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To start, please forgive my ignorance in asking for more clarification about an issue that has already been discussed.
Some time ago people helped me arrive at my current computer arrangement: On my MacBook Pro, I am streaming Tidal through Audirvana without oversampling. (I prefer non-oversampling digital.). Through a cable to a Musical Fidelity V-Link 192 in my main room, and and (Emotiva) Blue Tooth in a secondary system--I am sending the digital respectively to Audio Note and ANK Audiokits NOS/1X Oversampling Dacs. These system sounds pretty good to me, although not as good as vinyl.
In these systems would I get significantly better sound with a better, inexpensive streamer, such as a perhaps a Raspberry Pi? Though I am ignorant about all this, I assume that I could still somehow control the streamer with my computer? Could someone briefly describe how all this could be rearranged?
Thanks a lot,
significantly better sound - if that's your goal - you're asking the wrong question.
Nobody can answer that question? Nobody knows your current system and its performance. And nobody knows your understanding of "significantly better sound".
If your DAC would be immune against upstream induced flaws (noise/EMI&RFI/data-jitter/ground-loops/asf.) and not any of your computer systems (standalone or client/server) would be changing the audio data, meaning all system setups provide you with the same data, there wouldn't be any difference. Meaning. There'd be no difference in sound quality. Down to the DAC it's all digital. Every setup would provide the same data.
Your first task would be, to make sure your DAC gets fed with bit-transparent data.
The 2nd task would be to make sure that your DAC is immune against upstream induced flaws.
If that's not the case and your DAC is not immune you'll face an awful and never ending journey into the computer audio world with its infinite
complexity. Everything you change upstream can and usually does impact your sound experience!
No. Neither an RPI based solution will solve your problems. Nor Volumio, pCP, Moode or NAS or .???.
If you'd just look for a nice, little client/server setup we'd have a different discussion. ;)
blog latest: *** The Audio Streaming Series - tuning kit pCP ***
Dear Zacster et al,
Thanks again for your advice. Without going into detail at the outset, could you briefly outline how my Mac could transmit digital audio signals to the Raspberry Pi through WIFI? There is a lot about this I just don't understand.
Thanks a lot.
Thank you very much everyone for all your advice. I think I'll first try a WIFI transmission to a Raspberry Pi from my computer.
I ordered an 8GB Pi 4 from CanaKit on Amazon. I'm hoping it won't be too painful to get running.
I plan to start with the Volumio distribution as it might be simplest to get running; I have downloaded the image and am waiting for a 128GB microSD card to arrive to burn it. I expect to use USB out to my DAC, and I hope to operate it with the Volumio app on my Android tablet.
I might get around to trying the piCorePlayer and/or MoOde distros.
I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to set up the RPi 4 as a music streamer. You don't have to know Linux. You just need basic computer knowledge and be able to follow instructions. There's lots of excellent help available here and in various other forums.
I used an Intel NUC running Win 10 for years. I recently replaced that with an RPi 4 with Moode. Following a couple of hours listening I knew there was no way I was going back to Windows. It's a whole new world for me and I love it. Have fun.
The 'NUC' route still seems very valid to me, and indeed, there are less expensive mini-computers the typical NUC. I have couple and they work great while retaining the ability to run most of the vast suite of Windows software. Furthermore they aren't outlandishly more expense that taking the RPi path.
In my case I already have Windows machines dedicate to audio and HT: they work fine for me. I'm trying the RPi because the cost is low enough that develop my own conclusions, in particular whether it does provide its touted superiority of Win computer for what I want to do.
It won't be painful at all since you've already figured out the hardest part of downloading and burning the app to an SD card. Plug the Pi into your router so you don't have to find the wifi hotspot, then you can configure Volumio to connect to the home wifi itself as it walks you through. It is really the only setup step that is needed to get going, and even that isn't needed if you want to keep it plugged in.
And I'll probably continue with that.
I'll probably go with at direct monitor, keyboard, and mouse connections during set up. I hope to use the Volumio Android app afterwards; I have already downloaded that app. I note that is searches for a Volumio server on startup (which it doesn't find a the moment of course). I believe URL 'volumio.local' will bring up Volumio in an web browser.
