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DIY Streamer

starfly

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Hi all,

I want to build a simple DIY streamer, preferably with integrated DAC, for use on my home network to stream from my NAS (primarily), but perhaps to also have Spotify functionality and perhaps other streaming services.

I saw the Open Source Streamer project here, but looks like that thread is dead.

What are some good starting points to build something like this? Raspberry Pi?
 

aedagnino

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Raspberry Pi all the way. There are loads of free software options with many places (like here) to seek help. I personally use a RPi 4b with a usb dac, Picoreplayer and LMS for server duties. I used a Hifiberry DigiOne HAT for a while but USB is just as good or better, plus it's free if you already have the dac. There's a Spotify plugin which I use regularly but mostly I listen to my ripped files on an external USB Drive connected directly to the RPi. I had it connected as well to the official Rpi Touchscreen (7") but now I don't bother and just control it on my phone (with iPeng) or through the ip adress on my laptop's browser.
 
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starfly

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Raspberry Pi all the way. There are loads of free software options with many places (like here) to seek help. I personally use a RPi 4b with a usb dac, Picoreplayer and LMS for server duties. I used a Hifiberry DigiOne HAT for a while but USB is just as good or better, plus it's free if you already have the dac. There's a Spotify plugin which I use regularly but mostly I listen to my ripped files on an external USB Drive connected directly to the RPi. I had it connected as well to the official Rpi Touchscreen (7") but now I don't bother and just control it on my phone (with iPeng) or through the ip adress on my laptop's browser.

Thanks. I don't have an extra DAC yet, so I'll need to start looking into what options I have. My ideal build would have everything in one box, including the DAC with balanced outputs (maybe a Kadas Toneboard?), and it would have a trigger output which I could use to turn on an external poweramp (have a DIY Purifi amp with 2 trigger inputs).

I'll start researching RPi options.
 

somebodyelse

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I think most of the audio distributions for the Pi include spotify support, and will work with a USB DAC or most of the hat DACs and coax/optical outputs. piCorePlayer is my preference too, but you should probably try at least the usual suspects to see which you get on best with. Volumio and Moode are probably the most mentioned, but there are a bunch of others with slightly different approaches, capabilities and interfaces. I don't think any come with a trigger output, but it shouldn't be too hard to add.
 

ctbarker32

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Check out my video:

Touchscreen Streamer with HiFiBerry OS & DAC for $150. Will do Spotify and more.

 

somebodyelse

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Regarding the Open Source Streamer project thread, my take is that it's dormant because almost all the goals are now met by Moode. There are links to existing VU meter visualisation that could be used if anyone is sufficiently bothered. It's been confirmed that active crossovers can be configured through Moode's existing CamillaDSP interface, but suitable low cost DAC options are a sticking point, and the semiconductor shortages have hampered one contributor's attempt to fill that gap.

On the hardware front you can make it as off the shelf or as custom as you want. Audiophonics (among others) have kits that do everything but the trigger, and modules that you could use to add the trigger. Some have even been tested here. A bit of web searching should find you tutorials for diy streamers with no display, little OLED or LCD displays to show track details etc. or even the full 7" Pi touchscreen.
https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/network-audio-players-raspdac-c-6314.html
https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/network-audio-players-rasptouch-c-6350.html
https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/preamp-module/audiophonics-kit-diy-trigger-module-p-9318.html
 
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starfly

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Regarding the Open Source Streamer project thread, my take is that it's dormant because almost all the goals are now met by Moode. There are links to existing VU meter visualisation that could be used if anyone is sufficiently bothered. It's been confirmed that active crossovers can be configured through Moode's existing CamillaDSP interface, but suitable low cost DAC options are a sticking point, and the semiconductor shortages have hampered one contributor's attempt to fill that gap.

On the hardware front you can make it as off the shelf or as custom as you want. Audiophonics (among others) have kits that do everything but the trigger, and modules that you could use to add the trigger. Some have even been tested here. A bit of web searching should find you tutorials for diy streamers with no display, little OLED or LCD displays to show track details etc. or even the full 7" Pi touchscreen.
https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/network-audio-players-raspdac-c-6314.html
https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/network-audio-players-rasptouch-c-6350.html
https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/preamp-module/audiophonics-kit-diy-trigger-module-p-9318.html

Alright, thanks for mentioning this. Looking at Moode, I can probably use CamillaDSP for applying custom filters to correct for my room after taking measurements with REW. Which would be fantastic, as my Yamaha receiver nicely cleaned up some room modes where the sound signature is much flatter and cleaner now, and I'd love to add that for a dedicated network streamer. Do you happen to know if it also has some sort of dynamic EQ, where it'll boost low and high frequencies at lower volumes? Both Yamaha and Denon (through Audyssey) have such features, which again I find very useful as I don't often listen at reference levels.

That link to Audiophonics has given me an idea to try building it myself. Just need to find a good DAC eval board that's also affordable. I saw that Digikey has the AKD4499 DAC eval board, but at $1,190 a pop (at which point I should just buy a high-end off the shelf thing). Need to find something better. I guess I could also look at ESS, though looking at all of amir's reviews, those often have an IMD hump (though not sure to what extent it's actually audible). I do want to build something that would measure well.

