Hi End Streamer - discuss

killiefan

Active Member
Ok, with retirement fund the corner and a small leaving bonus coming my way I’m thinking of replacing an Arcam C31 pre with a streamer. It’ll hopefully be my last purchase and last 20+ years. I’ve been reading the manufacturers websites for:

Moon 280D
Linn Selekt DSM
Hegel H190
Lyngdorf TDAI 1120 (3400 too expensive)

Power comes from two Arcam P1 mono blocks. Speakers are Ruark Prelude, which I might upgrade (but that’ll mean also getting a new centre channel and that’s probably too expensive).

The streamer will be connected via WiFi.

Ive been reading the Lyngdorf thread on here, mostly very positive. Nothing I can see for the others, at least nothing as comprehensive.

Any owners out there wishing to share their real life experience with these units please?

Thanks in advance.
 

mseve1

Active Member
Are you sure you want a streamer with pre-amp functionality or streaming (integrated) amplifier? The Hegel and Lyngdorf fall into the latter category and would effectively make your Arcam P1 monoblocs redundant. If there's nothing wrong with the Arcam C31 I'd be inclined to keep it and instead look at a basic streamer (incorporating a DAC) which would provide an analogue input to the pre-amp.
 

killiefan

Active Member
Thanks, understand about two units being integrated. Can’t add another box. One in means one out.

Given that the cost of each isn’t that different it should mean that the Moon and Linn have “better” components?
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
If its just streaming you are looking at, why not look at something like the Bluesound Node2i. Its a highly acclaimed streamer which I'm sure many users on these forums can comment about plus most of todays main streaming services are available on it. This way you can keep the traditional audio sound of your system without having to worry about moving some of it on or finding that you are in need to upgrade other components because they don't agree with your ears once you have changed the heart of the system
 

killiefan

Active Member
If its just streaming you are looking at, why not look at something like the Bluesound Node2i. Its a highly acclaimed streamer which I'm sure many users on these forums can comment about plus most of todays main streaming services are available on it. This way you can keep the traditional audio sound of your system without having to worry about moving some of it on or finding that you are in need to upgrade other components because they don't agree with your ears once you have changed the heart of the system
Thanks for the suggestion. Looking at the spec, it would take my CD36 in. But what’s the DAC like? Clicke on the link to your website and read the spec. Didn’t spot it mentioned. My “problem” is that I have the usual syndrome of thinking the more expensive units will sound better because , well because they are more expensive. You must be getting something for your money surely?
 

jamieu

Active Member
It’ll hopefully be my last purchase and last 20+ years.

You don't mention what, and how, you are current streaming ie. are you playing back local FLAC files using something like Roon or simple streaming from Qobuz/Tidal/Apple/Spotify etc. using their native apps?

Are you looking for a network streamer with it's own software/control apps like BlueOS/BlueSound, or do you just need it to support a particular network streaming protocol ie. AirPlay / DLNA / Roon RAAT / Spotify Connect etc.

Given how fast technology moves on, I'd be surprised if we're still using (exactly) the same streaming technology & platforms in 10 years time, let alone 20.

As suggested above, maybe keep your current PreAmp and just add a smaller external network streamer/network bridge.

Or alternatively look for a PreAmp/DAC with USB or digital inputs which you can then attach a smaller/lower cost streamer/bridge to digitally ie. no sound signature of it's own, it's just passing the digital signal on.

That way when the networking/streamer software part dates, you can simple replace that (relatively low cost) component with something more up-to-date. In the case of Roon this could be as low cost as a tiny Rasberry Pi running Ropieee — easily hidden out of sight — connected to your preamp via USB. If you don't already have something to handle the streaming/control/library manager part you could even connect a Roon Nucleus directly to the DAC/PreAmp via USB skipping the need for a separate bridge/endpoint device.

This last suggestion is of course based on the assumption that that widely used digital connections like USB, S/PDIF and AES/EBU will be around for a while to come. Many PreAmp/DAC will also have inbuilt support for AirPlay, DLNA and Roon anyway, but good to have a fall back if the unit stops getting firmware updates down the line.
 
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Going Grey Now

Active Member
…………

Or alternatively look for a PreAmp/DAC with USB or digital inputs which you can then attach a smaller/lower cost streamer/bridge to digitally ie. no sound signature of it's own, it's just passing the digital signal on.

