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Raspberry Pi or small PC

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Henry Johannensen, Mar 16, 2021.

  1. Henry Johannensen

    Henry Johannensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Asbury Park, NJ
    Let me start by asking if a raspberry pi has any sonic improvements over a fully functional small pc?
    Currently I am using a Marantz AVR as a dac, streamer and HDD for hi rez access.
    And because I can't leave anything alone, I am thinking of removing the Avr and replacing it with a stand alone dac that will connect my transport and either a raspberry pi or pc to access my flac files on the hdd.
    Any suggestions?
    I looked at other threads, but sound quality between the two wasn't addressed.
     
  2. Kray

    Kray Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver
    I’d prefer to have a dedicated audio based pi system vs a PC. Lots of great options in the arena. I replaced a Lumin U1 mini with a pi2AES. I use the pi2AES as a Roon endpoint because I have a Mac mini on my network running Roon but you could easily run a pi device stand-alone with a nice audio HAT and call it a day
     
  3. Henry Johannensen

    Henry Johannensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Asbury Park, NJ
    Thats a bold statement!
    That Lumin is some bucks!
    I do seem to like the idea of a pi, and it seems the 2 cards to eye are the pi2aes and the Allo DigiOne.
    I do not need roon, so thats a moot point.
    Is there an OS that operates a hdd like a windows file structure?
    I have my hdd setup with a sweet file structure that allows me to find what I want fast.
     
    Drew769 and Kray like this.
  4. Drew

    Drew Senior Member

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    The native OS for the Raspberry pi is is Raspian, which is a Linux distribution. If you don't run roon or volumio or something like that your going to have to learn a few things about how to configure a dac card on the pi (which isn't too hard). Raspian does read usb hard drives formatted in all the Microsoft filesystems.
     
    Kray likes this.
  5. Henry Johannensen

    Henry Johannensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Asbury Park, NJ
    I heard volumio was a good choice, but your saying I'm at their interface completely?
    Thats why I like the Heos of on my avr, it allows file structure.
    Roon is off the table, im not paying for a structure.
     
  6. Simoon

    Simoon Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I will add more to this thread tomorrow, but the best way to go is with Allo Audio's implementation of the Raspberry PI.

    Especially with their USB Bridge Signature.

    The problem with Raspberry PI's are, is they are noisy, but Allo isolates the PI on a board they developed. All the important, audio related functions are part of what the call, the clean section. It uses 2 separate power supplies, a simple wall wart for non critical functions, and a linear power supply for the audio related functions.

    They are about $250, and using the term 'giant killer' is an understatement.


    USBridge Sig - Ultra low noise RPI
     
    jesterthejedi, jfeldt and james like this.
  7. james

    james Summon The Queen

    Location:
    Annapolis
    no prob with that but I’d rather have Roon and a 500 dollar DAC than no Roon and a 5000 dollar Dac. It’s my fav digital purchase and one of the best bargains in audio, IMHO.
     
    Rolltide and BayouTiger like this.
  8. Henry Johannensen

    Henry Johannensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Asbury Park, NJ
    Interested in hearing more!
     
    james likes this.
  9. Henry Johannensen

    Henry Johannensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Asbury Park, NJ
    I may be wrong, but roon appears to be nothing more than added meta data.
    All I require is a title and maybe an album cover.
    I dont need all the fluff.
    Roon is NOT gonna make my files sound better.
     
    jesterthejedi and wrat like this.
  10. Henry Johannensen

    Henry Johannensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Asbury Park, NJ
    I'll take the better dac.
     
  11. Drew

    Drew Senior Member

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Some people don't like Volumio but I use it all the time. After the Raspberry pi running volumio is on your network you can control it from any device that has a web browser thats on the same network... tablet, laptop, etc.

    After volumio boots you have to tell it what dac hat your using... plug in the USB drive... takes a few minutes to find your media... and your good to go.
     
    Mindhead1 likes this.
  12. james

    james Summon The Queen

    Location:
    Annapolis
    correct!

    but it is the OS...which is the thing you interact with. If you’re talking about a computer based front end, the OS is the primary component.

