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Raspberry Pi 4 Model B Optimisation

Discussion in 'audio' started by ryder, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    If using the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B as a streamer connected to an external DAC via USB and a tablet as remote control for the Raspi4, are the following upgrades recommended?

    1. 8GB instead of 4GB RAM
    2. Raspberry Pi 15.3W USB-C power supply (is there a better aftermarket power supply)

    3. Raspberry Pi 4 Case Fan

    4. Raspberry Pi 4 Case

    Is there any other worthwhile upgrade other than the above? The Volumio app will be the music centre for the Raspi4 that manages the music library isn't it? Extracting meta data from music files stored on the hard disc and creating cover artwork of albums etc.

    Will the be any noticeable difference in sound quality between the Raspi4 and a laptop running Foobar?
    suzywong likes this.
  2. Man in a van

    Man in a van pfm Member

    Only the listener can determine that imho :)

    With this as the sole OS I would say, get a rpi4b -2gb with the official power supply and a case like this (if you have no intention of purchasing a HAT)

    SD card (and maybe a card reader) SanDisk Ultra 16 GB MicroSDHC UHS-I Memory Card

    If you don't get a case immediately, just position the rpi on its side with the gpio pins on the bottom, this will keep it plenty cool enough ;) I use an eggbox o_O

    Best practise is to use Ethernet to connect the rpi to your network

    miktec and legacylenslover like this.
  3. miktec

    miktec unissued

    Have just ordered a RPi 4 (already have a few 2Bs) to run via USB
    I went for the 2GB - more than enough to run a music app on.
    Have always used official Raspberry PSUs (occasionally a power bank) with no problems but I'm sure someone will recommend more exotic ones.
    There is absolutely no need for a fan or heatsink IME - I run Moode for hours sometimes and never gets at all hot (usually around 40C)
    The Pi hut do a really good metal case for £10 - looks sharp, snug fit and plenty of ventilation.
    (also available in silver)

    I always found Volumio to be a bit flakey (constant reboots required, etc) Mood is IME much better.
    legacylenslover likes this.
  4. Yomanze

    Yomanze pfm Member

    Turning WIFi off and going Ethernet direct is indeed a good thing with a Pi streamer.

    I have also found Moode to be a lot more stable than Volumio. My Pi hasn’t had one crash yet and is on 24/7. Been using it for at least a year now.
    miktec and legacylenslover like this.
  5. tomek

    tomek pfm Member

  6. legacylenslover

    legacylenslover Active Member

    I agree with most/all of what’s been said above.
    I went for a 2Gb Pi4 as I couldn’t see any need for the 4/8Gb versions.
    I went for the official Pi OEM SMPS but due to the numerous comments I’ve read over the last couple of months about Linear PSUs and the like, I am seriously considering an upgrade. It’s not that I’m 100% sure it will make a difference, but it’s something I’d like to try and confirm one way or the other.
    I didn’t bother with a fan, but put some inexpensive heat sinks onto several components on the board. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my Pi much above 55’ (and that’s with a HAT attached), but without a HAT it was routinely down in the 40s.
    I went for a rather nice case from FLIRC which incorporates a heat sink. not cheap, but good looking and does the job.
    And I’ve used both Volumio and Moode and only use my Pi to stream FLACs from an attached USB stick.
    I previously connected USB/USB but have now gone to a SPDIF HAT.
    miktec likes this.
  7. miktec

    miktec unissued

    100% with that ....
  8. legacylenslover

    legacylenslover Active Member

    If I could, I would certainly do this too. But with my router on a different floor in the house, I’m restricted to WiFi.
  9. John Phillips

    John Phillips pfm Member

    I have been using WiFi streaming for a long time. Without any problems. I have seen interference with my other kit in the 2.4 GHz band so I avoid that for audio. I use the more capacious 5 GHz band with a fairly modern router that supports the higher data rates.

    I agree that Ethernet is a good idea if possible and maybe I have just been lucky, so far.
    legacylenslover likes this.
  10. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    Thanks for all responses. It looks like 2GB RAM would be sufficient for this purpose.

    Similarly the intended use of the pi is solely to stream FLAC from attached 1TB portable HDD or SSD. Is the HAT add-on recommended solely for audio, and what are the options? I use USB Type A from computer to connect to USB Type B of the DAC. If the HAT SPDIF is a superior connection which produces higher sound quality than the USB, I might be inclined to explore. Any links to the HAT options? I'm currently using a rather fancy USB cable which costs 10X more than the Raspi4 and it's rather good.

    Good to note that Moode is better than Volumio. There are Raspi users who recommended the Volumio on other threads here.
    legacylenslover likes this.
  11. legacylenslover

    legacylenslover Active Member

    I need to be a bit careful here with what I say, only because there are lots of different opinions out there about whether USB/USB is “better” than (say) co-ax >co-ax or optical > optical. I don’t profess to be qualified enough to give an informed opinion here. And the conversations about (say) the quality of the USB implementation in such and such a DAC, is well beyond me.

    I can, however, tell you about the journey I’ve gone through.

    Having started with two Dragonfly DACs (into USB on the Pi), I then moved on to a DAC HAT. (I went for the ALLO BOSS DAC HAT) but there are many others.
    I’m assuming that as you’ve mentioned an external DAC, this is what you’ll be using (I.e. a DAC HAT not required).

    I then moved on to a Schiit Modi 3 DAC (USB from the Pi) and then a Schiit Modius (USB from the Pi). I was more than happy with the resulting SQ on both.

    The only reason I then purchased an ALLO DIGIONE SIGNATURE HAT was because I’d heard others say how fantastic it could be and out of the blue, one came up second hand. I could not have justified buying a new one at the moment. I can try and explain how I believe the SQ has improved over the USB connection to the Modius but I struggle to describe things in a way that others seem to be able to.

    If it was me, and I had my time over again, I would probably still go the USB/USB route initially, unless my DAC was reported to have a below par USB implementation.

    You still have the option of adding a HAT later on, if you feel the need or just want to see what all the fuss is about. Several manufacturers. I’ve only used ALLO. Others have used Just Boom, Hi Fi Berry and others.

    Can I just add one thing though. Although currently a Moode user, because of the short time I used Volumio, I cannot say which one is “better”. I strongly suspect it’s a very close call.

    Envious of the USB cable, but mustn’t go there!

    Happy to answer any follow up incl what I’m doing with PSUs etc.
    miktec and ryder like this.
  12. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    I appreciate the comprehensive response which is surely useful. Think I'll just give the Raspi4 a try later this year. The dedicated Pro-ject Stream Box Ultra S2 streamer is reported to be a step up from this Raspi and this will be in my wish list, not now but perhaps sometime in the near future.
    legacylenslover likes this.
  13. Man in a van

    Man in a van pfm Member

    Swap one raspberry pi for another o_O

    Del monaco likes this.
  14. sq225917

    sq225917 Bit of this, bit of that

    M00de over Volumio, its faster reading in your music library and less flaky. No difference in sound.
  15. suzywong

    suzywong Wot, no electrons?

    flacs on Synology NAS.
    cheapo Cat5e
    Allo USBridgeSig/DigiOneSig/Shanti/MoOde 7.1
    Naim DC-1 BNC-BNC
    Naim DAC/XPS

    ...and I've ceased to worry. it just plays music.....very nicely.

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