That way when the networking/streamer software part dates, you can simple replace that (relatively low cost) component with something more up-to-date. In the case of Roon this could be as low cost as a tiny Rasberry Pi running Ropieee — easily hidden out of sight — connected to your preamp via USB.
+1 for a RPi to go on the list of possibles, even if only to be have a big red line put through it almost immediately! And this could be for a whole multitude of reasons.
100% accept it‘s not for everyone and not the prettiest bit of kit but it does pack quite a punch when you add something like an ALLO Digione Signature to it and swap out the PSU for something a bit better.
If you have the time then a couple of John Darko’s RPi videos are well worth a watch - at least in my opinion.
 

mseve1

Active Member
Can’t add another box. One in means one out.
OK. If space is limited I would seriously reconsider the Lyngdorf TDAI-3400. Whilst this is above your stated budget you could recoup some of the cost by trading in both your Arcam C31 and P1s and the end result would far surpass any of the suggested alternatives. Just a thought...
 
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killiefan

Active Member
Many thanks guys. I’ll admit to being very interested in an RPi with a HAT on. I’d need one ready made with software loaded. I’m a subscriber to Darko on YouTube and have watched his RPi videos and actually like the look of the acrylic see-through box. Problem is finding one.

Music wise, I use Spotify and Amazon HD. I’ll probably use the free trials on the other main services before choosing one. I’m very unlikely to buy Roon to access any service, too expensive for me.

Then there’s the whole question of accessing the CD collection ripped to my Mac. I know you can do it but I’ve no idea how to. I’ve watched videos showing what settings are needed but I can’t even get my ATV to “see” what’s on the Mac hard drive. An idiot guide would be most welcome.

Lyngdorf 3400 using trade-in option might be a plan. Releasing two slots on the rack would allow me to move my Panny UHD player into one and the other could house the ATV and my phono pre-amp (currently hidden round the back and precariously balanced on the edge of a shelf). What chance the C31 and two P1s will fetch £2k?

Keep the suggestions coming. All opinions very welcome.
 

Going Grey Now

Active Member
Many thanks guys. I’ll admit to being very interested in an RPi with a HAT on. I’d need one ready made with software loaded. I’m a subscriber to Darko on YouTube and have watched his RPi videos and actually like the look of the acrylic see-through box. Problem is finding one.
…….
If of any interest, ALLO do have ‘plug and play’ kit for sale. That’s not how I went, but I did previously purchase a DAC HAT from ALLO (in France). The purchase went OK but I appreciate that this was before the current ‘we’re not in the EU anymore’ situation.

It may be worthwhile you having a look at ALLO’s website under the ‘plug and play’ drop-down. They have listed a RPi with the Digione Signature and also a BOSS player 2. Both with choice of operating system (I use Moode but there are numerous others) and other peripherals, incl cases, PSUs, etc. For what it’s worth, I started off with the OEM switched PSU but have recently upgraded to the Nirvana.

I realise that we have all sorts of reported shipping delays etc in the UK at the moment and I have no idea if this is relevant to these items. Also to bear in mind that there will be import taxes/duty to be paid.

Haven’t done any digging to see if these pre built/configured boxes are for sale in the UK.

Hope some of this might be of interest.

What I will add is that for me, the biggest improvement in overall SQ with my Pi was when I added the Digione signature HAT. I realise that this is all very subjective and there simply must be much better streamers out there but quite honestly, the Pi does all I want it to and I have no interest in changing it for something more expensive.
 

Going Grey Now

Active Member
….
Then there’s the whole question of accessing the CD collection ripped to my Mac. I know you can do it but I’ve no idea how to. I’ve watched videos showing what settings are needed but I can’t even get my ATV to “see” what’s on the Mac hard drive. An idiot guide would be most welcome.
sorry I can’t help with any complicated network/NAS type issues for accessing music files remotely..

My setup is so very simple, but it wouldn’t suit everyone.

I have all my FLAC files stored on a 128Gb USB pen drive, inserted into the Pi. Soon to be upgraded to a 256Gb drive as I’m getting a bit short on space.

I previously ran with a portable HDD plugged in to the Pi. It gave more capacity for music files, but I found plugging in a tiny USB stick, a much ‘neater’ option.

Most of the time, I simply turn on the Pi and put it into ‘random’ selection. Sometimes, I listen by album or artist. My needs are very simple.

Everything controlled on my IPad. I find my phone screen too small but use it in an emergency.
 

jamieu

Active Member
Music wise, I use Spotify and Amazon HD. I’ll probably use the free trials on the other main services before choosing one.

