Redditor plazman started a conversation around creating your own Raspberry Pi-powered music server, dropping a video of their setup playing Neil Diamond loud and clear. The music server has a fairly simple hardware build that utilizes a Raspberry Pi 3B+ and can run either on pre-built software images like Volumio or Rune Audio or with your own custom software. The poster got their server up-and-running using plain Raspbian.
Hardware for the project consists of four components: a Pi, a DAC, a VU meter, and some Command strips to hold all the pieces together. The DAC and the Pi connect over USB, while the DCA is plugged into the VU with RCA cables, and the VU plugs into the amp with the same. The VU meter used in the pictured setup was a little pricey at $53 but looks quite spiffy once it all comes together. Phase 2 of this system may include an enclosure to house the separate components, rather than attaching them more haphazardly, but that’s all tinkering with aesthetics.
The music itself sits on a Linux server and is shared out via NFS, although that isn’t required. The Pi server would work just as well with music saved to a USB. If using a pre-built image designed as a standalone audio player, you will already have a web frontend for playing your music. Any RPi music setup will function with an MPD, a local music server that will only play through the DAC connected to the Pi. If you’re just using Raspbian, the MPD doesn’t have a front end; one will need to be installed. Your build will be comprised of two pieces of software: the MPD server and an MPD client.
Other users chimed in using similar configurations, often sans the funky VU meter. One such Redditor made theirs with SFTP rather than NFS, utilizing the Pi as a server for hosting and playing on a remote device rather than using it as a player. Others had builds that suffered from clicks and pops due to the USB audio, which may depend on the particular DAC and model of Pi used. As of right now, there is not a walkthrough guide for this particular project though the original poster is promising once they complete a fresh install as a reminder of the steps involved.