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ollepetersson 16th March 2013 04:48 PM

Multi channel Linux audio player with integrated amplifier questions.

I've been looking around on this great forum for a while and thought it's time for my first post.

I'm planning on building a 8 to 12ch Linux audio player with an integrated amplifier. I'm planning to use a Raspberry Pi or a Beaglebone together with a ESI Gigaport 8ch DAC and 2x Hifimediy T1x4 amplifiers.

Is this the way to go? or How would you do it instead?

I've found a good few recommendations on 2ch USB DACs here on the forum but no multi channel ones. Is it a good idea to use several of these 2ch DACs?

This may end up in a paid project, so keep that in mind when you are sharing your knowledge.


phofman 16th March 2013 08:56 PM

What kind of music sources would you like to play with the player? Video material too? Do you need a video output at all (e.g. for user control) ?

ollepetersson 16th March 2013 09:56 PM

Mostly Wav and maybe CAF and RF64 if I can find support for that in Linux. No high resolution video output is needed. But I might add a small character LCD as user interface.

The system is intended for a friend of mine who is a multi channel audio artist that is tired of draging around a laptop + audio interface + amplifiers and wants a compact inegrated system.

phofman 17th March 2013 12:26 PM

What storage do you plan for the audio files? Multichannel (12) tends to be big.

Inexpensive multichannel USB soundcards offer only 44.1 and 48kHz. Do you need to play higher resolution files (96, 192kHz)? Resampling multichannel stream takes quite some CPU, most inexpensive embedded ARM boards would not be up to the task. But they should be OK with decoding multichannel flac, ogg, etc.

You can merge several stereo/multichannel usb adaptive cards (e.g. see my simple test ). A single usb controller (port) should suffice, provided the cards use USB 2.0.

For software, you might want to look at mpd. I do not know its multichannel limit, but it should be simple to find out.

counter culture 17th March 2013 02:32 PM

Given the many reported problems with getting just one stereo USB DAC working reliably with a Raspberry Pi I would think that getting 8 channels working simultaneously is unlikely.

It may work, but you could spend a lot of time on it only to discover that it doesn't, and not because of any deficiency on your part.

If I wanted this functionality, I'd buy a multichannel recorder such as from Tascam. Or stick with the laptop. Not what you wanted to hear, I guess, but there it is...

phofman 17th March 2013 02:46 PM

Yes, RPi and its USB ethernet make most likely a bad choice. But there are lots of other embedded boards. Each has its strengths and weaknesses.

The first step should be to identify the requirements and expectations, IMO.

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