A friend of mine bought a new amplifier but he wasn’t pleased with the sound. He likes the aesthetic of older things, so he called me and asked if I could recommend a good old amplifier that could drive smaller speakers. The first one that I could think of was the venerable NAD 3020B. When I was young, this was the first affordable amplifier that actually sounded good. It’s not a power house by any means, putting out a (very conservative estimate) 2 x 20 watts. But the phono stage which is switchable for both MM and MC pickups is good, and the sound quality is excellent. So he scoured the used market and finally found a NAD 3020B. Unfortunately when he got it home, there was a loud hum from the output. So I told him to send it to me so I could fix it.
My Raspberry Pi Car Audio Player
A lot of people are using the excellent linux micro computer Raspberry Pi and install it in their cars. Usually they use a color screen that is touch sensitive, being able to play back video and music. But I’m only interested in high quality audio playback, being able to have all my CDs in lossless FLAC format for optimal sound quality. So a 16×2 LCD display with some buttons is plenty. I now have a working system (but not yet installed in my car.) here’s a description on how it’s built. Most of the installations I’ve seen uses the audio out from the Raspberry Pi, but it’s only 11-bit and sounds like crap. I want to use an external DAC and you can get that to work in XBMC, but only menu and music output, not films. There are some HDMI to audio converters, but I’ll rather use a quality USB DAC.
I love my music playback setup that consists of a couple of Squeezebox V3 players in different rooms so I can listen to music in lossless format wherever I am in the apartment. With the iPeng HD app on my iPad, I have a nice interface for controlling the players with album art and other nice features. But the best part is that I can playback high resolution audio directly on my iPad using the Camera Kit USB adapter and an HRT HeadStreamer DAC portable USB headphone amplifier. But I wanted a small, cheap and eco-friendly server for hosting my music files and wondered if I could use the Raspberry Pi. And here’s my findings.