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Yet Another Chord Thread (YACT) - Wireless Streaming - Alternative to 2Go/Poly?

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by AC-12, May 2, 2019.
  1. AC-12
    -- Adding a travel router with a battery pack allows wireless audio streaming and wireless UI for on-the-go w/ CCA or rPi (Hifiberrry || Allo Digione / Allo Digione Signature). WARNING: Carrying a travel router on one's person may be harmful. Please research health risks. Poly has an access point as well, so not sure of the implications. Use at your own risk.
    -- App tested is Neutron for iOS and Android. DAP should be able to used in place of smartphone if it can stream to CCA.

    Note: I've been on hiatus since last year, but pop in here sometimes to offload a item in the classifieds. Many thanks to @Amberlamps' excellent post which inspired me to take it one step further. I'm glad I caught that post as it was a game changer for I. I was hard-headed because I enjoyed my Curious USB setup, but glued to a desktop/CCK so my rig just sits for months and months. Portable is the core of why I got into this hobby and I want to get back to my roots. I usually have no idea what is the latest on the Chord threads, so don't assume I know stuff. I'm NOT going to be here long, so hope to see others take over and experiment if this interests anyone. I'm enjoying the music with my now transportable rig but will pop in a handful of times a year, but I'm out. Don't rely on me to support this thread. It's a simple and inexpensive solution so others should be able to run with the baton.

    Apologies in advance for ignoring questions OUT OF SCOPE listed below. Just going to stay on-topic for this particular project. It looks like the discontinued Chromecast Audio is out of stock everywhere, but RaspBerry Pi (Hifiberry || Allo Digione / Allo Digione Signature) is an alternative. Good luck finding a CCA if you want to experiment (MobileFun (Reputation unknown) has in stock new, but YMMV). Onto the show...

    My transportable project is complete. My Head-Fi arc is complete. No more plot armor. No more 2go. Much appreciated the help on this site. Roll the end titles. Yay! Moving on though from 2go dreams. This is an alternative to 2go as I don't need all the bells and whistles the 2go provides and I'm tired of waiting. I'm not a fan of being tied to a desktop and the CCK as I like to go on walks with this system to alleviate my constant back pain. Not a fan of DAPs either (TGFC, Thank God For Chord). I'm also skeptical if Rob Watts is not involved in a Chord project. The Poly has too many hoops, I just want direct play from the App. Not a chain of Apps dependent on one another. I'm afraid the 2go will suffer a similar fate. I'm old school, so have not experimented with streaming services yet. This is direct Hires, Redbook and DSD files streaming to the Hugo2. This should work on a Mojo as well.

    [PHOTOS posting over weekend, maybe hard to follow without...]
    For the physical transport system, I had to cut a hole in the side of the Flat Fanny as there was not enough room in the front. So I moved the battery pack in the back center. The CCA is to the left of the battery pack and the travel router is to the right of the battery pack. This inadvertently had the effect of load balancing as now everything is not front-loaded. For the Flat Fanny, Suzy can possibly custom make front and back pockets with an opening to route optical cable. My Flat Fanny is still in good shape after the hacks so will punt trying to order another batch. The Flat Fanny is tight to the body so doesn't sag down and is well-constructed. For a Mojo, you can get a small belt holster bag (Mojo, CCA + optical cable). Maybe two small battery pack and separate the CCA and travel router as an alternative transport system. Flat Fanny should work with Mojo as well.... Stacking sux, but it's in a static position as everything is controlled wireless via smartphone. Your not constantly removing devices from a bag. So Pros > Cons. Some like I will take extreme measures to be able to listen to a Chord product anywhere and everywhere, so not to hard to justify. Small startup fee.

    The magic happens because the travel router can be configured in Hotspot Mode. Basically, you just plug in an access point (WIFI SSID or Hotspot) (e.g. HOME_WIFI) and the password in the travel router. It's a WIFI network (e.g. TRAVEL_WIFI) within a network (WIFI or 4G) (e.g. HOME_WIFI), so your basically using the travel router to act as a client to login to a wireless service. Your iPhone will login and have access to the travel router private WIFI (e.g. TRAVEL_WIFI). When your out of your normal WIFI range (e.g. HOME_WIFI), you will still have a private WIFI (e.g. TRAVEL_WIFI) just not connected to the Internet. So you can still use the Neutron App for iOS to control your music over private WIFI (e.g. TRAVEL_WIFI) via the travel router offline. One caveat though is when you select the output in the Neutron App, a handshake needs to take place on the Google Servers to initiate the CCA. You will need to be online to initiate. So initiate before you go out of your main WIFI range (e.g. HOME_WIFI) or offline and don't close your app. I have not tested Hotspot, but should work the same so you have Internet everywhere with your rig. I'm good with no Internet for now while on a walkabout. I did test Library Wifi. Just login to travel router, scan, select captive portal WIFI, then save. Goto browser and login. Should be same with hotel, etc. So basically you stay loggedin to the travel router WIFI primarily (e.g. TRAVEL_WIFI). That travel router will act as a client and login to most WIFI/Hotspots (e.g. STARBUCKS_WIFI). It will create a bridge to allow you access to the Internet via your private travel router WIFI (e.g. TRAVEL_WIFI). So TRAVEL_WIFI <--> STARBUCKS_WIFI <--> (Internet). Within TRAVEL_WIFI, you can stream and control UI via smartphone like you do at home into a Hugo2/Mojo and have full access to the Interwebz. Online or Offline (As long as you don't close Neutron).


    On Neutron App: Settings | Output To | <your CCA/rPi>
    Reminder: Have to be online to handshake with Google Servers using the CCA (Hotspot | Wifi w/Internet).

    Note1: CCA needs to be configured with Google Home App. Afterwards, the App can be deleted.
    Note2: Chord remote control works with line of sight through the Flat Fanny and light clothing.
    Note3: A smartphone may not be needed. If a DAP can output a stream to the CCA, it should work the same. That means you can have a very small DAP for the UI and a Chord for the sound output. Again, no clue on DAPs. Tera Player was my last DAP.

    Flat Fanny from Etsy ($20)


    TP-Link N300 (TL-WR802N) ($25)


    Anker Battery Pack 2-port ($40)


    Anker 4-inch micro USB cables (2) ($7)


    Google Chromecast Audio (optical output) ($UNKNOWN as discontinued) [Chromecast Audio — Firmware version 1.37.146679]

    Lifatec 15 inch optical cable ($100) [Custom size down to 6 inch, same price though]


    Neutron Music Player (iOS) ($6)


    https://www.head-fi.org/threads/android-neutron-music-player.566664/ [Android-only, but should be similar to iOS]

    Mobile Hotspot
    Streaming Services
    5GZ (Alternative Larger Travel Routers Avail.)
    Streamers - Raspberry Pi
    Battery Pack
    Apple Watch
    DAPs (Android App that can install Neutron to stream may work for those that don't want to use their smartphone. Not sure natively.)
    SD cards / External Storage
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
    Amberlamps and Wyville like this.
  2. AC-12
  3. AC-12
    adding a few photos and testing if any dropouts happen once i receive lifatec optical cable over weekend. dropouts reported with <1.35 firmware or basic optical cable.

    Link has example on how to setup Hotspot Router Mode:

    Last edited: May 2, 2019
  4. flyte3333
    AC-12 likes this.
  5. AC-12
    Thxs. Haven't thought that far. Just wanted the lightest and cheapest as this was an experiment. The App Store has a TP-LINK app but only a few routers compat, but maybe easier to login than a smartphone browser. It's a bit of a pain to select a new WIFI, so not sure if the TP-LINK app will help with the UI.
  6. AC-12
    Good news, Transmit power can be set on low on both the TL-WR802N and TP-WR902AC. BTW, thanks for Lifatec suggestion on Hugo2 thread. Hoping it works out.


    What's nice about the TP-WR902AC besides 5GHz speeds and less interference is a USB port to plug in an external drive. This will make a DLNA drive within your private network. Neutron should be able to access your music files via DLNA. Power though increases from 1A to 2A. The USB drive may take up more power.


    Last edited: May 3, 2019
  7. Edric Li
    Love this idea. Look forward to how it turns out.
    AC-12 likes this.
  8. AC-12

    Fundamentally this works, but there are too many dropouts on the Chromecast Audio device with > Redbook 44.1. Getting rid of CCAs and getting a HiFiBerry for optical output. It has nothing to do with the Hugo2 or expensive optical cable, the CCA drops out even when playing via headphones directly out of the device. Neutron does not support native DSD on Hugo2 via CCA optical, so that was the final straw.

    If 2Go released in Munich, may hold off Raspberry Pi. Maybe. Would be nice to have AirPlay functionality, but Hires I believe is limited. Will report back in June...
    514077 and Peter Hyatt like this.
  9. AC-12

    I've been enjoying this new setup too much to post, but all seems to be working. I'm streamlined my build to just HiFiBerry -> Lifatec glass optical -> Hugo2. There are no devices in the mix. I just wanted a pureSQ rig with no potential RFI devices to concern about... My frontend of choice is a simple IR remote control. I am enjoying the button feedback as well instead of tapping a soul-less screen. I can control from my left or right pocket without having to take the remote out. The Volume+, Volume- and Mute button is mapped to the Hugo2. The ChUp and ChDown button is mapped to Next/FFW and Previous/RWD. The Power button is mapped to "All" playlist and the A/V button is mapped to "FOTM" playlist. It works well, it's responsive. So it controls seamlessly as if the HiFiBerry and Hugo2 were one integrated product. This build is pretty much hands-free. No fiddling with a device.


    I cannot believe the jump in SQ. I understand now why Rob Watts mentions Redbook >= SACD. I can now listen to Redbook with ease with this rig. I experience magic now regularly w/ Redbook that I only experienced with DSD in the past with a super dark background. I guess a good quality source dedicated to just processing audio does make a difference. The whole operating system is also located in RAM with a realtime Linux kernel all to spit out bit-perfect goodness. My goal was just to increase usability/portability, so the increase in SQ is a welcome surprise.

    I didn't get it with Redbook B4, I get it now...

    I also was fortunate to upgrade the transport as it was important to keep a low footprint for this build. I am now using a Flipbelt Zipper to carry all. I think this is a good transport to use for those who will pursue the 2Go. I cut a small hole to run the optical cable internally within the Flipbelt. With a 2Go setup, a USB cable can be routed to the back to a battery pack to extend the enjoyment as most likely the 2Go module will quickly drain the battery. I estimate that the HiFiBerry can run about 30 hours with the current Anker Battery Pack. I plan on a lighter one with 1/3 the power now that it's working. Better to be safe to overpower than under initially...



    I'll try to take photos this weekend and expand more on this thread. I put RFI/EMI blocking tape inside the HiFiBerry case and turned off Bluetooth, WiFi and HDMI so optimising ATM. I run the HiFiBerry off a Anker Battery Pack or Anker USB Charger from the wall outlet. No need to purchase an additional power supply.

    HiFiBerry universal case, black$11.90https://www.hifiberry.com/shop/cases/universal-case-black/
    HiFiBerry Digi+ Pro$39.90https://www.hifiberry.com/shop/boards/hifiberry-digi-pro/
    Raspberry Pi 3B+$34.90https://www.hifiberry.com/shop/accessories/raspberry-pi-3bp/

    HiFiBerry ships quickly from Switzerland. Paid about $102 with tracking and arrived less than a week to the States. YMMW.

    hi.png fi.png

    Bit-perfect / Galvanic Isolation!!!
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    Amberlamps and zenlisten like this.
  10. AC-12
    Off-topic but some photos of my initial build rig last month. Being hands-free helps as I run a 12-wire IEM cable at times. The cable is one of the most neutral pieces of equipment one can obtain in this hobby. Pairing with the most neutral transportable in the Hugo2 makes a good solid foundation for the transducer and future transducers.

    r4_pix.png r4.png
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    zenlisten, SteveOliver and Edric Li like this.
  11. AC-12
    Summer Project completed early:


    I will try to write out build details over the summer.
    zenlisten and Peter Hyatt like this.
  12. AC-12

    My bluetooth and WIFI were always set to OFF, but I figured out you can make the WIFI into a WAP ( Wireless Access Point ) versus a standard WIFI client use. This is great news as a travel router is no longer needed to communicate with an Apple front end. You just connect to the WIFI access point on the rPi. Footprint reduced. WAP is now always ON.

    So iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch app can be used full-time independently without the need for a travel router. This complements the IR remote control well. Android is fine too as this setup is DAC-agnostic and well as software-agnostic. Just plug in a Hugo2, Mojo, Mojo2, Hugo and even ** sigh ** OTHER Dacs and your good to go...

    Crossing fingers for Mojo2 to have a remote control capability.


    Figured out you can make an Raspberry Pi act like a router w/ an SSID. No need for travel router for this purpose anymore. Saves footprint, power and extra cables. Apple devices can connect to the SSID and control front end with their app seamlessly.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
    Wyville likes this.
  13. AC-12

    Since I'm using rPi AP permenately now, will post iPhone photos of app. This app and the software on the rPi is about a decade old so very stable and refine. Sorry, don't have an Apple Watch to post photos ATM. In theory, after installing the app on the Apple Watch all you need is to connect the Watch to the AP and all should work. The rPi runs independently of any front-end, so Watch iPhone iPad Android IR remote doesn't matter. It's agnostic. It uses minimal battery on phone because it all runs on the back-end independently. You can even close your app and it still runs. You can save your phone for normal usage (making/receiving calls) and have nothing run in back or foreground on your phone. Saves phone battery. You don't need an iPhone with your Apple Watch either in theory. So Apple devices are just for convenience. Very functional, but if you need your phone for other purposes or just want to chill out with the IR remote; you can bypass devices all together.

    I finally ran into a snag. The rPi uses only USB 2.0. I was going to obtain a Sandisk portable 2TB SSD for this project, but will just wait until a rPi w/ USB 3.0+ is released in the future. The flipbelt has a clip and I was just going to clip-on this portable SSD, just cannot justify yet. I really wanted the 500+/500+ read/write speeds, but will punt till USB3.



    Note: Needs 3D touch to access this screen


    Note: I use Landscape sometimes if playing games.

    Note: Here are the playlists that are mapped to the IR remote control. Can +/- songs as needed in app, then control via IR remote.

    Note: If you have multiple rPi's throughout the house/office, you can control multiple...

    Note: File maintenance. Can reboot server if needed.

    Note: With rPi as a source, redbook > SACD so can start going back to nostalgic redbook CDs (reminiscing when having 2 15" subs in the back and going to car sound-offs in lala land) instead of just audiophile recordings. You know you are on the right track with Chord DACs when RB > DSD.

    Note: Can't forget landscape.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
    Wyville likes this.
  14. Amberlamps
    Raspberry pi 4 was released today. I don't know the specs but it may have usb 3.1 ?



    It does indeed have usb 3, it has 2 usb 3 ports and 2 usb 2 ports. Also versions from 1 to 4gb ram and can handle 2 4k screens at the same time.

    I just spent the guts of £1000 on a nuc and extra's, this pi could probably do all of what I wanted for £100.

    Ahwell, we live and learn.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
    AC-12 likes this.
  15. Whazzzup
    we are at the cave man stage, i won't touch any of this for years yet

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