi on a Linksys Velop mesh network. I use my iPhone as a remote for Volumio. The Pi is connected via USB to my Topping DX7s. My music files are all FLAC and DSF. Everything just works and sounds great through my new Beyerdynamic DT1990 headphones or my stereo.

Martin
 
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#14
I run Volumio on a 2GB Raspberry Pi 4 in my audio room. My music is stored on a Synology DS918+ NAS in my office. Volumio accesses the files using wi-fi on a Linksys Velop mesh network. I use my iPhone as a remote for Volumio. The Pi is connected via USB to my Topping DX7s. My music files are all FLAC and DSF. Everything just works and sounds great through my new Beyerdynamic DT1990 headphones or my stereo.

Martin
Just to confirm, you have connected a stock Pi 4 directly to an external DAC without the Pi requiring any sort of additional hardware or tweaks to any software? I read that Pis had a problem with the USB side of things here related to the kernel and a clock signal. Perhaps this was fixed in the Pi 4. I'd like to avoid any resampling on the Pi (this is why I use UAPP on Android).

You mentioned Volumio - they have a page here:

https://volumio.org/raspberry-pi-i2s-dac-sounds-so-good/

which suggests using the Pi's USB to link to a DAC is "troublesome" and links to this: http://www.raspyfi.com/anatomy-of-a-pi-usb-audio-quality-and-related-issues-on-pi/
 
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Martin

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#15
Just to confirm, you have connected a stock Pi 4 directly to an external DAC without the Pi requiring any sort of additional hardware or tweaks to any software? I read that Pis had a problem with the USB side of things here related to the kernel and a clock signal. Perhaps this was fixed in the Pi 4.

You mentioned Volumio - they have a page here:

https://volumio.org/raspberry-pi-i2s-dac-sounds-so-good/

which suggests using the Pi's USB to link to a DAC is "troublesome" and links to this: http://www.raspyfi.com/anatomy-of-a-pi-usb-audio-quality-and-related-issues-on-pi/
My setups:

Volumio on Raspberry Pi --> USB cable --> Topping DX7s --> Beyerdynamic Headphones

or

Volumio on Raspberry Pi --> USB cable --> Topping DX7s --> Preamplifier --> Amplifier --> Speakers

I have no problems and it sounds fantastic. I can play DSF 2.82MHz and FLAC up to 192kHz. I don't have anything at higher sample rates. Everything worked with my previous Raspberry Pi 3+ too. I bought the Raspberry Pi 4 thinking I might try JRiver ID but stuck with Volumio because: 1. It sounds great; 2. It's free.

Martin
 

somebodyelse

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#16
Just to confirm, you have connected a stock Pi 4 directly to an external DAC without the Pi requiring any sort of additional hardware or tweaks to any software? I read that Pis had a problem with the USB side of things here related to the kernel and a clock signal. Perhaps this was fixed in the Pi 4. I'd like to avoid any resampling on the Pi (this is why I use UAPP on Android).

You mentioned Volumio - they have a page here:

https://volumio.org/raspberry-pi-i2s-dac-sounds-so-good/

which suggests using the Pi's USB to link to a DAC is "troublesome" and links to this: http://www.raspyfi.com/anatomy-of-a-pi-usb-audio-quality-and-related-issues-on-pi/
Unlike the previous Pis, the Pi 4 has full native USB ports and ethernet, rather than them all sharing a single USB OTG port via a hub. This has probably 'fixed' the issue, such as it was. I've tried to reproduce the old issue on a Pi 4 using the method that triggered it reliably with a Pi 3 and failed. That includes connecting the DAC to the USB C socket that's usually used for power and is the only port that uses the OTG port hardware.

Having said that, I've never had an issue using PiCorePlayer with any Pi, either with LMS locally or on an ethernet connected machine. I've used it with a Focusrite Forte and a Chord 2Qute with the highest bitrate flac files they'd accept (24/384 IIRC) from the 2l.no samples and had no glitches. It was only when investigating the reports of problems with Volumio and BruteFIR that I encountered any issues, and pinning BruteFIR to run on a single cpu core stopped that. Volumio was glitch free for me on a Pi 3 until I tried BruteFIR.
 

