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Author Topic: JRiver Media Center on a Pi 2 = Ultra Compact Office Music Player  (Read 4683 times)


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So I finally got a Raspberry Pi 2 installed in my office as a music player.  

The Pi 2 in a Flirc case (left top) is sitting on top of a 1TB external HDD (left bottom) and attached to a DAC/headphone amplifier combo (right), which is almost as big as the Pi!  There's a pen in the foreground for size reference

Here it is as it looks from my chair with my (admittedly oversized) headphones in the foreground for a visual reference.  

I primarily configured the Pi using my guide, here, and my alternative headless access method, described here.  External drives require a bit more power than the Pi can provide at stock settings; in order to get the external drive to spin up I had to add the line "max_usb_current=1" to my config.txt (thanks to Hilton for that find). Once that change was made I seem to have no problem powering the external HDD and DAC.  While the DAC is USB-powered, the headphone amp has its own power source so I don't have to worry about it  ;D

The neatest part (in my opinion) is the control mechanism.  My work has no wi-fi available, and doesn't allow external devices to be connected to the ethernet, so I needed a way to control the device without a monitor, a keyboard, or any wi-fi/internet connection, which was a bit of a technical challenge!  So here's how I solved it:

Most commercial wi-fi dongles can be configured as access points* for other devices to connect to.  So I configured a cheapy wireless dongle to act as an access point using a script called create_ap.  So now the Pi appears as a wireless router to my phone, which allows my phone to connect to it wirelessly, and use Gizmo or eos to control the Pi.  Additionally, if I need to change settings not accessible through gizmo, the headless setup method linked above allows me to use a virtual desktop (VNC) app on my phone to connect to the Pi and interact with Media Center's normal interface.  It's a little challenging to anything very complex on a phone (I wouldn't want to do tagging), but it's easy enough to change the audio output device or other simple menu driven changes that can't be accomplished through the remote apps.

The result is that I now have three tiny boxes on my desk that provide immediate access to my entire music collection (about 5000 albums) in full resolution, bitperfect, without internet connectivity of any kind.  I already had the external Hard Drive and DAC/Amp, so the only incremental costs were the Pi, it's case, and a $10 wi-fi dongle.  The performance is (so far) identical to my previous setup (with a laptop), and I couldn't be happier with it.

Long term, I plan to install it inside an old wooden cigar box to hide the wiring and make it blend in with the decor a little better (except for the headphone wires trailing out of the box  ;D)

*Some dongles allow for both outgoing and incoming connections at once allowing them to work as wi fi repeaters (extending the range of your router), but some dongles only allow one or the other (they can be an access point, or connect to the internet, but not both).  The dual function dongles are more expensive, but in my application it didn't matter which type I had as I was planning to operate in a wi-fi free environment so I grabbed the cheapest linux-compatible dongle I could find.  


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Re: JRiver Media Center on a Pi 2 = Ultra Compact Office Music Player
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2015, 09:18:55 pm »

Noice! (as he types on his Pi2 in the office) ;)

I have a similar setup in the office :)
Pi2 with 1TB USB HDD with external FiiO E17 DAC / E09K Headphone AMP, wifi and BT.
Im using wifi hotspot mode on the iPhone though instead of AP mode on the Pi.

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