Best way to play FLAC files offline?

AudioJosh

Active Member
Hi everyone, just hoping for some advice for playing FLAC/ALAC files offline.

I'm sorted for online with a USB drive connected to my Bluesound Node 2 (very happy with the sound) but late at night and early morning I like to have the tablet and laptop turned off.

So ideally I'd like some kind of media device with a front panel display.

My current 2 options for playing FLAC/ALAC files offline are unsatisfactory. I mainly use an iPod Classic (playing ALAC's) connected via a Marantz CD6005 (USB input) but it sounds kind of flat to me. I've come to the conclusion that the iPod is far from an ideal source after comparing MP3's using a USB drive in the CD6005 (sounds very good) vs the iPod using the same USB input. Unfortunately the CD6005 will only play compressed audio via a USB drive.

The other is playing FLACs via my BluRay player but I don't want a TV/monitor in the bedroom ideally.

Some options I've considered:

Cambridge Audio NP30 streamer. Quite old now but will play Hi-Res audio via USB (but not up to 24bit/88.2kHz). Aesthetically pleasing with decent size front panel display. Radio channels could be a bonus. Main issue is I'm not a fan of the Cambridge sound from experience and it's another box added to the rack.
Yamaha CD-N500. Supports Hi-Res audio via USB so would be ideal in many ways as it aesthetically matches my amp, but it's hard to get hold of and the front panel display is small. Still supports iPod which would be useful for audiobooks so I could sell my CD6005 on. I don't really need the network features though.
Yamaha CD-NT670D. Will do the trick too but a bit pricey and lacks iPod compatibility.
Marantz CD6007. Will play hi res audio via a USB stick but I loathe to pay nearly £400 for it as a CD6005 owner and I think it's dropped iPod support.
Arcam. They seem to have some good CD/USB options but are pricey.
A Hi-Res audio player from the likes of Fiio or Astell & Kern. The issue with this is I'd like a digital output to connect to my own DAC as I'm rather fond of it.

It would be great to find something with a front panel display that plays hi res audio via USB, keeps iPod compatibility so I can listen to Audible audiobooks, can connect to my own DAC and, as a bonus, plays CD's so I can sell my Marantz CD6005 on. I guess that sounds like the Yamaha CD-N500 but if there is anything I have missed I would love to know. Budget around £200 but happy to up it to £300 if something really takes my fancy :)

Cheers!
 
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Jamie

Distinguished Member
A raspberry Pi with a touchscreen and suitable output hat would be my choice if you're happy to put something together.

You can see a taste of what's achievable here


It's running Logitech media server, the interface on the touchscreen is essentially a modified version of the interface the old Logitech Touch used. You could run both the server and player on the same device accessing a USB disc plugged in, but equally you could use a NAS for storage or even a second raspberry as a server with the disc attached. A separate server can be useful for avoiding hard drive noise, I use a NAS for storage only and shove it up in the loft so it never gets heard.
 

AudioJosh

Active Member
Thanks Jamie. your suggestion was perfect. I spent the afternoon educating myself about all things Raspberry Pi and media servers and am very excited to have ordered all the necessary bits to get me started! Building it definitely appeals to the tech nerd in me and the end product will be very similar to the one in the link you gave me.
 

Jeff254

Active Member
Well, for me I simply have a Hard disk with Flac files which is simply plugged in to the Receiver. I play files directly..
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
Feel free to ask any questions, I've been using LMS for more years than I can remember, it wasn't even called LMS when I started.

I hope you're as enthusiastic about it as I am, enjoy.

Once you've got the server up and running I'd recommend enabling the following plugins in the relevant settings page, they're optional but essential IMO.

Material skin
Music and artist information plugin

These will give you a really nice web based GUI with a dedicated mobile version of you want to use a phone to control your player. The information plugin lets you access artist biographies and lyrics and the like.

There's also 3 similarly named plugins (Chromecast bridge, UPNP/DLNA bridge and Airplay bridge) which will allow you to use players with those protocols as part of your system. I use the Chromecast bridge plugin to use my Google home speakers and Chromecast audios as extra players in LMS, it works brilliantly, you could probably stream to your Node2 using LMS if you wanted to
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Well-known Member
Thanks Jamie. your suggestion was perfect. I spent the afternoon educating myself about all things Raspberry Pi and media servers and am very excited to have ordered all the necessary bits to get me started! Building it definitely appeals to the tech nerd in me and the end product will be very similar to the one in the link you gave me.
Enjoy, I went same route a few years ago as wanted the large screen display for artwork and controlling. Works really well.
 

