Newbie Pi B+ setup questions

Hello forum! A noob here :slight_smile:

I’d like to build an affordable HiFi system powered by Volumio running on a Raspberry Pi B+ to listen to Internet radio and a ton of mp3 tracks stored in an external 2.5" hard drive. My aim is to use the system in a 13m2 room but I want it to be powerful enough for a 30m2 room if possible with a 2.0 or 2.1 config.

I’m not an audiophile and I have very limited knowledge of electronics but from what I read here in the forum it looks like these are the hw elements I would need:

  • Raspberry Pi B+
  • Wi-Fi adapter
  • SD card with the Volumio image
  • An I2S DAC
  • An amplifier
  • A PSU
  • A pair of speakers
  • Cables

Connected like this:
Raspberry <-> DAC <-> Amplifier <-> Speakers

Am I right? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

So here are my questions:

  1. Which DAC would you recommend? The list is huge but I see many people here use HiFiBerry DAC+ or IQaudIO Pi DAC+. Would you recommend any other? I’d prefer a plug and play solution but I’m open to a little bit of soldering and learning.

  2. Which amplifier would you recommend? Many people in the forum use D class amplifiers based on TA3116 or TA2020 but many other of you are using other spare hifi amplifiers. How does a D class amplifier compare to a regular mid-range HiFi system? How much power is enough for such room? How about the sound quality? Any recommendations?

  3. With the Raspberry Pi B some of you just use the Wolfson sound card without a DAC (and even amp). I guess both DACs and amps are built within the sound card, plus it provides many other inputs and outputs that not all DACs can offer.
    Now that Wolfson is releasing a new revision of the sound card for the B+ later this month, would you go for one of these instead of the DAC+AMP combo? Does the current Wolfson Audio Card for the Pi work with Volumio out of the box?

  4. Which PSU should I use? I have noticed that some amplifiers require 24 V, others 18V, others 12V and so forth not to mention the current required. Guess it all depends on the amp and dac to be used but would you power the Pi, the DAC and the amp together or separately?

  5. And finally, any cheap but good or enjoyable speakers?

Sorry for this huge posts and so many questions :neutral_face: I’m just trying to absorb all the information from the forum but sometimes it’s way too much.

Thanks in advance for your advice.



I don’t know what your budget is, but I have the HifiBerry DAC that I combine with AudioEngine A5+ speakers on stands in a small office. I am very happy with the result. Currently using 1.51 (before that I had 1.3 with plain A5 speakers).

These are active (powered) speakers with that are just right, not too small, not too big. The internal amplifier is class AB, 50W RMS per channel.

The stands make a real difference (move away from walls, perfect triangle). About $400 and you’re all set.