Design Multiroom Audio Player


Design Multiroom Audio Player

By Toni / Website

I searched for a multiroom audio player / system with the following features:
– attractive design following the Bauhaus style
– usable with B&O Powerlink active loudspeakers (turning them on and off)
– good sound respectively sound card to feed the B&O loudspeakers
– easy access and management of huge music libraries on a NAS
– easy access to internet radio
– functionality to play more of the same music respectively don’t stop to play music
– assessable via airplay
– synchronize possibility of different audio players all over the house via Ethernet or Wifi
– display visual feedback directly from the audio payer in each room (minimum: song or radio station is playing – cover arts)
– display a clock, when not playing
– user interface to control multiroom player without using additional devices like an iPhone
– alternatively controllable by an infrared remote-control like B&O Beolink 4
– alternatively controllable by an Smartphone, PC

Looking at several multiroom systems at the market, I could not find one system that meets all my wishes. So, I decided to develop and design my own multiroom audio player client based on raspberry PI, Squeezebox and Logitech Media Server. These open source software and hardware platform gave me the freedom to realize all features I expect from a multiroom audio player system.

One focus was on the design of a case, so that it fits to the different interiors of my rooms. I opted for a flat round design because it fits best, looking different but not dominating. I arranged the two largest components Raspberry PI and HifiBerry DAC side by side, in order to realize a flat design. To give the case a high-quality finish, I chose an aluminum cover, in which a capacitive touchscreen is flushed. I thought about a slightly larger touch screen but I did not find one, because I preferred a capacitive touch screen, so that the housing and the touch screen forms a flat surface.
The rest of the case I produced from black PLA with a 3D printer. I decided on this variant, because the 3D printing facilitated an easy way to realize a round case. The case is slightly inclined, so that the case cover with the touch screen tilts towards the user. An opening in the back leads the necessary cables into the case and hosts the infrared receiver.

The software part was not too difficult, using different open source software packages (like squeezelite and jivelite) based on raspbian jessie. Main challenge for me (without deep knowledge in programming) was to manage the 3V trigger power to turn on and off the B&O speakers via GPIO when Hifibery DAC playing sound and to set up Hifiberry DAC, PiTFT touchscreen and infrared receiver parallel using GPIO, too.

Next step / challenge will be to enhance the clock on the jivelite screensaver with further information like weather information and upcoming tasks of the day.

Which parts where used for this project?

1) Hardware - Raspberry PI - Hifiberry DAC - PiTFT 2.8" TFT 320x240 + Capacitive Touchscreen - EDIMAX wireless USB adapter - infrared receiver TSOP7000 of 455kHz - DIN 8 pin connector for B&O Powerlink cable (for control + sound) - Raspberry PI power adapter2) Software - Raspbian Jessie 2016-03-25-based image (operating system for raspberry PI) - SqueezeLite (as multiroom audio player client) - JiveLite (as user interface for display and touchscreen) - sh script using raspberry GPIO to turn on / off B&O loudspeakers - sh script using LIRC and GPIO to control squeezelite with infrared remote-control - Logitech Media Server on a Synology NAS - LastMix plugin for Logitech Media Server - iPeng 9 iPhone app3) Case - Round front panel (diameter 15cm) made of anodized aluminum by Schaeffer AG with a recess for the touch screen - Round case made of black PLA with a 3D printer

Do you have a guide available that allows others to build this?

 Not yet.

Anything else you like to tell us about your project?

A total of 5 Design Multiroom Player in different rooms running stable for over 2 years.