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Raspberry Pi + Hifiberry Digi+ as a Streamer


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I've been shopping around for a streamer for the last few months, but I haven't found any that I can afford and available for home demo that can really outdo the Raspberry Pi 2 (RPI) setup I've got right now. This leads me to two things: either fully optimizing this setup or find that elusive streamer. Budget wise I'm open to a lot of streamers as I've set a $3,000, however what that budget limits me from is the top high end music servers. What I have tried so far is the Cambridge CXN, Auralic Aries and a CAPS server and I found that Aries > CAPS > CXN. Now, where my RPI setup lies is between Aries and the CAPS. I think that it is shy of the Aries quality when streaming to a max of 24/96, the Aries then shines from 24/96 onwards as the RPI has issues from me, it only sometimes clocks 24/192 smoothly.

 

This is my setup so far:

 

RPI2 + Hifiberry Digi (running off a portable battery) -> Coax -> QBD76 HDSD (DAC) -> AMP.

 

The battery has been a night and day change, so I think going with cleaner power should improve it even more. What I'm thinking of going now is:

 

RPI2 + Hifiberry Digi (running off iFi USB with 9v Linear Power Supply, nice cables to go with it) - > Coax -> QBD76 HDSD -> AMP.

 

Ideally going through USB direct is best if I've got the iFi USB, but the Volumio on the RPI won't detect my QBD76 through the HD USB, only the SD USB.

 

It could also be important to note that I listen to Spotify or Tidal most of the time as my library isn't as big as I'd like it to be.

 

Long shot, but I hope someone knows, where should I go with this, the nice power to go with the RPI2 or a nice streamer if anyone can recommend any. Of course, optimizing the RPI is a cheaper option, which is why it was hard to keep the Aries I had on home demo as it definitely wasn't worth 30 times better as the price suggest, although it was more user friendly and streamed hi-res much better. If there isn't any other option, that might be the way to go.

 

Other network players and servers I've been eyeing are the Aurender stuff either X100L or N100h and Antipodes servers.

 

Thanks in advance!

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One other path is to feed the RPi2 with a lineair supply like the HD-Plex 100W. It can also feed the Hifiberry from a separate rail (which insulates it from any feedback from the pi). The simple reality is that you don't need a lot of horsepower to play music unless you do things like upsampling and format conversion.

 

I would shy away from using USB on the PI. Its network connection runs on the USB connection so if you use both network and USB to stream at the same time, you may see bandwith issues.

 

The problem I have is that there are almost no pure streamers about. They almost invariably come with their own DAX, which, like you, I don't need. Furthermore, the streamers come with limitations as the manufacturer determines the build-in apps rather than you. So, good luck finding a streamer that has no DAC and has both Tidal and Spotify and will do PCM 24/192 or better (you want it to be a bit future proof). Therefore, it is best to just use a computer of some sort.

 

What was the spec of your CAPS? Just so to compare it against the PI.

Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu / SOtM SMS-200 --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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I had a listen to my friends CAPS which was current about 1-2 years ago, I don't think the quality would have been improved by so much in a year or so. Probably not the best way to a judge a CAPS system.

 

I was looking at iFi USB which is supposedly better than a battery in terms of quietness and I read on another forum that someone had great success attaching a linear PSU onto it which cleans it up even more. I just don't want to drop another $700-$1000 on power and cables if I'm going with a streamer becuase they're going to be junk if the streamer comes.

 

Aurender is DACless but runs off USB. The Aurender N100H is tempting and supposedly better than the Aries, by how much is the problem as I can't try it and it's not cheap to just buy.

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One other path is to feed the RPi2 with a lineair supply like the HD-Plex 100W. It can also feed the Hifiberry from a separate rail (which insulates it from any feedback from the pi).

 

I would shy away from using USB on the PI. Its network connection runs on the USB connection so if you use both network and USB to stream at the same time, you may see bandwith issues.

 

Not so easy to do

 

This is the theory, but may not be at all noticeable in practice

 

 

You could try that UpTone USB thingy, and also a different OS, maybe Moode or Max2Play running Logitech Media Server.

 

Why not stick with the pi for a while and enjoy your music, work out what you really want.

 

atb

 

Ronnie.

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Ideally going through USB direct is best if I've got the iFi USB, but the Volumio on the RPI won't detect my QBD76 through the HD USB, only the SD USB.

The Chord QBD76 uses a non-standard (HD) USB interface. If you can find a player for the Raspberry Pi which supports M2Tech interfaces it should work.

 

Other network players and servers I've been eyeing are the Aurender stuff either X100L or N100h and Antipodes servers.

The problem with USB with your QBD76 might also apply with the Aurender.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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The Chord QBD76 uses a non-standard (HD) USB interface. If you can find a player for the Raspberry Pi which supports M2Tech interfaces it should work.

 

 

The problem with USB with your QBD76 might also apply with the Aurender.

 

 

Stefan at Max2Play gave me a link to install a driver for a NorthStar Essensio dac (which uses the hiFace Mk1 OEM board; there is now a plugin). The hiFace Mk2 works fine.

 

Also, with the rpi2 it is sometimes worthwhile to max the usb current supply.

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  • 4 months later...

Hi, guys,

 

I have been using a Pi 2 with Moode for the last 3 months. I am very, very happy. Its really big step up was when I started supplying its power with a 5V 2,1A lithium-ion powerbank. This set works considerably better as transport than the old MacBook white with Audirvana.

 

Now I am trying to have an idea if it is worth replacing something in the chain: instead of Pi2-USB/SPDIF conversor-DAC, thinking if Pi2-HiFiBerry Digi+-DAC would work better, would provide better performance.

 

Did anyone make a comparison like this?

 

Cheers,

 

João

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I have compared my RP2/Moode/Hifiberry Dac+ running into my Brio R vs. my CAPS/Sotm usb/Bifrost uber into the BrioR and under very careful listening I cannot determine a difference. Both sound very good, and i thought for sure the Pi setup would lose out in the comparison it did not.

 

Has anyone compared the Dac+ to the Digi+? I'm curious if the Digi+ into the Bifrost would be any improvement over the Dac+.

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No immediate help here, but I have been using an RPi2/Digi+ combination for 9 months and am very happy. There are a couple of newer possibilities that I have not heard or read online online comparisons. The first is the HifiBerry Dac+Pro, with two clocks to clean up the I2S from the RPi. That's promising. Also, HifiBerry mentions the possibility of getting reclocked I2S output from the Dac+Pro to feed more sophisticated dacs (like Soekris) than the onboard chip. All very interesting.

 

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