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Multi Room Streamer

michaelb56

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Feb 10, 2021
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I would like some advice reagarding hardware & software requirements to setup a multi - room, streaming my own music from my tablet in my house. I've looked at mass market streamers and at £600 +, thought there must be a better way. Having read reviews, I decided that it would be more fun, challenging exciting and to build my own. Therefore, I've sold my soul. Raspberry Pi it is.

I'm thinking Raspberry Pi 4, DAC and Amp. What DAC and AMP combo would you reccommend? Volumio/MOode for the music? What other software would I require?

Forgot to add, this will be Wifi.
 

somebodyelse

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We probably need more details about your requirements and preferences to steer recommendations in the right direction. What sort of tablet is it? Is your music stored on the tablet, or do you use it to stream from a service? What speakers will you be using? What's your understanding of multi-room since there's some disagreement about the necessary capabilities. That sort of thing.

Most of the software options will work with most of the hardware available, so I'd suggest trying the different options until you find the one you prefer, with the capabilities you need. They all have strengths and weaknesses, and it only costs some time (and perhaps a spare SD card if you want to swap back and forth.)My personal preference is piCorePlayer, but Volumio and Moode are often mentioned here. Then there's HifiBerryOS (if you go with their hardware), Rune, RoPieee (mainly aimed at Roon users, but the XL version doesn't require it I don't think), Max2Play, GentooPlayer, and more I've forgotten about or not found yet.

DAC and amp really depend on your priorities. A hat style DAC and amp board would give you something small and neat. External boxes will perform better but won't be as tidy. The Apple dongle probably still wins the value for money crown. More guidance needed here I think.
 
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michaelb56

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My tablet is a Samsung Galaxy A10 with my music stored on it. Speaker wise, haven't decieded which, but looking Audio Pro A10/C10 etc.
 

somebodyelse

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That takes AirPlay out then. I guess you'll be using a UPnP/DLNA app like BubbleUPnP as the source and probably the control point. That should work with most of the options. With piCorePlayer you'll need to install LMS (LogitechMediaServer) on one of them, and enable the UPnP compatibility plugin. You can do both via its web interface. I think most of the others have UPnP in their default install.

I wasn't aware of those speakers. Now I'm confused - if you're aiming to use wireless multi-room speakers what do you need the Pi for? What's the Audio Pro app missing?
 
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michaelb56

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That takes AirPlay out then. I guess you'll be using a UPnP/DLNA app like BubbleUPnP as the source and probably the control point. That should work with most of the options. With piCorePlayer you'll need to install LMS (LogitechMediaServer) on one of them, and enable the UPnP compatibility plugin. You can do both via its web interface. I think most of the others have UPnP in their default install.

I wasn't aware of those speakers. Now I'm confused - if you're aiming to use wireless multi-room speakers what do you need the Pi for? What's the Audio Pro app missing?
LOL. Now you've got me thinking and confused. I thought that to play my own music from the tablet via wifi, I needed a music streamer to send too the speakers. But, using active speakers, means installing the respective app onto my tablet, connecting them thru my home wifi and the tablet, playing from my tablet, which obviously is link to my wifi.
If I use passive speakers, then an amp is required. Can these be connected to my network? Is that where th Pi comes in?
Audio Pro are a scandinavian speaker.
 

somebodyelse

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Some distinctions needed - I usually think of active speakers in terms of things like studio monitors where they've got a power amp and maybe some DSP in them. Usually they have analog inputs, and some have digital too. If you start including streaming capabilities of various levels you're into some class of all-in-one device - a networked speaker? The Audio Pro A10 and C10 seem to fall into the networked speaker category, but I haven't looked into what you can and can't do with their app, or whether it's using standards like UPnP or something proprietary like Sonos. It may do everything you want without needing the Pi - there isn't a hard and fast definition of what these things can and can't do, so you need to check.

The Pi can do the network streaming part with open standards, and people have managed to reverse engineer interoperability with some of the proprietary bits too. Exactly which combinations will work varies a bit between the available software options, which is one of the reasons I suggested trying a few. It can output via USB, or using a hat board for digital out, DAC or a combined DAC and power amp. You can also add a touchscreen interface, infrared remote, buttons or knobs and who knows what else if you want. This gives a lot of possible combinations for connecting to active or passive speakers. Something like a Pi doing the streaming, connected through a Loxjie A30 over USB to some passive speakers. Or using the HifiBerry/B&O Beocreate to turn some old speakers into networked ones with DSP. Or a Pi with an Apple headphone dongle connecting to the 3.5mm analog input on the Audio Pro speaker to do something that their app can't. Which ones make sense will depend on your priorities and requirements.
 

TheTaj

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I know this is an old thread, but I highly recommend HiFiBerry DACs for use with RPi. They have an OS distribution that makes it dirt simple to setup with support for Airplay1, bluetooth, local files (including NAS shares), internet radio, DLNA, OpenHome, Spotify Connect, Roon, Snapcast, and Squeezelite. Volumio, Moode, Mopidy, Rune, etc. are all great, but the HiFiBerryOS just works.
 
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