Volumio is so easy to set up that you won't have any fun.... :-)
If you do plan on using Qobuz or Tidal, be aware that Volumio Charges around $30 a year for that interface. PiCorePlayer is Free.
I'm too cheap.
However I might try piCorePlayer. LMS can operate on the same Pi device or I could install it on my Synology NAS.
If you do try PiCorePlayer, install the LMS Server on the Rpi as well. That is what I do now... there are certain software dependencies on Synology that have gone away already on the last update, or will go away in the short future. I actually think LMS Server runs better on a RPi 4 than it did on my Synology NAS. Quicker.
what a good NAS offers is a huge buffer space so that you are essentially playing from memory - even with high clock 24 bit content. Mine uses 6 GB of its 8 GB of memory for just that.
LMS by itself does not offer such.
You did not need 8GB of memory or a 128GB card.... 2GB on the Rpi is still overkill and the smallest card will be big enough.. I used to buy 8GB cards, but I think now a 16GB card is the smallest you can get at most places.
So, if you've got a small SD card laying around... a 4,8, 16, 32 GB will all work... No need to wait or waste the 128 GB card on an RPi.
Don't look at this project as 'A Pain'. Enjoy it! Learning is fun.
As it is, I've already ordered the stuff. The difference in cost for 8 vs. 2 GB isn't humungous. Likewise I didn't have any microSD's lying around and the cost difference for 128 vs. smaller capacity wasn't a big deal.
When you 'burn' the OS to your SD Card, you will have to use some 'burn' software (Which you may or may not know).... If you don't know this, there is a free program out there called Balena Etcher, which you can download. Very simple to use... I have heard of some people that just try to copy the OS image to a SD Card, which will not work.
... Which I'll be using.
I believe there is also a Raspberry Pi Imager program but it might only work with Raspberry's own OS.
While inmate Cut-Throat is right about not needing a 128GB microSD card, perhaps you plan to store your music there as well ??
If Volumio allows you to use the 'excess' space for music storage you'll be in great shape.
Another option might be to create a small partition for Volumio and a separate large partition for music storage on the 128GB card.
And yet another option (and simplest) would be to get another smaller capacity microSD card for Volumio and use the 128GB microSD with a microSD to USB adapter [link below]. You will then be able to plug the 128GB microSD card into a standard USB port on the Raspberry Pi and use it for music storage.
You do use Etcher to burn the Volumio image onto the microSD card. However, I don't know if Etcher allows you to burn to a separate partition on the microSD card. You might have to try creating the partitions ahead of time..... or try the simple option I mentioned above.
Good luck !
I'm using Audirvana on my iMac and sending the music to a Raspberry Pi running Volumio over my wifi and UPnP/DLNA. I also use Audirvana remote on my iPhone and iPad to control AV on the iMac. With this setup all control is actually on the computer with Audirvana. Tidal will still run there as will any NAS. The RPi just acts as a remote receiver. In a way all you are doing is replacing the wire with wifi. You can use the RPi directly too, but I never found it necessary and my 27" iMac is just easier to use and see! (I just came from the eye doctor and he prescribed stronger reading glasses, but my distance vision only needed a weak prescription.)
You could buy an RPi and give it a try for under $100 as already noted and try it on one of your systems to see if you like it. Even if you don't like it on your main system it will be an improvement over Bluetooth on the secondary system. I'm assuming your DACs have USB input here though. If they don't you'll need a "HAT" such as the Allo Digione to output SPDIF, otherwise just use the USB.
I'm also assuming you have a fairly recent router. It takes bandwidth but unless you have something really old it should be OK.
Will you get better sound? Maybe, maybe not. I highly doubt though that it will sound worse.
One more thing to add, an RPi running Volumio also supports Apple Airplay so that an iPhone can stream directly to it as well at better quality than BT. My kids discovered this before I did.
You might try to replace the Bluetooth by streaming as Bluetooth is lossy compression and streaming over WiFi or Ethernet is lossless.
