Chris Thistlethwaite on 27 Sep 2017 06:03:36 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Open Source Whole House Audio Streaming Alternatives to Sonos, Chromecast

I've gone down this path for a very long time, tried lots of different options. However my requirements were a bit different than yours and included:

1. Sonos like speaker that streams from wifi
2. Streams (not local media) like Google Music, Amazon Music, etc.
3. Easy to use interface (wife and parent/visitor friendly)
4. FOSS would be nice

I started off with SLIMP3, but that end up getting bought by Logitech. SLIMP3 would stream my media stored on a NAS to whatever PC I wanted, so that worked out well but failed at #2 and #3. Logitech released the Squeezebox, which I still have, and worked great. Phone app, local and external streams from popular vendors, though it wasn't super cheap. I then paired that with the Airport Express that Gavin mentioned, plugged the Squeezebox output into a PC and ran Airfoil from Rogue Amoeba which would allow me to pipe the input from the PC to any Airport Express on my network. That worked really well for several years, the Airports have great hardware and I was only limited by the range of my wifi network for speaker placement. That system started to die after about 6 years and the upkeep made me start looking. I finally end up drilling holes and running speaker wire around the house to a central receiver so I get the same thing playing in every room. An Echo is wired up to the receiver, so it's cheap, streams what I want, easy to use, but not FOSS. 

My point of this very long rant is for the past 17 some odd years I've been looking for the answer to your question. If you don't mind Amazon being able to listen to every word you say, putting Echos around your house is probably the best solution. The next thing on my list to mess with is building the Echo from a Raspberry Pi and then just not hooking up the microphone. There are various sites that say that music streaming doesn't work the same way as an actual Echo (certain streams don't work), but it's worth me messing with it for a while.

-Chris T.

On Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 8:45 AM, Gavin W. Burris <> wrote:
Hi, John.

Have you considered the Apple AirPort Express?  You can buy two or three for $99 a pop to cover the house in wifi.  Each one has a stereo and optical out.  It just works.  The optical gives you the option of using whatever DAC you want, maybe an AudioEngine D1.  This does require iTunes, but there is also the forked-daapd project as a Linux solution.


On Tue 09/26/17 11:32PM EDT, John Karr wrote:
> A friend of mine recently turned me on to ChromeCast Audio for
> creating a whole hose audio streaming system, at about 3% what the
> very proprietary and restrictive Sonos system would cost to do the
> same. Now that my appetite is whetted, ChromeCast Audio has a lot of
> shortcomings:
>  * poor quality integrated DAC
>  * only supports wireless connection and has frequent dropouts
>  * undocumented API (based on DLNA protocol)
>  * need Google's Home Application on Andriod to manage them
>  * linux driver (pulse-dlna) has audible click switching tracks
> during playback from VLC (and Clementine my preferred player doesn't
> seem to want to send audio there at all).
> There are a number of premium sound cards available for raspberry pi
> along with the ability to connect a higher quality dac via usb or
> optical out add ons. I've found a number of different programs out
> there that might be usable to create a better system to upgrade from
> ChromeCast.
> The question is has anyone used Raspberry Pi or similar devices to
> create a whole house audio network? What software (preferably FOSS)
> and hardware did you use?
> To clearly state the problem I'm trying to solve: I have 3 stereos
> around my house and I want to be able to transmit audio without lag
> to all of my speakers at once. My house is already wired with
> ethernet in every room. I have a huge local digital music library
> which I want to play.
> I prefer an ethernet based solution to running a lot of new wires to
> create a system that cannot easily be reconfigured (if I wanted to
> movie the master player or add more amplifiers and speakers)
> ___________________________________________________________________________
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Gavin W. Burris
Senior Project Leader for Research Computing
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
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