Tutorial: Multiroom Audio System Based On Raspberry Pi And Hifiberry

I must say I’m absolutely satisfied with this system! At last, my multiroom system is how I want it to be. In the switch cabinet, it is relatively clean and compact. The power consumption is, as I can see from Fibaro, approx. 25 W in total, which is completely fine for playing music in 7 rooms. Much fewer cables and easy maintenance. The only downside is the noisy power supply with its tiny ventilation which runs the whole time. This is not a big problem since it is in the garage, but this needs to be considered when deciding where to place the system. Otherwise a less noisy power supply needs to be found—I guess a PC power supply with a big 12 cm ventilation should be fine.

On the quality side: No noise or humming when no music is played back, even at maximum volume. Great! So the system can run all the time, and when I don’t play any music, I can use it for the audio notifications of the home automation system in all rooms (this will be explained in a later article). When playing back music, the sound quality is awesome, especially for my entry-level loudspeakers. I will update some of the speakers in the future for sure, e.g., in the living room, but for the moment the sound is really great.

The usability is highly improved. If, for example, my wife finds a nice lullaby on YouTube, 2 s later she has sent it through Airplay into our children’s room. iPeng is a tiny bit more complicated, but it is very easy to get used to. The only thing I still have to figure out is how to give our kids control over the speakers in their rooms, so they won’t  need any other HiFi system there.

Lastly, a note about the price of the whole. The loudspeakers and the cables were already there in our house, and the price of the speakers depends a lot on the quality you wish to have, so they’re difficult to include in the calculation. As for everything else: the Raspberry Pi cost me €26, €60 for the Hifiberry Amp+, and €7 for the micro SD card, which makes €93 per room. Additionally, one license for Max2Play for €10, an Ethernet switch with 8 ports for €19, and a power supply with 12 V for approx. €40. That is, in total, without the speakers, €720 for 7 rooms, which is less than the original Squeezeboxes from Logitech when they were still available, and much less than installing Sonos or a similar system. To have a similar system with speakers mounted in the ceiling, it would’ve been necessary to use Sonos Connect in each room, where one alone already costs €349, and a small amplifier would still be needed, since it isn’t possible to connect speakers directly.

I am very satisfied with this system, for this price, and I’m sure it’ll stay like it is for quite a while.