HifiBerry solution with Ropiee and Roon - active and passive speakers options / connections

I am curious to try an HifiBerry solution with Ropiee to use speakers with Roon. I’d like to first try with some cheap speakers I already have, but I admit my total ignorance when it comes to all things Raspberry and HifiBerry. Could you please help me shed some light? And apologies if the questions are very banal :frowning:

What I have understood is this - is it correct?

First of all, the basics: if I am connecting active speakers, all I need is a Raspberry and a DAC; the kind of DAC I need will depend on the connection required for the speakers: there’s aDAC with a 3.5mm jack , which I can use for cheap computer speakers, and other versions with RCA, XLR etc connectors.

If instead I want to connect passive speakers, then I need a Raspberry and an AMP. The AMP2 is basically a DAC+ and doesn’t require a separate DAC, while the AMP60 is an analogue that must therefore be connected to a DAC.

How about connections? How do I connect the Raspberry and the AMP/DAC together? What kind of connections does the AMP2 support?

Yes, there are “guides”, and yes, I did spend quite a lot of time going through those, but it all seems incredibly convoluted - it reminded me of when I was trying to learn Linux or Git and every piece of documentation I found was needlessly convoluted, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

The AAMP60 is a 30 Wpc class-D amplifier, designed for use with the DAC+ ADC and DAC+ ADC Pro boards (these combine a DAC with an ADC, to allow you to connect an analogue input).

If you don’t need an analogue input, then go for the AMP2 (which combines a DAC and a 30Wpc class-D amplifier) with passive speakers or go with the DAC+ Pro with active speakers.

The DAC+ and the AMP2 are “hats” that connect directly to your RPi. Everything you need (except for power supply, case and micro-SD card) are included in the kit.

Buy the Raspberry Pi plus choice of DAC hat and mount this on the 40-pin general purpose IO header. Then flash an SD card with a Ropieee image. Job done!

If you’re using passive speakers get the AMP2 or IQaudiO DigiAMP+. If you’re using active speakers get the IQaudiO Pi-DAC+ as this has both RCA and headphone outputs.

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I’d also consider getting the IQAudio Pi-DAC Pro if you think you might consider active speakers with XLR inputs at some point.

How about the wifi connection? I understand the Raspberry Pi4 has built-in wifi; is the connection any good? Has any of you needed to use a specific wifi adapter? Streaming audio doesn’t take a huge amount of bandwidth, but, after my terrible experience with a Sonos that keeps disconnecting despite being 4 metres from the router with nothing in between, I don’t know what to think.

Many people use wifi successfully, but Ethernet is always recommended (because it always works). I ended up running a few cables, and this probably contributed as much to our listening enjoyment as anything else has.

I wrote the RoPieee Beginner’s Guide, which I assume that you are referring to. How could it be made better? Is there something missing or a topic glossed over?

On an RPi 3b I use a cheap Edimax dongle - this allows me to upsample to 384KHz on both RPis without ever experiencing any dropouts. Can’t speak for the Wifi on the RPi4 - will also depend on the case you choose.

I had read that guide, it is actually quite clear - thanks a lot for your efforts! The key thing I didn’t quite understand is how to configure wifi; the iqAudio PDF guide says you need to write a text file with your password onto an SD card, as detailed here .Do you have to follow the same approach with Ropiee, too? or do you have to first connect a computer via ethernet to the raspberry and then, from there, enable wifi?
I have ordered a HiFiBerry and will play around with it once I receive it

As someone still fairly new to Roon and totally new to the whole Raspberry world, what struck me was:

  • There is a small guide on how to use HiBerryOs with Roon. How would that differ from using RoPiee?
  • the hifiberry website is laid out very poorly. I even wondered if it was legit at all. For example, there isn’t a way to filter the website and show products by type or by connection. There is some documentation but I found it scattered all over the place and a bit confusing
  • The iqAudio website is a little bit better, but not that much, because it has this guide, but most of its products are currently out of stock

Correct. Initial install is via ethernet – please note that you can do the initial install close to your router/switch, and move the Pi into the final location later.

RoPieee is a purpose built appliance-like OS dedicated to supporting Roon as an endpoint using a Raspberry Pi. @spockfish has done an amazing job. RoPieee has no direct affiliation with the HAT manufacturers, some of whom have also created OS instructions. Of course, any given HAT (say a HiFiBerry DAC+) is agnostic as hardware – you can use any number of software configurations other than using it as a Roon end point. If you are using Roon, however, I can’t think of a disadvantage of using RoPieee.

I updated the RoPieee guide to make it more clear regarding ethernet. Thanks for the feedback.

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I have 3 X pi’s running wireless perfectly on 5ghz banf… Two are included in the speakers themselves the other is for headphones and just has a DragonFly DAC for output.

Re wifi, I find the Pi 4 to be far superior to previous models. Although wired is always best I’ve had great success with a 4 running wifi in a location I can’t get an Ethernet cable to. A Pi 3 didn’t do the job very well in the same location.