DIY Hifi

Recently I started thinking about building my son a hifi system for his birthday. Not a system with expensive separates though. I thought I would go the way of building from base components, to make it easily repairable and upgradeable. The Raspberry Pi (RPi) system I’m pretty familiar with is a decent base for such a system and running Volumio on the RPi makes it a neat system he could control (for radio, Spotify, etc.) from a tablet (or later his own smartphone).

Here’s the basis of the system I’m planning:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 – Reuse an existing one, or buy a new one for £35 – you could use a more basic RPi (I run Volumio on a RPi Zero, purely for internet radio) but I like something that will be relatively snappy.
  • Q Acoustics 3010 – Forget the prices you see on some sites, with some careful shopping I reckon I can get these highly rated bookshelf speakers for about £79. Specs – Sensitivity: 86dB, Power: 15-75w, Impedance: 6 ohm
  • Hifiberry Amp2 – Top Swiss manufacturer of RPi audio boards – this no-solder HAT board is the heart of the system combining the amplifier and digital-analogue converter (DAC) and will work with 4-8 ohm speakers – £45
  • Meanwell GS60A18-P1J (60W) 18V PSU – Don’t skimp on the power supply, a poorly matched one affects the sound quality – £23
  • UGREEN Banana Plugs, 24K Gold Plated (8) – £12 on Amazon, which ever ones you get make sure they’ll fit whatever AWG gauge wire you’ll be using.
  • DCSk 20 m – 2 x 4 mm² AWG 11 Cable – Good quality and quite thick solid copper wire, enough for 4 x 5 metre runs – about £30 on Amazon as I write.

Total cost re-using the RPi3 that I have would be around the £190 mark, £225 if you have to buy a new one. For that I hope to build a sound system the equivalent of something 3 to 4 times the cost in the audio shops. The online comments by people who have built similar using the above components are very positive about the sound quality you can obtain.

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