Raspberry Pi is every maker’s go-to single-board computer (SBC), and they’re useful for a wide range of projects. You can use a Raspberry Pi in everything from robots to IoT (Internet of Things) controllers. But it is still a fully-functional computer that you can use like any other computer. With just a few upgrades, a Raspberry Pi is great as a dedicated audio system computer. That’s exactly what redditor Sanfran54 has done with their custom audio system housed in a cigar box.
This project started with Sanfran54 receiving a Raspberry Pi starter kit as a gift from their son a few years ago. They had been listening to music by simply plugging headphones into their laptop, but decided that the Raspberry Pi would be ideal for a dedicated music player. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B that Sanfran54 has is perfect for running audio software — Audacious in this case — but it does lack an onboard sound card. Cheap USB options are available, but Sanfran54 wanted something higher quality.
To achieve that, they used a HiFiBerry DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter). That takes the music bits directly from the Raspberry Pi and turns them into a high-quality analog audio signal. That, in turn, is fed to a Bravo V2 hybrid tube amplifier. Finally, AKG 240 studio headphones are plugged into the amplifier’s output. A 5″ touchscreen LCD display from Adafruit is used for navigating the software, with a separate wireless Bluetooth keyboard available for when typing is necessary. The Raspberry Pi, along with a hefty power supply, are housed within a classy cigar box, with the LCD screen and amplifier mounted to the top of the box. The result looks good, is convenient, and produces high-fidelity sound.