Rasperry Pi multichannel output to an AVR other than via HDMI?

Hi all,

(my first post here in the middle of my trial period of roon)

I own a lot classical music and around 20 SACDs in MCh (some as files). I am in the process of looking for a “higher” quality AVR in order to play my MCh music decently and continue buying those SACDs - eventually purchasing them as downloadable files in future. I bought so many of them, always with the hope that in future my gear would change into the right direction.

So a couple of weeks ago, I thought NAD T778 will be the choice, but in the meantime I am not convinced anymore. The NAD has only BlueOS to stream to (which simply kills MCh), and would I be able to connect a Raspi to the NAD to get it play multichannel via HDMI, or could I use the T778 as a USB DAC?

As an interim solution I wanted to stick to my really old AVR not having an HDMI input (oh yes, really old!) and gain more time to find out what will suit best. Is there a chance with coax or optical S/PDIF HAT?

So far I successfully put an Pi 3B+ / HifiBerry DAC+ Pro into operation:

  • first with the original HifiBerryOS.
  • second mOode
  • waiting to be tested:
    • ropieee
    • volumio
    • picoreplayer

What I learned here in the forum is that for the HDMI solution I necessarily have to deploy either volumio or picoreplayer.

Any advice which thread to read here the forum or elsewhere is appreciated.

HDMI possibly. USB is highly unlikely with these devices.

Thanks Kal for your reply.

Setting up piCorePlayer is some more work than the other candidates. I desperately tried to get MCh being played over HDMI (on the TV), so far without success.

I’m not sure if Squeezelite - as the basis of piCorePlayer - can play MCh in the first place. And roon didn’t “see” the piCorePlayer either, allthough I switched off LMS on the piCorePlayer. Maybe with roon as the source it would be different (but why I should it?). So I couldn’t try that path yet.

Maybe it would make a difference by installing the native roon bridge support as described here: Roon Bridge on PiCorePlayer - #22 by Aldos_Zxz

Today, it will be volumio’s turn. But I have little hope, apparently a Pi4 would be more appropriate for this task. But there is just too much reading to be done to understand everything that goes beyond the obvious features.

So if anyone can tell I’m trying in vain…

Volumio has the potential for multichannel: Volumio Primo music player/streamer | Stereophile.com

At the end of the Primo review you write in the Sidebar 1: Specifications: "… HDMI (video only) … ". That means the Primo as such is not the solution if it doesn’t output audio over HDMI?!

But interesting article. I read in the review that you listen to MCh and classical music. So you solved the challenge to play MCh in a streamed environment? What gear are you actually using?

In this thread Raspberry Pi 4 HDMI Output - #23 by dabassgoesboomboom several community members report that MCh is possible with a Pi3 or 4 with either piCorePlayer or Volumio. But not for me :frowning: as it seems.

My roon trial stops tomorrow. roon without MCh makes sense to me, as a NAD T778 would have (a not so bad) BlueOS on board. That’s at least my current impression.

Not necessarily.

Via USB to a MCH DAC but not entirely satisfactorily. The processing capability in the Volumio did not seem up to the task.

That’s why I thought I let my Synology DS218+ do all the calculations via roon. I tested some convolution filters - also with the perspective to develop my own DRC solution without Dirac - and I could not even see a fraction of change in the CPU load while switching on/off the filter queue. DS218+ has surely enough power to handle all of it.