How stable is your RPi + [HAT DAC or USB DAC] streaming device and is it a primary (or only) streaming device you use?

swamytk

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After having a lot of stability issues with Volumio I had dropped it six months ago. Yesterday again I gave a try on RPi based streaming solution, this time with piCorePlayer. It looks like a large framework than Volumio. I am trying following setup with all spare gears lying around including RPi3 - to reduce the load I setup LMS in a dedicated RPi3.

RPi3 + 128GB SSD -> piCorePlayer -> LMS
RPi3 + Fiio E10K DAC -> piCorePlayer -> Squeezelite -> GUI client is Squeeze (Android App)
Initially tried with jivelite GUI interface which crashed often within less than 24 hours of setup. Instead of this Android app looks good and convenient.

This is just to feel the stability of the setup, if satisfied I may go for proper RPi4, HAT DAC (or USB DAC) and others. My major problem with these solutions are stability which is partly due to unofficial hacked plugins and many third party layer integration.

Before investing on HAT DAC or USB DAC, I would like to know your experience in using this chain as primary streaming device or only streaming device. Please share your experience how reliable is this solution?
 

raghupb

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As mentioned on couple of threads earlier, I have the Allo Digione (with Volumio).
It has been designated as the primary device for Spotify Connect (backup is CCA)
It is also the only network player in my rig.
Though I have experimented with playing off the internal network, that is not how I intend to use it.
Transferred most of the music I usually playback to an 128GB USB pendrive and attached it to Digione.
If necessary, there is 2TB HDD.

Volumio is pretty stable so far. The only plugin installed is Spotify.
It does take time to index the HDD, but I think it is because the HDD has a ton of movies on it.
Music on 128GB pendrive is very fast (by the time I power on and open the app, its all there ready to use).
Yes, I power down the unit when not in use. For HDD playback, I usually control it from my laptop.
Volumio Android app is available, but it costs Rs. 160/-
I can afford it, but I never install paid apps on my phone. Why?
Because, I don't trust myself and mobile ecosystem with any financial information.

I think you should decide what are your go-to streaming services and pick an OS that supports them.
RPI is a dinky little computer with limited RAM (1GB I think); so don't expect it to handle too many plugins.
These RPI+HAT solutions are meant to be an affordable point solution.
Do one or two things, but do it well.

Cheers,
Raghu
 

shyamv

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Rpi+Allo Digione+Volumio is my primary streaming+digital transport in one system since 8 months. I have Volumio Virtuso paid plan that enables Tidal and Qobuz. Although Volumio app is very functional, it has been quite stable. I use Spotify Connect plugin in addition to Tidal.
 

swamytk

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Volumio is pretty stable so far. The only plugin installed is Spotify.
Happy to know this. But their Tidal plugin is broken in spite of available only for premium paid user. Where as with LMS, it is an official plugin and free.

Is it RPi3 or RPi4 and RAM size? I have a plenty of RPi 3 available freely for other hobby projects. So if RPi3 is good enough I can skip buying RPi4.
 

swamytk

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Rpi+Allo Digione+Volumio is my primary streaming+digital transport in one system since 8 months. I have Volumio Virtuso paid plan that enables Tidal and Qobuz. Although Volumio app is very functional, it has been quite stable. I use Spotify Connect plugin in addition to Tidal.
Good to hear! Exactly I am also looking for just Spotify and Tidal support. RPi3 or RPi4 and RAM size?

May I know why you went with Volumio paid plan where as LMS offers its official plugin for Tidal at free of cost? Any advantages?
 

raghupb

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Happy to know this. But their Tidal plugin is broken in spite of available only for premium paid user. Where as with LMS, it is an official plugin and free.

Is it RPi3 or RPi4 and RAM size? I have a plenty of RPi 3 available freely for other hobby projects. So if RPi3 is good enough I can skip buying RPi4.
I asked for RPI3B+ but got RPI4. It has 1GB RAM.
How important is Tidal? You seem to be fixated on it.

My list of what makes SQ good (in order of priority):
1. Appropriate speakers for your ears & room and positioning (if possible stands)
2. A decent amp combo (IA or separate; not just more watts, but how many "clean" watts; 30-50W is good enough in most cases)
3. A decent source (eg. CD, transport, etc)
4. Right content format (MP3, FLAC, 16/24/32 bit, 44.1/96/192, etc don't matter; a badly mastered album will sound bad no matter what)
5. Subscriptions (that's a personal thing because each service caters to a certain music taste, choice, cost, etc)
6. Cables, wires, interconnects, isolation, measurements, dsp, etc

If your room + speakers + amp ain't right, no amount of tinkering with source will work.
If the content is poorly mastered, no amount of electronics and gimmicks can correct this.
Eg. Jethro Tull - Album Aqualung
Original 70's mastering vs Steven Wilson's recent take on it; hear it to believe how much mastering matters

Cheers,
Raghu
 

swamytk

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My list of what makes SQ good (in order of priority):
1. Appropriate speakers for your ears & room and positioning (if possible stands)
2. A decent amp combo (IA or separate; not just more watts, but how many "clean" watts; 30-50W is good enough in most cases)
3. A decent source (eg. CD, transport, etc)
4. Right content format (MP3, FLAC, 16/24/32 bit, 44.1/96/192, etc don't matter; a badly mastered album will sound bad no matter what)
5. Subscriptions (that's a personal thing because each service caters to a certain music taste, choice, cost, etc)
6. Cables, wires, interconnects, isolation, measurements, dsp, etc
Wow! Awesome explanation to be pinned. Thanks for your time @raghupb
 

Kannan

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RPI + Khadas Tone Board

I tried picoplayer with LMS yesterday with the my 1TB externally powered HDD connected to USB.
I also installed the youtube plugin.

