Hi there, I haven’t used Volumio yet at all and I am in the phase of figuring our the right hardware setup for me. I would be happy to benefit from your experience, even if you can only answer one or a few of my questions.
In general I would like to use the DAC of an active speaker rather than a USB DAC or DAC hat on Volumio. That would encompass connecting the board to the speaker using HDMI (as most boards provide that) or SPDIF or TOSLINK (that would require extra Hardware, so not preferred).
The rationale is to reduce DA-AD rendering steps, reduce cost, reduce power consumption, KISS.
Is that a good idea at all? I have a lot of FLAC files and a pretty good portion uses 24 bit, 96 kHz or even 192 kHz.
What board would be able to give me these bit rates via HDMI? Even Pi Zero W? Orange Pi Zero? Tinkerboard? etc…
Speakers with HDMI would straightforwardly be soundbars (and you can get them in white and put them near the ceiling), which probably have a lot of features that might be handy, but also might be more trouble than necessary and violate KISS.
The rationale is: I just have 1 power outlet near the ceiling per each room, no other wires (no ethernet, no fiber, no analog audio wires), so the speaker needs just to get power from there and the signal via HDMI (without ARC) from a WiFi connected board with Volumio. Soundbars could fit the bill nicely. A single soundbar may have a better sound than a single active speaker, possibly at a better price point, it may have additional features and be controlled via HDMI CEC.
Are soundbars in every room a good idea?
Do soundbars usually provide HDMI input without HDMI ARC?
Are the additional features and CEC more hassle and complexity that it is worth?
Is the HDMI sound better than going through a DAC on Volumio and use analog input on the soundbar?