Happy Camper with a Raspberry Pi

I don’t post here very often, so sorry if my post is a little obsolete already… I wanted to share an experience I had this weekend with the Raspberry Pi. Might be of interest to those hesitating about streaming, as I was until recently.
I have been playing CD’s and Vinyl’s religiously for a while, and managed to get the ND5XS a while back, since installation I have been enjoying Tidal and iRadio, fantastic sound quality.
Running out of things to do during lockdown - I pulled out a very old laptop and cd rom drive, downloaded dbpoweramp and starting ripping all of my 1000+ CD’s to flac. I bought a second drive to be able to rip 2 discs simultaneously and now am almost done.
The question remained on which UPNP server to use, I bought Minimserver as it seemed to be quite simple and effective, and ran it off my laptop, the same as used for ripping.
I don’t really want to have a laptop running all day, so I started looking at NAS drives - seem really expensive for what they do.
I ordered a Raspberry Pi 4 (4GB) expecting to spend days and nights setting it up, typing command lines into a black screen and battling with overheating, fans, and other stuff.
It turns out that the Raspian OS on the RPI4 is so intuitive and easy to use, my new UPNP server was up and running in less than an hour. I have loaded VNC onto my PC to control it remotely, and Minim server works well too. It is connected with an ethernet cable to my ISP router and the ND5XS is also running an ethernet cable from the same box. I have the Argon box on the way to run it in a nice enclosure with a fan, but even when it is cooled passively the temperature stays reasonable.
Going forward I will plug a couple of 256GB USB keys to hold all my files, and then enjoy the music.
total cost, UPNP Server, RPI, accessories, but without the USB drives is around 100 euros - the raspberry pi is great value, pretty powerful, and also fun to set up. Would recommend it to anyone who wants to make the switch to streaming.
I guess there is a lot of tuning possible now, so open to any suggestions! I was thinking a dedicated ethernet switch, not sure what else
Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

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Hi, and welcome to the forum. Good to hear that you’ve got a good streaming setup, it shows that it’s not always necessary to spend a lot of money to get a good music store/server.
One thing you might try is setting Minimserver to transcode on playback from FLAC to WAV. The 1st generation Naim streamers in particular were apparently optimised to use WAV, and many people claim that it sounds slightly better than FLAC.

I’m also using an RPI4, i decided to go for a headless installation using OpenMediaVault and MiniDLNA for streaming. The headless version doesn’t have a GUI but you can control it remotely from a webbrower. It’s a bit more work to set up than the GUI version, but it could be an nice option for anyone with a 1-2GB RPI or when looking to maximize the available resources.

thanks folks, I have just set transcoding for flac to wav, so that’s a good step.

jmtennapel, what sort of optimising are you thinking of, audio streamer or UPNP?
cheers

The RPI4 is not really suitable as a playback/output device since like @jmtennapel mentions it’s electricly noisy, the RPI3 is better suited for this. When you only use it as a UPNP streamer then it’s fine, the other tweaks above (power supply / distro etc) will probably not make a noticeable difference for you there.

As always, your mileage may vary and other people may have other experiences. :wink:

My thought is just UPNP for now, but I do appreciate the comments about a music player, I would like to make one from one of those really basic pi versions. Maybe as a Xmas gift to another analog stalwart that I know!

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You can also make your life even easier by using RoPieee or HifiBerry as your audio-focussed OS which will do nothing but stream, but which do it well.

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You do not need to run any windowing and desktop system to control the RPi. I use a very minimal Raspbian installation: no X, bluetooth, HDMI output and internal sound card disabled. No wired Ethernet. Apart from the basic system, only MinimServer and upmpcli (https://www.lesbonscomptes.com/upmpdcli/) run on the RPi. Setup and control is via remote ssh. The system is up and running for months, does not need any maintenance and is immediately available on any control point. I have a 1TB SSD with my whole music collection attached to the RPi. Streaming from another RPi (wired to the router) wirelessly also works fine. I have an Allo DigiOne Signature on the top of the RPi, directly connected to a Naim DAC via DC1.

