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RodN's picture
Last seen: 3 years 11 months ago
Joined: Sep 17 2013 - 8:16pm
Just Getting into Computer Audio: Help!

I'm in the process of building a pair of DIY Pluto 2.1 speakers (see for more info). These are active speakers with their own amps built in. As I understand it, I need a line-level analog signal (RCA connection) to feed them. I'm interested in connecting them to some kind of computer audio system streaming probably FLAC files mostly. I was intending to get the much beloved Squeezebox Touch, but then that was discontinued and I hesitate to commit to it at this late date; prices have spiked anyway. Now I've signed up (though I can still cancel my order) an Olive One, which has not been released yet but will perhaps appear in October. It is similar in concept to the Squeezebox: you stream the files from your computer or NAS to the Olive (or save them on its optional hard disk), and then the Olive is wired to your speakers, or to an exterior DAC. The Olive has been greeted with skepticism by some Squeezebox fans. The designers did recently make it clear that it will have a line-level analog out (via a 3.5 mm connection) which will allow me to use the Burr-Brown DAC that's in it and bypass the onboard amps in The Olive. It also has digital out, so if I ever decided to get a separate DAC, I could. So I think it will work for me, but it does have some redundancies--the needless amps, for example.

But then I started reading about other options. Streaming to a dedicated PC, for example, with Squeezelite on it. I started getting excited about using a Raspberry Pi and a separate DAC, thinking this might be a smarter, more flexible and more cost-effective set-up than the Olive One. Some sites I am looking at make it sound like this works like a charm. But then I've encountered a number of discussion groups in which people talk about compatibility glitches in this sort of arrangement. Or should I not necessarily focus on the RPi, and just think in terms of some sort of mini computer for this purpose? But aren't there problems with noise? What am I looking for in a computer that is to be used in this way?

I have absolutely no computer ability and do not want to tinker endlessly with compatibility issues between, for example, a Raspberry Pi and the DAC, or whatever. Even though I'm doing the DIY speaker thing, I sort of want that to be the end of DIY, and just have it work after I finish the speakers. That's why the Olive appealed to me.

Any suggestions? Thanks! Rod

hcsunshine's picture
Last seen: 3 months 3 days ago
Joined: Nov 13 2011 - 4:06pm
just saw...

... the pluto 2.1 speakers. must say i've never seen anything like that with regard to speakers. how much does the kit cost? i've been told speaker building can be pretty complicated. good luck.

commsysman's picture
Last seen: 1 day 1 hour ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am

I just have a PC with an internet connection; that is fine for streaming. I use Windows Media Player for ripping, organizing, playing and transferring music.A fairly basic PC is really all you need.

I have a pair of Audioengine 2 powered speakers connected to the audio output jack of the computer and that gives very good audio quality (16-bit CD quality). I assume that yours will be somwhat similar.

For ripping music from CDs or from the internet, I find that I get excellent sound quality from either WAV files or the 320K MP3 files. The lower-resolution MP3 files are not as good.

For portability, you can put 5 or 6 albums of music on a CDR, or 50 or so Albums of music on a 16 GB USB flash drive (using the 320K MP3 files), which costs less than 10 dollars.

I have 50 albums recorded on a flash drive stick and use it all the time in my Toyota Prius, which has a USB jack. That works out great.

KevinHaskins's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: Oct 11 2013 - 7:15pm

The Pluto should be an easy build if you have any mechanical/electrical aptitude.   Looks like tons of fun.  

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