Custom streamer

AVRony

Novice Member
I already have 3 rotel a-12 stereo amp. The original purpose for these amps has been cancelled, and i want to use them to make a multi-room audio system.

I plan to use a windows based server to store the music and connect to this pc all the 3 amps via USB, so I can select every amp as a different sound card to make the sound go to my selected room, selecting what sound card i want to use.
I decide to use USB because of the distance between the pc and the rooms, usb wire is cheaper, noise-free, I can take advantage of the Ethernet infrastructure and the quality of the integrated DAC in the rotel is much better than any on a PC.
My first thought was to use one of this: https://www.bluesound.com/products/node/ (or any similar streamer) attached to each amp, but it is quite expensive and I have much of my collection stored and shared via DLNA.

And the problem is, how can I control this thing in a intuitive phone/tablet app? Is there any app to control a pc as media player from the phone? Can you give me another approach to achieve the multi-room project, maybe attaching 3 raspberry to each amp via usb?
 
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jamieu

Well-known Member
Yes, have a search on here for Logitech Media Server (LMS)

Install LMS on the PC and enable the ‘Material Skin’ under Plugins->Settings.

Then for each amp you need a Squeezelite supporting ‘endpoint’ that LMS can stream to.

It looks like the Rotel A12 can act as an audio output device when connected to a PC (or RPi) via USB. So simply connect a stock Rasberry Pi running a Squeezelite supporting audio OS like Roopiee XL (#) or PiCorePlayer to each amp with a USB-A to USB-B cable. The RPi's will then act as your Squeezelite supporting endpoints that LMS can stream to.

You would then use the LMS web interface or a compatible mobile app to manage indexing and playback of your music to each of the above endpoints.

You can install and test Logitech Media Server on your PC without any additional hardware, so that is probably the best place to start.

If you like the look of it have a search on the forums as there are hundreds of posts on setting up and configuring LMS and RPis to do exactly what you’re trying to do.

----

[Edit: there seemed to be conflicting information on whether the Rotel A12 accepts direct connection to a PC via USB for audio use. The A12 manual now seems to suggest it now does. If the Rotel didn't allow this kind of connection you'd have needed to use the optical or analog RCA inputs instead. I've left the info below in case it is useful to others]

Given the Rotel amps have an optical S/PDIF input you ideally want a device that can be connected to that input.

The obvious option is a Raspberry Pi + Digi hat (other hats available) for each endpoint, running a Squeezelite supporting audio OS like Roopiee XL (#) or PiCorePlayer.

Another cheap Squeezelite supporting endpoint that requires no hardware setup is the DAC32 streamer from PolyVection. Although you'll have to connect it up to an analog RCA input on your amps, which means it won't be using the DAC inside the Rotel to the D2A conversion.

A cheaper option still would be to buy three used Chromecast Audios (CCA) and connect each one up with a 3.5mm Mini-TosLink to TosLink cable. To make this work you’ll also need to enable the Chomecast Bridge plugin in LMS.
 
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Cebolla

Member
The Raspberry Pi's USB audio output should be ideal for your Rotel amps.

You could go for a UPnP/DLNA renderer application on the Raspberry Pis to use as UPnP/DLNA streamers with the UPnP/DLNA media server on your PC. However, like @jamieu, I'd instead go for LMS on the PC & the Squeezelite player Squeezebox emulator application (eg, included in the piCorePlayer LMS/Squeezelite dedicated Linux distro) on the RPis, as LMS supports synchronised multi-room audio with its native Squeezebox type streamers and is very well supported by the LMS/Squeezebox community.

If your phone/tablet are Android based, then you can, as an alternative to the web browser control interface, use the lms-material-app (not currently available on the Play Store, but a link to the app's apk download page is at the bottom of the first post of the Material Skin thread in the LMS/Squeezebox community forums), assuming you have enabled the Material Skin 3rd party LMS plugin, as mentioned by @jamieu.

BTW, I'd recommend also enabling the Music & Artist Information 3rd party LMS plugin, which should provide you with this sort of info on the web browser/lms-material-app:
1615292559245.png
 
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AVRony

Novice Member
very helpfull, i will give a try. Thanks so much

I dont know if i would need drivers to connect a raspberry to the rotel dac. i will update with results

btw i use iOS devices, any app could be used?
 
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Jamie

Distinguished Member
btw i use iOS devices, any app could be used?
The same interface is usable in the browser. The Android app mentioned above is essentially a wrapper for the web interface, it does make it a bit nicer to use and more app like but the web interface still works well (providing you're using the material skin, the original logitech skin is awful on mobile)

If you specifically want an app then theres a few available, iPeng being the go to on iOS but I don't think its free, although you can optionally purchase an add on to enable your iOS top be a player as well as a controller if you wanted.
 

jamieu

Well-known Member
I dont know if i would need drivers to connect a raspberry to the rotel dac. i will update with results

It's listed as working with Volumio so I'm pretty sure it would also work fine with Roopiee XL or PiCorePlayer. They'll all be using the same standard ARM Linux drivers.

In terms of controlling playback on an iPhone, as Jamie says iPeng is the go-to on iOS. Alternatively you can simply save the standard LMS web based interface as a desktop app/bookmark (last part on that page). As mentioned above enable the Material Skin under Plugins (in LMS) unless you want an interface that looks like it was last updated sometimes around the millennium.

