Orange Pi for my audio system

My Orange Pi Plus just arrived. I plan to install Ubuntu 15.04, mpd, ecasound, etc. and use it to replace my old desktop system.

Goal: 2-way crossover between my KEF r101 and my 4 10" subs, 1 terabyte drive for music library, as in the desktop system.

So far, the only issue I've had is that documentation is pretty sparse, and the thing comes with Android installed already. I think I have the SD card with the right image on it to boot into Linux, but I need our TV to see the screen (video out is HDMI, and I don't have a monitor with HDMI input)

I'll report progress as it happens.
 
Seeing your thread title is about the "Orange Pi" I hope you don't mind if I post my own experiences with the cheap "Orange Pi PC". This is the $15 one that is similar to, yet slightly better in terms of hardware specs, than the Rasperry Pi 2. Like you mentioned, hardly any documentation although there is an orange Pi forum that the manufacturer hosts that you can access through their web site: Orange Pi - Orange Pi Plus

I was able to download an Ubuntu image, likely around late November 2015, and get the board to boot up and run the OS. I may or may not have installed the VLC player and played some audio through the headphone jack at the time to to a quick test, but that's about it.

I am planning to revisit this hardware platform because it is very economical and more powerful than the Raspberry Pi 2. This thread seems to be as good a place as any to post new info, so I will do that when I have some.
 
I decided to take a day to see if I could get some new hardware working. It didn't go so well.

Raspberry Pi Zero
First I wanted to try the Raspberry Pi Zero. In order to connect a few USB devices you need to connect a hub. The only possibility for this is via the OTG connector. I naively thought I had an OTG capable hub and bought an adapter for teh USB to mini (?) USB plug. Didnt' work. So I ran out to the store and bought an OTG to USB host adapter cable. I plugged this in, and then the hub to it, and then my keyboard mouse and WiFi dongle into that. No response. I tried plugging the mouse only directly into the OTG adapter, and got the cursor to move, but then when I tried to put back the hub again nothing worked. And then I could not even get the mouse alone to work again. Sigh. Unless I figure out what I did wrong I'm now not really certain that I will bother to do anything with the Zero. Even though it only costs $5, you need to add on other stuff to make it useful for audio and that makes the price go way up. It's definitely MUCH slower than the Pi 2 - I could tell that just by how fast it booted up to the desktop.

Orange Pi PC
Then I decided that I would revisit my Orange Pi PC. I initially got this working somehow a couple of months ago and then put it down without doing much with it. So I connected up everything, using the same hub from my Pi Zero trial, and fired it up. It booted up fine and I logged in. Then I tried to get WiFi working. I finally remembered that this was what had kept me from doing anything with it previously. With the Pi 2 I could plug in a WiPi dongle and immediately start using it (e.g. plug and play). On the Orange Pi PC the OS does not recognize the WiPi dongle when it is inserted. I know that another computer on which I have Ubuntu I can insert the dongle and it works right away. On the Orange Pi we are working with some tweaked OS and kernel because the Allwinner H3 has not yet been integrated into the mainline version. The tweaked kernel may not have the driver included, or something like that. Who knows really. I believe that previously I was able to install VLC and use it to play audio (listening via the headphone jack) when connected via Ethernet cable, but I don't in general have a jack available where I want to use the O-Pi so wireless is a must. I think that when the board is fully supported by the kernel this will be worth another look. For now I will mothball it for another 6 months or until find out how to work around the WiFi problem.

I now appreciate the functionality and online support for the Raspberry Pi 2. For the time being I will stick to that platform, which is working well for me.

That's all for now.
 
Charlie, one of the advantages of the Orange Pi Plus is built in WIFI. Booted in android, it does WiFi just fine without any intervention... Is happy with my usb keyboard and mouse.
Haven't had a chance to boot Ubuntu yet. maybe this weekend....

I think that it's simply a case that the driver(s) for USB WiFi dongles are not pat of the OS build. Later, after posting above, I came across some custom OS images that supposedly contained some drivers. Otherwise, my Orange Pi PC seems to work OK. I just want to wait until the Allwinner chips are incorporated into the mainstream OS builds rather than keep fighting against little issues like this.
 

diyaudnut

Member
2015-02-24 5:41 am
Pardon me if this is OT

Couple of questions about the large number of SBC options:
1. Which one offers well designed layouts and quality of their I2S interface?
2. Can they be run with reasonably sized linear PSU?
3. A good linear PSU for analog part of the DAC on the I2S interface?
4. Can they use good quality low jitter clocks and is that maintained through interfaces/layout
5. From CPU power perspective are they at a point where they can run simple 2/3 way crossovers along with the streaming audio player

I do understand that likely they already offer excellent playback quality. Just trying to find out what tweaks are available to push towards best audio chain implementations.
 