Spotify currently uses lossy codecs, so probably not the best service to use with a 'high end streamer/streaming' setup. That said it's native application is well supported (lots of devices come with 'Spotify Connect' functionality) and has widespread adoption, so possibly the better platform if you like to share/listen to playlists, albeit not the best choice if sound quality is your ultimate goal.

Amazon HD is pretty poorly supported by most streaming platforms, Sonos and BlueOS are the exceptions.

Qobuz gets you true lossless FLAC files and is supported by most streaming software, it's also one of the cheeper 'Hi-Res' (24bit/96kHz+) platforms, although it's native app isn't the best, so you're likely going to want to use your streamers own app/interface to handle playback or a 3rd party app/platform if your streamer only handles basic protocols like DLNA or RAAT and you want to playback 24bit/96kHz+ tracks.

Tidal likewise has support built into most 'full fat' streamers/platforms ie. those that come with their own apps/interface and many device are starting to build in support for Tidal Connect (which like Spotify Connect allows you to use the native Tidal app). But Tidal is migrating away from open/lossless FLAC streams to closed/lossy MQA files, it's also more expensive than Qobuz. Deezer is also another truly open/lossless FLAC option, albeit with less software/device support.

This is why I asked how you expect to stream:

a) Using AirPlay from your phone/laptop, this is possibly the simplest setup as you can just send the audio from any app on your phone/laptop to your streamer. The downside here is you need to have your phone permanently connected while streaming, you'll also be limited to 16 bit/44.1Khz by the AirPlay protocol. If you never stream above 16 bit/44.1Khz (CD quality) and are happy to leave your phone on while steaming then maybe this is all you need.

b) Using the native app that comes with your chosen streaming platform, or likewise a 3rd party app like mConnect player, using a low-level network streaming protocol — be that an open one like DLNA or a propriety one like Spotify/Tidal Connect. For this sort of setup your network streamer need have no interface/app of it's own, it's simply handling the commands sent to it by the remote app — although it must understand those commands/protocols to work. The advantage over the AirPlay route above is that the streamer requests/plays the stream directly from your streaming service, so once you select some music you can remove your phone from the equation.

(AFAIK Lyngdorf falls under this category, ie. doesn't develop it's own control apps and instead just supports low level protocols like RAAT (Roon Ready), AirPlay, Chomecast and DLNA and requires you to use 3rd party apps/platforms to handle the library management, indexing and playback. Although it can work as the 'client' in scenario d below)

c) A streamer with it's own built in operating system and it's own apps ie. BlueSound / Sonos etc. (or Volumio / PiCorePlayer on a RPi). These platforms have the benefits of above (ie. you can turn your phone off while streaming) and tend to have the widest support for the multiple streaming platforms and come with their own apps, bypassing the need to use the streaming platforms own native apps — this can be both a blessing or a curse depending on how much you like or dislike the streaming services native app vs the streamers own app. They also tend to offer some degree of management of a local music library. The downside is if you don't like the interface/apps they come with (or the unit stops receiving firmware updates down the line) you're (largely) out of luck.

d) A client/server approach ie. you have your streaming (server) software like Roon / Plex / LMS (Logitech Media Server) / Synology Audio Station / Audirvana / JRiver / DLNA server etc. running on a PC, NAS or NUC that can be hidden out of sight in a closet or another room. You'd then use a control app or a web browser to get that server to playback audio to a 'lightweight' endpoint. In Roon land that would be a Roon Ready device (this could simple be a RPi running Ropieee, a Sonos speaker, or an AirPlay or Chromecast supporting device), for LMS it would be a Squeezelite supporting endpoint (LMS also supports DLNA/Airplay/ChromeCast via plugins), Plex supports Plex and Chromecast endpoints, other platforms are happy to just use AirPlay or DLNA supporting devices as endpoints. This kind of client/server configuration makes a lot of sense if you have a multi-room setup, as your one central server (and one central library) can be streamed to multiple audio devices (from multiple different vendors) around your home. These platforms also tend to excel at local music library management ie. indexing a local library of FLAC files ripped from CD and pulling in additional cover art, metadata and artist info.

Which is all to say, think about what streaming platforms you want to use, how important the integration of your local (CD ripped) music library is, whether you need multi-room synced-playback support and what apps/interfaces you want to use to play back your music. Not all 'streamers' work the same.

