Finally, a viable Raspberry Pi alternative!

For years, the humble Raspberry Pi provided tinkerers with an inexpensive way to create great sounding Roon zones. Just flash a $10 microSD card with RoPieee, DietPi, VitOS or similar, pop it into a $35 RPi board, add power, and without much effort or expense, you had a new Roon zone. Connect virtually any USB DAC and it would show up in Roon. Such fun.

Sadly, at least in America, new RPi boards have not been officially sold to end users for 2+ years. OEMs can buy them for embedded projects and scalpers offer them for $100+ over the original prices. Because there’s been no (authorized) supply, I’ve been steering new Roon enthusiasts to the iFi ZEN Stream for endpoint needs. A fine product, but $399 is not affordable to everyone.

However, I have great news!

I’ve found an inexpensive board that is well-made and works beautifully with Roon. How much? How does $30 sound? What’s the catch? Well, there’s no on-board Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but we never needed Bluetooth anyway, and Wi-Fi is easy to add with an inexpensive Wi-Fi dongle if you can’t run an Ethernet cable (wired is preferred for Roon).


The solution is built around the $30 AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato) board from Libre Computer. The 1 GB version is more than enough for Roon, but $5 more gets you 2 GB of RAM for a bit of future-proofing, if that’s your thing. You’ll need a similar set of other inexpensive bits to what you’d use for RPi projects:

  • Storage (microSD or eMMC flash, 16 GB is plenty)
  • Power supply (5V, 3A microUSB)
  • Case (compatible with Raspberry Pi 2/3 Model B/B+ cases)
  • Wi-Fi dongle (optional, stick with Realtek RTL8811CU Chipset)

Total cost will be $45 to $75, depending on how fancy you decide to go with your selections.


The Libre Le Potato board can run several different operating systems, but I selected Armbian since it appeared to be the most current. You’ll find links to all of this on the website. On Windows, I used 7-Zip to uncompress the Armbian image and Belina Etcher to flash it to a microSD card. For initial setup, I connected an HDMI monitor (virtually any modern TV will work) and a USB keyboard.

A few minutes after applying power, I was greeted with a few simple prompts, and shortly after that, I could see the Armbian system on my home network. Once I had the IP address (run the ip a command locally if you don’t see it), I could connect over the network using SSH from any Windows or Mac terminal window. Once I was logged in, I ran sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get upgrade to bring things current.

I next went over to Roon’s Downloads page and clicked the Linux link under “Roon Bridge”. That took me to information about Roon’s Easy Installer. The Roon Bridge (armv8) image is the one you want. To download it, I right-clicked on link to copy the link address and then went back to the terminal window where I had SSH’ed into the Libre Computer system. There, I typed this command to download the image:

curl -LO

Once the download finished, I ran the Roon Bridge installer with this command:

sudo bash

And, moments after that, Roon Bridge was up and running. As soon as I connected a USB DAC to the Libre board, I saw it show up under the Audio tab in Roon Settings. So cool! And much easier than DietPi. Enabled the new zone, and I had music playing seconds later.

I’ve tested this setup playing DSD256 and 32-bit, 768 kHz PCM over Wi-Fi (using this dongle: with zero dropouts. The CPU on the little board was 94-95% idle, even at these high sample rates.

I’ve not done a thorough evaluation of sound quality, but it sounds great running my Khadas Tone2 Pro DAC and Focal Radiance headphones. I’ll do a direct comparison with the ZEN Stream and also try a few DAC HATs from Orchard Audio and HiFiBerry. So far, I could not be happier!

Edit: I should add that I have not attempted to boot RoPieee/RopieeeXL or any of the rooExtend images. I assume that they will not work, but if I get around to giving these a try anyway, I’ll report back here. Please share your results if you are curious enough to test. :slight_smile:

Edit 2: Here’s a parts list with my comments to help folks get started.


Searched the website for GPIO Audio HAT compatibility:


I saw that too. Bummer, but perhaps there are other Libre Computer boards that are armv8 compatible that will work. Failing that, if Raspberry Pi’s continue to be unavailable, I expect that 3rd parties, like HiFiBerry, JustBoom, Allo, and Orchard Audio will start making HAT boards that are compatible with the Libre Computer GPIO system.

For now, I’m happy with USB integration and the impressive I/O performance. There’s a lot to like about this board at this price point.


Nice case!!

