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Raspberry Pi 4- based transport advice please, DSD capability a plus.


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Hello Everybody! I recently discovered this website and discussion board while googling for information on available Raspberry Pi add-ons that will let me use my RP 4 as a music streamer and file transport for the excellent DAC which is inside my Vinnie Rossi LIO integrated amp. It has optical, coaxial and USB inputs. I am currently using the coaxial input for my cd transport, but I could free that up by using optical for the CD transport, instead, so I have flexibility there.
 

I have been lurking in the Allo Forum and I think I have a decent handle on their product line up, including some of the problems people seem to be having using their DSD capable, USB bridge.

 

If you have found a great sounding, reliable streaming/transport solution based on an RP4 or another Pi, I would love to hear about it. If you could tell me what is working for you and include both hardware and software, that would be especially helpful. Also, I only have a few albums in DSD format so I could forgo that capability without it being too much of a sacrifice Because as far as I can tell, DSD capable solutions are few and far between. (Right now I am playing DSD’s and my other high-resolution files from a MacBook Pro, but it is a cumbersome solution.) Thanks for lending me a hand. I am new at this corner of the audiophile universe.

 

Steve 

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Not really sure what you are asking. A Pi4 can be used as a streaming transport directly from it's USB ports to your DAC and can play anything you want. I have a Pi4 running diet PI connected directly to a USB DAC and it can play any and all formats up to DSD256, the limit of the DAC. It could also play DSD 512 if my DAC was capable:  Assemble Pi4, install OS software, connect to network, connect USB port to DAC. Play music. 

 

If you want SPDIF coax outs or "audiophile" USB outs there are add on boards by compaies like Allo. Or various external boxes that claim to improve the quality of the stream if placed between the Pi and the DAC. 

 

Software: Lots-Volumio, piCore Player, diet-pi, and many others. I personally like diet-pi, but that's a personal preference. These are all well developed and supported OSes that work fine without problems. 

There are also premade solutions for audiophiles that are more audiophile like and are a bit more "plug and play". pro-Ject makes a streaming box like this, as do Stack Audio, Sonore, SOtM, and too many others to name. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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This is actually helpful. I know that in the Raspberry Pi 3 and earlier, the use of the onboard USB ports for audio was frowned upon because they were considered to be substandard and noisy for that purpose, but I've also heard that the USB port on the 4 is much better, so probably the first thing to do would be to put some flavor of audio-specialist Linux like the ones you mentioned on the micro computer, hook it up to the DAC via the native USB port on the Pi board, and hear how it sounds. 

Thanks.

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1 minute ago, rebbi said:

This is actually helpful. I know that in the Raspberry Pi 3 and earlier, the use of the onboard USB ports for audio was frowned upon because they were considered to be substandard and noisy for that purpose, but I've also heard that the USB port on the 4 is much better, so probably the first thing to do would be to put some flavor of audio-specialist Linux like the ones you mentioned on the micro computer, hook it up to the DAC via the native USB port on the Pi board, and hear how it sounds. 

Thanks.

 

Yes. And a Pi3 will also sound fine, but if you are buying a new one get the Pi4.

One suggestion: there are some upgrade cases for the Pi 4 (from Argon and others) that help keep the Pi cool and some also have an on-off button, which is a nice feature that most Pi setups don't have. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Thanks again for the reply. As it turns out, I already have the Raspberry Pi 4. I bought it thinking I would turn it into a wireless back up file server for our laptops at home, but that never materialized. It's already in a case with a fan so all I need to do is get one of those specialist Linux distro's on the micro SD card and give it a whirl. Thanks again for your help.

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