Whole house audio

Here’s where I am headed :
Looking to put (6) RPi units and (6) Lepai 2020A+ units on a common ATX Power Supply in my living room to power up my whole house audio system with a single Android front end streaming audio from my NAS. My hope is that the massive ATX power supply will have the current to supply all the amps as well as provide a good stable output for the RPi units and make all the wiring much cleaner.
Next step is to start planning the physical layout of all that gear, and ask very nicely for the android app Sound@home person to up to 6 the number of rooms it can support.
I’ll let you know how I progress, although it will probably be februrary before I get too much further along on this path.

Yeeeeeeesssss, eager eager eager to see how you come up with this!

Musings : round 1

ATX PSU - 400W - Modular - Fanless
newegg.com/Product/Product.a … 6817151097
100W / 20amps at 5 V DC
396W / 33amps at 12 V DC ( technically 400W less power used at 5 V DC )
and I like modular PSU’s cause I can get modular plugs to fit just the leads I want.
QTY 1 required

QTY 6 - Lepai 2020A+ amp
amazon.com/LP-2020A-Lepai-Tr … B0049P6OTI
20 w per channel - probably will clip above 8W per channel into my assumed 8ohm speakers ( existing in ceiling - unknown vintage and quality )

QTY 6 - Raspberry Pi
loaded with 4GB SD card with Volumio - natch
running headless
hard ethernet connection

QTY 1 - 8 port Gigabit router
6 ports for Pi’s
1 Port for NAS - where all the audio will reside
1 Port upstream to house Wireless routers and internet connection ( wireless to Sound@home remotes/androids )

Secondary Amp option
parts-express.com/t-amp-trip … d–320-600
I ordered one on a lark to see how it performs with the speakers. If it performs as well as the Lepai, I will like go with the smaller more modular board.
There’s no need for tonal adjustment in the Amplifier AFAIK, and volume control at the Amplifier seems pointless if we can get line level outputs in Volumio to work well enough. so maybe fewer complexities are better and this little board will work out.

Goals are
minimize the total volume of space taken up by the equipment
provide an easy way to control the audio for multiple rooms
not cost a ton of money
have fun learning about audio ( i have a decent amount of electrical / software experience but very little audio experience )

more info/news/musings as I think of it.


Hi Cardano,
I read your request. Yes I will try to upscale Sound@home to 6 rooms as soon as I can find time to write additional code :slight_smile:
The only concern I could have is the space on the screen to put 6 rooms. I limited to 5 exactly due to the space on the screen.
I need to think about some additional option to be put in the menu section.

I will write here when something will be available.


spoke with you soon!

Not that I have coded for Andriod before, but it seems like a larger list of options than will fit on the screen can frequently be handled by a ribbon which can swipe left or right leaving less than the total number of rooms visible.

Ordering the list like
Master / Den / Office / Family Room / Garage / Pool
but only showing 4 of those 6 on the screen at once.

While I like that your setup allows for all the rooms to be visible at once on the screen and scales them to maximize real estate usage; another way of thinking about it is to have 2 or 3 or 4 rooms per ‘screen’ be the maximum, but to allow a larger ( potentially infinite ) pool of rooms to be configured.


If you are going to distribute the power, why not distribute the signal to your speakers using a good power supply, one RPi and a big T-amp?

No synchronisation problems whatsoever.

What speakers will you use?

Speakers are existing. Ceiling installed and came with the house. I could go 1 RPI and 12 channel amp but only if I wanted to always have the same audio in every room.
My current goal is to have options for either same or different streams in each zone.

I am also thinking of a project similar to yours. I had planned on using sonos connect with my own mini amps to power HTD R-65 speakers. http://www.htd.com/Products/high-definition/HD-R65-ceiling-speakers

I already have one pair of speakers installed and temporarily hooked up to an old surround sound system. I was hunting for a good mini amp to power them when I came across this site.

Do you have any concerns with the lower wattage amps you are looking at? My speakers are 100w RMS so I’m looking at amps closer in power.

Honestly, the speakers are all installed in the home I bought, so I have no idea what their rated wattage or impedence are.
I’ve powered the TA2024 board to the speakers and using Windows Media Center as my test output and a spare PC ATX power Supply 12V DC power Supply, jury rigged a demo with the amp.
I could not get the volume past 8/100 on WMC before I had to stop. the speakers were just too loud.
I did not make any power measurements at that point, nor voltage readings on the input our output side of things, but I can say that the tiny little amp board from parts express has more than enough power.
Sound quality was ‘acceptable’
I’m no audiophile, and I wasnt expecting fantastic audio. it was very good.
One nifty tool I did think to use on my setup was my Infra-Red pyrometer. It registered nothing above 95F after an hour of ‘as loud as I will ever get it’ 8/100 music playing with no cooling fan.
Seems to me that cooling the TA2024 board will not be a significant problem.
My next step will likely be a single RPI-Volumio to (6) amps. I’ll add manual on/off control through the RPI GPIO outputs and a SainSmart 8relay card.
After that I will go to the (6)RPi setup and have different audio tracks available to the different zones.

Slow process - hence the slow response. But we make progress on the weekends and not during the work week.
Best wishes

Once you have 6 pi’s, how are you going to sync them if you want the same audio in two (or more) rooms? Does Volumio sync?

Also how are you going to change the audio volume? Or are you just going to use the pi volume and leave the amplifier knob at a suitable maximum?

