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A Raspberry Pi Pandora music player

22 Jan 2016

Here is a minimal Pandora internet radio player using a Raspberry Pi 2 with an IQaudIO Pi-DigiAMP+ combination DAC/AMP board and using the console-based pianobar client.

Single core Rasberry Pi boards probably work as well, but I don’t have any RPi A+ or B+ boards and the DAC board doesn’t fit the old header layout.

Support for the DAC board, the kernel drivers and dts, are already included in the Linux kernel I am using. The systems are built using Yocto with instruction from here.

All that was needed was

  1. A few lines to the config.txt
  2. Turning ON gpio22 to disable mute
  3. A simple alsa.conf modification to disable a warning.
  4. Small tweaks to the pianobar recipe from github.com/strassek/meta-aura

The gpio mute and alsa.conf changes are included in the meta-rpi/images/audio-image.bb.

I didn’t use the meta-aura layer, but just added my own customized pianobar recipe to meta-rpi.

For a quick-start on the config.txt, rename or copy the sample meta-rpi/scripts/config.txt-iqaudio-example to meta-rpi/scripts/config.txt.

The copy_boot.sh script used for SD card preparation will install the config.txt if it finds one in the directory where it is run.

For speakers I’m using a pair of old Pioneer 8-ohm speakers from a broken CD player I had laying around. For a non-audiophile like me they are plenty good enough.

I’m sure the DAC board supports better speakers then these.

After boot, you should see this list of kernel modules loaded

root@rpi2:~# lsmod
Module                  Size  Used by
nfc                    56961  0
bluetooth             317426  2
rfkill                 16877  2 nfc,bluetooth
ipv6                  340552  30
snd_soc_pcm512x_i2c     2091  1
evdev                  10250  0
snd_soc_pcm512x        15525  1 snd_soc_pcm512x_i2c
regmap_i2c              2668  1 snd_soc_pcm512x_i2c
snd_soc_iqaudio_dac     2453  0
snd_soc_bcm2708_i2s     6584  2
regmap_mmio             3270  1 snd_soc_bcm2708_i2s
i2c_bcm2708             4928  0
snd_soc_core          127441  3 snd_soc_pcm512x,snd_soc_iqaudio_dac,snd_soc_bcm2708_i2s
snd_compress            7547  1 snd_soc_core
bcm2835_gpiomem         2852  0
snd_pcm_dmaengine       3227  1 snd_soc_core
snd_pcm                73316  4 snd_soc_pcm512x,snd_soc_core,snd_soc_iqaudio_dac,snd_pcm_dmaengine
snd_timer              18168  1 snd_pcm
snd                    50967  4 snd_soc_core,snd_timer,snd_pcm,snd_compress
uio_pdrv_genirq         2944  0
uio                     8032  1 uio_pdrv_genirq

And you should see gpio22 exported as an output with the value high to disable mute.

root@rpi2:~# ls /sys/class/gpio
export  gpio22  gpiochip0  unexport

root@rpi2:~# cat /sys/class/gpio/gpio22/direction

root@rpi2:~# cat /sys/class/gpio/gpio22/value

Here are the devices alsa sees

root@rpi2:~# aplay -l
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: IQaudIODAC [IQaudIODAC], device 0: IQaudIO DAC HiFi pcm512x-hifi-0 []
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

root@rpi2:~# aplay -L
    Discard all samples (playback) or generate zero samples (capture)
    Default Audio Device
    Default Audio Device
    Default Audio Device

Make sure to run alsamixer once after start-up to enable the analog and digital outputs as described in the IQaudIO User Guide. If you don’t the digital output will default to the the maximum level which is too much for my speakers.

root@rpi2:~# alsamixer 

You can set your Pandora username and password in /home/root/.config/pianobar/config to avoid having to enter them every time.

Make sure there is one space before and after the = and there are no spaces at the end of the lines. pianobar is picky about this.

Run pianobar from a console without any arguments.

root@rpi2:# pianobar

It should just work.

I have the RPi audio system running headless in a corner of my office. I control pianobar (which also has volume controls) over an ssh session. This works for me since I spend most of my day in front of ssh terminal sessions.