• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

DIY: Your Son or Daughter Can Build a Raspberry Pi Audio Streamer for You in Minutes

StevenEleven

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
464
Likes
834
#1
So, as I wrote in another thread, my son is building me an audio streamer. This is a second-hand account unless he wants to write something.

A HifiBerry Digi+ Pro is on the way from Amazon. It has optical and coax outs.

Today we went to Microcenter and we bought some stuff. A Raspberry Pi 4 (4 gb I think), a micro HDMI to HDMI cable, a 64 gb Samsung Evo+ microSD card, and a Raspberry 4 USB C connected power supply,

He‘s working on the software. He’s going to be using Arch Linux (which is what he uses on his main PC also). He’s going to start by making a basic WiFi streamer and then adding on a bunch of cool stuff over time.

Okay, so he just came downstairs and said he finished making the streamer. That was quick. He used Arch Linux and installed shairport on it. I don’t know what all that means. We get the Hifi berry digi+ Pro from Amazon tomorrow and pop it on there and the basic streaming stuff is done. Then he adds the extras via coding and stuff.

So this just goes to show you, your son (or daughter) can build a Raspberry Pi audio streamer for you in minutes. Let me edit the title here to make this more accurate.

Now I will go upstairs and he will show me how to use it. If you have any questions you can ask me and I will ask him. I guess I’ll post a pic.
 
Last edited:
OP
S

StevenEleven

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
464
Likes
834
Thread Starter #3
This is as DIY as it gets: Not only are the components DIY, but the assembler was DIYed as well.
I went upstairs and it works. He has it hooked up to his stereo (which consists of 90s relics from my closets). Amazing. I use my ipad to cast to it and it sends the audio out to the stereo system. We'll put the HifiBerry Digi + Pro sound card on top of the Raspberry Pi tomorrow and it will send digital out by coax or optical.

I had imagined an unboxing and whatnot but what's done is done. Kids these days. I'll post it with the HiFiBerry Digi + Pro sound card on top tomorrow after the HifiBerry Digi+ Pro arrives from Amazon.

He informs me that the Shairport software pulls in the album metadata and album art so that is something he won't have to figure out how to do. The long term goal is album art and metadata and real-time lyrics out to video monitor by HDMI and lossless music out by digital coaxial or optical.

Again, if you have any questions just ask me and I will ask him and I will try to translate. If it's a tough question I will have him type the answer in whateverthehell language kids use nowadays.

Also if you have any suggestions for additions or improvements or features please let me know.

Here is what's left of the unboxing and then the working streamer:
20200202-unboxing.jpg
20200201-IMG_0241.jpg
 
Last edited:

Wombat

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Messages
6,124
Likes
5,153
Location
Australia
#4
I'm in the same space as yourself re building one of these and getting it working.

Some how-to or basic hands on references would be appreciated if possible. :)
 
OP
S

StevenEleven

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
464
Likes
834
Thread Starter #5
Here are some basics right from him. He will write up more detailed instructions later. I have a feeling he just did it on the fly:

I installed Arch Linux ARM on it, per these instructions: https://archlinuxarm.org/platforms/armv8/broadcom/raspberry-pi-4. Raspbian or any other distro would likely work just as well. I then installed shairport-sync (https://github.com/mikebrady/shairport-sync), which required some fiddling around to get it to work. The HiFiBerry Digi+ Pro has not come yet, so I'm not sure exactly how that will work, but hopefully it is as simple as changing the sound card ALSA is using.

I am planning on writing up more detailed instructions (step-by-step) later so that I can remember how I did it. I'm also working on an interface with hopefully album art, lyrics, metadata, etc. but don't know how long it will take. Something to note is that this setup only works with AirPlay, not other streaming options (e.g. Bluetooth or Chromecast).
 
Last edited:

Wombat

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Messages
6,124
Likes
5,153
Location
Australia
#6
Here are some basics right from him. He will write up more detailed instructions later. I have a feeling he just did it on the fly. You can call him KevinEleven.

I installed Arch Linux ARM on it, per these instructions: https://archlinuxarm.org/platforms/armv8/broadcom/raspberry-pi-4. Raspbian or any other distro would likely work just as well. I then installed shairport-sync (https://github.com/mikebrady/shairport-sync), which required some fiddling around to get it to work. The HiFiBerry has not come yet, so I'm not sure exactly how that will work, but hopefully it is as simple as changing the sound card ALSA is using.

I am planning on writing up more detailed instructions (step-by-step) later so that I can remember how I did it. I'm also working on an interface with hopefully album art, lyrics, metadata, etc. but don't know how long it will take. Something to note is that this setup only works with AirPlay, not other streaming options (e.g. Bluetooth or Chromecast).

Sounds good. Thanks.
 