But I'm thinking some enclosure, perhaps from Modushop (what I used for my Purifi amp), build in a RPi with USB and Ethernet/WiFi/Bluetooth, and then an internal DAC (balanced outputs a must) as well that I'd then need to figure out how to have the RPi communicate with the DAC and produce sound. And then a small display that shows track info, as well as some details like sample rate and bit depth. Maybe even a small color screen that shows album art.

Off the shelf will be much easier, but it's fun to build things and figure out how to make it all work. Last year I learned how to solder circuit boards.
 

somebodyelse

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https://github.com/HEnquist/camilladsp#loudness seems to be what you're describing. There are work in progress projects putting CamillaDSP in Volumio, piCorePlayer and probably others too if they're more to your taste. Moode is just beat them to having it working in the standard build.

From what I've seem most eval boards cost a lot more than an equivalent off the shelf DAC. TI are an exception there, at least for some amp, ADC and headphone amp eval boards not being ridiculous, but even then I doubt you'll find one that's better value than a Topping D10b for stereo output. Modushop make some nice cases - have fun!
 

D!sco

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I have an IQAudio Pi Dac+ Pro on my Pi 3, and it has fantastic output quality. I'd like to upgrade to a digital processor for DSP, but at the moment it's a really high quality streamer for ~$100. L/R RCA out, anything you can install on a Pi to play music. I use it as an Airplay and Spotify Connect service, but I've heard you can get Roon or Tidal, Qobuz multi-room audio, Kodi, whatever floats your boat. I run mine off of a web interface hooked up to an external 1TB hard drive with all my old files. I never access them, but if I do there's a password protected Samba share for an in-home cloud server. It's nice. Get good cables, chargers and a case to keep it all together and you won't regret it.
 

0bs3rv3r

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Moode is just beat them to having it working in the standard build.


Yes, I would always choose moOde anyway as the support is much better. Very quick to fix little problems you might find. Also, now having Camilla puts them way out in front.
 
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starfly

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Any recommendations for good measuring balanced DAC boards that could be integrated in a streamer build? There seem to be a lot of different ones on AliExpress, with ES9038 chips, AK chips, etc, but no idea if any of those boards are designed well and would thus measure well. Designing a DAC board from scratch myself is WAY beyond my skill level :) I'd probably need to get an electronics engineering degree first.
 

0bs3rv3r

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Any recommendations for good measuring balanced DAC boards that could be integrated in a streamer build? There seem to be a lot of different ones on AliExpress, with ES9038 chips, AK chips, etc, but no idea if any of those boards are designed well and would thus measure well. Designing a DAC board from scratch myself is WAY beyond my skill level :) I'd probably need to get an electronics engineering degree first.

Why use a board? An external DAC connected via USB is much better.
 

Madjalapeno

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I've got a bunch of RPi's that I'm using with Roon and Airplay. I started with HATs but have switched to a Topping E30 and am very happy with the sound.

For software I've used Roopiee, Moode, DietPi and HifiBerryOS - all have pro's and cons but it's easy to try them all and see which you prefer.
 
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starfly

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Why use a board? An external DAC connected via USB is much better.

Because almost no DAC has trigger functionality. I want whenever I switch on the streamer/dac, my poweramp to also switch on. So I just want it all internally in one enclosure, and I also want to add a display for track info and so on. Won't be the easiest thing to build I suppose, but I don't mind a challenge and like learning new things.
 

0bs3rv3r

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Because almost no DAC has trigger functionality. I want whenever I switch on the streamer/dac, my poweramp to also switch on. So I just want it all internally in one enclosure, and I also want to add a display for track info and so on. Won't be the easiest thing to build I suppose, but I don't mind a challenge and like learning new things.

Fair enough for the trigger.

As for the one enclosure, things like the one in the video earlier in the thread make that relatively easy to do. moOde supports a local display as well.
 

somebodyelse

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Any recommendations for good measuring balanced DAC boards that could be integrated in a streamer build? There seem to be a lot of different ones on AliExpress, with ES9038 chips, AK chips, etc, but no idea if any of those boards are designed well and would thus measure well. Designing a DAC board from scratch myself is WAY beyond my skill level :) I'd probably need to get an electronics engineering degree first.
Check the review index - the HifiBerry is the only one I remember having balanced outputs. For random boards from Ali, eBay etc. you're rolling the dice as you'll see from some of the other hat DAC reviews.
Because almost no DAC has trigger functionality. I want whenever I switch on the streamer/dac, my poweramp to also switch on. So I just want it all internally in one enclosure, and I also want to add a display for track info and so on. Won't be the easiest thing to build I suppose, but I don't mind a challenge and like learning new things.
A lot of USB DACs are either bus powered, or suspend if there's no signal and wake when USB is connected again. You can still implement a GPIO-controlled trigger output for the amp, while controlling the DAC via USB:
https://stackoverflow.com/questions/59772765/how-to-turn-usb-port-power-on-and-off-in-raspberry-pi-4
 

xarkkon

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I second the rpi + hifiberry DAC with volumio suggestion. I've got one of those and another with an external dac and a touchscreen. hard to go wrong with those.
 
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