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RasPlex as headless audio only player?

guy.brownguy.brown Validating, Plex Pass Posts: 19 Plex Pass

Hey all,

What is the best way to setup and use RasPlex as an headless audio only player attached to my hi-fi and controlled via the Plex iOS app or web app?

I am looking to create a player that supports DSD and FLAC 24/192 and use a USB DAC supporting DSD (or alternatively a DAC such as IQAudio or HiFiBerry).

Is this easy to achieve using RasPlex?

Is RasPlex a better option than trying the Plex Media Player for Embedded Platforms?

Best Regards

Guy

Answers

  • abtonabton Members, Plex Pass Posts: 17 Plex Pass

    As I'm listening to music on a headless RasPlex setup at the moment, I can make some comments.

    RasPlex supports the HifiBerry DACs nicely, as that is what I am using, but you need to manually edit the config.txt to enable support. Details on how to do this are on the RasPlex site (don't have the link to hand at the moment).

    You'll need to attach to a monitor or TV for the first setup, as you can't do this from the CLI. But once you have set every thing up (remembering to select the DAC as the default audio out in the options) you can power off the PI and move it to where you want it and power on and it will boot up and run happily without the TV/monitor attached.

    Remote control via the web app or iOS app works nicely. The iOS app defaults to the 'pretend remove control' interface (up/down/left/right controls etc) by default when connecting, which are useless without a monitor attached. Just dismiss that and then play the music you want from the server library.

    All the music I have played has been direct play, rather than transcoded, and that includes some 24/192 hi-res FLAC files I have tried. The gapless support works perfectly as well. As I'm in the UK I want BBC radio, and this works nicely even with the HLS streams. Not tried TuneIn Radio yet, but I'll give that a go at some point.

    I currently have four RasPlex installs as headless audio servers throughout my house working nicely.

    The only problem I currently have is that the AirPlay support is broken in the current version (open bug number 129) which annoys my kids as they want to stream audio from iPads etc and this doesn't work. I'm hoping for a fix in a future version to remove this annoyance.

    Overall I'm happy with the setup. Not sure how the auto update feature will work when not attached to monitor, as I've had no updates since getting this all setup. If it displays an onscreen prompt I may have to attached to a TV when updates are out to do the update.

    Hope this helps.

  • jacriderjacrider Members, Plex Pass Posts: 48 Plex Pass

    This is what we do here as well.

    I have one in a high-end system with the RaspPi + HifiBerry Digital out board and sending a digital signal into a NAD DAC and amplifier. This will allow me to stream at the quality of the recordings in our library. We have many (legally purchased) 24/192 high res FLAC recordings that sound great on this system.

    For other parts of the house, we have a couple of RaspPi's with the HifiBerry Amps. The speakers are in-ceiling and wired to the basement where these units sit.

    Using Apple/Android devices, we can select music and location. Can't wait until someone figures out how to stream to multiple locations at once.

    Works well.

  • OttoKernerOttoKerner Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 30,873 Plex Ninja

    A Raspberry Pi with Hifiberry as a headless, audio-only player is overkill.
    While it is a nice project for tinkering, you'll get away far cheaper when just using a ChromeCast Audio.

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  • abtonabton Members, Plex Pass Posts: 17 Plex Pass

    For just audio streaming, you are correct a Chromecast Audio will work fine.

    The advantage of using a Raspberry Pi for me was Airplay support, so my kids could stream audio from iPhones/iPads. Unfortunately this is currently broken in Rasplex 1.6.2.

  • guy.brownguy.brown Validating, Plex Pass Posts: 19 Plex Pass

    Thanks for all the answers :D

    Has anyone tried a USB DAC as opposed to an on-baord DAC.

    Also, would Plex support DoP for DSD playback?

    Thanks

    Guy

  • OttoKernerOttoKerner Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 30,873 Plex Ninja

    @guy.brown said:
    Also, would Plex support DoP for DSD playback?

    There is not a single Plex client which supports Direct Play of DSD streams. These will always get converted by the server.

    (Mind you, to reap the benefits of DSD you need a specially constructed D/A converter. Computationally converting DSD to PCM won't do. Might as well convert to 96/24 FLAC and store this instead.)

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  • trumpy81trumpy81 Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 11,062 Plex Ninja
    edited October 2016

    If you want DSD playback and be able to use a HiFiBerry DAC or a USB DAC then try RuneAudio.

    I have an RPI3 setup with the 7" Touchscreen from the Raspberry Pi foundation with a HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro and RuneAudio and it is sweet as. :D

    RuneAudio supports the touchscreen out of the box, ditto for the HiFiBerry, I think I only had to make a couple of adjustments to the config.txt file to get everything working properly.

    The touch sensitivity is a little on the low side but it works. Or, you can use it headless if you want and control it via iOS or Android or Windows phone, all you need is a browser.

    All of my music is stored on a Synology NAS and the content is streamed via Ethernet and built-in Wireless connections to the RPi3.

    I tried using just Wireless, but unfortunately, the music would drop out frequently, but that could just be my wireless setup and location etc... Anyhow, using the Ethernet as well has cured all of the drop outs.