    I went down a great rabbit hole tonight: checking out all the albums Joey Baron has played on and a bunch albums featuring Evan Parker.
     
  13. Henry Johannensen

    Henry Johannensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Asbury Park, NJ
    This is where I start getting lost.
    I would use an external dac, not a hat.
    I would use a spdif hat......no?
    Do I have to configure that?
     
  14. Henry Johannensen

    Henry Johannensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Asbury Park, NJ
    Yea, I get that, and thats cool.
    I just avoid monthly fees like a plague.
     
    james likes this.
  15. Drew

    Drew Senior Member

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Yes... there is a menu in volumio to select your specific card.. its the same drop down box you'd select a dac hat from. Its not difficult and I could probably do some screen grabs tomorrow if you need help.

    I think your having a few problems imagining what the interface is like but after you have it in your hands it won't be that tough.
     
    Henry Johannensen likes this.
  16. Henry Johannensen

    Henry Johannensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Asbury Park, NJ
    I may take you up on some help, but I'm only in the planning stages.
     
  17. Henry Johannensen

    Henry Johannensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Asbury Park, NJ
    No spdif out?
    Why the premium?
     
  18. Andrea_Bellucci

    Andrea_Bellucci Forum Resident

    Location:
    Italy
    Hi!

    I bought a Raspberry Pi 400 kit a month ago.

    I really like it, but I mainly use it as an Office-Low-Cost PC.

    While Firefox, Thunderbird and Libre Office are working fine, I was not able to play flac files from the SD card. It's a SanDisk Extreme 64GB, where the OS (I use Ubuntu 20.10 for Pi) is on. It plays the flac files but makes noise and stops for a second every 10 sec. or so before playing on.

    I read that this may be a bug in Ubuntu 20.10. Others told me to buy an external SSD drive which is faster. I have not tried it yet. Just to keep in mind.

    Bye Andrea :wave:
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2021
    Henry Johannensen likes this.
  19. Cherrycherry

    Cherrycherry Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I think that the RPI has sonic improvements over a fully functional small pc.
    Of course, dependent on what OS you set up on either piece of equipment.
    I setup an RPI with LMS, output using digital HiFiBerry SPDIF/Toslink board.
    -RaspberryPI over Toslink to DAC.
    -CD Player is output SPDIF to DAC.
    Although, lately, using CD player straight to preamp as there is barely any difference between CD player vs. CD player as transport to DAC (in my setup).
    You may have a better/worse CD player and better/worse DAC, so your combination may yield better results.
    I really like the flexibiliity afforded by the current setup.
     
    Henry Johannensen likes this.
  20. telemike

    telemike Forum Resident

    Location:
    Greensboro, NC


    While focused on Spotify, the basic info should help you
     
  21. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uruguay
    I have a Pi 4 with Volumio and external usb card. Perfect!
    The Pi 4 improved vastly the usb architecture compared to Pi 3, in fact Darko finds very good the sound in Pi 4 with a usb dac ... that doesn't happens with pi 3, in that case I'll use an Allo Hat surely.
     
    Henry Johannensen likes this.
  22. Henry Johannensen

    Henry Johannensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Asbury Park, NJ
    This seems to be a large point in the quality of the pi.
    "The USB output to dac."
    Some say it has been fixed in pi4, others seem to think that ANY usb to dac is noisy.
     
  23. Rob6899

    Rob6899 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Millom, UK
    piCorePlayer

    The above will do everything you need to do, using Logitech Media Server.

    Follow the instructions in that link.

    Any questions let me know and I will try and answer.
     
  24. fezco

    fezco Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pasadena
    I didn't want to deal with driver compatibility with DACs, so I opted to 'go' for a small Microsoft Surface Go tablet to do all of the PC Audio in my HiFi. I got a refurb for just under $400. I do all my CD ripping on it, Stream Amazon Music HD, use Jriver. The form factor is great and I can always un-dock to take the thing with me.
     
    Mindhead1 and Henry Johannensen like this.
  25. Henry Johannensen

    Henry Johannensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Asbury Park, NJ
    Right now i have a small form factor pc that I was considering for streaming duties. It would be very much the same setup you have.
     
    fezco likes this.

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