I’m a mechanical engineer. I’m fairly new to DIY audio, only since LOCKDOWN!
I have two Raspberry Pi 3B+ running the latest version of Volumio. I only use one at a time and I have a third running a shared drive for my music.
I have not had any problems getting them running, they found the DACs (Khadas Tone Board and a Scarlett Solo), they could find music on a mounted SD card and appeared visible for AirPlay. I did not need to go into settings set anything to get Volumio working.
Two very useful bits of software I used on my Mac to copy the Rasbian and Volumio images to an SD card were SD Card Formatter and balenaETCHER. The Instructions on Volumio to set up your Pi were quite good. Just give the Pi at least 6 minutes to sort its self out on the first boot and then connect to its wifi hotspot to connect it to your homes wifi.
I tried two different ways to set up a shared drive for my music. The first was a Pi with with a 2.5" SSD plugged into a USB and with Samba protocols setup by me but I could not my Mac to work with it but the Pi did. The second and better way is to use OpenMediaVault (OMV) to create a NAS drive. This gave me a bit of headache to get it on the Pi but once it was on I followed a very simple guide to set up a public drive that works perfectly for the Pi and Mac. The guide was for Windows so I imagine it will work on that too.
Artwork caused me loads of stress, I think I confused Volumio trying to sort it out. I had cover.jpg or folder.jpg in in all my album folders and it still would not work! And then I could not do a library update!! I did what an IT expert would do and turned it off and on then deleted and installed the app on my iPhone. I now have all my artwork except for three which I will sort out later.
Out of the 2 DACs the balanced Scarlett Solo has better bass and mids. I think this is just because it is balanced. I can’t hear any difference in sound quality between using my Mac+Audirvana and a RaspberryPi+Volumio. I imagine a RaspberryPi 4 would be an even better option than a 3 as it is more powerful and things will run faster and smoother.
I have an eclectic music collection, with about 200 albums and takes up about 130Gb. So not very big compared to a lot of people.
I use a 3eAudio TPA3255 amplifier and Elac Debut Reference bookshelf speakers. My setup is totally dark as I can’t hear any background noise. It sounds amazing!!!
I would pay for MyVolumio but the only thing I would want is the Digital and Analog Input but it is on the Virtuoso package which is too expensive for me.
I hope this was interesting and helpful.