I decided to take a day to see if I could get some new hardware working. It didn't go so well.

Raspberry Pi Zero
First I wanted to try the Raspberry Pi Zero. In order to connect a few USB devices you need to connect a hub. The only possibility for this is via the OTG connector. I naively thought I had an OTG capable hub and bought an adapter for teh USB to mini (?) USB plug. Didnt' work. So I ran out to the store and bought an OTG to USB host adapter cable. I plugged this in, and then the hub to it, and then my keyboard mouse and WiFi dongle into that. No response. I tried plugging the mouse only directly into the OTG adapter, and got the cursor to move, but then when I tried to put back the hub again nothing worked. And then I could not even get the mouse alone to work again. Sigh. Unless I figure out what I did wrong I'm now not really certain that I will bother to do anything with the Zero. Even though it only costs $5, you need to add on other stuff to make it useful for audio and that makes the price go way up. It's definitely MUCH slower than the Pi 2 - I could tell that just by how fast it booted up to the desktop.

Orange Pi PC
Then I decided that I would revisit my Orange Pi PC. I initially got this working somehow a couple of months ago and then put it down without doing much with it. So I connected up everything, using the same hub from my Pi Zero trial, and fired it up. It booted up fine and I logged in. Then I tried to get WiFi working. I finally remembered that this was what had kept me from doing anything with it previously. With the Pi 2 I could plug in a WiPi dongle and immediately start using it (e.g. plug and play). On the Orange Pi PC the OS does not recognize the WiPi dongle when it is inserted. I know that another computer on which I have Ubuntu I can insert the dongle and it works right away. On the Orange Pi we are working with some tweaked OS and kernel because the Allwinner H3 has not yet been integrated into the mainline version. The tweaked kernel may not have the driver included, or something like that. Who knows really. I believe that previously I was able to install VLC and use it to play audio (listening via the headphone jack) when connected via Ethernet cable, but I don't in general have a jack available where I want to use the O-Pi so wireless is a must. I think that when the board is fully supported by the kernel this will be worth another look. For now I will mothball it for another 6 months or until find out how to work around the WiFi problem.

I now appreciate the functionality and online support for the Raspberry Pi 2. For the time being I will stick to that platform, which is working well for me.

That's all for now.

Might be the hub. I have a HooToo USB3 mini hub with a particular VIA chipset. It doesn't work in Linux for mouse/keyboard. Microsoft "made" their stuff work with it. The Linux lot say "it doesn't perform according to spec/standards".

Also, I've had micro-USB cables supplied with some kit (QI chargers) that only supply the power and return wires.
 
Orange Pi PC
Then I decided that I would revisit my Orange Pi PC. I initially got this working somehow a couple of months ago and then put it down without doing much with it. So I connected up everything, using the same hub from my Pi Zero trial, and fired it up. It booted up fine and I logged in. Then I tried to get WiFi working. I finally remembered that this was what had kept me from doing anything with it previously. With the Pi 2 I could plug in a WiPi dongle and immediately start using it (e.g. plug and play). On the Orange Pi PC the OS does not recognize the WiPi dongle when it is inserted. I know that another computer on which I have Ubuntu I can insert the dongle and it works right away. On the Orange Pi we are working with some tweaked OS and kernel because the Allwinner H3 has not yet been integrated into the mainline version. The tweaked kernel may not have the driver included, or something like that. Who knows really. I believe that previously I was able to install VLC and use it to play audio (listening via the headphone jack) when connected via Ethernet cable, but I don't in general have a jack available where I want to use the O-Pi so wireless is a must. I think that when the board is fully supported by the kernel this will be worth another look. For now I will mothball it for another 6 months or until find out how to work around the WiFi problem.

I now appreciate the functionality and online support for the Raspberry Pi 2. For the time being I will stick to that platform, which is working well for me.

That's all for now.

