Question Music player to receiver

Hiks

Novice Member
I'm due to complete on my first house next week, super excited and I've been coming up with lots of idea's and projects I want to do and one is a music player that's hooked into my AV receiver.

I wanted a wall mounted touchscreen panel to control it, the receiver and other components will be kept under the stairs behind a wall so I've just got speakers on show in the main room.

I was thinking of doing this with a raspberry PI and HiFiBerry Digi board but I seem to be getting more confused by it all the more I search. I'd obviously like to output at a high enough level that I won't get any degradation. Audio isn't really my strong point and I'm more of a PC guy that has everything wired rather than wireless.

Whats the best way to connect whatever the player is to the receiver which will then allow the receiver to do it's stuff without the format being changed?

Now I'm thinking of a small form factor PC with a soundcard that has Toslink, install volumino as the operating system on an SSD for faster boots and then a HDD for music storage and I guess just a switch to turn it on mounted to the back of the wall or something.

Has anybody done something similiar, basically just a wall mounted touchscreen to control whatever is doing the processing which is connected to the receiver if you could explain your setup to me I'd be grateful.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
One option, as you have identified us to use a USFF pc.

I have been looking for a cheap one for a similar task and have found the following old micro pc’s that can be had pretty cheaply (c.£50) and all have an optical port, some have cd/dvd drives as well. Also if you get one with windows 10 pro installed and activated there is a Microsoft app you can download onto your phone or tablet that allows you to remotely access it and control it. I have tried it with my desk top, laptop and iPad and it works ok.

list of potential pc’s

Lenovo ideacentre q180, q190
Acer revo rl70, rl80, r3700, r3610
Fujitsu esprimo q5030e
Dell studio hybrid 140g, zino
ASUS vivo vm62n
Zotac Zbox ID series

Ok, these are all pretty old but for using it as a music server then with 4Gb of ram they can still run Win10pro and your choice of player or streaming service so should do the job ok.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
Budget, budget, budget? There are literally hundreds of options here ranging from £10's to £1,000's at the bottom end Raspberry Pi with a HAT connected to Plex or Music Bee to Bluesound Node2i using ROON or SONOS with its own app or a dedicated streamer such as the Cambridge Audio CNX.

First question, what music sources are you looking to use? This will help shape what it is you want. Second question, is this for a single music player or will you have multiple around the house?

Thirdly touch screen on the wall - horrible choice. Every time you want to change something you need to get up and go to the touch screen. Why not use a tablet / ipad on a stand or dock. That way, when you are sitting in your sofa, with a nice glass of wine and you want to change the track you just pick up the tablet, rather than getting up and walking over to a wall.

Wall mounted tablets, in general are a bit 1980s Ferris Buellers Day Off for the reasons I listed above. Even the likes of Crestron moved away from this kind of thing 20 years ago. They sound like a great idea and may impress your mates the first time they see it, then both you and they realise how uncool it is to have to keep getting up and going to the wall.

Standard model for most systems is to have some form of networked HDD such as a NAS or PC with all of your ripped music stored on it, or are you looking at purely streaming music services, Spotify etc ?
 

Ascotbilly

Active Member
Wall mounted tablets, in general are a bit 1980s Ferris Buellers Day Off for the reasons I listed above. - Haha nice one I was picturing a football chairman's house from that dodgy 90's Who would like in a house like this programme
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
Yup. I have been in a few houses with them. Great if you are a Trekkie geek, not so great for a middle aged bloke living in 2000's built estate house with TV that is at least 20" too big for your living room.
Also they never work as intended, especially when the 7 year old with chocolate fingers has smeared them all over your touch screen, that everyone comments on "Why have you got an ipad blu-tacked to your wall, covered in crap......"
 

Hiks

Novice Member
I was watching gangs of london and there was one in that and figured it would be good to have a dedicated point of control, there is a large space under the stairs where I want to hide everything basically. I'm not saying its gonna be the focal point of the room. I want everything wired, and I'd rather not need my TV switched on to listen to music.

If the source is PC based then its a way to get rid of the mouse and keyboard. I just didn't want to be switching lots of different things on and waiting for them to boot before I can play an album.

PC based is actually much easier for me, I've got a lot of older hardware from past builds that would be suitable I just wondered if there was a better option.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
How are you going to manage all of that heat under the stairs if it’s got PCs AVRs and other electronics in there? Also your stairs are your primary escape route in the event of a fire. Overheating electrical equipment in an under stairs cupboard maybe a risky venture.
Which AVR do you have?
 

Hiks

Novice Member
It isn't a cupboard, its a small room. I don't know its origional purpose but it's 100 year old house so it's a bit quirky like that. I was gonna take the wall out and open it up but if not it will just house stuff I don't want to see.

Anyway I have an idea on what to do now so all good.
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Well-known Member
Ive gone the touch screen (official 7" raspberry pi screen) route with my raspberry pi, with a hifiberry dac rather than digi card (this way music is just fed as analogue to amp). I added a flirc USB IR dongle allowing remote control and I can control it using my phone using squeezer app or the ds audio app, with all my music stored on my NAS. Must say it works well, and I love having choice of album art or a vu meter whilst listening, as opposed to a tiny LCD screen with two rows of text.
 

jamieu

Active Member
As has been mentioned above you still haven't given any idea of budget or what sources of music you want to playback. A local music collection? If so is it already well catalogued with embedded metadata? Streaming services and if so which ones? This makes a huge difference in terms of which route you go down. Saying you want a 'touch screen' is a bit vague, it's like saying you want blue curtains before you've designed/built the house :)

But given you already have the RaspberryPi + DigiHat and I assume your AV amp has an optical S/PDIF input and I am guessing you want playback of a local music collection, this is one option:

1) Install HiFiBerryOS on the RasberryPi + Digi Hat and plug it into your AV Receiver via an S/PDIF cable. Spotify aside, this doesn't handle local music playback or streaming itself. It simple acts as an endpoint/bridge for another device to send music to over your local network.

2) To actually handle music playback/indexing of a local music collection you need to install a music management package/server like Logitech Media Server, Audirvana or Roon on your PC/Server. If you have a NAS it may come with it's own music management server/software already installed. Alternatively you can just install a DLNA/UPnP server on the PC which won't come with it's own interface instead you'll need to use a controller app that supports DLNA/UPnP like mConnect player. This is where budget, music sources, hardware and level of effort you want to spend on this / technical ability come in as it will affect what software is best/most practical/most cost effective in terms of suggestions.

3) Then use a cheap Android tablet like a Fire HD on a 'show mode' stand to run the controller app/web interface for the above music management or DLNA/UPnP server.

If you want more of a 'now playing' display then load the http://HiFiBerry.local/#nowplaying webpage into a browser on the tablet and it will automatically update with cover art when the music changes and give you basic playback controls.

This is just one architecture/configuration, you could just install Volumio or PiCorePlayer on the RaspberryPi and skip the PC/Server completely. If you don't have a local music collection then you also likely don't even need a PC/Server as you can just stream direct from your phone/tablet to the RaspberryPi.

This video might also be worth watching in terms of getting your head around Raspberry Pi streamers.
 
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jamieu

Active Member
Thanks but it's cool, I have an idea now. I spent the morning reading up on stuff.

He tells me now after I just wrote a page of text and links ;-)

(it's fine I'm joking, good luck with it)
 

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