    RuneAudio also has provisions for streaming internet radio, which is great because I am able to listen to my local community radio station to keep myself updated on local events and such. You can add your own stations or select from a huge array of worldwide stations.

    RuneAudio also supports spotify if that's your thing.

    If you are interested, then visit the RuneAudio page here: http://www.runeaudio.com/

    The best part is that it's free! :)

    Regards,
    Andy M.

    My Equipment: Synology DS1813+ | Panasonic TH-L42ET60A & TH-55DX600U | Windows 10 Professional 64Bit PC's | Raspberry Pi 2's & Odroid C2 with OpenPHT


    Device Profiles | File Naming in Plex | NAS - Plex Compatibility Guide | What CPU does my NAS have | Synology FAQ's page | Tips & Tricks
  • quietpleasequietplease Members Posts: 9 ✭✭

    Re Chromecast vs RPi for headless audio, @OttoKerner, if you want your client direct wired via ethernet, aren't you looking at the same $$ once you've purchased an adapter for the Chromecast?

    Related question: if you are happy receiving digital audio via HDMI, is a HifiBerry actually needed for the headless RPi?

  • OttoKernerOttoKerner Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 30,873 Plex Ninja
    edited October 2016

    @quietplease said:
    Re Chromecast vs RPi for headless audio, @OttoKerner, if you want your client direct wired via ethernet, aren't you looking at the same $$ once you've purchased an adapter for the Chromecast?

    This may vary from country to country, but here in Europe for instance a CC Audio plus the Ethernet adapter sets you back at ~60€
    A Raspberry Pi, with a decent analog audio output (HiFIberry) is easily double that money, if you count in all components needed (plus shipping): Pi, case, SD card, power source, HiFiBerry

    Related question: if you are happy receiving digital audio via HDMI, is a HifiBerry actually needed for the headless RPi?

    Of course. If you use an AVR with HDMI input you won't need a separate audio interface.

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  • Malcolm ClarkMalcolm Clark Members, Plex Pass Posts: 125 Plex Pass

    @ottkerner

    Could you say why you think a Pi plus Hifiberry is overkill.

    I've got my media library ripped to FLAC or ALAC and the HiFiberry wired into an AudioLab amp and I have to say that in my opinion the sound is as good (possibly better than) my Arcam CD player.

    Just my opinion ...

    Malcolm

  • OttoKernerOttoKerner Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 30,873 Plex Ninja

    @Malcolm Clark said:
    Could you say why you think a Pi plus Hifiberry is overkill.
    I've got my media library ripped to FLAC or ALAC and the HiFiberry wired into an AudioLab amp and I have to say that in my opinion the sound is as good (possibly better than) my Arcam CD player.

    The sound quality is no doubt very good.
    It is just a price comparison.
    Even if you get the ethernet adapter for the CC, you'll pay only half the amount than what you shell out for a Pi + HiFiBerry (all necessary parts included, like power adapter, SD card, special case)

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  • Malcolm ClarkMalcolm Clark Members, Plex Pass Posts: 125 Plex Pass

    @OttoKerner

    Thank you for your reply. Yes, I accept the CC would be a lower cost, but given the results I get I do think that my Pi + Hifiberry is a bit of a bargain.

    All the best
    Malcolm

  • quietpleasequietplease Members Posts: 9 ✭✭

    Still not quite apples-to-apples -- CC is HDMI output, RPi is HDMI output, so HifiBerry should not be part of the price comparison (if you need toslink or L/R out, then even your CC needs an HDMI extractor, comparable $$). For headless audio wired, it's RPi vs a CC+etheradapter, and RPi is less expensive or at least comparable.

  • OttoKernerOttoKerner Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 30,873 Plex Ninja
    edited October 2016

    @quietplease said:
    Still not quite apples-to-apples -- CC is HDMI output,

    We were discussing the 'Chromecast Audio', this one has analog and optical outputs.

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  • quietpleasequietplease Members Posts: 9 ✭✭

    oh! cool! I'll get one of those for the unwired side of the house.

  • timinskitiminski Members Posts: 42 ✭✭

    Don't know if anyone still subscribes to this particular forum feed but here's my experience and a couple of questions:

    • I've done a few Pi2B and Pi3B audio-over-WiFi via Rasplex setups for family and friends using both HiFiBerry and BOSS DACs. The audio output quality has been wonderful on both DACs....much better than my experience with Chromecast pucks.
    • Also done Pi3B audio-over-WiFi via Rasplex using HiFiBerry Amp+ boards and likewise, the audio quality has been very nice. Peak output is limited by the speaker resistance but still the volume has been acceptable and the quality very acceptable.

    Here's the questions:
    1) A recent project for another friend incorporates audio control via PMP on iOS (both iPhones and iPads). Unfortunately they have been experiencing two unpleasant issues:

    • a) inability to control volume via the iOS devices in any manner
    • b) disappearance / reappearance of Rasplex PMP nodes on the network in that frequently only one of the nodes appears at a time as a flinging target
      2) This one is somewhat off-topic however it does relate to the above Rasplex setup: The friend is a Spotify lover and despite many searches, I am unable to locate a reliable PMP plugin for PMS / Rasplex-PMP setups that actually works. Any tips or links on enabling properly enabling Spotify on Rasplex?

    Thanks in advance to all who respond...

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