Mounting the drive was a breeze. It tool 10 minutes and 4 reboots to setup everything.

Native youtube plugin is a big plus which is no more supported in Volumio.
The other advantage with LMS, you can do away with the library concept and simply use the folder view option to choose and play your tracks.
Was stable.

LMS comes with numerous plugins including Tidal, Quboz and Spotify.

Between Volumio and MoOde Audio, I prefer MoOde.
 

swamytk

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venkatcr

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Swamy, a couple of points.

In my office, we have a developed a complete eco-system for distribution of video. In this the end device is a RPi. We started with RPi3, and now also added 4. Where the requirement is 1080P and less, we use a RPi3. Where the requirement is 2K+, we use a 4.

The RPi's are constantly talking to the server, downloading videos, displaying them on TVs or projectors, creating log files, and uploading the log files to the server for billing and usage purposes.

About 2 years ago, we did an intensive test of some 30 different SBCs, and found the RPi to be the most stable and dependable. In the tests, we ran closed loop programs that would increase the use of the CPU and fill the RAM till the system crashed. The RPi never crashed till we made it crash. On the field I have seen RPi3B+ running for 6 months or more with nary an issue. We have a watchdog that analyses the software and hardware and reboots when needed. We have not lost one byte of data.

We have a ported a real time OS called Yacto with an onboard RTC. Yacto is a version of Linux with added functionalities for time based activities.

Inherently the RPi (3 and 4) are very stable SBCs. With the 4, there is the heat issue that can be easily set off with a heat sink mounted on the processor.

At home, I have been using multiple PRi's for varying functions. A 3B+ with Allo for the last 15-20 days being used for close to 3-4 hours a day playing music. A 3B+ for over a year with Libreelec playing movies. A 4 (with 4GB RAM) playing 2K+ movies through my HT system for over 6 months now. I have not faced any issue, other than when I am fooling around the system.

In regular use, stability is not a issue with the RPi. If there are issues, they are either with the OS (other than Raspbian) or the software.
 
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superczar

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+1 to @venkatcr said
5+ years of a Rpi2 running a home automation server.. its been absolutely flawless

Having said that, As mentioned on the other thread, your needs are probably best served by the stuff you already have i.e your phone as a front end and your CCA as the streamer
 

swamytk

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In regular use, stability is not a issue with the RPi. If there are issues, they are either with the OS (other than Raspbian) or the software.
Thanks for a detailed experience. Being a Raspberry Pi user since it was introduced, I don't doubt Raspberry Pi. Even 8 years before I used Raspberry Pi along with my TV for home video streaming through XBMC app then. I have done 24x7 Pi Cluster project as hobby. Even now I am using Pi-Hole adblock server 24x7, but it is with standard raspbian distro which is very stable. My question is all about software stack of these media streaming stack. That's why I had mentioned in my post as
My major problem with these solutions are stability which is partly due to unofficial hacked plugins and many third party layer integration.
So I keep experimenting with various software stack of servers, clients, GUI to find what best suits to me :), but no experiment in SBC. It is my lovable Raspberry Pi.
 

swamytk

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+1 to @venkatcr said
5+ years of a Rpi2 running a home automation server.. its been absolutely flawless
I believe I my question is misunderstood, I talk about software stack, not RPi.
Having said that, As mentioned on the other thread, your needs are probably best served by the stuff you already have i.e your phone as a front end and your CCA as the streamer
So my requirement is not that simple :cool:
 

MaSh

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So now you are replacing a single DAC with a Pi setup? Why?

You already have a good chain, it just needs a better DAC. Keep it simple and get a dac that is reviewed better than your current one which is within your budget and easily available.

MaSh
 

swamytk

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So now you are replacing a single DAC with a Pi setup? Why?
MaSh
No, No, No o_O :oops: Now I need a DAC, planning to get desktop DAC. This is just tinkering with RPi for Network player options later. Planning to connect the DAC with any network player later. This discussion is all about RPi based network player.
 

raghupb

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No, No, No o_O :oops: Now I need a DAC, planning to get desktop DAC. This is just tinkering with RPi for Network player options later. Planning to connect the DAC with any network player later. This discussion is all about RPi based network player.
If your desktop is large enough, any DAC can be a destop DAC.

RPI based streamers/players will practically have only one kind of transport (Coax SPDIF or USB).
The stability issues that you are referring don't seem to be seen by most RPI/streamer users.
And some of the FMs have been running RPI/OS combos in all kinds of stress levels.

For experimentation, have you considered the Allo Boss player (or Piano HAT)
It should be plug and play with PM5005.

Cheers,
Raghu
 

swamytk

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RPI based streamers/players will practically have only one kind of transport (Coax SPDIF or USB).
Yes, but I would like to go for generic DAC of USB/Toslink/Coaxial inputs so that I can use it in any way I need in future depends on change of source.

The stability issues that you are referring don't seem to be seen by most RPI/streamer users.
And some of the FMs have been running RPI/OS combos in all kinds of stress levels.
Yes, Yes..... I am very happy about our FMs feedback on stability concerns. Last two days my experience with piCorePlayer also encouraging - except occasioanl Spotify lag, it is fine which includes seamless Tidal support.

For experimentation, have you considered the Allo Boss player (or Piano HAT)
It should be plug and play with PM5005.
No. I don't buy anything new for this tinkering work since I experiment mostly with software stacks which is my major concern than hardware as of now. So I use what ever available with me - Fiio E10K and Fx Audio X6 DACs - for this.
 
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