Also worth bearing in mind that if finding, discovering and cataloging your music is important to you then it’s worth thinking about the apps / interfaces you’ll be using to do that and if possible evaluate them with the same care you would when evaluating any claims to sound quality. Nothing worse than being lumbered with a bad or clunky interface that discourages you from finding & listening to music. That after all is the end game?

Then there’s the whole question of accessing the CD collection ripped to my Mac. I know you can do it but I’ve no idea how to. I’ve watched videos showing what settings are needed but I can’t even get my ATV to “see” what’s on the Mac hard drive. An idiot guide would be most welcome.

How are you trying to currently (or hoping to in future) browse and play your ripped CD collection?

The last two options above (c and d) cover this scenario ie. index a music collection either on a local hard drive or via a network share and present it in a nice interface that you can browse and play.

But not all 'streamers' (c above) can handle the indexing part and some require you to run additional software (ie. a DLNA server) alongside your files to handle that part — Yamaha streamers are one such example in that they require a DLNA server to be running elsewhere. BlueSound/BluOS can handle the indexing/playback of a local library with some limitations for locally attached hard drives. Likewise Sonos can also handle indexing of a local network share via SMB (standard network share) without a DLNA server.

In terms of getting your CD rips to appear in iTunes/Apple TV are your files ripped as FLAC or ALAC? Apple products only support ALAC (their variant of FLAC). You can batch convert FLAC to ALAC (without loss) but I'd hold off doing that unless you are sure you want iTunes to become your library manager. Also if using the Apple TV to playback an iTunes library, won't that require you to have your TV turned on to select music? I guess you could just use iTunes on your phone and then use AirPlay to stream the audio to the AppleTV — but see a) above for issues with doing that.

Don't want to overly push Roon (it's costly and has it's limitations) and it's possibly overkill for a single room audio setup esp. if you only have a small local CD/FLAC collection. But just to point out this is exactly the kind of scenario it is designed to deal with ie. indexing a local CD/FLAC library and then seamlessly integrating that library alongside your chosen streaming platform, then allowing you to stream from that combined library to all your audio devices (assuming they support RAAT or one of Roon's other supported protocols) using what is possible the best user interface for music/library management out there on any mobile/tablet/computer in your house.

You can run Roon Core (the central Roon server) on a second-hand Intel NUC (ie. a used NUC7 is about £150) by running Roon's free ROCK OS which provides the same functionality as a Nucleus, but works out a lot less expensive. Add to the used NUC the cost of a lifetime Roon licence and it starts to equate to the cost of a mid to high-end 'off the shelf' hardware streamer — albeit with a lot more flexibility and a great user interface. The NUC/Roon Core can then stream to any audio device that is Roon Compatible (this includes Sonos, AirPlay and ChromeCast devices). Which reduces the need to buy an expensive 'full fat' streamer with it's own library management/indexing tools and playback/control apps for each of your audio setups (obviously if you only have the one audio setup this is less of an incentive/cost saving).

Loads of ways Roon can be configured/architected from using a 'Roon Ready' DAC/PreAmp/Amplifier like the Lyndorf as a network 'endpoint'. Through to the more modular option of connecting a simple Roon supporting bridge/endpoint device (this could be as basic as a palm-sized RPi running Ropieee) to a non-networked USB DAC/PreAmp that contains no streaming software of it's own, just a USB or digital input. You can even attach a USB DAC — possibly one with a built in preamp – directly to the NUC/Roon Core if you don't mind having the NUC on display or hidden at the back of your HiFi rack, which would eliminate the need for a separate network bridge/endpoint.

The BlueSound Node is a versatile box of tricks in that it has it's own OS and apps, a decent interface, supports a wide range of streaming platforms, has a built in DAC that you can use or bypass (if connecting digitally to a DAC/PreAmp with it's own DAC), can index a network share of CD rips (ie. FLAC files) and can also act as a Roon or AirPlay endpoint (if you decide you don't like using it's own app). But it doesn't have the looks, room correction or physical volume control you get with the Lyngdorf. So it's probably a device you would still want to place in-front of a more traditional HiFi preamp or integrated amp.

If you're interested in a DIY RPi approach then Volumio might be worth a look, all you need to get started is a £58 RPi4 2GB kit you could then a) connect it directly to a DAC/PreAmp with a USB input and physical volume control (like a RME ADI-2) b) Connect it to a basic USB DAC without a volume control (like a Topping E30) that sits before your existing preamp c) Use it with a DAC HAT — you can buy everything including a DAC HAT and matching case as a bundle, although if that feels too daunting to assemble — it shouldn't be, we're talking 'lego level' assembly, the external USB DAC (or USB DAC/PreAmp) route may be simpler.

