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IanG's picture
Last seen: 5 years 3 months ago
Joined: 27/01/2013 - 14:54
Posts: 10
Raspberry PI + USB DAC + Mpd + MPad = Great Success

In the main lounge we already have a Nice Yamaha AV Amp, KEF Satelites, and MJ Acoustics sub wired to an Apple Mac Mini running both Plex Media Server and the OSX Plex Client - its a really slick setup using my iPhone or iPad along with a nice Harmony panel remote control it all.  Its a good setup for every day.  Plex is really slick - I'm a software engineer so it was cool to be able to contribute both the Flickr and Picasa/Google+ Albums plugins to the proejct.

In the smaller room I built up a bargin 2.1 channel setup from a small budget on used items from eBay (I had a cambridge amp from a few years ago so completed the set)  - including a Cambridge Audio DAC that I was using to take the optical input from an Xbox 360 - the dual DACs also improved the sound of my v1 640C quite a bit.

The original speakers I had were a bit lacking so I replaced them with a pair of new B&W 685 speakers...

and some mint condition B&W FS700 stands off eBay.  Very happy with how it all performs for 2 Channel music - but - I was still lacking a means of streaming all my digital music into the 2 channel system.  Plugging my Macbook into the USB port on the DAC and using Plex or ITunes was fine but I was looking for a more permanent solution attached to the stereo.

I wanted something really simple and cheap so I did a bit of research to check that the little Raspberry Pi computer would recognise the DAC Magic as a sound card - the same way a Mac or PC would.  Fortunately the kernel of the Linux-based operating system it runs has support straight out of the box which is nice.  The little Pi sees it as a 'C-Media USB headphone set' the same as the Mac - you have to do a bit of tweaking to configuration as essentialy the computer has 2 sound cards now - we want all the sound to go to the USB device and nothing to the built-in device.

Using the Analogue out port on the Pi wasn't really an option - plus - the dac can upsample lower sources like streamed internet radio too - a perfect solution for me.  It has a wired network port which I use or you can get a USB wifi

If you dont already have have a DAC - there are other USB soundcard options for not very much money (< £15) at all that would be worth giving a try - they have RCA and optical output..

The Pi Model B computer is £26, you'll need a 4gb SD card to run it and a micro USB power supply - and maybe a case (or some lego works well).  You can plug it into your TV if you wish via HDMI but I'm just using it for music at the moment so its sat on top of my stereo as I can do everything I need to remotely. 

If you go with the standard Raspian image from the PI foundation you'll basically need to install:

* Music Player Daemon (mpd) this serves the music - you tell it about existing music locations - local or network based, tell it which sound card to use and give it a friendly name - for example the model of your DAC

* Music Player Client (mpc) this is a command you use to update your library etc

* Avahi (Avahi Daemon) this is so mpd can advertise itself to other devices on the network.  You will be able to access the Pi using its ip address if you don't use Avahi/Bonjour

And thats about it.  You could probably disable some more things but playing flac files only uses about 18-20% of the processing power so its not exactly stressed.  There is no stutter/lag playing files over 100mb wired network.

You can get some pretty slick client Applications that can control the mpd software running on the Pi - the mpc command line interface isn't slick but it allows you to do everything you need to.  MPod for the iPhone/iPod, MPad for the iPad, Android and other stuff is well supported too.

For about £40 all in it doesn't get much cheaper than that really.

Anyone else doing anything similar with a Pi ? 

It seems very soon there will be a Plex client for it too which will mean I can plug the Pi it into the TV and hopefully more closely mirror what my Mac Mini in the lounge can already do.


Gyp's picture
Last seen: 5 years 1 month ago
Joined: 17/12/2007 - 20:00
Posts: 83
RE: Raspberry PI + USB DAC + Mpd + MPad = Great Success

As of yesterday, I'm doing something similar myself.

Trying to keep things simple, I'm using the Raspyfi release (http://www.raspyfi.com) which is as far as I can tell a chap in Italy tweaking the raspian release with mpd to optimise it for audio playback. Not perfect, but he's definitely heading in the right direction.

I'm streaming FLAC across my network from a QNAP NAS by a quite torturous route involving wired ethernet, powerline and wireless and the rpi is then pushing the bits into a Rega DAC, controlled by Mpad, and the whole thing works.

Really, really, well.

Odd the think that my "transport" costs less than my interconnects.

...and I've just noticed that you are the same IanG as on the Raspyfi forums so you'll know all about Raspyfi already Smile

MoJoe's picture
Last seen: 1 year 10 months ago
Joined: 27/05/2013 - 18:10
Posts: 71
RE: Raspberry PI + USB DAC + Mpd + MPad = Great Success

So if this raspyfi release isn't perfect then is it to be avoided? I intended to use it until I re-read this thread. 

davidzomec's picture
Last seen: 4 years 4 months ago
Joined: 21/10/2012 - 16:49
Posts: 7
RE: Raspberry PI + USB DAC + Mpd + MPad = Great Success

Hi There,

Made myself a Spotify server on the Raspberry Pi with Pi Musicbox. It is managed from the web browser on my laptop or my smartphone. I see you mention you connected your DACmagic and it was recognized by the raspberry pi?

I'm on the market for a DAC and the dacmagic 100 is my first option. Obviusly it has to work with the Raspberry pi.

Heres the pi musicbox site http://www.woutervanwijk.nl/pimusicbox/.

Pi Musicbox is set to give priority to USB audio, as well as streaming in 320kpbs and without downscaling (all very simple to 

Any thoughs on that the dacmagic?

EDIT: I'll answer myself. Checked the Raspify website and the DACmagic 100 is in the list of recognized DAC. Working at 24/96. Guess Raspify will be as good as any other server


ANOther's picture
Last seen: 2 years 6 months ago
Joined: 10/10/2013 - 10:08
Posts: 18
Pi musicBox

I was going to try this but was put off by the large red SECURITY WARNING for Pi Musicbox

Woodchippie's picture
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: 16/10/2012 - 20:07
Posts: 87
RE: Pi musicBox

Excellent, thanks for sharing.

Mac Mini-Synology-Rega RP3-Rega DAC-Rega brio-r. KEF LS50 Black

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