Raspberry Pi streamer -- tips, tricks, tactics

A couple of weeks ago I added the Pi2AES HAT to the Raspberry Pi, and I’ve been really impressed. I do think the Matrix cleans up the USB signal, so I would guess the difference would be more dramatic if I was going direct from USB to the DAC. But very happy with the sound, and I like how I can use the I2S output to the Topping D70 DAC (and make use the Pangea I2S cable I bought months ago, which never worked from the Matrix to the D70).

The Pi2AES HAT is limited to a 192k PCM sample rate, so no DSD. But for my listening and my system, that’s totally fine.

Never liked the case, though. It’s acrylic (I never removed the protective backing), so I decided to make a prototype out of walnut.

Drilled holes in the case and added some 3/16" clear acrylic rod through the wood so I could monitor the LEDs on the Pi and the Pi2AES HAT. (Power, sample rate, computer status, etc…)

I like how it looks.

There’s a big opening in the back for cabling and airflow (and one in the bottom base), but if I make a second one I might also make an opening in the top and add some wire/screen mesh. We’ll see.


@danm lots of generic tips here, I’ll add some specific notes about the picoreplayer /LMS / BBC sounds tomorrow :slight_smile:
Picoreplayer site here

On the downloads page you want the standard 7.0 version, to flash onto sd cards one for the player ras pi and another one for a separate server ras pi if you wanted to separate the two out.

Lots of online resources explaining the writing of the sd card image online, note carefully it is not the same process as copying firmware files for a DS DAC.

Once done, boot the Pi with network and a screen connected, once it has booted it will tell you on screen what address to point a web browser at to configure it.

( this get started page does a better job of explaining than I:

At which point, using the various web pages, you can configure it to be

  • a player (with an instance of Logitech Media Server running elsewhere on the same network)
  • an instance of LMS and a player in one
  • just an instance of LMS.

I have used the player with a USB DAC (Behringer UCA202, which has optical out too), and with a HiFiBerry Digi Pro Plus (which only has spdif rca and optical out, no analogue) the HiFiBerry range also has DAC hats etc.
Note that the “HAT” boards connect to I2C on the Pi board, so are effectively I2S to SPDIF or I2S to analogue DACs.
A USB DAC, however has to compete with pretty much everything else on the USB bus so may not give as good results (the uca202 worked fine for me at 48kHz sample rate).

That USB bus speed concern diminishes considerable with the newest Ras Pi 4 though as it has a USB 3 as well as a USB 2 bus.
All my experiments (and finished items) have used Ras Pi 3B plus, I intend to get a Pi 4 or two soon though to play with :slight_smile:

Once set up in terms of booting etc. you can then, to create an LMS server, load LMS onto it, and once that is running, it’s control web page is available on the same browser adress for your Pi but on port 9000.
e.g. you might type
That gets you to the LMS control panel, skip signing in to “MyLogitech” or “mysqueezebox” or whatever it is, and go straight to the LMS panel.
Once there there is a link to “settings” at bottom right.
This opens another web page, where amongst other things you can configure plugins.
You can enable or disable any of the “official” ones, including BBC SOunds, Bandcamp, Amazon Music, qobuz etc.
The inevitable reboot later, once connected to the LMS control web page again, you can then use the settings page to sign in to BBC, Bandcamp, or whatever (Bandcamp requires some fiddling about with browser tools to extract a session cookie, but BBC sounds is a simple username/password.

More to follow as it comes to me…

(meantime, and I know this description is fairly vague, happy to answer specific questions if anyone is having a go at this e.g. to build an all in one “BBC Sounds / Bandcamp streamer” solution).

Hardware more thoughts - the e.g. Behringer UCA202 is a very cheap USB DAC / optical pass through, costs about 30 quid, and is limited to 48 kHz, but then so is BBC Sounds, Bandcamp et al so for a box for these that is fine.
The HATs go up to 96 or 192 kHz, some with separate clock chips etc. so obviously better for all your local HD files.
SqueezeLite software can also handle resampling (down and up, at least as far as 768 kHz via USB out) and a range of digital reconstruction filtering to go with that which can also be interesting.
I’ve also seen good reports (on here) for the PI2AES add on DAC (which has balanced, and I think I2S also).

I’d be very interested to her from anyone using (successfully) a Pi via USB driving a DS DAC (not that I am getting a DS DAC but it would be useful to know and collect that info in this post).

*** Using Squeezlite to resample up and adjust filtering options etc. ***

Worth adding that LMS / SqueezeLite does sync’d multi room, and runs an apple-compatible “Airplay” type server on the LMS server instance, which can also be sent to one or multiple players.

A handful of Ras Pis and (can be) cheap DACs / speakers gives a very powerful setup, with not too much faffing and IT-arm-waving, but can also drive high end DACs and sound most excellent with a bit of care and choice of components, all driven by iPeng or Squeezer (and a web browser for configuring the server and players) :slight_smile:

p.s. no I’m not competitive with PSA’s highly engineered Octave system, I wish 'em the best of luck with it, I bet it looks (and probably sounds) great without any IT arm-waving!

Where it (or Roon?) would beat LMS etc. is MetaData - LMS relies on embedded tags (in FLACs, AIFFs, or even MP3s. The others aim to pull in lots of “rich” extra data about the stored or streamed music. I’m happy without it though - I use iPeng on an iThing, and use Wikipedia on the same iThing, works for me…

one pi - running picoreplayer, squeezelite disabled, LMS installed and running.
music library mounted from a NAS elsewhere in the house. (all configurable from a web page).
5 port switch connects to the Pi next to it, the pi player on the hifi (next pic) and the rest of the house.

second pi running picoreplayer with squeezelite enabled. java lite installed and running, connects to the switch in the previous pic. power, analogue video out (4th “pin” on the 3.5mm jack on the pi).
audio out via TOSLINK from the hat, custom case (steel) for the pi and hat combo (made by the same people who make the hat i think)

oh yes and a usb wireless mouse because i was too stingy to buy the official ras pi touchscreen (and i drive it from iPeng anyway).


Excellent! Thanks a lot. I’ve used Volumio in the past, so some of this sounds familiar. Will give it a try.

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Cool :slight_smile:
I will continue to add random thoughts to the same post, rather than scattering them in multiple posts, but if you’ve used volumio in the past then I am sure you are already there :slight_smile:

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added a couple of pics and a few more comments to the big post above :slight_smile: