Orange PI Media Center

What is it?

The Orange Pi Home Media Center is a compact and neatly designed hardware project that combines the power of the Orange Pi board and the high-quality audio capabilities of the dual MAX98357 DAC. This versatile media center provides a customizable and fully open-source solution for home entertainment. With a rotary encoder featuring an addressable LED circle for media controls and a design inspired by commercial audio gear, it offers a seamless user experience. It aimed to support VolumioMopidy or any custom firmware you may come up with.

Why did I build it

Initially I created a line-level Hi-Fi version of the board, followed by Amped version. I use them myself with the off-the-shelf commercial amp to sort of modernize pre-internet era audio gear with Spotify and the rest of the family.

It works great, but it lacks proper integration between music source and the amp. I even connected the amp via relay, but you cannot control input switch remotely etc.

At some point I came to idea of standalone device that would have amp on-board. In that setup amp would probably not be that sophisticated, but at least I can have as much control over it, as I need. To complete the picture I added back-lit rotary encoder for manual controls (if I ever need to use one) and IR input, so I can add remote control to the setup.

Why Orange Pi?

It’s capable and reasonably priced, and great value for money. But most notably, Raspberry’s availability is still poor at the moment of writing. Orange Pi is not a perfect alternative, not nearly as good support level as Big Pi. But in terms of audio quality it is no compromise, and that what matters most.

Key features

  • Dual I2S MAX98357 DAC with built in D-Class amp
  • 3 W per channel on 4 Ohm load
  • Up to 92% efficiency
  • Dual screw-terminal speaker output
  • Rotary encoder back-lit with 8 individually controllable LEDs
  • 5V 3A wall power adapter
  • Mechanical dimensions (WxHxD): 128mm x 44mm x 100mm

How to use

Both software and hardware documentation can be found on project’s Github. You can follow project progress at Hackaday

Orange Pi runs ArmbianVolumio and Mopidy, but before any of them can utilize MAX98357 DAC, it needs to be configured.

Setting up an external DAC is not a trivial task, therefore Ansible playbooks were provided to set-up your Pi in the matter of 2 clicks.

Optional playbooks will install Mopidy and Spotify smart speaker suite onto your Pi.

Where to buy

You may support our work by ordering this product at Tindie