I used in my home office setup a pair of Audioengine A5+ speakers (https://audioengineusa.com/shop/wirelessspeakers/a5-wireless/) connected till last week with an Chromecast Audio – a setup that’s very convenient and easy to use – sounds good also.
I was thinking on buying 2 more Chromecast Audio devices to be used with two older (but good sounding) devices, but after Google decided to not longer sell the devices, they become more difficult to find (not that they were that popular previously – only some people knew about them, at least were I was asking about that – I spent 2 days looking for one in Tokyo last year, but that’s another story). So I spent a bit of time looking for alternatives that would support various streaming sources, Tidal included … the solutions exist, but they are expensive and after the recent decision Sonos made to not longer support older devices, you may end up with worthless (expensive) devices in your home. I took into consideration solutions from Sonos, Yamaha, but they are a bit more expensive and coming from Google Chromecast, it’s sometimes hard to move away in the next league of prices.
So, looking over the internet for other solutions, I found options around the Raspberry Pi – HiFiBerry (https://www.hifiberry.com) being one. Then I remembered that I have around an old Behringer UCA 222 (https://www.behringer.com/Categories/Behringer/Computer-Audio/Interfaces/UCA222/p/P0A31#googtrans(en|en)) that I may use to test with the Raspberry Pi 3.
I got some more courage seeing this post here about RPi streaming (https://darko.audio/2020/01/raspberry-pi-audio-streaming-101/) and assembled the Raspberry Pi 3 with the UCA222, Volumio and the powered speakers – the result was better than expected – to my ears, it sounds better than the chromecast audio, even if the DAC characteristics would favour the CCA.
The RPi Volumio install was easy and without any issues, the user interface is intuitive and the integration with Tidal is nice (if you pay the extra fee for MyVolumio Virtuoso 29EUR/year – https://volumio.org/volumio-overview/).
The next step for me is figuring out if I’ll try one of the RPi audio options (Allo, HiFiBerry) or a different setup … I’ll write about that later.