I’ve blogged in the past about the really rather wonderful but sadly discontinued Squeezebox system of networked media players (see for example 2013 – My year as a music consumer and Squeezebox RIP). It hadn’t escaped my notice that the tiny computer Raspberry Pi has been used as a low power Squeezebox, and I fancied a spot of tinkering to make a backup Squeezebox device should some of my current Squeezeboxes conk out (though it has to be said that I have two Squeezebox Radios, one Squeezebox Touch and one Squeezebox Classic, and I’ve never had any hardware problems to date).

I looked around the web for tutorials on setting up a Raspberry Pi as a Squeezebox, and there do seem to be several ways to achieve this.

First up would be to install Squeezeplug. This sets up the Raspberry Pi not only as a player, but as the Logitech Media Server (LMS) itself. As far as I can deduce, this setup would be useful as a low power media server that would be left running 24/7 – obviously with an external drive to hold the music files. Since I’m running LMS on a QNAP NAS already, I think this might be overkill!

I then found this tutorial on installing Squeezelite on an Raspberry PI, with the stock Raspbian operating system – Installing Squeezelite Player on Raspbian. The same author decided to use a different OS to make a device that could be switched on and off without problems, resulting in…

Unpluggable Squeezelite Player on TinyCore. This uses a small linux distro, PiCore (based on TinyCore) which runs in RAM and uses the Raspberry Pi’s SD card in read-only mode, meaning it can be switched on and off with no damage.

As an alternative, there’s a pre-built version of the above, called PiCorePlayer. This may be the most straightforward way to set up the Raspberry Pi, and will be my first foray into the world of Raspberry Pi.

Just now, I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of my Model B Raspberry Pi (complete with SD card), a small plastic case and a USB WiFi stick.

Cost so far:
Raspberry Pi Type B with 8GB SD card               £27.40
Edimax Wireless Nano USB Adapter                     £8.95
Case-CLR 1 Raspberry Pi Type B Case – Clear      £3.99
Total (inc VAT) is                                                    £48.41

The 8Gb SD card is probably overkill for the purpose I have in mind. The RS website says it has the stock Raspbian OS, but I could put the multi-distro NOOB on it. I probably have a modestly sized SD card kicking around – the PiCorePlayer site says the entire thing is only 26Mb (though the latest img file is around 57Mb).

I need the WiFi adapter because running an ethernet cable to the eventual location of the device is likely to be impractical. I expect to do all the set up on the command line, starting with the device hooked up by ethernet until the WiFi is setup, though if necessary I can borrow a keyboard and mouse for the setup. I have several 5V USB power power supplies that should fit the bill according to the Raspberry Pi website.

My immediate plans are to hook the PiCorePlayer to a DAC via USB. Another future possibility would be to add a HiFiBerry DAC card. This would be rather fun as it’d require me to get out the soldering iron!