Good points nickr.
I would also like to have answers on that. From my point of view, i think it´s not possible at the moment. Because the single Pi´s (Volumios) in a multiPiSetting [nice word :wink:] don´t “know” each other.
So you have to choose: Always have the same audio in ALL rooms (1pi, x channel amp) or never have the same (synced) audio in your rooms (x Pis + amps).
Remeber: Thats just my point of view. Maybe someone with an idea to realize that? Or is synced playback planned for future releases?



For amp, please consider the TA2021b instead of TA2024. This one is rated at 2x25W@4ohm load, which equals around 2x12W@8ohm loads.

Here is a nice kit for you:

The same is found for instance in SMSL SA3 @ebay for around 25-35usd + shipping.

Another option would be TK2050 with more headroom but is obviously more resource hungry.

If you want sync, you are better with a squeezebox solution. Logitech Media Server (open source) and picoreplayer or some similar pi solution.

I have looked at volumio with interest, but all I see is a front end to mpd - which has been done to death.

It is not a whole home solution if it can’t sync playback to multiple clients!

I’m doing almost the identical project, only difference is with a focus on Airplay, which has audio synching built in.

Curious to see how you power the pi’s off a power supply. I like the idea though.

What would IMHO be nice is to replicate what can be done by Sonos systems. Here each device has a line input and that input can be played locally or streamed across the network for in-sync playback across “grouped” devices.

The issue you will find however is that there will be a latency between the input and the playback - if you are using it for TV playback for example you need to get that latency <20mS or the local playback will be way out of lip-sync.

If you are not bothered about latency on the local input / output then this is achievable as long as your CPU load is not pushed too high. Sampling at 16/44 is more than enough for local content - you could probably get away with half that and be happy.

Now if the Pi had two i2s ports we’d be okay and get away from the need for USB audio overhead. Having one makes it a little more of a challenge and may need to adopt i2s for output and USB audio for input as suggested. I haven’t spent much time on SPI but it may be possible to use SPI for the audio in - again eliminating the use and overhead of USB device. More investigation needed here on my part.


I haven’t seen a squeezebox system that can take a line in and stream it across your network, but building something tht could would be a pretty simple exercise I would have thought.

Thanks for your thread, some interesting info.

I built a whole house system a while ago, and am now upgrading it, it is built around Squeezebox Server, or now LMS. My ‘clients’ were all Via C7 boards which I ran TinyCore Linux on and squeezeslave. For amplification I used what I had for the most part, Klipsch ProMedia active speakers, Logitech Active, Numark NPM5, and an optical input to my main Denon amp, as well as my old NAD amp and Mission Audio speakers.

In the kitchen I have a Joggler running SqueezePlay which we use as a static controller, along with SqueezeCommander on our phones and tablets. As a bonus for personal audio we use Android SqueezePlayer on the phones/tablets with headphones, linked with SqueezeCommander, (which is great for control, and also gives you the ability to download from the server for when you leave the house :slight_smile:

Now I have both the Via C7 and 4 Raspberry Pi. For me I chose to use IP/Ethernet to distribute to the rooms, that way I didn’t have think about it too hard, as I have power in all rooms and ethernet in most, wifi where I don’t.

I too was intrigued by this project, however after just getting player sync working by migrating to squeezelite I don’t want to loose that ability, walking between rooms with the same sound source playing and in-sync is great! Am still trying to find out why I “need” MPD, but I can’t see it yet. Will keep looking…

Interesting thread. I also want to build a multi-room arrangement but my requirements are fairly simple…

What I ultimately want to do is use a single RPi (for airplay and internet radio) coupled to a USB DAC and a decent single stereo amplifier. From there I want to add zone switching relays on the amplifier output to select a max of 2 pairs of ceiling speakers at any one time (this is to avoid excessive impedance loading on the amplifier). To control the zone selecting relays, I want to either use buttons on the Volumio web interface (say 4 zones) and get Volumio to control the onboard GPIO lines (linked to a darlington array relay driver chip such as a ULN2003) or use a PiFace Digital interface board (or similar) to do the same job. I would also like to use more IO lines to control a remote analog volume control pot (motorised) on the same amplifier and powering up/down of the amp when not required.

As an interim solution (don’t laugh!) I am using my RPi and USB DAC plugged into a redundant Sony GTX-something car stereo (with front panel AUX-in for RPi) connected to ceiling speakers in a couple of zones. Currently it’s powered by an always-on ATX power supply 12V rail (heaps of current for the amps!) and the 5V rail feeds the RPi. The setup works and even sounds surprisingly good! Not only do I get a 50Wx4 max (read: 20-25Wx4 RMS more correctly) MOSFET amplifier, FM radio, an MP3 capable CD player (if you really want to use it), it’s all remotely controllable by the included (now wall mounted in my living area) infrared remote controller! I simply removed the IR led out of the remote and extended it with twisted pair cable to the relocated IR LED sitting in front of the car stereo, which is mounted in my network cabinet for the time being! The stereo controls (input select, volume and FM station select etc) are easily operated blindly. Track select and playlists are controlled by my phone (using Apple remote app) to control my iMac’s iTunes collection. That coupled with the Volumio makes for a nice and simple temporary (I hope!) solution.

I must get on to see how I can alter the Volumio web interface to accommodate the zone switching. Will post back results if I make any headway on that front…

Finally, a word of thanks to all the people working on the Volumio project. It’s a brilliant project making use of the highly rated RPi and other ARM platforms. Couldn’t think of a better use for them myself! Keep up the good work guys. :smiley: