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Rpi4 as a streamer, hints and advice ?

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#1
I'm just starting to look into using an Rpi4 as a streamer. I'll be connecting to an Audiolab Mdac (preferably via digital coax).


Looking around for bits n pices I've found these :

JustBoom Digi HAT for the Raspberry Pi:
Raspberry Pi 7-Inch Touch Screen Display Black Touchscreen
Raspberry Pi 4 Case for The Official 7" Touchscreen (Black)
Raspberry Pi 4 Modell B 4GB ARM-Cortex-A72 4x 1,50GHz, 4GB RAM, WLAN-ac, Bluetooth 5, LAN, 4x USB…

As suggested in the title, I'm just looking for a few pointers and opinions of the suitability of the above.

Not too worried about the technical aspects of putting stuff together and setting it up, been using Linux for years.

Thanks for any help.
 

JeffS7444

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#3
JustBoom Digi Hat has worked fine with all of the software I've tried to date (Volumio, Moode, RuneAudio, etc). Strictly speaking, you don't need 4 GB of RAM for the task, even a 1 GB Pi3 works fine for that purpose.

Case ought to be fine. I have a SmartiPi case which is roughly similar. I do see a "low voltage" icon when I run the Pi + display + Digi Hat from a single USB power source, but it seems to work fine regardless. I tried running separate power cables to display and Pi but that didn't seem to work.

USB cable with power switch is a handy addition.
 

somebodyelse

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#4
Are you sure that case will accommodate the hat, or do you intend to mod it? Apart from that everything looks fine, although 4GB is overkill.
 

jtwrace

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#5

EdW

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#6
I see that you want to use digital coax. Normally I would always recommend trying USB but I have seen reports that the MDAC USB I/F has restrictions and will only work with RPI3B not 4. Look on Volumio web site
https://community.volumio.org/t/usb-dac-compatibility-list/1997/173
I haven’t looked any further into this though. It may be worth looking at higher quality interfaces than the justboom since the MDAC is quite a decent DAC. With the SPDIF connection the clock quality is set by the I/F card and not the DAC itself
 

somebodyelse

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#7
With the SPDIF connection the clock quality is set by the I/F card and not the DAC itself
Not if the DAC designer has done their job properly. It's a notable event in the DAC tests when the SPDIF input has significant jitter sensitivity. Is the MDAC really bad enough to need special treatment?
 
OP
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Thread Starter #8
Thanks for the answers, I've been a bit busy to follow anything (bit of a disaster with a Rega Planet :( but that's another story). As I said I'm totally new to this but appreciate the input. Yes I do think the case will accommodate the hat and yes I am also aware of the restrictions of using USB with the Mdac, which is why I'd prefer Coax. Could anyone suggest a higher quality hat than justboom to use ? I gather then, that pi 3 with less memory would do the job no problem ?
 

EdW

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#10
Allo DigiOne seems pretty good, but is it twice as good as the JustBoom?
The choices for a SPDIF I/F other than the JustBoom are Hifiberry digi+ pro (UK price £32.90 - a little more expensive but looks better made?)

https://www.hifiberry.com/shop/boards/hifiberry-digi-pro/

Or the allo Digione and the Allo Digione signature which are a lot more money but are reviewed by @amirm

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...measurements-of-allo-digione-rpi-s-pdif.5418/

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...llo-digione-signature-and-diyinhk-pro3z.4660/

Sadly no review on the JustBoom or the digi+ that I could find. According to Amir the Allo Digione and signature are impeccable. But as @somebodyelse points out a decent DAC should not need impeccable to deliver perfect performance. So I’m afraid I haven’t really helped with your MDAC except to say that a lot of people have had good results with other DACs with both the JustBoom and the digi+
 

Thalis

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#11
I have the Hifiberry Digi+ (not Pro) with the RPi3B+ and it works just fine and is very transparent with either Coax or Toslink. I have AB'd both and find no difference.

Edit: Just to add... I am using moOde 10 as a UPNP renderer and Spotify Connect point. I have Bubble UPNP on my phone and also the UPNP component in Foobar to send stuff to moOde.
 

Brady

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#12
I just joined the forum, and I apologise for not having set any intro yet...but this caught my eye, and I wanted to share:
I saw from John Darko that a reasonable competitor to the commercially available ( .. and priced) DAC;s could be made relatively easily.
Being fairly handy, I bought a Pi4 4BG online, and added a IQuadio DAC Pro HAT to the shopping list.
I used a generic case, and will advise anyone building to use a good power supply for the Pi board. Check that there’s a case available for your chosen HAT first, as some are out of stock. (If this is a concern of course)
The build was easy, and if you read through the instructions for flashing an SD card with your chosen OS, it is straightforward.
I use Volumio, and this links up with Spotify easily enough once you log into the Volumio front end on a PC etc.

The IQuadio DAC Pro has RCA outputs, which was my chosen link to my Pre-amp, then onto Quad amps and Bi-wired Rogers.
https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/iqaudio-dac-pro/
Datasheet & a good guide too
https://datasheets.raspberrypi.org/iqaudio/iqaudio-product-brief.pdf

The Volumio website explains everything very well, though am sure members here are familiar with such things.

As to results, I’m finding that it all performs very well. Let your ears decide for you.
I have other amps, including monobloc setups and stereo, using the same preamp, and interchanging speakers.

Apologies again for the non-intro...but have to say I’m liking the science here! Easy language too.
 
Last edited:
OP
D
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Thread Starter #13
One thing I'm wondering about is if the Rpie will make much of a discernible difference to my setup.

My ASUS maximus Code XI based PC has the following audio spec:
SupremeFX S1220 CODEC
ESS® ES9023P High Definition DAC
32-bit/192khz playback
multi streaming
According to the manual due to HDA bandwdth limitations 32-bit/192 Khz is not supported for 8 channel audio.

and can be plugged in to an MDAC with the following inputs :
2 x 24-bit/96kHz Toslink optical, 1 x 24-bit/96kHz USB

I'm thinking if I stream through the PC and connect via TOSLINK to the DAC how would that compare to what I should expect from the RPie ?
 

abdo123

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#14
One thing I'm wondering about is if the Rpie will make much of a discernible difference to my setup.

My ASUS maximus Code XI based PC has the following audio spec:
SupremeFX S1220 CODEC
ESS® ES9023P High Definition DAC
32-bit/192khz playback
multi streaming
According to the manual due to HDA bandwdth limitations 32-bit/192 Khz is not supported for 8 channel audio.

and can be plugged in to an MDAC with the following inputs :
2 x 24-bit/96kHz Toslink optical, 1 x 24-bit/96kHz USB

I'm thinking if I stream through the PC and connect via TOSLINK to the DAC how would that compare to what I should expect from the RPie ?
it's the same. The idea of the Pi is to get rid of cables and not having to have 9889273928 W consuming machine running to use Spotify.
 
OP
D
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Thread Starter #15
it's the same. The idea of the Pi is to get rid of cables and not having to have 9889273928 W consuming machine running to use Spotify.
Well my 9889273928W machine is running doing something or other most of the time when I listen to music, so I may as well just stick with it.
 

EdW

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#16
One thing I'm wondering about is if the Rpie will make much of a discernible difference to my setup.

My ASUS maximus Code XI based PC has the following audio spec:
SupremeFX S1220 CODEC
ESS® ES9023P High Definition DAC
32-bit/192khz playback
multi streaming
According to the manual due to HDA bandwdth limitations 32-bit/192 Khz is not supported for 8 channel audio.

and can be plugged in to an MDAC with the following inputs :
2 x 24-bit/96kHz Toslink optical, 1 x 24-bit/96kHz USB

I'm thinking if I stream through the PC and connect via TOSLINK to the DAC how would that compare to what I should expect from the RPie ?
I imagine that you’ve tried both TOSLINK and USB and they both work? So it’s down to sound quality. TOSLINK might be more sensitive to clock jitter if the DAC has a problem. USB might be more sensitive to noise and ground loops. If the USB produces no low level digital noise or hum on a quiet track, or the lead in to a quiet track, with the amp volume at maximum then you can say that you don’t have any USB issues and this USB connection is probably getting the best out of the DAC. Substituting a Raspberry Pi as the streamer is very unlikely to produce a better sound. If the USB and the TOSLINK sound identical (most likely if the DAC has jitter suppression) then you can safely use either connection and be sure you’re getting sound which won’t be bettered with a change to RPI
 
OP
D
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Thread Starter #17
I imagine that you’ve tried both TOSLINK and USB and they both work? So it’s down to sound quality. TOSLINK might be more sensitive to clock jitter if the DAC has a problem. USB might be more sensitive to noise and ground loops. If the USB produces no low level digital noise or hum on a quiet track, or the lead in to a quiet track, with the amp volume at maximum then you can say that you don’t have any USB issues and this USB connection is probably getting the best out of the DAC. Substituting a Raspberry Pi as the streamer is very unlikely to produce a better sound. If the USB and the TOSLINK sound identical (most likely if the DAC has jitter suppression) then you can safely use either connection and be sure you’re getting sound which won’t be bettered with a change to RPI
Thanks for the reply, that's cleared things up, luckily for me, your last statement fits what I'm hearing, the RPI won't improve on what I'm currently using.
 
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