If you do go with the Lyndorf you'll still need to work out how to index your local music library and decide what apps/platform/protocols you will use to stream to it, so hopefully the above is useful whatever route you take.
 
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nomorelandings

Active Member
Thoroughly enjoying my node and BluOS. The MQA radio paradise sounds superb. The lossy pigeon hole is immaterial where it counts, imho. There is a new streamer/pre amp arriving soon to compete with the moon and others. Probably stuck in a Maersk container in Felixstowe! A delta sigma developed with esoteric, the N 05 XD. Only £3k vs £9k for the Esoteric.
 
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Khazul

Well-known Member
I’m very unlikely to buy Roon to access any service, too expensive for me.

It cost me alot less than 2K for my Roon setup. Actually my original roon setup cost me nothing beyond the subscription (which was free for a month trial anyway) because I happened to have hardware lying around to host it (on my QNAP x64 based NAS) and I had a spare R-PI to use as an endpoint and also a DAC that I was using in my car with my iPhone (dragonfly red).

Less than a year later I switched to a life time sub, bought an i7 intel NUC and a new DAC I think the lot come to a little over 1.2k including 300 or so on the DAC.

From this point forward, then of course I am relying upon Roon to keep up with evolving technology where appropriate through software updates and I am free to independently upgrade my DAC should the need arise without having to start again and buy a complete new system. I expect the intel NUC will be good for a very long time assuming no breakdowns. Over the long haul, then I expect it work alot cheaper than upgrading to a good new streamer every few years when tech demands it.

As an extra, I get quite decent room DSP and personal taste EQ control in Roon as well that gives me a sound that I should think would end up being extremely expensive if I were to depend entirely on standalone steamers and amps.

For a stand alone to give me some level of overall functional equivalence, I guess something like NAD C658 comes to mind which is still more (@ 1.5k) than I spent on this lot.
 

Yorkshire AV

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
Please consider the HiFi Rose RS150b in your demonstrations.

Whilst relatively new to the scene, they've been making reliable, high end electronics for years.

I raised an issue that was reported on the forum (and I experienced myself) with a "popping" of the woofers (compression release) on powering off the pre-amp. They looked into it and made a small adjustment to the board. The fix is possible retrospectively (if reported) and new units shipping from the factory will come with this as standard.

In terms of interface and capability - it's up there with the best.
Also would EISA award this year too.

I did a little comparison here:


Truly a brilliant product that's Roon certified, supports all formats (including video output via 4K + ARC), TIDAL and QB natively, SSD's can be installed for ripping CD's locally to a library / playback of your own media etc.


You can also customise the look and feel of it (icons, menu layout) as well as use it as a source (disable pre-amp mode, set output mv if you're going into an integrated etc).

244515767_3982153598553267_1941233505945990160_n.jpg
 

nomorelandings

Active Member
Please consider the HiFi Rose RS150b in your demonstrations.

Whilst relatively new to the scene, they've been making reliable, high end electronics for years.

I raised an issue that was reported on the forum (and I experienced myself) with a "popping" of the woofers (compression release) on powering off the pre-amp. They looked into it and made a small adjustment to the board. The fix is possible retrospectively (if reported) and new units shipping from the factory will come with this as standard.

In terms of interface and capability - it's up there with the best.
Also would EISA award this year too.

I did a little comparison here:


Truly a brilliant product that's Roon certified, supports all formats (including video output via 4K + ARC), TIDAL and QB natively, SSD's can be installed for ripping CD's locally to a library / playback of your own media etc.


You can also customise the look and feel of it (icons, menu layout) as well as use it as a source (disable pre-amp mode, set output mv if you're going into an integrated etc).

244515767_3982153598553267_1941233505945990160_n.jpg
Communique my favourite DireStraits album. Not heard the vinyl since I erroneously switched to digital in 1984. Illsley‘s bass and Wither’s drumming a great woofer tester, imho. Solid. See the Korean Rose uses the same AKM DAC chips as my TEAC.
Edit to add: TEAC have just updated the Nt & UD 505. Now 505X. ES9038s, filter options and upgraded Op amps. Hopefully they will incorporate Amazon into their OS.
 
