My $29 Squeezebox replacement (Raspberry Pi + PiCorePlayer + Squeezelite)

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by SamS, Jun 29, 2014.

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  1. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    Like many of you with Squeezeboxes, I was really bummed with Logitech discontinued the line of hardware players almost 2 years ago. I have a full line of Squeezeboxes: Transporter, Touch, Classic, Boom and Radios. Although they all still work fine, I was torn between stocking up with used versions via eBay, or trying to make my own. I stumbled across guys doing cool stuff on a Raspberry Pi, called the PiCorePlayer:https://sites.google.com/site/picoreplayer/home

    I decided to give it a shot, so I needed to secure a Raspberry Pi. I had not bought one before, but I was vaguely familiar with the concept and capabilities. My local MicroCenter has stacks of these things, new, for just $29! I had a 8GB SDHC Class 8 card laying around (under $10 new), along with an extra iPad charger + MicroUSB cord laying around. You can get dedicated Raspberry Pi chargers for ~$10.

    I followed the instructions, and had a "bare bones" Raspberry Pi up and running as a Squeezebox in about 10 minutes, super easy!
    [​IMG]


    I listened to it for a few days just via the built-in headphone jack. The sound was not very good, but I wasn't expecting much. In fact, it was fairly noisy, about the amount of background you'd get from a decent vinyl setup. I knew I'd ultimately want to use this purely as digital transport to feed an OPPO HA-1, or other A/V receivers around the house. So, I ordered a HiFiBerry Digi for $40 shipped. Found a cool case for another $30, the IQaudIO.com Pi-Case.

    All told, I have a bit over $100 invested in this project. Cheaper I think than any used Squeezebox Touch would be. The sound over optical cable is fantastic! I control the PiCorePlayer via iPeng or SqueezePad iOS apps, which is how I control my other Squeezeboxes 100% of the time anyways. I have little use for a player display or any kind of touch controls on the unit itself. Also, it only uses 2.7watts of power, so I can leave it on 24/7/365 and it only consumes a penny a day worth of electricity.

    I may build another one day and add a digital amp and speakers, to be used in a garage set-up or similar.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Radiotron

    Radiotron Tube Designer

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Well done. Build me one and I'll buy it!
     
  3. rockclassics

    rockclassics Forum Resident

    Location:
    Arkansas, USA
    From what I have read here and on a couple of other sites that the OP linked to, this all sounds interesting and fairly straight forward to do. Although the soldering of the HiFi Berry Digi board sounds like it could be more difficult - at least for me. Is there a way to plug and play using cables without having to solder?

    Too bad no one is assembling these as an out of the box plug and play solution for less than $200. I would probably buy it.

    I have several other basic questions before I would jump into this.
     
  4. jamesc

    jamesc Formerly Known as Undertow

    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Nice looking set up! I've been toying with doing one of these myself. Looks very impressive for the price.

    Do you happen to know if your set up will pass greater than 16/44.1 digital audio through the digital output?
     
  5. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    If I could work any economies-of-scale for the components (or the shipping from overseas, really), then I would consider it.

    Yes, I neglected to mention that I had to solder 8 pins for a P5 header to plug in the HiFiBerry Digi. This is only necessary to use the HiFiBerry Digi or DAC. If you want to build a $29 "stripper" version, then it's not applicable. Soldering is not my favorite thing, either. Here are the instructions I followed:


    Yes, I've been able to test 24/96 FLAC with no problems. I'll need to test 24/192, eventually. But, I'm told it works. Hi-rez over HDMI has been a bit of hit or miss, but the developer of PiCorePlayer will probably fix/update the software for the HDMI output, eventually.
     
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  6. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    I decided to try an alternate power supply to the Raspberry Pi than my leftover 10w iPad charger + Nokia phone USB cord (which did measure the most voltage, about 4.89V, to the board of any PS/cord combo I tried that was laying around my house). This new power supply definitely reduces the noise from the analog mini-jack. I presume it's due to the ferrite core? Either way, this is a cheap tweak/experiment at $13: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A9PO5AM
     
  7. Dr. Bogenbroom

    Dr. Bogenbroom I'm not a Dr. but I play one on SteveHoffman.TV

    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    Been using the raspberry pi and picoreplayer (hdmi for me...haven't had the desire to spend for the hifi berry yet) for about a year and a half now. It's so easy to set up I don't understand why more people aren't doing it. Glad someone else has seen the light of the pi for audio.
     
    SamS likes this.
  8. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
    If you are hesitant with the solder gun, you can pair the Raspberry Pi with the Wolfson Pi Audio Card for Raspberry Pi.
    [​IMG]

    It screws into place with one nylon screw (included) and attaches via the GPIO connector. I haven't tried this card yet.
    Also, you can download the Squeezeplug distro with Squeezelite media player, which recognizes the Logitech Media Server. I bring the Raspberry pi to remote locations to access my LMS library from home, my own cloud. Excellent sound through the HDMI output, although I don't know if it is processing 96/24 across the internet.