The Well Tempered Computer
As far as sound quality, it would be equal for sure, and maybe a tad better. But, you would have to be the Judge of that. For sure it would be a lot simpler, with less cords, smaller O/S and far fewer processes going on.
The great thing is that a Raspberry Pi is cheap enough that you can try this out for less than $100. And yes, you can control it all with a Computer, or tablet or a Phone..
I recommend PiCorePlayer for streaming software, as it has the most features, supports all of the streaming services and is Free. Plenty of help here to get it setup as well, as it can be a bit Putzy at first.
So, Buy it and try it.. Get a Raspberry Pi Model 4, download the software and plug it into your DAC.... If you need help, just ask. I have helped dozens of people set up their Rpi via phone support. Usually takes less than an hour.
I may just take you up on your offer of help getting started with Raspberry Pi. What OS would your recommend for audio applications: R Pi OS, R Pi Desktop, Unbuntu, other? The CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 8GB Starter Kit - 8GB RAM from Amazon looks like a low risk purchase. Can you direct me to a webpage with elementary instructions for setting up a R Pi audio streaming system? Thanks.
All you need for an OS is PiCorePlayer. 8GB is a waste of money, even the 2GB is overkill.. you don't need that much memory for Music Streaming and PiCoreplayer... So, get the 2GB kit....
The website for PiCorePLayer is
It is not simple to set up, so I can help you.... Read through the pages and you'll get an idea. I sse you have used a Squeezebox Touch from your profile. The PiCorePlayer is based on LMS and the Squeezebox. much more powerful however. send me an e-mail and I'll give you a shopping list that I created a while back.
That is, if you are happy with the computer.
I use a Windows computer. Mostly I listen to my own collection, (stored on a NAS), using Foobar2000; at least for a mostly Classical listener like me I prefer the Foobar interface to anything other player of streamer interface.
I have tried Tidal via the Chrome browser and it seems to work fine that way apart from the interface working the way I prefer. That's most of the reason I don't presently subscribe to Tidal.
Foobar is flat and 2D.
Cut to razor sounding violins
At least in my case.
Audirvana on a MAC goes to all locations via DLNA (ethernet or WiFi) various Raspberry Pis with any number of $100 +/- 'hats'.
Any interface you wish between the 'hat' and your DAC (I prefer I2S).
Most player software (LMS, etc.) works fine as well.
Audirvana supports both TIDAL and QOBUZ natively and LMS does the same.
Pretty much like everything in audio or life for that matter... And for less than $100 in audio, why not try it?
I can tell you that I used to stream from Windows also. There is not a Snowball's Chance i would even consider it today.
Typically in cases like this I would rather avoid the learning curve unless there is a compelling reason.
I already have a dedicated music computer that is doing the job the way I like. For that matter, my music computer is a tiny, fanless device the cost me only about $300 including monitor, keyboard, and trackball, so cost saving isn't an issue.
And the 'Compelling Reason', will only be obvious until after you try it. That is the dilemma. You won't understand until you understand.
in the early to mid 90's I was in a sweet spot: I was really starting to get into collecting music, learning and loving classical at a voracious pace, plus it was the dawn of massive cd releases -- Fanfare magazine was weighty reading those days my friends -- PLUS I was smart enough to know vinyl was being dumped at thrifts by the ton per day.
I. Cleaned. Up. The fruit was, by the end of the 1990's, an extremely deep classical collection (or, a moving nightmare, depending on your outlook).
My collection is "curated" as they say. I have culled thousands of records over the years, especially in the late 90's, when I simply was running out of room.
My collection is an entirely different beast than *anything* streaming can be. My memory is such I know where records are on the shelf, and what's next to them.
It is a very tactile experience, ruminative even. It's like a musical garden. One tends it constantly. That's saturation.
Learning curves reveal new worlds. But I already have so much vinyl and cd's my house has a slightly greater gravitational attraction than buddy next door. I figure in a few hundred thousand years, my house will eventually swallow his house. That directly impacts my desire to learn new tech.
/ optimally proportioned triangles are our friends
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