My goal was to get a way to send music from various sources (stored and streaming) to a preamp-amp-loudspeakers already existing HiFi system using a good quality DAC (and keep things simple, as it’s my first DIY audio project). Here I write how I did to set up the system, step by step from the very start. I know all this information is already available on the web and I am very grateful for the people that took time to share it, on the meantime I figured it might be useful to some newcomers to have everything on the same place.
My audio sources are :
- large collection of mp3’s on a 2.5" USB-powered hard drive (quite static collection of data with rare additions/substractions of files)
- smaller collection of mp3 on iTunes (regular additions/substractions of files) I have an old Macbook running 10.6
- deezer/spotify accounts, from firefox on a computer, and from an old iPod touch running Os4.1
- internet radios, such as SomaFM.
Here are the steps I’ve followed to get a working setup:
1/ Shopping (total 100 euros)
RPI B from Amazon for 29 euros (link)
RPI case from Amazon for 6 euros (link)
Micro SD card from Amazon, model SanDisk 8 Go Class 10 for 6 euros (link)
USB Hub from Amazon, model D-Link DUB-H7 for 19 euros (link)
USB WiFi dongle from Amazon, model Edimax EW-7811UN for 13 euros (link)
HiFiBerry DAC from I2S to RCA for 30 euros (link)
I added a USB hub because I already had a 2"5 USB-powered hard drive and didn’t want to buy an extra self-powered 3"5 hard drive. The hub comes with a power cable with adaptor and a USB A - USB B cable. I have chosen wifi to connect the RPI for two reasons:
- less cables
- avoid reported noise issue when using HiFiBerry DAC together with ethernet connection.
2/ Setting up Volumio on the SD card for the RPI
- download latest volumio distribution on volumio.org
- copy volumio .img file on the micro SD card with the software Piwriter
3/ Setting up the wifi dongle (without ethernet cable in my case)
- connect wifi dongle in USB slot, hdmi to monitor, keyboard to USB slot, SD card with volumio
- connect power (always do it at the end)
- modify the interfaces file to connect to WPA/WPA2 or WEP wifi following instructions from this website (be careful with the two last lines, which are different for WPA and WEP) and reboot. Check with “ping google.com” that the connection is now on.
- “sudo halt” to power it down, then unplug screen and keyboard (not used anymore afterwards).
4/ Setting up HiFiBerry DAC
- solder 8 pins to the RPI from instruction on their website (I used a thin tip 30W soldering iron and a coil of thin tin)
- plug wifi dongle and SD card with volumio on the RPI
- power the RPI
- connect a computer on the local (wifi or ethernet) network to the RPI by typing volumio.local in firefox
- in the settings, enable I2S output for HiFiBerry
- reboot (which can be done from the distant computer in the options)
- connect the RCA cables to the preamp and enjoy!
- the case I had was to small, but can be still used by cutting spaces on the top cover for the two RCA connectors, cutting the end of the nylon spacer on the bottom, and cutting one plastic tip on the bottom of the case that goes into soldered connectors
5/ Listen to music files from a 2.5" USB-powered hard drive
- connect the RPI micro usb to one of the USB high-powered output of the USB hub
- connect the input of the USB hub to the remaining USB output of the RPI
- connect the 2"5 to another USB output of the USB hub (no need of high-power output)
- power the USB hub, which will start the RPI
- from distant computer, connect by typing volumio.local on a web browser to get to the user interface and refresh library (should take a while)
- once done, all your music files on your hard drive are now accessible for the RPI to be send to the pre-amp, with full control from your distant computer through the nice user interface
- if you want to control from your android smartphone, MPDroid is a nice free software that additionally tries (I said “tries”) to add album covers from internet database. Note that the two controllers (smartphone via MPDroid and computer via firefox) can be used simultaneously as they are synchronized.
6/ Listen to music files from an other computer with itunes
- that’s the easier one: just open itunes on the computer, click on airplay symbol and choose volumio. Your music is now streamed to the RPI, which could in principle give rise to some cuts and bugs in the listening, depending on the wifi emission-reception quality, but in practice I did not have any problem.
- the same can be done from any apple device (ipod, ipad, iphone) when using built-in music player and deezer application (now with HQ 320kb MP3 files)
7/ Listen to spotify or deezer or youtube or anything from the computer
- in this case I settled for the airfoil solution: just install the software, quit firefox (or any web browser you use) choose to send the audio out from firefox to volumio, and then open firefox. This software is free as a trial (10 min) version, and can be unlocked for $25 if you are satisfied and feel like have a real use to it (I do).
8/ Listen to SomaFM channels
- just follow this thread from volumio forums to add manually the few somaFM radios you like
Hope this might help, and show newcomers that you’re only a few steps away from having a very versatile solution for sending your audio to your HiFi system.