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Which music player for HifiBerry?

Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:20 pm
by Taxicletter

I ordered a HifiBerry DAC Pro to use with my Raspberry Pi 3 and Mackie Active speakers. I use the same Raspberry for Kodi (LibreELEC).

I'm unsure what program to use to play my music. I googled and read a lot, and instead of understanding more what suits me best, I keep finding more options, hence making it hard to choose.

What I want, is to be able to still use Kodi (preferably with HDMI audio, but not necessary). I want to hook up a SDD hard drive with all my music (just through USB, no NAS drive). I read somewhere that even a SDD hard drive could ask to much power from the Pi, is that true?

I want to be able to play music headless, so with my cellphone or tablet (iOs, both, but in the future I may have an Android phone).

The most easy solution seems to use Kodi as music player, but is it the same audio quality as, say Max2Play? Is it user friendly to create a play-list on the fly with your phone?

Mopidy seems to have a lot of options and compatible with different configurations, but maybe it's a little more complex to set up? The more "out-of-the-box" the music player works, the more I like it, but not if it means less quality of course.

I read a lot about MoOde, as being better quality and more active developed. I don't find a lot documentation tough.

What about Pi Musicbox (also uses Mopidy, but what's the difference, is this easier to set up?) and piCorePlayer. Are they the same kind of programs as RuneAudio, Volumio and the likes?

What do you use and why?

Thanks for any explanation!

Re: Which music player for HifiBerry?

Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:29 am
by epoch1970
Since the HifiBerry will do the job along with ALSA software, all players you've listed will sound the same. (side note, BT audio is a bit inferior to regular wifi/ethernet transport)
In your list there are 3 types of players: standalone applications, MPD front-ends (your Pi+hifiberry would be the MPD back-end), LMS/squeezebox clients.
Basically MPD allows using a remote controller, and LMS allows to run a synched multi-room system (like Sonos, and somewhat like Airplay, Chromecast or UpNP)

Back in the day, PCs were nowhere as small and silent as Raspberry Pi, so I went with a Squeezebox system. Even though hardware squeezebox players are no longer available, it looks like LMS still gains new users that rely on Pi and the squeezelite software to emulate hardware clients.

I would avoid any "boutique" option targeted at audiophiles. There are snake oil peddlers out there; making a digital audio system is a big job and chromecast/airplay/mobile are everywhere so the truth is every offer relies on a few tried and true software components like ALSA, MPD, LMS, ... or even the shairplay hack. They all sound the same because they use the same digital audio stack.
There are differences in capabilities according to the protocols and differences in user interface. Have a look at the architecture of these systems, available clients, and see which one fits your use-case best.

(I think you forgot Plex and Roon in your list. Maybe Plex is going somewhere.)

Re: Which music player for HifiBerry?

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:36 am
by Taxicletter
Thank you epoch1970! That info is a great help, that's the kind of info I was looking for.

Re: Which music player for HifiBerry?

Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:20 am
by Taxicletter
For future reference:
-Volumio and RuneAudio don't work well with Kodi (so for me, it's not practical: I would have switch SD cards to watch TV or listen to music).
-Volumio has no iPad app and the iPhone app requires iOS 10 (since I'm using an old iPhone 4s, I'm not going to install 10). There is a rather expensive (>5 €) app to control Volumio. EDIT: for neither do you need an app, they're designed to be controlled through your browser. That works perfect.
EDIT: For Volumio, RuneAudio and MoOde you use your browser to control the program. Which is a good thing: anyone with a smartphone or tablet can control the music (good for a party where anyone can add music to the queue).

Rasplex: when I write the SD-card, I get to the beautiful Raspberry color-screen, but there it stays.

Pi Musicbox: works fine! But it's limited: there's no equaliser and no easy way to create playlists. An equiliser isn't in any of the above programs.

Re: Which music player for HifiBerry?

Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:45 am
by epoch1970
Wrt squeezebox and iOS, just in case:

The 1/3 party iPeng app is worth its price. There is an "iPeng Classic" app that is available for those who are stuck with ancient (pre-iOS 7?) devices. I think it still works with the latest version of LMS.
The free Logitech remote app doesn't work properly by now, or I think you need to run an ancient version of the server.

There are also a couple of controller/player apps for Android, not as good as iPeng IMHO but usable for sure.

The default LMS web interface is stuck in the '00s (frames and all that). It doesn't work on iOS/Safari but the "classic" or "minimal" skins do. There is at least one guy who recently started working on a responsive web interface for LMS. Laudable project, that is. Perhaps he would appreciate some help, I don't think there is any ETA on it.

Re: Which music player for HifiBerry?

Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:16 pm
by Taxicletter
iPeng is for Volumio also, you mean?

Re: Which music player for HifiBerry?

Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:55 pm
by epoch1970
Taxicletter wrote:iPeng is for Volumio also, you mean?
Sorry. I just wanted to add to the thread for other users in the future.
In your OP you mentioned piCorePlayer which is an LMS client. iPeng only works with LMS.

Re: Which music player for HifiBerry?

Posted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:22 am
by Paul Webster
epoch1970 wrote: The free Logitech remote app doesn't work properly by now, or I think you need to run an ancient version of the server.
It works very well for me on iOS10 (and earlier) with LMS 7.9 (not tried with 7.9.1 which is latest but I expect it to work)

However, it will not work on iOS11 (not 64-bit) and I am not sure if it is available on Apple AppStore for first time installations.

Re: Which music player for HifiBerry?

Posted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:36 am
by DarrenHill
You can also just point Safari at your Volumio box and use the web interface to control it...

Re: Which music player for HifiBerry?

Posted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:02 am
by Taxicletter
Ah! That's great :-)

I now installed RuneAudio and I'm happy with it. I believe for Volumio you have to pay for some functionalities, isn't it? I'll try Volumio later!

EDIT: Volumio is as free as RuneAudio. MoOde is about 10 € for the program.

Re: Which music player for HifiBerry?

Posted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 2:26 am
by Chetbaker
Hi all, I wanted to take this thread back to life to ask the same question, basically.

I’m currently using Volumio but i found frustrating its poor UI (both un the iOS app and in browser) and the lack of sorting albums by date or other more sophisticated ways of sorting. This is key for me because if I have a decently big music library.

Maybe i should change volumio for other option but I’m not sure which.

Re: Which music player for HifiBerry?

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 6:40 am
by JamminVMI
Since you reactivated this, I'll put in my two cents worth. I've been a squeezebox user for probably ten years at this point, and at some point, my Logitech hardware is gonna go kaput, so I've started building Pi boxes using Picoreplayer, which I like. it's easy, the hardware looks fine (depends on what case you build) and frankly, sounds bit-perfect when I'm doing A-B comparisons.

But I digress. The reason I use the Squeezebox topology is because of the indexing I'm able to do with my large music library (currently, just a tad over 47K tracks). The power of squeezebox server and its database is a wonderful thing, giving me many ways to locate and play what I want to play. Building playlists is easy, and I'll also echo here that iPeng (for apple devices and Squeezebox Server ONLY), is a wonderful, intuitive, 21st century interface. My family and I actually will sit with iPeng running on each of our phones trading songs, which is a pretty cool thing for all concerned.

Admittedly, I'm planning on looking into MoOde Audio, as a friend is helping folks over on a HeadFi forum (search for the thread: Guide to using Raspberry Pis for Audiophile Projects), and will report back as I learn more. Am just finishing build of the second Pi using HiFiBerry's Digi PRO card with a 3B+ board and 3.50 of the Picoreplayer, expecting good things. I should point out that Squeezebox Server (LMS - Logitech Media Server) is a free download, and once installed, allows track uploads, indexing, etc. of your library. It's also in continuous user-based development, so updates are posted fairly regularly. I run my server on an Intel Stick Computer, with a 4TB external drive hosting the library.

HTH, please ask if I can help at all.