GeorgeWalk

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#17
I have a Raspberry Pi 3 running Volumio with an Allo Boss DAC. That connects to my Parasound New Classic 200 Preamp. It sounds great. I previously was using an IQAudio DAC on the Pi, but it was suffering from occasional dropouts. Since I put the Allo Boss on it I haven't had a problem. I can't really hear any differnce, however between the DACS. Maybe I need to buy more expensive cables? :)
 

Eirikur

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#18
The quartz crystal is a moving part....
There is potential for microphonic feedback to the crystal...
You're right, I hadn't considered that... are modern oscillators not constructed to dampen that internally?
More importantly, would the feet be any help if the oscillator were sensitive to audio range vibrations, since reducing the sensitivity for contact vibrations will increase the sensitivity for air-pressure vibrations?
It is also unclear whether a woodblock is a good or a bad idea as it might enhance specific resonance frequencies!

Thanks for this insight and apologies to @bsheckler for jumping to conclusions.

Some reading (the above articles are not freely available)
Mechanical Design for Microphonic-Sensitive Electronics by Sergey Sokol (Analog Systems)
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/computer-science/crystal-oscillator
How to measure from Tektronix
 
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#19
Unlike the previous Pis, the Pi 4 has full native USB ports and ethernet, rather than them all sharing a single USB OTG port via a hub. This has probably 'fixed' the issue, such as it was. I've tried to reproduce the old issue on a Pi 4 using the method that triggered it reliably with a Pi 3 and failed. That includes connecting the DAC to the USB C socket that's usually used for power and is the only port that uses the OTG port hardware.

Having said that, I've never had an issue using PiCorePlayer with any Pi, either with LMS locally or on an ethernet connected machine. I've used it with a Focusrite Forte and a Chord 2Qute with the highest bitrate flac files they'd accept (24/384 IIRC) from the 2l.no samples and had no glitches. It was only when investigating the reports of problems with Volumio and BruteFIR that I encountered any issues, and pinning BruteFIR to run on a single cpu core stopped that. Volumio was glitch free for me on a Pi 3 until I tried BruteFIR.
Thanks for the reply. Not sure what you mean about UBC C socket and OTG ports etc - OTG only applies to USB A leads doesn't it? USB C is exempt from all that.

I might give that Volumio a go but I'm not sure what they're on about with that DAC page I linked to with the "I could also add that using USB as connection, in the Audio domain, is way far from being an ideal situation. And even if it was, an I2S direct connection has one great advantage: the signal path is shorter." Audio domain? Shorter signal path talking about a USB cable from the PI to the DAC? Are they just trying to flog a few DACs? You connect device a to device b via usb and all the bits turn up safe and sound in the right order; at least, that's been my experience with printers, phones, cd/dvd readers/writers, keyboards, mice etc. Perhaps the "audio domain" is different though!

Anyway, just ordered a pi 4, so i'll give it a go and see what happens!
 

somebodyelse

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#20
Thanks for the reply. Not sure what you mean about UBC C socket and OTG ports etc - OTG only applies to USB A leads doesn't it? USB C is exempt from all that.
It's...complicated, and not entirely standards compliant. You don't want to use it that way. I only did it to try to narrow down the cause of the problem on the previous Pis.

I might give that Volumio a go but I'm not sure what they're on about with that DAC page I linked to with the "I could also add that using USB as connection, in the Audio domain, is way far from being an ideal situation. And even if it was, an I2S direct connection has one great advantage: the signal path is shorter." Audio domain? Shorter signal path talking about a USB cable from the PI to the DAC? Are they just trying to flog a few DACs? You connect device a to device b via usb and all the bits turn up safe and sound in the right order; at least, that's been my experience with printers, phones, cd/dvd readers/writers, keyboards, mice etc. Perhaps the "audio domain" is different though!
Arguably a shorter chain leaves fewer changes of screwing up the data I suppose. I suspect they're just trying to reduce the support burden - there are problems with glitches in some unpredictable situations with USB DACs and no such problems with I2S ones, so it makes sense to encourage people to use the one that's not going to cause problems over the one that might. When it was originally written I don't think they were selling DACs.[/QUOTE]

Anyway, just ordered a pi 4, so i'll give it a go and see what happens!
Good luck, and don't be afraid to experiment. There are many options out there on the audio front, and even more non-audio ones. Mounting it in its edge will help heat dissipation through natural airflow.
 
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