OP
S

StevenEleven

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
464
Likes
834
Thread Starter #7
Sounds good. Thanks.
If anyone has any questions just let me know. It sounds good on my Hifi using even using an analog audio out jack from the Raspberry Pi 4 even without the HiFiBerry HAT Digi + Pro sound add-on card (which comes tomorrow). I stream anything I want from my iPad to it. He turned my A/V system into a giant computer for a while and tweaked some things. He made setup auto log in and turned the max digital volume up to just short of digital clipping. The iPad says it is sending lossless 44.1 / 16 from both Amazon music HD and Qobuz and the Raspberry Pi seems to indicate its native DAC is receiving and processing straight 44.1 / 16 received by Airplay. There is a dazzling array of code, parameters, options, and resource use indicators sent out by the HDMI port to the TV right now. It seems to be pretty light lifting for the Raspberry Pi 4 hardware.

He could do other setups on other SD cards but he really likes the way Shairport is implemented and refined. He says other options along these lines do not appear to be nearly as polished. He says Google seems to have locked down its Chromecast audio protocol way tighter than Apple has locked down Airplay. He says the Amazon music API is right there in front of people’s noses but apparently they don’t know it when they see it. Since Amazon apparently doesn’t want to share it maybe he shouldn’t say more about that. Of course the Qobuz API is all over the place, it’s no secret.

For anyone as non-techie as I am, of course you need a USB mouse and keyboard and a monitor to do the installation and programming and tweaking on the Raspberry Pi 4.

Edited for accuracy as per son KevinEleven. He seems pretty enthused—he is upstairs on his computer designing the video interface.

Further edit: He’s got album art and real time lyrics up and running. And now he has the album credits (session musicians, composer, etc.) up and running.
 
Last edited:

Apesbrain

Active Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2017
Messages
145
Likes
151
Location
East Coast, USA
#8
I'm in the same space as yourself re building one of these and getting it working.

Some how-to or basic hands on references would be appreciated if possible. :)
Do you already have a server? If not, you might consider Logitech Media Server. It's free and supports just about every music file format. If you use LMS, here are instructions on what you need and how to get your Raspberry Pi working as a remote player.

 
OP
S

StevenEleven

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
464
Likes
834
Thread Starter #9
My Ipad is essentially my music server (with stored stuff and then streaming services). I don't want to have a computer or NAS running all of the time.

So here is the video display on my TV with the video portion of the software my son Kev wrote himself to run with shairport on arch linux on the Raspberry Pi 4, with album art (from Airplay), credits (from Qobuz API), and lyrics (from Amazon music API (yes, it's just hanging out there for the taking for anyone, right in front of your face if you're using Amazon music)). We just got the HifiBerry Digi+ Pro HAT from Amazon and he is about to install it--then we'll have options of optical out, coax out, HDMI out, USB out, or analog out. It's a 16-bit / 44.1 khz audio stream.

Kev is standing over my shoulder making sure everything I write is correct. If you have any questions just ask me and I will ask him.

20200202-IMG_0250TalkingHeadsStreaming.jpg
 
Last edited:

HemiRick

Active Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2020
Messages
131
Likes
129
#10
It will sound much better w the DAC hi fi berry on it....There's all ready software to do this for free, look at Moode and Volumino
 
OP
S

StevenEleven

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
464
Likes
834
Thread Starter #11
It will sound much better w the DAC hi fi berry on it....There's all ready software to do this for free, look at Moode and Volumino
Unlike this newly minted software, Moode and Volumio don't show you album art, musician credits, and real-time synced lyrics on your TV all at the same time no matter what music streaming service you're using!! And nor does any other software (that I know of)! :)

There is already a perfectly good DAC in my receiver, now being fed a bit-perfect and well-timed 16-bit / 44.1 khz stream by the optical out from the HiFi Berry Digi+ Pro. I don't do ultra HD, Hi Res, MQA, or other super-DAC $$$ voodoo. :cool:

Here is the HiFiBerry Digi+ Pro on top of the Raspberry Pi 4 doing its thing in real time!!! Optical out 16 / 44.1 bit perfect digital audio stream to receiver and video interface to TV by HDMI.

20200202-IMG_0256HiFiBerry.jpg
 
Last edited:
OP
S

StevenEleven

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
464
Likes
834
Thread Starter #14
The Pi has issues w jitter and timing w/o a DAC hat.
That's in part why we got the HiFiBerry Digi+ Pro HAT with the separate oscillators. Even though I find the idea that the jitter we are reducing or eliminating would have been audible to be dubious.

Perhaps this forum post with responses from the HiFiBerry creators could be informative for you.
 
Last edited:

somebodyelse

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 5, 2018
Messages
1,188
Likes
786
#15
For anyone as non-techie as I am, of course you need a USB mouse and keyboard and a monitor to do the installation and programming and tweaking on the Raspberry Pi 4.
Those who are techie don't need the keyboard, mouse or monitor, at least with most of the OS options for the Pi. Search for headless pi setup if you want the details.
 