Today I tried again. Since yesterday I found a couple of links to OS builds that included a WiFi driver. I happened to have a USB WiFi dongle that uses one of these drivers, so today I downloaded and installed the custom built image. It took some doing, but I was able to get the OS working (even the monitor worked better) and the WiFi dongle installed. I had to figure out how to fix some DNS errors in order to get connected to the internet.

I then tried to install the VLC player. Synaptic complained about a bnch of things, and I could not get it to work with apt-get. It turns out that this custom build leads to broken packages because some required dependencies cannot be downloaded. So the OS works, and the WiFi dongle works, but you might need to live with what comes with the build.

There are a couple of other options that I may try. All these problems should go away once there is really an OS for these boards. Not sure when that will be the case, but it might be another 6 months... or less... or more. In the meantime, I will look for a workaround.
 
AH, now I see the problem. They DID build the Orange Pi OSes with a WiFi driver:

Q4: WHICH USB WIFI DONDLE COULD BE USED?
A4:All Linux OS for Orange Pi can use both 8188eu and 8192cus serial usb wifi adapter. Android 4.2 can only now use 8188eu serial usb wifi adapter.

Unfortunately this is NOT one of the ones I currently own, but I found a cheap one on Ebay that I just bought for this purpose. I will give it a try with the OS image from OrangePi.cn
 

DRONE7

Member
2008-08-21 11:12 am
And one more thing... The HDMI to DVI adapter yields a blank, black screen.

Back to the TV...

jay

Don't know about the orange pi but for raspberry pi I have to edit boot/config.txt and change the line hdmi_drive=2 to read hdmi_drive=1

(hdmi_drive=2 provides audio over hdmi but will not allow output for dvi.
hdmi_drive=1 has no audio but does convert for dvi)

Hdmi options in full outlined here...
http://elinux.org/RPiconfig
 
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Today I put the Ubuntu 15.04 MATE image for my Orange Pi PC on an SD card and gave it another go, this time using a hardcable network connection. After expanding the file system I ran apt-get update and then upgrade and rebooted. Then I tried to use synaptic to download VLC. I kept getting a "broken package" message. Back in apt-get I was able to get more info on which dependency was broken, but I couldn't seem to do much about it in particular. Next, I went back into synaptic and turned on a bunch of other repositories that were disabled. Then I did another apt-get update and upgrade. This downloaded and installed more stuff, which was an encouraging sign. After a reboot I again tried to install vlc and this time I was successful. I had gone through this exercise once before a few months ago so I was pretty sure it was possible. I had removed and re-utilized that SD card for something else in the meantime, so I couldn't just go back to what I had.

I'm currently using VLC to listen to an internet stream through a USB audio DAC that was plug and play. I also have a hub hooked up. Things are looking up.

Once the WiFi dongle that uses the driver that (supposedly) comes with the O-Pi version of the OS arrives I will try that and see if it works. That should be in a few days time.

FYI all the operating system options for all of the Orange Pi boards can be downloaded from this web page:
http://www.orangepi.org/downloadresources/
 
I decided to take a day to see if I could get some new hardware working. It didn't go so well.

Raspberry Pi Zero
First I wanted to try the Raspberry Pi Zero. In order to connect a few USB devices you need to connect a hub. The only possibility for this is via the OTG connector. I naively thought I had an OTG capable hub and bought an adapter for teh USB to mini (?) USB plug. Didnt' work. So I ran out to the store and bought an OTG to USB host adapter cable. I plugged this in, and then the hub to it, and then my keyboard mouse and WiFi dongle into that. No response. I tried plugging the mouse only directly into the OTG adapter, and got the cursor to move, but then when I tried to put back the hub again nothing worked. And then I could not even get the mouse alone to work again. Sigh. Unless I figure out what I did wrong I'm now not really certain that I will bother to do anything with the Zero. Even though it only costs $5, you need to add on other stuff to make it useful for audio and that makes the price go way up. It's definitely MUCH slower than the Pi 2 - I could tell that just by how fast it booted up to the desktop.

I have found an interesting alternative to the Pi Zero - the C.H.I.P. by the Next Thing Company (CA, USA). Like the Pi Zero this is a single core 1GHz SoC. Unlike the Pi Zero it comes with onboard RAM that is preloaded with the operating syste - a mainline kernel (supposedly the rather new version 4.2). The CHIP also has onboard WiFi (b/g/n) and sports a full size USB port. You can power the CHIP via the now-common 5V over micro USB or use a separate connector to plug in a battery (e.g. a Li ion battery pack). What would you pay for all of this? How about $9? The company is accepting pre-orders now, with shipment slated for June. I ordered a pair.

