Pi2 Design Idiot-Proof Ready-To-Go RPi/AES Streamer

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Michael Kelly, Jan 16, 2021.

  1. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Originally posted in SBAF Wishlist for 2021 - Petition to MOTs

    My wish for 2021 is to have really great customers who enjoy our products and are very forgiving of our mistakes... Wait, we already have that!

    So to show our gratitude and to prove we listen (sometimes) we will commit to making two new products this spring. The first will be a small box (88mm x 110mm x 29mm) with the RPI CM4 compute module, PCIe SSD (eNVME 2280) plus PI2AES circuitry. The only limitation is it won't have all the outputs, just RCA and opto, plus either I2S over HDMI or balanced AES (but via a 6.35mm jack with supplied adapter like our 502DAC). We will also have PI HDMI (just one), ethernet and SMA jack for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth on the back, and two USB2.0 sockets on the front.

    The second product will have all of the above plus the XLR balanced and I2S over HDMI. It will also have a 24-bit DAC and HP Amp. Looking at using a modular approach to allow different DAC's such as AKM. PCM and ESS, and different HP amps, including hybrid tube amp. Finally it will have a 5" MIPI 800x480 w/cap touch to be fully compatible with the PI 7".

    Software is TBD, but likely we will have pre-built images for Volumio, Moode and Ropieee. Others based on feedback may also be supported.

    Note that I will be dependent upon getting the CM4 modules in some modest numbers and getting them with Wi-Fi/BT. Right now CM4's are available in small quantities, but with out Wi-Fi/BT. We could use an external dongle for the initial rollout if we have to.
     
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  2. LetMeBeFrank

    LetMeBeFrank Won't tell anyone my name is actually Francis

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    If you make something idiot-proof they will just make better idiots.

    I think you will have to include pretty detailed instructions with these that goes through all the OS settings and what they do, plus a USB stick with imaging software and a known good image on it incase they bork the software somehow.

    This will be great though and will give alot more people the chance to experience pi-streaming!
     
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  3. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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    I somehow floundered my way through setting up a pi2AES with much hand-holding from folks here.
    It's hard to recommend it to others out in the world though, lest I become the hand-holder myself (and I'm not equipped to do that.)
    If there were an idiot-proof box we could just link people to, I imagine the target audience (and sales) would grow quite a bit.
     
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  4. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Why not just sell pre-assembled Pi2AES with all the outputs? And instructions on how to set it up written in a way that people can just follow the directions without knowing what they’re doing. Seems better and cheaper for you than designing a new unit that has less functionality.

    but I’m one of the the jargon idiots so I may just not understand. ;)
     
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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
  5. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    I certainly would not underestimate the ability to mess anything up, but the unit will come with a fully installed OS with the settings complete except for WiFi. Using the Compute Module means no SD Card. The on board eMMC will have the OS in it and any new images have to go through the USB config port. This is harder than an SD card, but only for folks who want to put their own image on it. We will offer at least, Volumio, Moode and Ropieee, pre-configured systems. No jargon needed unless you want to dive into it.

    As for the idea that it has less functionality, that depends upon the final case we choose. The one I really like is nice looking, but a bit on the small size.

    BTW, for those hoping this would be just parts plus a little labor, I need to clarify that this is to make more money per sale than we make on the PI2AES. Case and Power supply go out at cost plus some extra for handling. Assuming we keep all the same functionality as the PI2AES we are shooting for $399 list. Not cheap, but you also get high speed storage optional (using NVME a 1TByte SSD is under $100), nice clean looking enclosure and very little setup.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
  6. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    BTW, I am not ignoring the need for better documentation for the PI2AES as it is. In fact I am looking for someone willing to do a complete write up and I am willing to pay for it. I offered it to @purr1n, but have not heard back. hint, hint..
     
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  7. wbass

    wbass Facebook Friend

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    +1 on this. A big reason I'm keen to try the Pi2AES is that I'd like to hear what all of the outputs (especially I2S and AES) sound like on my DACs.

    Also, $399 for something like this sounds reasonable.
     
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  8. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    sign up for the loaner that is currently making its rounds. It’s set up and ready to go and has a Tidal account to boot. And you’d get all the setup help you need.
     
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  9. wbass

    wbass Facebook Friend

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    Yup, signed up the other week!
     
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  10. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    hint: @loadexfa will be selling it for SBAF charity after the tour... ;)
     
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  11. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    The biggest hangup that I have heard is that people simply do not want to put it together themselves. My son has put two of them together so far for others. $50 a piece. The problem amounts to one of support. It's more than just putting hardware together and loading up a SD card, but providing aftermarket support with Volumio, Moode, etc. This can be quite a bit of additional work because of the plethora of settings and things that could go wrong. Troubleshooting software could easily end up as troubleshooting folks' wireless networks, DNS settings, cable provider, roommate surfing too much porn, etc.

    I totally understand why companies such as Lumin charge a what I think is reasonable premium for their AIO streamers. Gotta build some "Geek Squad" hours into the business model.

    ^ This.

    All I would be doing is asking: "Did you RTFM?" This is the situation in 2021. Also, I am not convinced I could do a better job than what IBM did with their IBM PC/XT manuals, which were not very good as they were written for people who already knew what they were doing.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
  12. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    FWIW I thought building it was pretty easy it was the setup that confounded me. But I’m good at building stuff thanks to a childhood full of legos. So others will be different.
     
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  13. LetMeBeFrank

    LetMeBeFrank Won't tell anyone my name is actually Francis

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    @Michael Kelly pm me details about the write-up. I would be happy to work with you on this.
     
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  14. Cellist88

    Cellist88 Afraid someone will shit on his opinions

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    Tbh, if you are already at this level looking at using a streaming transport for the next level of audio quality, I'm sure the individual has enough patience and willingness to go through some hoops.
     
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  15. GoldenOne

    GoldenOne Friend

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    Very excited for this!
    The pi2aes previously it seemed the main holdback was simply people seeing that SOME level of assembly was required, and getting that "DIY fear".

    having a ready to go, preloaded option would make it a very appealing option to many.
     
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  16. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    Speaking from the other side of the coin...

    I don't want easy and idiot proof. I want to learn, experience, and tinker. Please don't kill that off.
     
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  17. uncletim

    uncletim Rando

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    I received my pi2AES today.

    the shorter standoffs that go between the boards do not have studs on them. female threads on both sides.

    I have 9 silver machine screws and 4 black sheet metal screws.

    the short standoffs with studs went between the pi and the bottom plate.

    I can't figure out how to attach the long standoffs at this point.

    thanks for any help.
     
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  18. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Wrong thread, I suggest you go to the how to set up the Pi2AES thread. This is a thread about new, currently unreleased products.
     
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  19. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    PI2AES is not going away for all you hairy chested types!
     
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  20. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    I can't wait to assemble all the toys from Michael. (Thank you for the forum code!)

    My biggest hang-up was the software side - making sure everything works the way I want without having to relearn all the linux crap. I feel like I'll be learning how to copy-paste into linux vs actually learning anything, but that is because I'm not interested in that for my music player. I kind of just want to come home and something to work right for once.

    So, some assembly required didn't scare me away - probably helped in cost savings and it'll be fun.
     
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