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Radxa’s Rock Pi S as a $10 network streamer?

  • SBC. Small board computer. The most well-known is the Raspberry Pi, deployed in the audiophile world as a network bridge that, with the appropriate operating system loaded onto its microSD card, adds Roon Ready, Spotify Connect, UPnP, Squeezebox and Airplay streaming functionality to any direct-connected DAC: Ethernet/WiFi in, USB out. The RPi’s main appeal is its price: โ‚ฌ35.

    Now lesser-known SBC-manufacturer Radxa wants to offer us similar functionality but from a smaller, cheaper device. The Chinese company’s Rock Pi S is built around a quad-ARM-core Rockchip RK3308 with 256Mb of RAM.

    Insert a microSD card loaded with a Linux-based operating system and the Rock Pi S has the potential to turn streaming data arriving at its 100MB Ethernet input into USB digital audio data for a DAC to read and convert. Note: the Rock Pi S has a single USB A port and is 5V-powered via its a single USB C socket which, according to Radxa, will also talk to OTG-compatible devices (hello Android smartphones).

    The Rock Pi S’s 26PIN pin GPIO header opens the door to third-party audio HAT development.

    Price? A lowly US$9.90 (for the base model) with options for twice the RAM, WiFi (802.11 b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0.

    The Rock Pi S isn’t on sale just yet but interested parties (read: developers) can contact Radxa for samples here.

    Further information: Radxa

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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