Raspberry Pi streamer DAC builds

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
#41
So...two Millett USB 5v boards then? ;)
And not to further complicate things until the actual Group Buy with prices is announced, but I see in the development thread as recently as August 2018 that a new IsolaterPi II was being touted, this is like the old version in that it does not have the FIFO or reclocker built-in.

Not sure if this was shelved, I don't see why it would have been, but if this is produced for the upcoming GB it would provide a lower cost option than the full on FifoPi.

Additionally, the post I read made mention of the ability to power the RPi through either the non-isolated GPIO, or through +/- 5V through holes on the board right next to that non-isolated GPIO (bottom right-hand corner of the board in the photo below, just right of the non-isolated GPIO):

IsoPi2.jpg

That post says it does sound better that way than through the Pi's micro USB input.
 

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
#42
And not to further complicate things until the actual Group Buy with prices is announced, but I see in the development thread as recently as August 2018 that a new IsolaterPi II was being touted, this is like the old version in that it does not have the FIFO or reclocker built-in.

Not sure if this was shelved, I don't see why it would have been, but if this is produced for the upcoming GB it would provide a lower cost option than the full on FifoPi.

Additionally, the post I read made mention of the ability to power the RPi through either the non-isolated GPIO, or through +/- 5V through holes on the board right next to that non-isolated GPIO (bottom right-hand corner of the board in photo):

View attachment 10300

That post says it does sound better that way than through the Pi's micro USB input.
You're breaking my brain! ;)
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
#44
I think it's wonderful that we can start with these credit-card sized boards and end with something that has to be transported in the back of a pickup truck :)
Safe to say you won't be building the dual battery bank version then?

LiFePO4-x2.jpg

Ian's take on this set-up: "This configuration can save a lot of space, looks very compact
"

I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
#45
You're breaking my brain! ;)
Well lets finish that process then with this little blurb from a Nov. 2018 Ian post:

"Note1* All old items will be still available, which are here:"
Ian asynchronous I2S and S/PDIF FIFO KIT group buy

So he apparently does have at least a few left of the pieces in the 2017 Group Buy, from which I bought the original IsolatorPi. Perhaps he also did an additional production run on the most popular of those items, hence the talk last summer of IsolatorPi II.

We should know more in about a week if my estimates prove accurate, I think he is very close to releasing the pricing and final details of the Group Buy 2019.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
#46
Quick update on the IanCanada 2019 Group Buy:

Ian did the production run based on numbers from the "interested" list, has already received those boards, and is in the midst of QC testing and documentation. He hopes to have that and the finalized pricing completed by the end of the week, and if so can likely commence the GB sometime early next week.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
#47
A friend of mine in California is a Roon user and wanted to add a Roon Bridge endpoint player to his bedroom system.

He has experimented extensively with the now discontinued Chromecast Audio and a Toslink connection to a cheap FiiO DAC, but was having constant issues with pops and clicks marring the sound.

He finally gave up on that, the CCA is a cool little $35 streamer, but it was never intended by Google to be Roon compatible and even though there is a work around that enables it, that solution is a bit kludgy, and it did not work well with the little FiiO Toslink DAC he had hoped to use.

I decided to put together and send him a Raspberry Pi based solution whose software is developed in Holland, called RoPieee. OK dumb name, but the software is well received and much easier to install as compared to the actual RPi disk image offered by Roon.

I picked out a good looking but inexpensive $13 aluminum case for it that would be an aesthetic match for his iFi nano iDSD DAC:

RoPieeePi (2).jpg

I slapped it together, flashed a microSD card with the RoPieee software, and then packed it up for Priority Mail as I am not a Roon user and thus have no way of actually testing anything. I took a leap of faith and dropped it off at the USPS.

Two days later it was delivered in San Diego, my buddy connected Ethernet and USB cables, and powered it up. After sniffing the IP address with the Fing app, he was able to dial into its simple web browser based settings interface and a few clicks later, then make the final configuration within his Roon Server's GUI. It took him less than 10 minutes from unpacking to listening to music, all PCM sample rates and DSD too.

Here is his crappy camera phone picture of the initial set-up in the bedroom:

RopieeePi (1).jpg

Makes a nice little bedroom streamer set with the iFi nano iDSD, he says it sounds great and highly recommends it as a cheap Roon endpoint.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
#48
IanCanada released what he is calling estimated pricing for his imminent GB2019, with final pricing coming "very soon".

This tells me he's almost but not quite done with his QC testing of the production run, and therefore can't commit to pricing as yet, but in all likelihood this will be the final pricing:

Estimated GB2019 pricing:

A1. FifoPi 768KHz I2S/DSD/DoP FIFO with isolator and dual XO, estimated $99-(Special price for this GB, regular $135-)
A2. LifeO4 pure power supply with 5 output rails (no batteries), estimated $199-
A3. ESS controller, estimated $39-
A4. Dual Mono ES9038Q2M DAC HAT, estimated $85-
A5. ES9028Q2M DAC HAT, estimated $49-
A6. I/V STD standard OPA I/V stage, estimated $35-
A7. Transformer I/V PCB mini KIT, estimated $19-
A8. ESS controller extension kit, estimated $12-
A9. Package of dedicated CCHD957 XO adapter kit lot of 2, estimated $8.9
A10. Package of OPA1622 adapter PCB kit lot of 5, estimated $9.8
A11. 2” double-ended silver plated U.FL coaxial cable, estimated $2.8
A12. 2.5mm metal standoffs for RPI lot of 4 sets, estimated $2.9
A13. LT3042 low noise regulator PCB, free
A14. I/V STD standard I/V stage empty PCB, free

Unfortunately I can't begin to answer questions about all of the above, those answers are scattered across 2 or 3 different threads at diyAudio.com over literally 2 years time (since shortly after his GB2017 ended) so it would be best to ask over there if on the fence about something as the GB2019 will commence very soon, I'd say in just another couple of days or so.

