We’ve already established that a Raspberry Pi running PiCorePlayer can take on the role of both a Squeezebox server and streamer to send content stored on a directly-attached USB drive to itself and then out to a DAC. We know that Logitech Media Server integrates Tidal (albeit clumsily), Qobuz, Spotify, Deezer and Pandora. We know that all streams are handled gaplessly, even when VPN streaming to a smartphone. Best of all, the Raspberry Pi will do all of this for €50 worth of hardware as the software comes for free — noting that donations are accepted by its developers.
Here are five more thoughts on this setup:
1. We can install PiCorePlayer on any number of Pis. Only one of them would need to run LMS to stream music to any and all of the others – including itself – for fully-synchronised multi-room streaming.
2. I run an ALLO DigiOne HAT on top of the Pi to circumvent the pops and clicks of the v3 unit’s USB (audio) output — the data bus is shared with Ethernet and audibly shows itself to be short on bandwidth. The v4 isn’t troubled by this issue – its USB and Ethernet enjoy separate data buses – so why still use a HAT? Perhaps our DAC demands a coaxial connection or maybe we prefer the sound produced by our DAC when fed by the HAT (instead of the Pi); many digital audio HATs will lower the jitter and electrical noise that can negatively impact a DAC’s sound quality.
3. ALLO isn’t the only digital audio HAT manufacturer. HifiBerry offers a decent range of digital outputting HATs as well HATs that handle D/A conversion – including a version that offers balanced XLR outputs – and (60wpc) loudspeaker amplification. HifiBerry also offers an attractive case to house their Pi/DAC+/ADC HAT combination. If we want a HAT with a TOSLINK output, we might look to the JustBoom DigiHAT.
4. If we want our Pi-Squeeze setup to look more like the original Logitech Squeezebox Touch – OR if we find ourselves allergic to the wifi connection demanded by the remote-control smartphone apps – we’d add the official Raspberry Pi 7″ touchscreen. Going DIY means spending time with YouTube user Eyerex’s detailed ‘how-to’ video here. Otherwise, Audiophonics.fr offers up a range of pre-built RaspTouch solutions that integrate the Pi with various popular audio HATs and the touchscreen: see here.
4. The CastBridge (LMS-to-cast) plugin for LMS integrates Google Chromecast Audio (GCA) pucks into the same multi-room streaming system, effectively turning any GCA into a virtual Squeezebox. CastBridge’s ‘full-processing’ mode decodes the original data stream to ‘uncompressed PCM’ (and optionally reencodes it to FLAC or MP3) to send a single stream to the Chromecast for proper gapless playback.
5. The Music & Artist Information plugin does exactly what it says on the tin, adding Allmusic.com’s artist photos, biographies and album reviews to LMS’ web interface but also links to album contributors, related artists, artists websites and videos from YouTube and dailymotion.