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Because things are never static for too long!

In the living room: gone are the old Intel Atom-based server, the Raspberry Pi for Kodi and the old Intel Core 2 Duo laptop for Roon server. All the services those machines provided are now aggregated into a "less old" Intel Core i5 laptop. Power usage and administration costs will be lowered, with improved all-around performance.

In the bedroom: gone are the Rotel RA-820BX integrated amplifier and the Musical Fidelity V-DAC V1. They are replaced by the Raspberry Pi liberated from the living room, equipped with a HifiBerry AMP2 DAC and class D amp combo (negotiated from another project). Less space and electricity used, and such an improvement in audio quality!

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Mountain house - Washington, USA

This is a project that I have integrated and installed as part as a birthday present. Three zones Roon system, 1 with a DAC and reusing an existing amplifier and set of speakers, 2 using a TI DAC + Class D amplifier (I am extremely positively surprised by how well and cleanly it works, those things got some oomph!). I had to completely rewire the house with Ethernet and add Wi-Fi access points

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Desert house - Dubai, UAE

This was a demo system for a friend's business in Dubai. It has since moved to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania! I've installed it from scratch, including a network remodel (the house was already pre-wired with Ethernet), entirely remotely. Five zones Roon system, using a nice existing Forté + Tannoy kit, or a collection of Focal powered speakers (my friend was a distributor).

I even engineered a mobile system, using a car PC, tablet in dashboard, on-board WiFi and fully integrated DSP system, ready for public demonstration to the local market.

Home system - Redhill, UK

And then there is my 2 zones Roon home system, with multiroom TV+Kodi deployment, quite documented on this web site...

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2

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  • New Raspberry Pi 2 and IQaudIO Pi-DACZero (24/192) replacing my old Musical Fidelity V-DAC (only synchronous USB and max 16/48 on USB) and acting as a network streamer using Roon Bridge
  • Roon server installed on the laptop. This software+service+technology is absolute magic. Great interface on any platform (Linux interface missing, though, but core and Bridge rock the penguin's way!), fantastic metadata, and even better contextualisation, and very nice bit-perfect music transport. The radio feature is such a good way of (re)discovering our extensive music library.
  • This IQaudIO Pi-DACZero is quite nice, and it was free on a black Friday event! But I still want to replace it with a Hifiberry DAC+ Pro, with dual oscillators to eliminate any potential jitter from I²S. Missing those parts.
  • I want another Raspberry Pi 2 int the bedroom, this time with an IQaudIO Pi-DigiAMP, a combination of a 24/192 DAC and a 2x35W Class D amplifier. Add that extra pair of Castle Pembroke Loudspeaker that we have... That would be another all-in-one network streamer using Roon Bridge, allowing for independant music, or in perfect synchronisation with the main system! Missing those parts.
  • Eventually, I'd like to upgrade the server from that 32 bit Atom machine to a 64 bit i5 machine. It would incorporate the roles of the current server (good bye!), of the laptop running the Roon server (good bye!) and the main TV's Raspberry Pi (good bye!) and add HD movie audio capabilities and 4K resolution future-proofing. Much simpler, while keeping the power consumption at bay. Missing those parts.

Here is a project going around in my mind... It will most probably never go anywhere beyond that, but here are notes and thoughts.

The goal would be to build an integrated all-in-one music player/streamer with plenty of features, but still relatively simple and with a low cost.

WORK IN PROGRESS (MAYBE)

Features

  • Plug-in speakers, plug-in media storage, plug-in power, play music
  • Small footprint
  • Hi-Fi component look with volume control and IR remote capability
  • Plays all music formats (non-DRM)
  • Built-in 24/192 DAC
  • Built-in 35W Class D amp - Speakers terminals
  • Line level output - RCA terminal - For use with discrete amplification
  • 10/100 Ethernet wired network connectivity
  • Wi-Fi network connectivity
  • Possible Bluetooth (but no Apt-X...)
  • Local or network (Windows, NFS shares) music files
  • Built-in Raspberry Pi 3 computer
  • Possible 7" touchscreen integration
  • Lollypop music management app on touchscreen or remote
  • MPD server - Pretty well regarded, provides mobile device remote
  • Squeezebox server and player for easy mutli-room
  • UPNP - Play from anything not Apple
  • Apple AirPlay - Play from your iPhone/iPad/Mac

Components

Hardware

Case

Something not looking like a computer component, but like a Hi-Fi component.

External connectivity

All serious looking stuff for audio, plus network and storage connectivity

Touchscreen

7" touchscreen - 800 x 480
7" touchscreen - 800 x 480

Internals

Processing power, DAC, amplifier and electrical power

Software

Options

  • CD drive for playing and ripping

Cost

Item Qty Unit Total
Case 1  £58.00  £58.00
Rotary encoder 1  £2.00  £2.00
IR receiver 1  £2.00  £2.00
Banana sockets x4 1  £7.50  £7.50
RCA sockets x2 1  £3.90  £3.90
USB socket 2  £4.64  £9.28
Ethernet socket 1  £4.40  £4.40
WiFi dongle and antenna 1  £4.50  £4.50
WiFi connector and pigtail 1  £1.24  £1.24
7" Touchscreen 1  £57.59  £57.59
Raspberry Pi 3 1  £35.99  £35.99
Pi-DAC+ 1  £30.00  £30.00
Pi-AMP+ FOR Pi-DAC+ 1  £40.00  £40.00
19v POWER BRICK (65w / 3.4amp) 1  £20.00  £20.00
Software 1  £-  £-
 Total   £276.40

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