AudioJosh

Active Member
Feel free to ask any questions, I've been using LMS for more years than I can remember, it wasn't even called LMS when I started.

Cheers Jamie. Everything is up and running and working like a joy. DAC, USB FLAC files, Spotify and all. I've installed those plug ins you mentioned too. Very happy so far. Just waiting for the SmartiPro 2 case to arrive to neaten things up and then I can add the justboom digi HAT to the Pi4b. I haven't managed to mount the justboom digit HAT yet as the 7" Touchscreen required me to install those multi-coloured jumper wire pins to the Pi4b board for it to work, which is where I would mount the digi HAT. I'm guessing the ribbon supplied with the SmartiPro 2 case will resolve this? As looking at assembly tutorials on YouTube people don't appear to be using the jumper wires with the case which means I'd be able to mount the digi HAT. Unless I'm missing something...?

Also I bought the Pi4b 2gb but after revisiting the thread you linked yesterday the OP is saying it's overkill and will need a fan as it likes to overheat? I'm now in 2 minds whether to return it and get the Pi3b. I have some adhesive heat sinks ready to apply to the CPU etc which might help. Do you have any thoughts?
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Well-known Member
@AudioJosh there are several ways to power pi and screen. First is using jumpers as you have, the second is to use the usb power splitter that comes with the smartipi. Ive got original smartipi case with 3b so the splitter is for micro usb. Just looked and smartipi2 case comes with two splitters one pi2/3 and one for pi4, so if you do downgrade you'll be ok. The ribbons are for connecting screen and camera (if you use one) to the pi.

Yes the 3b is sufficient if you are just using it as a player. If you have a player and lms on it, I'd suggest the 2GB pi4 with a good heatsink as a minimum.
 

AudioJosh

Active Member
Thanks @TheHighFlyingBirds , that makes more sense regarding how to power the pi and screen.

Hopefully the adhesive heatsinks will do the trick for my pi4. Been umming and arrring about downgrading but I'll probably be ok.
 
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TheHighFlyingBirds

Well-known Member
Thanks @TheHighFlyingBirds , that makes more sense regarding how to power the pi and screen.

Hopefully the adhesive heatsinks will do the trick for my pi4. Been umming and arrring about downgrading but I'll probably be ok.
If you have an android phone, I would suggest getting raspi check app, as this will allow you to keep close eye on temps. For this you need to make sure you have SSH enabled as you need the SSH login details for the app.
 

Going Grey Now

Active Member
Thanks @TheHighFlyingBirds , that makes more sense regarding how to power the pi and screen.

Hopefully the adhesive heatsinks will do the trick for my pi4. Been umming and arrring about downgrading but I'll probably be ok.
I have a Pi4 running Moode and streaming FLAC files from a USB stick in one of the USB ports.
A few months ago I was running an ALLO BOSS DAC Hat with the Pi and though I bought a set of 4 heatsinks, the one designed to sit on the PI’s processor chip couldn’t be fitted as there was simply not enough clearance between it and the underside of the HAT board.
Notwithstanding this, I simply got on and used it. If there were any temperature/heat related issues, then I simply didn’t notice them. Also, I upgraded the PI’s firmware as I’d read somewhere that this enabled the processor to run at a lower temp.
If you are able to attach a heatsink to the processor chip then I would have thought that be be fine.
Also, my version of MOODE gives me a read out of temps which I check from time to time. Never having used LMS, not sure if this offers the same.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
If you want reasonably low cost Network Streamers, there are a couple from Yamaha -

Yamaha WXAD-10 Network Streamer - £149 -


Yamaha WX-50 Network Streamer/Pre-Amp - £279 -



It really gets down to how far you want to take it Price-Wise.

Bluesound Node-2i Streamer - £499 -



Cambridge Audio CXN V2 Streamer - £799 -


The prices can go up into the Thousands if you so desire.

Pick a budget, and buy accordingly.

Steve/bluewizard
 

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