The one tricky part is that there is no modern onboard video, only composite video (remember that?). Will need to order one of their video converter backpacks to get things working before going headless... see the "things" link on the company web site for the VGA or HDMI version.

Here's the layout with some features identified:
[IMGDEAD]http://docs.getchip.com/images/chip_top_annotated.jpg[/IMGDEAD]

This seems both similar to, and much better than, the Raspberry Pi Zero.

They already have a streaming audio CHIP based project using Shairport-sync with instructions posted to their web site:
https://chip.hackster.io/11798/c-h-...ref=platform&ref_id=5276_trending___&offset=4

Nice!
 
Quick follow up on the above post about the CHIP:

After scanning the documentation on the Allwinner R8 SoC that runs this board, I noticed that it has an ONBOARD 24/192 codec! I can't say how well this is implemented, but the audio out via the TRRS jack or via pins on the headers can supply 2 channels of audio from the codec.

This could be an all-in-one streaming audio device! For $9!!!
 
Orange Pi PC news and info:
Ah, back again with some news about the Orange Pi (sorry if I am getting carried away with posts in this forum!)...


CPU challenge: Orange Pi PC vs. Raspberry Pi 2
First up, how does the Raspberry Pi 2 ($35) compare to the Orange Pi PC ($15) in terms of CPU performance? Sure the Orange Pi PC is super cheap, but you get what you pay for, right? Actually, I found someone who actually benchmarked BOTH using sysbench and on the same CPU test the Orange Pi was 2.4 times FASTER than the Raspberry Pi 2! You can read about it here (search for the term sysbench in the long text on the page and start reading from there):
Orange Pi PC– Battle of the PIs | Scargill's Tech Blog


Monitor Resolution and DVI-D compatibility settings:
Not having a spare HDMI monitor around, I've been using a DVI-D input with an HDMI-to-DVI adapter. One vexing problem that I experienced was that the image was rendered, but the colors had a reddish/magenta cast to them. This was true in the GUI and even the bootup screen, the background of which was pure magenta. I managed to eliminate this completely by editing some display related settings in the script.bin file. This is not done directly - you extract a fex file (text) from the script.bin file, edit the text, and then regenerate the script.bin file.

This procedure also allows one to change the monitor resolution that is used by the Orange Pi. I was not able to do this via the display preferences in the GUI. You do all of this while logged into the Orange Pi, which is very convenient. I hope that others find this info helpful. Directions can be found below:




Fixing display problems and changing the display resolution:

I fixed some problems I was experiencing (see above) by editing the script.bin file. The steps below are taken from:
How to use OrangePi with monitor hdmi2dvi - General discussion - OrangePi - Powered by Discuz!
and
[Mini 2] HDMI-DVI converter failure (no screen) - Troubleshooting - OrangePi - Powered by Discuz!


1. Install sunxi-tools

sudo apt-get install sunxi-tools

2. Convert script.bin to editable fex file.
The boot partition should be mounted to /media/boot in loboris images. As root, make backup of script.bin and convert it to script.fex with bin2fex and edit script.fex with editor of your choice

sudo su
cd /media/boot
cp script.bin script.bin.bak
bin2fex script.bin script.fex
nano script.fex

3. Find section [hdmi_para] and add these parameters under it:

hdcp_enable = 0
hdmi_cts_compatibility = 1

4. Convert fex file back to bin
Save the file and convert script.fex back to script.bin using the command:

fex2bin script.fex script.bin

5. Reboot by typing reboot at the prompt while superuser, or sudo reboot.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HOW TO CHANGE DISPLAY RESOLUTION?

Modify the [disp_init] in script.bin file, refer to Fex Guide - linux-sunxi.org for options (see below).

From Fex Guide - linux-sunxi.org
In the section [disp_init]:
Code:
            mode    hdmi      resolution
            0       480i      1680*1050
            1       576i      1440*900
            2       480p      1360*768
            3       576p      1280*1024
            4       720p50    1024*768
            5       720p60    800*600
            6       1080i50   640*480
            7       1080i60 	
            8       1080p24 	
            9       1080p50 	
            10      1080p60   1920*1080
            11      pal       1280*720
            14      ntsc

Change the mode to one that matches your monitor next to the text:
screen0_output_mode:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
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