I’m using a RPi 4/HiFiBerry DAC2 Pro/HiFiBerryOS in a headphone system. Its the quietest system for background noise I’ve owned. I also have setups using the RPi 3/HiFiBerry Digi+ Pro.
And very easy to setup.

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With extra hardware like a HifiBerry DAC it can be a pretty good player as well yes, good to hear!

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I couldnt disagree more, I honestly believe the raspberry pi is best suited as a fantastic end point player with so many great products out there to enhance it further.

I have never heard this ‘electrical noise’ but even if I were bothered many more options for powering it exist.

Have you actually used a PI in anger for playing music? What was your experience?

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Why are you using it this way, its a bit ‘old school?’ :slight_smile:

I dont have experience of the particular path you have taken but other products for pi exist that would allow you to run that pi totally headless and configure/maintain it from a web interface, does minim not have a web interface?

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I can also recommend the RPI4 for projects. I run a VPN server and ddns on mine. No direct application to audio although it does mean I can browse my FLAC collection or frighten burglars by turning on my NS172 when away from home!

thanks all for the replies. I guess we are talking about music players too, but I have the ND5XS which is a good streamer, along with the nDAC so all I wanted the Rpi to do was host flac files on the network and use the UPNP option in the Naim App.

Is there another way of streaming the music through ethernet to the ND5XS, i.e. without adding another box?

I guess the end state would be a very minimal implementation as noted by nbpf (thanks for the link) but for the moment I am still playing around with some of the functions to get to know the system, and that is easier with the desktop running.

It is now in a headless configuration, (I was expecting to be running around like a headless chicken at this point) so I don’t think it’s old school - Garyi your post made me smile, I did warn maybe this post was already obsolete :-)). I am using VNC, or sometimes Putty, as described here:

Thx

If you’re happy then that’s all that matters, these devices and the add-ons are so cheap that anyone can just experiment with them and use them in the way that pleases them the most. Good to hear you’re having great results. :+1:

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thanks for the hints, I am actually posting this message also from the Rpi, and I heard a noticeable change improvement in sound quality.

:slight_smile:
Seriously though I will look into BubbleUPNP too and see where we go from there. right now quite happy with the installation.

I received and installed the Argon box with the fan and it also routes all connecting points to the rear and provides the LED’s visible from the front. Unit is running cooler than before, so a worthy investment.

I too have just set up an RPi as a streamer.

I decided to get the Allo DigiOne Signature HAT as well.

I installed and image of the moOde audio player and got that going as UPnP.

This worked well but needed an app to be running. So I also decided to install Bubble UPnP Server. At first I installed this on a Mac but it turns out it was pretty easy to install it on the RPi too. I just had to add a cron job to start this on boot.

Now I have that set up with an OpenHome renderer with gapless playback. It has options to play Tidal as FLAC 16/44.1 or AAC320, currently using FLAC. It’s pretty nice and I can use the macOS version of Linn Kazoo to stream Tidal, the iOS version does not seem to work for me, something to do with TIDAL’s change of login.

I can also use the the iOS app LUMIN but the UI is odd.

I tried using Audirvana too but really don’t like that.

The Allo DigiOne Signature is actually two boards, a dirty board that connects to the RPi and a clean board that sits on top. It also needs two power supplies a dirty side to power the RPi and clean power to supply the board that converts I2S to S/PDIF. I’m using rechargeable batteries to power the clean board at the moment but may just switch this out for a 5v iPower.

Currently using it on the desk with a Schiit Modi3 DAC and an old dpa Renaissance integrated amp connected Totem Kin Mini speakers. Pretty happy so far.

I will probably move this to the main system once it’s all going well. I need to reorganise all the cables and power points and get a LAN port installed first, the Wifi is pretty spotty where it needs to go.

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The RPi is hardly even stressed while playing…

looks great - amazing what you can do with these RPI things

after a listening session last night, I can say my ND5XS never sounded better!

I agree. Many people use the Sonore UPnP Bridge, circa. US$229, but from what I can tell it’s just a RPi in a nice case.
Dave