    I've been toying around switching to the picoplayer, so I may load up an SD card with it and see how I like it. Sam - does it process 96/24?
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  9. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    Howdy! :wave:

    I thought about the Wolfson card, but it's not supported with the PiCorePlayer, I assume you have to run Squeezeplug on the SDHC? For sure, the PiCorePlayer (once loaded onto a SDHC card) is super simple to operate, configure and update, because it is all web-based. My time and patience for terminal/SSH has run thin o_O :D

    Yes, the setup I have now with PiCorePlayer does do 24/96 just fine. I don't think I have any 24/192 FLACs loaded into LMS to try, maybe later.
     
  10. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
    thanks Sam. I agree with you on the ssh connection. I often have to start / stop processes to tickle squeezelite to run when I am off my home network. Web based access is very enticing. I'll give picoplayer a try.
     
  11. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    Does Squeezelite run entirely in the Raspberry's RAM like PiCorePlayer? That was one of the appealing options to me. It seems very stable, and once booted into PiCorePlayer (<20 seconds, if you power off/on) then the speed and playback interaction is as fast as a Touch or Transporter. Maybe faster!
     
  12. Dr. Bogenbroom

    Dr. Bogenbroom I'm not a Dr. but I play one on SteveHoffman.TV

    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    It's so nice to have something that just passes the bits along, doesn't cost an arm and a leg, is unobtrusive and lets me do it all with the small computer I have in my pocket anyway.
     
  13. CraigVC

    CraigVC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    This is great! Maybe something to pair with my Ultra Mini Stereo System for about $100, especially seeing how you've put about $100 into this setup.

    There's something really satisfying about constructing a cheap, tiny system that has a lot of "bang for the buck."

    Craig.
     
  14. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
    I'm not really sure.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014
  15. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
    Loaded up piCorePlayer at a remote site. Easy as pi! :) Easier, actually. I thought that there was a problem at first, but didn't realize that the server IP address setting didn't need the ":9000" port ID for the IP address of the LMS server. I kept waiting for the player to appear in the LMS player list. This is an issue I have with the Squeezeplug distro, it takes a few minutes (it seems) for it to be recognized by LMS. After waiting too long and l closing down/ opening LMS web page several times, I reviewed the settings and removed the ":9000" (even though that is specified in the server ID example). Changing settings is painless with the web interface and super fast.

    @SamS - did you modify the buffer settings or max sample rate? I was able to play a 192/24 file (Beck Sea Change) through the HDMI into a Marantz receiver without setting a max. Not sure if that is what is being played, but it sounded quite lush. I'll have to compare to the BluRay itself. I'm noticing a tiny milli-second hiccup at the beginning of a few tracks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  16. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    I experimented a bit with the buffer/sample settings, but ultimately left it all stock. Are you noticing the hiccup only on 24/192 files? I had a little glitch 10 seconds before the end of every track. I have to Enable Smart Crossfade in LMS, but then set Crossfade duration to a value of 0, instead of the default of 10. This eliminates the glitch noise, and does not impact gapless playback at all.
     
  17. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
    I've got to give it another listen to see if that infrequent hiccup re-occurs. However, I did switch back to the Squeezeplug distro because this morning I the picoreplayer disconnected (maybe because I have a 2:00AM LMS rescan) and it wouldn't re-connect despite rebooting, powering off. etc. :shrug:. I'll fiddle with it another time.
    I don't have smart crossfade enabled and I have the volume set at 100% in the LMS settings.

    Is there a way to set a static IP address when using the picocoreplayer? I don't have that option on the router at the remote site. I have to brush up on my UNIX commands and do it on the Raspberry pi for the picoplayer. I have a static address using the Squeezeplug.
     
  18. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    I set mine to static IP, but I did it with the PiCorePlayer's MAC id and at my router. I don't see any option for that in the player software.
     
    stereoptic likes this.
  19. shadowlord

    shadowlord Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austria
    interesting project and well executed !

    is t here a way to have one of those units play Flac from a usb hard disk ?
     
  20. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
    Yes. There are several methods to play audio files. Sams experiment uses the Logitech Media Server. LMS can be loaded onto the Raspberry Pi adn you can mount a hard drive to the Raspberry, as long as it is has its own power source. Take a look here: http://www.squeezeplug.eu/ .
    ANd there is much more about the Raspberry pi here: http://www.raspberrypi.org/
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
  21. Dr. Bogenbroom

    Dr. Bogenbroom I'm not a Dr. but I play one on SteveHoffman.TV

    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    stereoptic likes this.
  22. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
    And now there is an upgrade to the rPi - Raspberry Pi B+ - more ports, more power, same price.
     
  23. sublemon

    sublemon Forum Resident

    Cool. I have thought about doing this yet but i have a couple spare squeezebox receivers (from the Duet) that I got cheap so it hasn't been necessary. Since there are various apps that work with it you don't even need the duet remote. But if those give up one day or I want to add more I will probably try something with the raspberry pi.
     
  24. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    Seems cool, but your case options will be limited. Especially if you add a DAC/additional board.
     
  25. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
    I'm pretty confident that there will be manufacturers who will produce something to meet that demand. This new pi supposedly has mounting holes to compensate for these DAC boards.
     
    SamS likes this.
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