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Office Music

No, not a new product by Microsoft.

After the repainting project in our home office, we finally got the wall shelves up we’ve putting off.  As a way to motivate us, we’ve been holding off on getting some nice speakers for office music till the shelves were done, suffering with our semi-crappy computer speakers we each have on our Macs.

With the shelves finally up, we ordered a pair of Audioengine A5+ self-powered speakers (Marty decided the upgrade to bamboo was worth it, and I have to agree).  We typically have Apple Airports for streaming music around the house, with one connected to our AV receiver in the living room, and another connected to an amplifier in the basement.  But, this time, I wanted to experiment with using a Raspberry Pi as an Airplay endpoint.  I picked one up off of Amazon, along with an USB WiFi adaptor and case.  I also picked up an USB DAC, since it is well know that the built in DAC on the Raspberry Pi is lacking.  I went for a cheap DAC, to see if I could get a working solution I liked before I invested too much in to the hardware.  About $30 for the DAC, and if I tossed the project, the Raspberry would be used elsewhere.

Raspberry Pi with HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro and case.

A bit of software hacking got the solution working, and we were very happy with the results.  At that point, I started to do a bit of looking for a better DAC, and settle upon the HifiBerry DAC+ Pro and the brushed metal case to hold both the Raspberry and the DAC.  I also decided to move from the stock OS to a distribution package geared toward a music receiver/streamer solution, Pi MusicBox.  With Airplay support built in, and also the ability to natively play streams from Spotify, YouTube, and other online source, it seemed like a more streamlined solution.  Nice simple web interface means I can start and control streams from any browser.

All up and running, it’s a very nice solution.  I’ve very happy with the choice over another AirPort (my other AirPorts are also running as wireless APs in my house, and I had no need for another AP in the office), and I’m thinking that another Raspberry Pi with DAC might be installed in my garage soon to support some back yard speakers.