Joined
Apr 13, 2019
Messages
31
Likes
41
#17
So is the pi4 a better option as far as noise for USB output to a dac than the pi3? Also would the pi4 USB out be just as good, measurement wise, as the pi4 with the hifi berry attachment to coax or optical? I'm new to the raspberry pi and just trying to navigate the best setup for sending music to my su8 dac. There is so much variance on what is the best approach. Thanks and sorry for thread hijacking.
 
OP
S

StevenEleven

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
464
Likes
834
Thread Starter #18
So is the pi4 a better option as far as noise for USB output to a dac than the pi3? Also would the pi4 USB out be just as good, measurement wise, as the pi4 with the hifi berry attachment to coax or optical? I'm new to the raspberry pi and just trying to navigate the best setup for sending music to my su8 dac. There is so much variance on what is the best approach. Thanks and sorry for thread hijacking.
I don’t know! :) My son has since also built me a Raspberry Pi 4 USB out streamer with no Hat, in addition to the one discussed above. They both work great.

@amirm has a review of a super-inexpensive miniature Raspberry Pi streamer, which he set up, USB out, that seems to perform perfectly well. It is not up in the review section so you would have to search the forum a little to find it.

I run optical out from the first streamer so I can send the digital stream straight to my receiver so I have as clean a signal path as possible. Since the posts above went up I also send the stream optical out to and through an old Behringer DEQ 2496 and then optical out to the receiver. The Behringer can do all sorts of weird things to the signal in the digital domain, then I send the optical out to the receiver. Just for the idea of it, really. The kids found it pretty cool all the weird things I could do with the Behringer.

As @amirm alluded to in his review, if you don’t have much programming or Linux or experience this could be exceedingly difficult. I’m just lucky to have a kid in the house for whom this is not an unusually difficult undertaking. I could never have done it on my own.

Hope this helps. I went with Rasberry Pi 4s because that was the latest and nicest and from what I could tell the best, and it hardly broke the bank to pay the extra fifteen bucks or so.
 
Last edited:

somebodyelse

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 5, 2018
Messages
1,188
Likes
786
#19
So is the pi4 a better option as far as noise for USB output to a dac than the pi3? Also would the pi4 USB out be just as good, measurement wise, as the pi4 with the hifi berry attachment to coax or optical? I'm new to the raspberry pi and just trying to navigate the best setup for sending music to my su8 dac. There is so much variance on what is the best approach. Thanks and sorry for thread hijacking.
What sort of noise? USB power supply noise, or audio glitches?

All Pi models have noise on the USB power line that's within the 'normal' expected range for a USB port, although it may be at the worse end of normal if you're drawing a lot of power with USB devices. Any well designed DAC should be fine with this - its performance won't change significantly unless something's seriously wrong with the USB port. Similarly if the DAC is well designed then the performance won't change with different coax or toslink sources. This usually shows up on the jitter test if you're looking at the measurements here. Looking at the SU-8 review it's pretty good in this respect, at least on the USB input that was tested. I'd guess the coax and toslink inputs would be similarly good, but manufacturers do occasionally mess an input up - IIRC the D90 prototype was much worse on its AES input than the others for example.

The Pi 3 and below share a potential problem with glitches on USB audio - quiet pops/clicks a bit like listening to vinyl in my experience. I say potential because it may or may not happen at all, depending on what software you're running, your DAC, how high res the file is, whether you're using the wired network port and who knows what else. I've never noticed it happen when using piCorePlayer, even when trying to make it glitch by streaming high def samples from 2l.no over the wired network. On the other hand if I run BruteFIR the glitches are repeatable, and get worse with higher bit rate either on the audio I stream, or that sent to the DAC. The same test on the Pi 4 has no glitches.

If I was buying now I'd get the Pi 4 - it's better than the 3 in every way but power consumption, and barely more expensive.

For USB vs. coax vs. toslink it depends. You'd have to check the SU-8 specs, but in general USB supports higher sample rates than coax, which in turn may be higher than toslink depending on implementation. On the other hand USB is more prone to ground loops and noise leakage. Coax may or may not be, depending on whether it's a direct connection or transformer coupled, and toslink is inherently electrically isolated. Some of the digital out hats for the Pi use transformers for coax and some don't, so check before buying if it's important to you. If i were you I'd try the USB first since it's free, and consider a coax or spdif hat only if USB has problems.
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
Messages
1
Likes
0
#20
I would love to hear more about to software for this. I have a pi4 stolen from another project and was gonna marry it with a pecanpi dac to feed my older speaker system. I use amazon hd now but have been thinking of switching to another since I can only stream through there alexas without any good had output without buying their amp.
 
Top Bottom