I recently reviewed the Orchard Audio PecanPi Streamer Ultra, a Raspberry Pi-based network music streamer device with an integrated touchscreen. While I appreciated the device’s idea and sound quality, I struggled to justify the price and the compromises made in convenience and features.
My biggest takeaway from using a commercial Pi-based network music streamer was that I could build one myself!
Many compelling aspects of a Pi-based streamer became apparent when using the Streamer Ultra. Rather than using a multi-purpose, complicated, and inherently noisy computer to serve up digital music files, a Pi streamer can offer a streamlined and straightforward solution. It’s the ultimate DIY device, allowing the average tinkerer to select components and easily combine them into a custom product. And the price CAN be far less than a finished commercial product with similar features and sound quality.
With champagne tastes and my (cheap) beer budget firmly in mind, my frugality-fueled motivation was to see how fully-featured and high-fidelity a product I could create for the least amount of money possible. I tried to select high-quality components firmly situated in the bang-for-the-buck category.
Throughout this guide, I’ll explain what (and why) I selected for my own build, and I’ll also provide available options for you to make your own purchase decisions. Your list of acceptable compromises is likely quite different than my own.
The great thing about a Pi-based device is that you’ve got SO MANY options and choices to make every step of the way, and the end product can be significantly different for each builder.
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