My RPi3 / Volumio journey

I’m quite new to RPi audio. I’ve been streaming FLAC files from my Laptop USB through a WaveIO board that converts to I2S and into the I2S input on a WAF Najda DSP, X/O preamp / controller.
This has worked well for many years.

I recently got a Google Chromecast audio and modded that to take a clean Linear power supply and also Lan in instead of Wifi. That improved the sound no end. I have been using Spotify Premium and trialling Tidal too.

Having read the endeavors of some on The Art of sound forum and heard good results with RPi / Volumio and Allo’s Digi One played into my system I decided to get a RPi when one and a Hifiberry digi+ came up for sale.

I got the Hifiberry working nicely with Spotify into my system via SPdif.

I am now looking to connect the RPi directly via I2S, similarly as I did for WaveIO.
Soon I will have a Allo Kali reclocking board arriving.

I am all connected up and have the Generic I2S settings in Volumio but as of yet no sound.
I am wondering what I need to do to perhaps in RPi or Volumio to get things working?

This is how I’ve connected up.
Sketch courtesy of a fellow DiyAudio member.

Other diagrams

Here’s a pic of my setup.

All help gratefully received.

Wayhey, re-checked everything this evening powered up connected in Spotify and it’s working fine now!

The sound even without the Kali reclocker is already better than the Hifiberry digi + & Spdif route in…
It could be a bit lively / unrefined on some higher pitched frequencies (jitter?) but I need to test lots of music this evening to confirm.

Looking forward to the Kali board to see what that can do.

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The Kali board has arrived.
My Allo Christmas came early :slight_smile:
Hope to plumb that in soon.

Hopefully Kali with her many arms and hands will catch the loose clocking of the Rpi and provide order accord where it’s lacking :wink:

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I struggled with Kali (from sounding worse compared to just Rpi on its own - all lispy and sharp unless I removed the earth wire adjacent to the BCLK?), and Kali not fixing the Echoey weird sound on some tracks, and all tracks having the balance off to the left.

After getting a weird sped up effect (like Pinky and Perky…) when I accidentally tried the Hifiberry Pro I2S dac setting in Volumio when messing with my ordinary Hifiberry, I thought there might be something in Volumio going on stopping the RPi I2S into my Najda DSP XO DAC working as it should.

After trying several settings in alphabetical order and getting stuck on the Allo Piano 2.1 I2S DAC setting (rendering my RPi unreachable by IP address and it even seemingly toasting one SD card), the next I2S DAC selectable in Volumio was Apple Pie DAC!

You can see I’m still on A out of all the letters… there must be some 40 or 50 selectable!

It only works… & plays
Can’t you hear me knocking by The good old Rolling Stones perfectly!!! Yes, I know more than one ! is bad taste.
All other problem tracks are fine too.
Balance is seemly fine too.

Now to customise some more save the config file and then have me some quality time evaluating RPi…

Hopefully Allo will get back to me with other even better suggestions, but for now it sounds ok.

I might even try it without Kali at some point… but not for a while.

The more I listen the more in liking it.
Easy to A/B compare at the touch of a button with ChromeCast Audio too!

I2S when it works is the future haha…

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I’ve now got my FLAC files playing in via USB HDD input to my router.

Was a bit of a fiddle to get Volumio to see the files. Mount error 112.
Searching here helped me and vers=1.0 in the options field got it working. Thanks to this community.

Comparing FLAC to Spotify streaming is interesting.

I’m resampling 24/88.2 in Volumio.
Seems the best setting.

Spotify is still really strong but there are quite a few of my favourites missing. Good to have them back again.

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Wow! Kudos for your gear, amazing loudspeakers and all the system is just a dream.

If you want suggestions just ask :wink:

It is fun connecting up something as lightweight as a RPi to 425+ kgs of amps and speakers :slight_smile:

The RPi + Kali and of course the excellent Volumio does a fine job.

My vinyl set up is charming on certain tracks and albums but for electronica and most other things the RPi is so convenient and with careful consideration to power and short I2S connections it sounds great.
Spotify is very good value, we have premium family with 4 of us using it, mobile use and in car, several Sonos ones in the main house and then of course for the Hifi where it matches my previous streaming solution.

Questions would be ;

  1. I’m using Apple Pi DAC I2S setting in Volumio at the moment. First one that gave decent balanced sound.
    The generic and others upto Apple Pi DAC do not work well…
    There are so many to choose. The Allo Piano 2.1 setting crashed the RPi twice I tried it and the SD card needed reformating… one SD card did not recover.
    Help on what I2S DAC setting would be best for my Kali and Najda DAC setup would be much appreciated.

  2. I want to back up. But I can’t install the backup plugin. I had changed the default password, is it due to that?
    I read somewhere it could be.
    I tried to change the password back, but it says: Bad, password too simple!

  3. Would I be better off using a solid state flash drive for the few FLACS have, for music I can’t find on Spotify? I’m using a Samsung 1.5TB usb HDD at the moment. It has all my FLACS, but I only need a fraction of them really…

  4. any other tips?

Btw love what you do with Volumio!

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I am running sampling in Volumio at 32bit as that was what Allo told me to use with the Kali reclocker…
They also told me to set the DAC to RPi I2S and it works fine.
It sounds mighty fine in fact!

I am using just 4cm long connecting wires from Kali to the I2S inputs of my DAC.

I cleaned up the wiring and put a thick copper plate shielding the PSU from the Najda DSP XO DAC board.

I changed the 1.5TB USB disc drive to a USB flash drive. I don’t need all my Flacs available, only the ones I can’t find on Spotify.

I demo’d this set up to a hi-fi connoisseur and he was truly amazed…

Linear power on both routers, ditto power to RPi and Kali and isolating Najda PSU it all helps…

I struggled to get one of my laptops (the one with all the Flacs on) to see the networked usb drive!
Turned out Windows had deprecated support for older routers.

You need to turn on and it will load it for the SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support.

Search in windows for Features - Under Settings Windows Features should be seen.

Click on that and a Windows Feature box will open.

Find SMB 1.0… and tick it. Save and it will ask for a restart…

Odd the other two PC’s I have on the same win10 build etc worked fine…
Ho hum…

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