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Yorkshire AV

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
:)

The RS150b has switched over to the ESS 9038 Pro due to the factory fire affecting AKM chips.
Communique is a brilliant album. Love the MoFi pressing. So clean!
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Well-known Member
Just to add to @jamieu's great post, picoreplayer allows for LMS to be installed on the same Rpi, then its just a case for adding storage. My LMS server uses a m2. Nvme ssd which is contained within the pi case, keeping it nice and streamlined. The beauty of the pi is that it allows multiple options, both from software and hardware, which can be cheap as chips to more expensive options. You can add a nice decent size touch screen which most commercial streamers dont have, you can change the hat to either be a DAC or a digital transport, and you have a choice of well supported operating systems which put some of the big manufacturers to shame as they are regularly updated as they are maintained by enthusiasts, who are usually more than happy to help when you encounter an issue.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I’d strongly recommend the Lyngdorfs.

In your case the 3400 would be the one I’d go for. You will most likely be delighted by RP, on top of the various streaming options.

And as Spotify claims she to be going full fat cd quality ‘this year’ that will be possibly all you need.

From a quick look at ebays previous sales and used Arcams on hifi shark, it’s difficult say what they would fetch; a reasonable expectation would be £1500 +, possibly to around £1800 at maximum, but there are not a great deal of samples around to extrapolate from.

I’d suggest you get in touch with Tom here,


He will be able to arrange a hone loan of either the 1120 or 3400.

You might well find the 1120 is all you need, it is a deceptively powerful amplifier. If not, the 3400 can drive anything.

Having said that, I’ll be very surprised if the 1120 does not drive the Ruarks very well indeed.
 

[email protected]

Active Member
For music on your Mac there are two approaches, depending upon what your streamer wants. My Powernode 2i can see the Mac’s files over the network, using Microsoft’s file sharing protocol. Both Apple and BluOS support that without needing any additional software. Many other streamers support UPnP or DLNA, which are slightly different versions of the same thing. For those you can get software for the Mac that acts as a UPnP or DLNA server.
 

killiefan

Active Member
For music on your Mac there are two approaches, depending upon what your streamer wants. My Powernode 2i can see the Mac’s files over the network, using Microsoft’s file sharing protocol. Both Apple and BluOS support that without needing any additional software. Many other streamers support UPnP or DLNA, which are slightly different versions of the same thing. For those you can get software for the Mac that acts as a UPnP or DLNA server.
Thanks. What I’ll try to find is a vid on YouTube that shows mouse click by mouse click how to open the Mac to share across the network.
 

killiefan

Active Member
Thanks for everything guys. I’m going to try to source an RPi with a HAT to output to my C31 for now. Then I’ll probably look to shift my Arcams and get the TDAI3400 around Christmas.
 

jamieu

Active Member
Thanks for everything guys. I’m going to try to source an RPi with a HAT to output to my C31 for now. Then I’ll probably look to shift my Arcams and get the TDAI3400 around Christmas.

I noticed you posted an ad for a RPi, hopefully someone will come along with one already setup for a good price.

But if you don't get a response, and you already have a Chord MOJO, then other than a standard RPi4 kit (2GB is fine) and a MicroSD->USB adaptor (used to flash the SD card) there should be no need for anything else - no 'HATs', no low-level technical configuration or electronics knowledge needed, no soldering or fiddly connections, no keyboard, no monitor or HDMI cables. Just insert the SD card once 'flashed' into the RPi board and connect it up to the Mojo via USB and you're done. That kit/bundle has everything you need including the official case — although you can get a nicer aluminium case for it later on if you wanted to.

If I had a Micro SD card spare I'd offer to send you one pre-flashed, but the steps to flash one yourself are pretty simple. I'd suggest stating with Volumio as it has good documentation/range of features, but the process will be similar for almost all the RPi based audio OSs — if you only need a Spotify/AirPlay supporting 'endpoint' for use with the native Spotify app then Ropieee XL might be a better/simpler option.
  • Download the Volumio (or Ropieee) image for the RPi to your Mac or PC
  • Plug the MicroSD card (included in the kit) into your PC or Mac using a MicroSD->USB adaptor
  • Download and run Balena Etcher
  • Drag the Volumio (or Ropieee) image (.zip) file you download in step one onto Etcher, select the SD card and then click Flash. You now have a Micro SD card ready to insert into your RPi
Once you have the Micro SD card flashed with Volumio (or Ropieee):
 
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