My First Raspberry Pi Project: Using Hifi Berry DAC to Emulate A Squeezebox

RPI-HB-DACRCA-300pxSome time ago I received a Raspberry Pi B+ as a gift. It had been on my amazon wish list, and for good reason. It looked like one practical approach to emulating the venerable Logitech Squeezebox, which to this day serves as the basis for music playback hereabouts.

Since we were not expanding our music playback scheme there was at first little motivation to got ahead with this effort. That is, until the analog outputs of our existing fleet of Squeezeboxes started to fail. Eventually the analog outputs become unusable, the result of failing electrolytic capacitors. Three of our five SB3s now suffer this malady.

So, not long ago I set to the task of emulating a Squeezebox using a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, a HiFiBerry DAC and a 4 GB micro-SD memory card. To this core I added a suitable case, a power-over-Ethernet splitter and piCorePlayer. All in, this rig cost under $100.

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Hunting For Our Next SqueezeBox

When stuff just works all the time it doesn’t often come up in conversation, which just seems wrong. After all, it’s still working! It’s the stuff that doesn’t consistently work that gets the attention.

We’ve used Logitech Squeezeboxes for musical playback around the property for a  very long while. We presently have five of them deployed, including our original Squeezebox 3 that was purchased in 2005! In general they just work, which has been great, especially since they were discontinued years ago.

When we stage our annual Halloween festivities we are required to reposition some equipment. Last time around one Squeezebox powered-up with a fault in the analog output. One channel is delivered with level much reduced compared to the other channel. A quick search of the still lively forums.slimdevices.com turned up similar reports, attributing the problem to faulty capacitors in the analog output stage.

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Extending Our Whole House Audio To The Back Yard

audio-trioLike many people we have a wooden deck at the back of the house into the back yard. It has long been my intent to extend our ability to play music to the back yard, but it has only recently com to pass. It’s essentially the next step in my long standing plans to deploy Whole House Audio, a project that recalls some of the earliest posts to this site.

As I described so long ago, we love our Logitech Squeezeboxes. They still form the basis of how we play music around here, even though Logitech has abandoned the product line. In fact, when my one Squeezebox Touch died I was inspired to purchase another Squeezebox 3 on E-bay, just to have a spare.

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The Logitech Squeezebox Lives On

squeezebox_mr.jpgThis past week I bought our fifth Squeezebox streaming music player. It’s a used Squeezebox Classic sourced via E-Bay for a rather approachable $89. This new-to-us Squeezebox replaces a Squeezebox Touch model that failed a few months ago.

We now have three in service and two that have failed. Two failures over about eight years is completely tolerable. We remain committed to using the Squeezeboxen even if Logitech has discontinued the line.

I think that Logitech stumbled in their decision to discontinue the Squeezebox line. The product range has a substantial and very loyal user base. It will continue to do so since they have ported both the Squeeze Center Server and Squeezebox player software to the little Raspberry Pi SBC.

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Musing About Logitech’s Squeezebox, Squeezebox For Android, Pandora & Tivo

Squeezebox-TivoHD-SB-For-AndroidAround the house and office we use Logitech’s recently defunct Squeezebox music players. We have several of these, a mix of the Squeezebox 3 and Squeezebox Touch models.

There’s an Android app that provides remote control of these little players. I’ve had it loaded for as long as I’ve had an Android phone. However, it’s never worked for me. At least it didn’t until the past weekend.

Being something of a traditionalist I have historically fed the Squeezebox herd from a small media server or NAS on my network. Only occasionally would I point them to online sources like Radio Paradise, KPFT or KUHF.

This past weekend I started to play with Pandora. The Squeezeboxes can access a Pandora account and thereby stream decent quality music from an online source. Pandora’s paid service provides 192 kbps streams without advertising. That makes the $36/yr paid service seem quite attractive.

Millions of people already use Pandora. I accept that I’m late to that party.

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SNB Reviews Logitech Squeezbox Radio

logitech_squeezebox_radio copyAll VoIP and no play makes Michael a dull boy. My wife would argue that much of my VoIP-ish activity is play, but that’s another story. If you’ve been reading things around here for a bit you already know that we love our Squeezeboxen! When the music flows here, it flows through these, and we do have a few of them here and there.

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