Category Archives: External

A HiFiBerry installation with button control and LCD display

RPi HiFiBerry 2014 openPieter Kleinjahn has installed a Raspberry Pi, the HiFiBerry DAC, some buttons and a LCD display in one box.

The buttons can be used to control MPD. Distributions like Volumio and RuneAudio are based on MPD, therefore this could be interesting for many readers. Peter has provided the Python script that controls everything. You can download it here: mydisplay-20140409. Note that we provide this “as is” without any support. However, the code is clean and well-documented. Therefore it should be relatively easy to adapt it to your needs.

Some thoughts about the Raspberry Pi compute module

CM_and_pi-small-500x375 The Raspberry Pi foundation has announced the “Raspberry Pi compute module”. As we are big fans of the Raspberry Pi, this looks like an interesting product to us. However, let’s have a closer look first.

The product is clever for the Raspberry Pi foundation. Many of the Raspberry Pis sold already are not used by private persons, but in industrial applications. The good availability and the low price of the Raspberry Pi made it a nice platform for these many applications. With the new board, the foundation clearly targets this market.

The compute module basically consists of the Broadcom SoC chip and a 4GB flash. The 4GB flash is really nice, because you don’t need an SD card with this module. All other hardware that is included in the Raspberry Pi Model B is missing. The most critical: there is no ethernet controller. Using a standard SO-DIMM module is good for large producers, but for small quantities this increased costs again. Also there is no voltage regulator on the board, which means you need external 3.3V and 1.8V voltage regulators. Therefore solutions based on this board won’t be cheaper, but most likely more expensive than solutions based on the Raspberry Pi.

Some people where already dreaming about clusters of compute nodes for computing applications. I don’t think this is a good idea. If you’re really looking for CPU performance, the Raspberry Pi is not the first choice. There are many other ARM based SoCs available, that provide much better performance and are only a bit more expensive.

Article in “Klang + Ton”

Klang + Ton 3/14

The German Do-it-yourself audio magazine “Klang + Ton” was looking for a better audio solution for then Raspberry Pi than USB DAC. They found our HiFiBerry DAC. There is a nice article that explains why the HiFiBerry DAC performs better than USB DACs and how to use it. The new issue should be available in shops tomorrow. You can also buy it in PDF format online.

piCorePlayer supports now the HiFiBerry DAC and Digi

picoreplayerSteen Pedersen has updated his piCorePlayer distribution to support the HiFiBerry Digi. piCorePlayer is an interesting distribution for people who wants to use the Raspberry Pi as a replacement for the discontinued Squeezebox.

We haven’t tested it yet. Feel free to comment and tell us about your experiences.

Experimental XBMC build with digital out of AC3 and DTS over SPDIF

imgresDom Cobley was again working on XBMC and the HiFiBerry Digi. There is now an experimental build that supports AC3 and DTS bitstream output. That means you can now send Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks to your home theater amplifier over an coax or optical link.

The OpenElec build can be downloaded from here:

Note that this is again a very experimental setup. It needed a hack in the XBMC code. This must be fixed in the ALSA driver. While we will work on this, we can’t say, when we will be able to change this.

Check out this article how to configure it. Note that for the HiFiBerry Digi you need the following module configuration:

cat >/storage/.config/modules-load.d/hifiberry.conf  <<EOF

OpenElec experimental build

imgresMany HiFiBerry DAC users asked us about XBMC support. Today (February 2014), the ALSA sound card support in XBMC is still in an early stage in XBMCv13. For video playback there is a new “dvdplayer” that will replace the current video player in the future.

Dom Cobley from Broadcom has created an experimental OpenElec build that supports the HiFiBerry DAC. This is not an official OpenElec version yet! If it doesn’t work, there is no support. It will have bugs! This build includes a hack that forces output to 16-bit audio, as the 24-bit audio does not work at the moment with OpenElec. This seems to be a bug in the underlying I2S sound subsystem. It is not clear yet, how to fix this. We well work with the developers to find a solution. However, we can’t guarantee this.

  1. Install OpenElec
  2. Get the experimental build from here:OpenELEC-RPi.arm-devel-20140226212939-r17638-g6fc6264.tar
  3. Upload this build to the running OpenElec system via SMB. See
  4. Reboot
  5. ssh to the system (as root, default password is openlec) and create the file /storage/.config/modules-load.d/hifiberry.conf
    You can just copy/paste the following code to your command line. If you want to create the file with an editor of your choice, do not include the first line starting with “cat” and the last “EOF” line!
  6. cat >/storage/.config/modules-load.d/hifiberry.conf  <<EOF
  7. You will also want to create /storage/.xbmc/userdata/advancedsettings.xml:
    cat >/storage/.xbmc/userdata/advancedsettings.xml <<EOF
  8. Reboot and you should get a third option in settings/system/audio output/audio output device (snd_rpi_hihiberry_dac).