But do post back with how you get on.
 
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Bryn1

Active Member
I have just done something very similar to what you are looking to achieve, this is how I did it:

I used LMS running on my Synology DS918+ NAS this then streams to two PI 3b+ running piCorePlayer with each PI connected via USB to their own Rotel A14 amp using the USB/PC input on the amp (the Rotel A14 amp amp has both a USB input and also a USB/PC input)

I know that Synology has stopped support for LMS as a package but it is still available as a manual install and works great.

Setting up piCorePlayer on each PI was again pretty straightforward (although working out which setting to choose for the USB output on the PI foxed me for ten minutes)

I had not used LMS before so it was all new to me but found it pretty straight forward to setup and get the options set how i wanted things to behave.

Adding Spotify was simple and worked first time I am however looking to switch to Tidal which is also supported

I looked at Ipeng for the control part as I also am in the Apple corner however as I had a spare iPad air 2 I went for the squeezepad app instead as I had read it had a more intuitive interface as I wanted other people to be able to use the remote to control things with (it was also half the price of Ipeng on the app store) the squeezepad app was just what I was looking for, easy to navigate and very easy to use.

Have had it all running for the past two days and have to admit I am pretty impressed and especially like the fact that you can easily sync both players.
 
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Cebolla

Member
I used LMS running on my Synology DS918+ NAS this then streams to two PI 3b+ running piCorePlayer with each PI connected via USB to their own Rotel A14 amp using the USB/PC input on the amp (the Rotel A14 amp amp has both a USB input and also a USB/PC input)

I know that Synology has stopped support for LMS as a package but it is still available as a manual install and works great.

Fortunately, your Synology DS918+ is on the list of Synology NAS models that support Docker, so you should be able to install the latest version of LMS on it and take advantage of all the latest LMS plugins available for it (such as Material Skin and Music & Artist Information for decent web browser user interface mentioned & pic in the posts above):
Synology and LMS
Here's the list of all models that support Docker from the Synology website:
  • FS series:FS6400, FS3600, FS3400, FS3017, FS2017, FS1018
  • SA series:SA3600, SA3400, SA3200D
  • 21 series:RS4021xs+, RS3621xs+, RS3621RPxs, RS1221RP+, RS1221+, DS1821+, DS1621xs+, DS1621+, DVA3221
  • 20 series:RS820RP+, RS820+, DS1520+, DS920+, DS720+, DS620slim, DS420+, DS220+
  • 19 series:RS1619xs+, RS1219+, DS2419+, DS1819+, DS1019+, DVA3219
  • 18 series:RS3618xs, RS2818RP+, RS2418RP+, RS2418+, RS818RP+, RS818+, DS3018xs, DS1618+, DS918+, DS718+, DS218+
  • 17 series:RS18017xs+, RS4017xs+, RS3617xs+, RS3617RPxs, RS3617xs, DS3617xs, DS1817+, DS1517+
  • 16 series:RS18016xs+, RS2416RP+, RS2416+, DS916+, DS716+II, DS716+, DS216+II, DS216+
  • 15 series:RS815RP+, RS815+, RC18015xs+, DS3615xs, DS2415+, DS1815+, DS1515+, DS415+
  • 14 series:RS3614xs+, RS3614RPxs, RS3614xs, RS2414RP+, RS2414+, RS814RP+, RS814+
  • 13 series:RS10613xs+, RS3413xs+, DS2413+, DS1813+, DS1513+, DS713+
  • 12 series:RS3412RPxs, RS3412xs, RS2212RP+, RS2212+, RS812RP+, RS812+, DS3612xs, DS1812+, DS1512+, DS712+, DS412+
  • 11 series:RS3411RPxs, RS3411xs, RS2211RP+, RS2211+, DS3611xs, DS2411+, DS1511+, DS411+II, DS411+
  • *10 series:RS810RP+, RS810+, DS1010+, DS710+
  1. *The models of this series are not compatible with the latest version of DSM. For details, please refer to the Product Support Status page.
HB
I managed to get LMS installed as a Docker container using Synology's built in Docker manager (*)

Some pointers if migrating:
  • Make sure to uninstall (not just stop) your previous LMS package or the new LMS Docker container will complain that your LMS ports are already in use.
  • Make sure to update port 9000 to 9002 in the 'Network Settings' and set HTTP_PORT to 9002 in the 'Environment Settings' (as port 9000 is often reserved for other uses on Synology).
  • Make sure to set the Environment variable 'TZ' to 'Europe/London' in Environment settings (or map /etc/localtime to /etc/TZ)
  • You can copy over your old preference files into your new /config /prefs directory but you'll need to manually map any old paths in the server.prefs file to their new locations and remove any reference to DB files (or also move them to the new location). TBH it's probably quicker to start afresh with a new preference file, which will also give you the opportunity to spring clean your previous settings/plugins.
  • Don't do this while you have music playing from another source to one of your Squeezelite clients as LMS may set a higher volume on that device when initially booting up, causing you to jump.
(*) I think the Docker package is only available on some Synology models
 
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Bryn1

Active Member
@Cebolla I already have access to those plugins as I am running LMS 8.1(not in docker though just straight DSM package install, had to install perl first though) this is on DSM 6.2.3 which at the moment suits my needs so not looking to upgrade any time soon
 

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