Thoughts on the Mini86?

I love Volumio but it’s constantly malfunctioning on my pi 2 and pi 3 (network issues, playback issues, slow GUI).

I’m starting to think that the Pi just isn’t quite up to the job, so I’m seriously considering picking up a a Mini86 soon. I was briefly running Volumio on an i3 Intel NUC and it was fantastic, but the fan noise was too much and I felt that it was better used for playing video anyway.

Has anyone on here tried the Mini86? How does the performance compare to a pi2 or 3? Is it worth getting the higher spec one even if I’m not planning on using it as a NAS?

For the unfamiliar, I’m referring to this -

I am having some issues getting my Pis working with a new Schiit DAC and considering pulling the trigger on the Mini86. So while I don’t have first-hand experience yet, my old college roommate (and die-hard old school audiophile) received his Mini86 two weeks ago and absolutely loves it. He has been borrowing my old Squeezebox Touch to drive his Playback Designs DAC via coaxial since Apple screwed up their USB drivers in El Capitan.

Besides playing his music library Brian has been listening to Spotify via Balbuze’s Volspotconnect2 plugin and it’s worked flawlessly for him.

Here you have a very detailed article about it: … %26t%3D367

Of course I can tell you many things about why I think its the ultimate Volumio device, but of course I won’t since I’m not objective at all here… :smiley:

I can offer a preliminary assessment of the Mini86. I purchased one a couple of weeks ago and, once initial setup was done, it has performed as advertised. It streams FLAC files from my NAS over my wireless network without a hiccup and any intervention on my part - it always works just fine. The Spotify plugin also performs as well as Spotify can. The case is slightly warm to the touch but never hot. I have the 2GB RAM version. I considered purchasing a NUC - I think that even the sub i3 Celeron processor version would work great - but was concerned about fan noise (I’ve never actually been in a room with a NUC) and local Craigslist didn’t have any used ones for sale at a price that I liked.

I think the 4GB version might be quicker at retrieving album art (a good thing) and might also be better if you’re playing higher resolution files. However, those assumptions are entirely speculative. I’ve never opened the case but assume that it contains standard DDR3 memory and it would be cheap and easy to replace the 2GB with 4GB. I also assume (again without evidence) that the device can’t use more than 4GB. [Note: I was wrong, it will take 8GB] Unless you really want to store files on the device, I wouldn’t pay for a 1TB hard drive of unknown provenance. Don’t know anything about what it might take to increase the size of the SSD.

I’m alternately delighted and appalled by Volumio. My enthusiasm for the Mini86 led me to set up two Pi 3 based players. One is great, the other looks like it may turn out to be mostly a painful educational experience.

Thanks for your input - one more question, would a USB Reclocker (like the iFi one in the shop) be essential for getting the best sound over USB? I’m currently using a coaxial from a hifiberry digi (and was using optical before that), I’d be interested to know if I should expect a step down in sound quality either with or without the reclocker?

I can’t offer an opinion on coaxial vs usb either with or without a filter-type product. I’ve noted that the positive claims made by reviewers of products like the iFi Purifier2 and the significantly cheaper AudioQuest JitterBug are very similar. So, if I wanted to try one, I’d save 50 or 60 dollars and purchase the JitterBug. For what it’s worth, I have several usb DACs and have successfully resisted the urge to purchase such a product for several years.

It comes down to the DAC you are using. Any reclocker, like the iFi for USB or what the HFB Digi+ Pro (or Allo DigiOne) does for Coaxial SPDIF, is relevant if your DAC is a slave DAC. Meaning it gets the timing (clock) information from the feeded signal. Devices like the Pi or a mini86 do not have the best clocks as it is not as relevant for computing purposes.

A master DAC does its own timing using its own, usually much better, clocks.

My guess here is that if you use a slave DAC, you can expect a slight increase in Sound Quality. If it is worth the money is only something you can decide.

Verzonden vanaf mijn iPhone met Tapatalk

After thinking that my Pi woes were over with the latest upgrade, the connectivity problems are back, so I’m considering the Mini86 again.

One potential issue is that my USB DAC (built into my Yamaha amp) required Steinberg drivers to be installed to work with my Windows 10 PC. Does this mean it wouldn’t be compatible with Volumio out of the box?

I don’t have a mini86 but I can say I’ve been using volumio x86 on the Udoo x86 for a few weeks, and I don’t any complains for now. It boots fast, GUI is fast, and it playbacks any files without any performance issues. Yes, I ran up to DSD512 files and re-sampling everything up to 32-bit/768kHz on my AK4490EQ DAC, no performance issues. Plus I’m using gigabit network for my NAS, no slow downs when playing big files. I’m very happy with my upgrade from a Rpi3 to x86.

So you can get the idea how fast is Volumio x86 :wink:

What is the energy consumption of the Mini86 (Watt)?