the itjerk

my adventures with technology

Monthly Archives: March 2014

HiFiBerry DAC

hifiberry-kit

HiFiBerry

Arriving today from Switzerland, the €36 (delivered) HiFiBerry is a “high-resolution digital-to-analog converter for the Raspberry Pi …with a Dedicated 192kHz/24bit high-quality Burr-Brown DAC for best sound quality.” The daughter-board plugs directly onto the RPi’s onboard connector P5, but does require you to solder an 8-pin header to the RPi in order to do so. You’ll also need to solder the output(s) you want on the HiFiBerry as well. Easy enough, I had it connected in a few minutes, and did a quick check to see if the RPi recognized it, then went to the piCorePlayer web interface to configure it to send sound through the HiFiBerry.

aplay -l
card 1: sndrpihifiberry [snd_rpi_hifiberry_dac], device 0: HifiBerry DAC HiFi pcm5102a-hifi-0 []

How does it sound? Fantastic, very clean and detailed, in a word, audiophile grade. The key is Inter-IC Sound or I2S. You can read all about it here but it’s a short, isolated path for PCM data, with extremely low jitter. Which is a great thing, because both analog out and USB audio on the RPi weren’t optimal for quality sound. No noticeable noise floor (as I’m running the TA2024 without a volume pot), it’s a dead silent performer (which is a great thing). Cheers to the RPi people for making I2S available on the Pi, and to the HiFiBerry folks for an affordable, high quality product.

IMG_20140331_151340

piCorePlayer

Screenshot from 2014-03-23 18:59:18

piCorePlayer

Another Raspberry Pi distro today, this one is piCorePlayer, a “dedicated Squeezebox player .. for your Raspberry pi board.. that runs a Microcore and Squeezelite.” Small it is, I used an ancient Palm 64MB SD card to write the image on, and it runs in RAM so no need to worry about the image ever getting corrupt; you can simply unplug the RPi to stop it. Everything worked effortlessly, I even got the USB wireless going, along with the USB DAC from Xitel. The RPi shows up in Logitech Media Server just as any other Squeezebox player. The benefit here is that I don’t have another interface to get used to; I am already using ol’ Slimserver. piCorePlayer supports a lot of outputs from the RPi, including analog audio, hdmi, usb audio (though the tweak for fixing crackles didn’t really work for me), and the I2S interface, which means I’ll be able to try it when I receive my HifiBerry!

update: upgraded to piCoreplayer 1.14d crackles still remain via usb output.

the itjerk is back

Nothing like heartache and a couple days off to spur on those unfinished projects… the itjerk is back, now hosted on wordpress.com. All the old content from My Opera site has been imported, and I’ve got a few fun projects lined up. Goodbye opera and welcome to my new home!

tripath ta2024

To further the geek factor, I hooked my new Rasberry Pi up to a $8 t-amp I finally got to wiring up after a year or two in the box. It’s got the TA2024 chip, and sounds pretty sweet. I’ll get it hardwired into a case for it at some point.
Update: modded with Auricaps. Sounds fantastic, rich tones, deeper bass.
IMG_20140327_204313

Volumio

volumio

Microcenter has Raspberry Pi Model B on sale for $30 so I picked one up for the basement. I have the HiFiBerry DAC on order, but wanted to try out a few of the other distros for the RPi. Volumio, formerly known as RaspyFi , bills itself as “a truly new listening experience”. It’s an optimized OS for audio quality, probably not too high on security, but offers support for the HiFiBerry’s I2S data path. Any browser on the local network can access it’s minimal web interface, but since it runs MPD, pretty much any MPC client can control it.

Downloaded the image, connected the RPi via ethernet, and most importantly, plugged in an old Xitel AN-1 DAC that I’m really happy to have found. Not sure why, but Volumio doesn’t use the analog audio output on the RPi. Anyway, up and running, I setup a mount to my music on a NAS drive, waited for it to update mpd’s database, rebooted, and bingo, it all works.

Purpose-built for turning your RPi into an audio player (though conspicuously absent on the details), the ui is the biggest drawback from for Volumio. Too much mouse movement, too much clicking. However the sound quality was fantastic.

volumio

Other notes: The timezone was off, ntp could’nt get it right. Here’s how to fix it:
sudo rm /etc/localtime
sudo ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Asia/Tokyo /etc/localtime

Still can’t Wifi going, will try with another distro to make sure it isn’t the usb mini.