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Thanks. It’s from a stack of Kodi-branded RPi3 and RPI4 cases that I bought a while back to support the project. Apparently, this board also works very well with Kodi when using the CoreELEC and LibreELEC images, but I’ve not tested yet. I generally use NVIDIA Stream TV Pro boxes to run Kodi these days (with no dodgy plugins…I’m only playing local content that I legally own).


I’m using a different Libre Computer board, the Renegade. I posted about it here.

I looked at the specs for the Le Potato vs the Renegade vs other Libre boards and chose the Renegade… for reasons I don’t remember. Perhaps the USB 3.0? Or slightly more powerful processor…

You are correct in that the amount of effort to get this working is pretty minimal, and risk is < $50.


I was looking at that board today and may give it a try for a more demanding project.

I have an eMMC card arriving next week to upgrade the storage. I’m getting only 5.5 MB/s sequential writes and 22 MB/s reads with microSD card. Not consequential as a bridge, but I’m curious to find out how much of improvement the eMMC will be.

Too bad that DAC/DIGI/AMP hats from places like HiFiBerry can’t be used with these boards. Still, there are plenty of uses for them with only USB. Cheers.


IIRC, someone did post about an RPi compatible board that would be a direct replacement. I’ll see if I can find it.


that would be great!

Unfortunately, I can’t find the post. If my recollection serves me, it was a Pi 3B form factor. This may have been from Libre Computer, but I can’t be certain.

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I’ve managed to acquire 2 RPi4 boards for £80GBP and have set up with Ropiii. I’m running one feeding main system and other feeding headphone amp/DAC next to my arm chair. Love them! Can’t see how any of the ££££ solutions can improve as a lossless end point solutions?

That’s pretty good compared to what scalpers change in the US. If you need more zones, please give the Libre Computer board a try and let me know how you get on with it.

I’m using a RPi4 running VitOS in my main system. I bought it back when they were only $35. Wish I had bought a few more. If I get around to swapping in the Le Potato board, I’ll let you know how it compares.

@David_Snyder an excellent solution that’s well documented (no surprise).

I wouldn’t say the RPi 4B is “unavailable”; I’ve purchased six in the last year. And agreed, $110 is a ripoff considering what we used to pay. But we also have countless audiophiles that buy $500 interconnects and expensive power cords. Given the convenience either the RPi or Libre Computer board offer, the $70 extra is money well spent.

But now we have an option, and that’s a much needed “extra” to have available. Thanks for the research, and more importantly, sharing it with everyone.

Thanks for this thorough overview!

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Here’s a parts list with my comments to help folks get started.

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Clear, concise directions. Very easy to follow. I bought a Potato and when it got here I had it up and streaming Roon in no time at all. I can’t thank you enough!


So glad to hear it, @Wade_Kincaid. Please share a photo when you have a moment. :slight_smile:

Which DAC(s) are you using yours with?

I’ve upgraded to eMMC storage (~10x faster than microSD) and the fancy heatsink (~10 degrees C cooler now, but it was not running overly warm before).

Unfortunately, this means I’ll need a new case. I have one on the way from

This sounds amazing with the iFi Audio GO Blu and my HiFiMan HE400se headphones, which are not particularly easy to drive. Much as I love the Khadas Tone2 Pro, it was not up to the task.

Edit: BTW, if you’re curious to know the CPU temperature of your Libra Computer (or other SBC), I wrote this script a while back. It works on most distros I’ve tried:


awk '{printf("- CPU temp : %.1f'"'"'C : %.1f'"'"'F\n", $1/1000, 32+($1/1000)*9/5)}' /sys/devices/virtual/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp

For example:

dsnyder@lepotato:~$ cpu-temp
- CPU temp : 42.0'C : 107.6'F

I’m using a Denafrips Ares II dac with it. Sounds great. Running high 40s for temp right now with no heat sink. I ordered the one you referenced and it will be here tomorrow to cool it down a touch. I was running a Pi4 in this setup before, but wanted to use it for a 3d printer application where I could have access to the wifi. The potato is hardwired to the network. RIght now it is setting out naked while I wait on the heatsink. I printed this cse for it and will get it all together tomorrow. Did you ever try Ropieee on the potato?

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Thanks for sharing. That’s a very nice looking case. Do you have the plans on Github somewhere?

I have not tried booting Le Potato with a RoPieee image yet. I’m 99.7% certain it will not work, but ya never know for sure until you try. I have a second board coming in next week that I’ll use to make a YouTube video about this build. I may try RoPieee during that video just to show folks what happens (or doesn’t happen, as the case may be).