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Raspberry pi as headless media server with archlinux and Fiio E17

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

These are my notes on how to do this. I assume an existing Linux box and some familiarity with the usual tools.


  1. Download the install image, then dd onto your card thusly: http://archlinuxarm.org/platforms/armv6/raspberry-pi . If your card appears as something like "/dev/mmcblk0p1", dd it to /dev/mmcblk0, not p1 etc.
  2. Remove and reinsert the card, and increase the main partition size as much as you like in gparted.
  3. Boot.
  4. Ssh in. Your router should provide a dhcp table, which will give you the address to ssh to. Root password is root.
  5. Change the root password, update (pacman -Syu), and run sync before rebooting. Sync every time you change the installed packages.
  6. Do as much of this general setting up of the system as you think necessary: http://elinux.org/ArchLinux_Install_Guide . Setting up your locale would also be a good move here.
  7. Assuming you have music on an external drive, add that drive to the fstab.
  8. Install the necessary packages, e.g. pacman -S mpd ncmpcpp alsa-utils alsa-firmware
  9. Run alsamixer, and unmute the fiio. If necessary, modprobe snd_bcm2835 (this should be autoloaded with a recent image).
  10. If mplayer doesn't play, try creating /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf with content of:



options snd slots=snd_usb_audio

options snd_usb_audio index=0


  1. Create a normal user, install sudo. Log in as normal user.
  2. Follow rasi's Scripted Configuration on the archlinux wiki. This also provides instructions for configuring systemd. Check alsa output is enabled.
  3. Copy any changes from ~/.mpd/mpd.conf to /etc/mpd.conf.
  4. Control via ssh or mpdroid. If the latter (or equivalent), you might need to comment out some or all of the bind-to settings in mpd's config file.
  5. I don't care about high-res files, so I don't muck about with mixers.

Edited by Henry Flower - 5/25/13 at 6:00pm
post #2 of 10
Great minds think alike sir. I was just working out how to do this last night using the exact same setup.
post #3 of 10

Hi guys,


I am new to linux and just bought a RPi. Is it maybe possible to do this on non-expert linux OS aswell? For example on the stock debian OS?


If not, what if i buy a splitter that splits the digital HDMI signal to SPDIF and vga ? Do I use any substantial audio quality in this workaround ?

post #4 of 10
It's possible to do that on Raspbian as well.
post #5 of 10

Thanx for the reply.


Since I'm a noob in all this (but willing to learn!), could you maybe write out how to do that on a fresh installation debian ? I really have no idea what the basic steps are how to configure a soundcard.


But again it seems very interesting to learn!

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

There are a lot of different permutations, depending on what soundcard you're using, where you're going to store your files, and how you want to access your music.


Assuming you're going for the same end result as me, steps 1-3 should be the same, just using the raspbian image instead. Step 4 might need a different root password, while the update command will be different (apt-get update?). Less setting up will be required in step 6, as raspbian does more for you.


Second step 1 may be unnecessary, as raspbian probably comes with a normal user account set up for you. Mpd set-up can vary substantially by distro, but there are many, many raspbian mpd guides out there.


Configuring sound cards can vary from nothing having to be done (plug and play), to more in-depth poking around in config files. It depends largely on the card, rather than the distro.

post #7 of 10

Well i of course have a E17, sorry i forgot to mention that :)


I am especially ineterested in the configuration part :)



post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

There should be basically no configuration needed for the E17; all that might be necessary is specifying use of the USB rather than onboard DAC, as in my step 10. If raspbian comes with pulseaudio (I suspect it does) you have the choice of using it (some people think it's the devil's work); removing it (can be tricky); or ignoring it and using ALSA (should be possible, but I don't know the details). I use pulseaudio on my laptop and ALSA on the pi (both Arch) and don't believe there's an audible difference.

post #9 of 10

Thanx i'm gonna check it out :)

post #10 of 10
Has anyone used RPi as a headless DLNA music server to iPhone/iTouch or Androids? How does XMBC run on RPi?

I understand that SqueezePlug may be preferable (than XBMC) if music is priority. But XBMC is nice to have on TV and it can be a DLNA music server as bonus. However I heard that XBMC may not run at its best on RPi? But does it run adequately?

WDTV Live with wifi adapter can be a headless SAMBA server as well. Its processing power is less than RPi and the SAMBA UI (on iPhone w/ AcePlayerPro app) is not beautiful. But WDTV Live works as stock and can fetch music from external hard drive to feed Fiio E17 via its optical digital output.
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