I'm very pleased the FifoPi (A1 above) came in at $99, that's what I was hoping for and seems very reasonable when considering the original IsolatorPi (with no FIFO or reclocking) was $49, so the $99 for this upgraded and more sophisticated version is great.

I had no idea what to expect on the LiFePO4 pure power supply (A2 above), and at $199, it ain't cheap when you consider it comes with no batteries. Each A123 cell of that kind is about $10-14 depending on the supplier. The board takes 10 cells, so $100-140 + shipping for the cells. I'm not surprised as this is a very ambitious piece with sophisticated hardware and software overcharge/over discharge protection etc... also a much larger board with a lot of components on both sides. I'll have to think hard about that one, especially since...

The dual mono DAC card itself is reasonable at $85 (A4 above), but the preferred Transformer based output stage (A7 above) comes without the trafos themselves, it's a kit and you bring your own. Good in a sense you can pick what fits your budget, bad in that Lundahls of this type are pricey little SOBs (K&K list the LL1674 at $130 a pop). Also potentially bad is ruining such a part if inexperienced on the do's/don't do's of installing it correctly, I have never built a unit with anything like that and so there is some hesitation there.

Anyway, there is the estimated pricing, with final pricing now just a few days away on the IanCanada GB2019.
 
#49
IanCanada released what he is calling estimated pricing for his imminent GB2019, with final pricing coming "very soon".
Is the group buy still open to newcomers, and I ... append my diya username, and the item(s) I'm committing to? Then email details to Ian under separate cover? Do I have that right?
(I'm just getting caught up here, and that diyaudio thread is daunting to find the actual join directions).

Hoping for a FifoPi.
Edit: Aw heck, here goes nothing... added my name to the list.
 
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MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
#50
Is the group buy still open to newcomers, and I ... append my diya username, and the item(s) I'm committing to? Then email details to Ian under separate cover? Do I have that right?
(I'm just getting caught up here, and that diyaudio thread is daunting to find the actual join directions).

Hoping for a FifoPi.
Yes you can just add your screen name to that "interested" list, and then join the GB2019 once it is made available, probably just a couple of days from now when the QC testing is done and the pricing finalized.

You don't need to email Ian now, he will post an Order Form once the GB2019 is actually launched, at that time you'd fill out the order form including PayPal details, and he will email you a PayPal invoice based on what you've ordered.
 
#51
Thanks for clarifying - I hadn't logged in over there since 2016 - feeling pretty out of the loop. And I didn't want to be that guy showing up a day late asking "Does this work with my iphone??" I've seen how even the simplest group buy turns into a cat-herding nightmare, however I'm grateful to those folks crazy enough to launch them.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
#52
Well the testing/QC and final revisions to the documentation necessary before IanCanada's GB2019 can be launched are taking a bit longer than I had hoped.

In the meantime he did post draft versions of the documentation, if it's like the GB2017, these drafts will be proof read/edited/revised by longtime diyAudio contributor Greg Stewart before final release. So far no Draft manual for the actual ESS DACs have been posted.

Attached below are the Draft documentation for some of the GB2019 products, as well as the final release documentation for IsolatorPi II which is now confirmed for this GB at $49 despite not originally being listed. It is almost identical to the original IsolatorPi, and one additional note there is that Ian does recommend it instead of the more expensive FifoPi for use with any Master mode DACs such as HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro, or the Pi2 Design 502DAC.

Apparently the Master mode DACs are incompatible with FifoPi when run in Master mode, and though there is a way to run those DACs in slave/sync mode, it's pointless and the best route there is to just use IsolatorPi II at $49 instead of FifoPi at $99.

I would urge anyone with questions about the above, or really any questions about specific compatibility with any item listed in the forthcoming GB2019 to ask now in the diyAudio threads to confirm.

Also one other detail that is now making a bunch more sense to me regarding FifoPi, and that is the included clock/oscillators at $99 are not the Crystek CCHD-957 that had been pictured throughout the development process. Included are a good quality but generic pair of oscillators. Ian was quick to say these generic clocks do perform quite well when paired for instance with very high-quality powering schemes such as the new LiFePO4 battery supply, but not as well when used with typical standard/generic RPi power sources such as most cheap wall wart SMPS.

I did not understand how Ian could possibly offer FifoPi at $99 with those Crystek clocks, and it turns out he can't as the board uses two of them and those parts are about $28 each. He did however make the board design socketed, so the end user can substitute the Crystek or any other compatible oscillator of their choice with no soldering to the board itself, just pull out the little plug-in clock adaptor board and put a new one on. What isn't clear to me as yet is the procedure for mounting any "bring your own oscillators" to a blank clock adaptor board ($8.90 as currently listed). That does certainly involve soldering, and could be similar to a procedure Ian has shown previously with other little adaptor boards where SMD parts are mounted to the board by baking them in a regular oven using a little solder paste.

I hope to know more on that soon, but I doubt my home oven will be suitable. It is decidedly not a modern appliance, no precise digital temp control or anything like that, so I'll probably have to invest in a little soldering/reflow oven dedicated to this purpose.
 

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