I use this little contraption both at home and work to play all the music I want, and it keeps my phone free to make and receive calls.
I found it annoying that the Samsung S4 doesn't automatically mute incoming messages and notifications when I'm jamming to music through the earbuds. Since I get a lot of notifications, the music cuts out just so that the phone can ding at me. Hate that. Also when calls come in, the music again mutes and pauses.
You just can't rock it out when the music keeps cuttin' out like that, so I found another solution.
The Rasberry Pi is a perfect platform for me. It doesn't take up much space on my desk, and using the Rune Audio player, I can control the music and settings from a browser tab on my work computer.
Rune Audio is a Internet radio and music player that in this case, is wi-fi enabled for control, but the audio still runs through the 3.5mm line out jack or the HDMI port depending on what's plugged in.
The way I have mine set up is this:
Rune Audio runs on a 32GB Class 10 extreme MicroSD card (400x read write). Most of the music libarary is loaded directly on the card, but I also use a USB drive that stores a backup of the music.
Since the 3.5mm clips a lot if you turn the volume on the Pi up, I use a small portable headphone amp to crank up the tunes. The one I use specifically is a HAA FEE purchased for about $20. I use a short 3.5mm headphone male to male jack to run the music from the Pi to the Amp.
Finally, I usually use my Sure SE-215 or TFZ Series 1S in ear monitors to get the sound into my ears.
Yeah, but is it worth it?
Something funny happened when I started listening to music this way...
There was actually more to the music than I could hear using my phone as the music player. I could hear a lot more music that you normally don't hear when you just rely on the phone's volume control.
I began listening to my music library again, and for those songs that are recorded professionally at 192kHz or higher, I can actually hear a lot more of the background music than with any other device I have.
The audio amp really does make a difference, but since I don't have the technical knowledge, I can't say how it does that or why, but all I know is that it really brings out a lot more of the music than what you'd normally hear.
- Raspberry Pi 3 $40 via Amazon | Check Current Price
- Haa Fee Headphone Amplifier $18 via Amazon | Check Current Price
- Shure SE-215 In Ear Monitors $99 via Amazon | Check Current Price
- TFZ Series 1S In Ear Monitors $43 via Amazon | Check Current Price
- Bestpriceam EW-7811Un Wi-Fi Adapter $2 | Check Current Price
I tried the HAA FEE amp with my phone too.
Curiously, I could turn up the volume, but the extended musical range just wasn't there, so I'm thinking that the phone somehow isn't capable of reproducing the sound range that a computer such as the Pi can. The soundstage also sounds flatter and less like an actual room. and I just don't get the upper end of the high range or low bass that almost has the Sure earbuds clipping when I use the phone.
The best example is when I'm listening to classical music through the Rasberry Pi / HAA FEE amp setup, at the end of a movement, you can actually hear the orchestra lower their instruments before the song fades and ends.
Installing Rune Audio on the Rasberry Pi SD Card
I've tried installing the disk image on both a regular class 10 and extreme speed microSD card. The higher speed card really makes a difference, not just in how fast the web interface responds, but also detectably in the quality of music. The cheaper card couldn't seem to feed the digital signal fast enough, and I was detecting a bit of really slight imperfections that just weren't present when the high speed card was used.
Having selected your MicroSD card, head over to Rune Audio (http://www.rpimusicplayer.com/) for Rasberry Pi and down to the download section.
Be careful to download the correct image for your Raspberry Pi. They support all rasberry pi hardware (including the Pi zero), but have different downloads across the models.
Once downloaded, head over to the Quick Start guide on Rune Audio's website for install instructions, or follow this Windows Tutorial:
The Raspberry Pi Rune Audio image will be downloaded in Zip format. Make sure to unzip it.
You will need Win32 Disk imager, which can be downloaded here.
Under image file, click the folder icon on the right and when the file browser window opens, browse to the location where you unzipped the Rune Audio image.
Make sure you select the unzipped copy of the Rune Audio Raspberry Pi image and not the zip file (I've made this mistake a couple times now).
Under Device, select the drive letter of the SD or MicroSD card. MAKE SURE TO GET THIS RIGHT. Selecting the wrong drive letter might have disasterous results!
Click write, and go get a coffee. The process of writing the image to disk can take up to 15 minutes depending on how good your computer is.
Once done, insert the SD card into the Rasberry Pi.
Attach your keyboard, mouse, Wi-Fi adaptor (These are the ones I use) and monitor.
Fire up the Pi!
On the screen, you'll see a lot of stuff whizz by, but when it stops at the runeaudio login prompt, its ready for your input.
Use the following username and password:
- username: root
- password: rune
You will see the follwoing prompt:
Type this in:
Add the following to the file after the line "
ssid="YOUR WiFi SSID"
Note that SSID is the name of your Wi-Fi network, typed exactly as it shows on your computer. The PSK line is the Wi-Fi password that you type in to access your Wi-Fi network.
Double check your work (how many times I've heard that from math teachers.... *shudders* ) and now hit CTRL and the "X" keys together. At the bottom of the screen, you'll see the following message:
Save modified buffer (ANSWERING "No" WILL DESTROY CHANGES) ?
Assuming you typed in your Wi-Fi SSID and password in correctly, you'll want to hit the "Y" key for yes, to confirm the changes.
The message will change to say:
"File Name to Write: /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf"
Hit the enter button to save all, and you'll be returned to the
[root@runeaudio ~]# prompt.
Setup is complete, so reboot the Raspberry Pi by typing:
The Pi will go through it's reboot cycle and you'll land on the login: prompt when the reboot is complete.
Log in again, and now type in:
and hit return.
Look for the entry under wlan0: that looks something like this:
You are looking for the Rasberry Pi's IP address, it's usually a 192.168.XX.XX or 10.1.XX.XX number to the right of "inet" on the second line. In this example, it's the 192.168.1.25 address.
Finding this IP address confirms that your Rasberry Pi in now on your wi-fi network.
You may disconnect the keyboard, mouse and monitor at this point without rebooting.
From Your Home Computer or Laptop that is connected to the same Wi-Fi network, you can open a browser window.
If the computer is a Windows machine:
Open the following address in your browser: http://runeaudio or http://runeaudio. Depending on the browser, one of these two addresses might not work.
If it's an OSX / Linux computer or iOS / Android device:
Open the following address in your browser: http://runeaudio.local
If typing in the above addresses into your browser doesn't work, then use the IP address of your device that we found using the above method and point your browser to it (e.g. http://192.168.1.25 in my example)
In the end, you're looking for a screen that looks like this:
Congrats! You're connected to your Rune Audio Raspberry Pi Music Player!
How To Add Music To Your Rasbperry Pi Rune Audio Music Player
The Rune Audio player supports almost all common music file formats, including MP3, WMA, MP4 and so on.
You'll want to take a bit of time and familiarize yourself with the User interface documentation, found here.
Loading Music Files
The easiest way to do it is just to load your music on to a USB drive and plug the drive into a USB port on the Rasberry Pi. The Rune Audio interface will automatically load the USB drive into the library.
It should be noted that Rune Audio supports putting your music in folders on the USB drive for better organization. You can also create playlists within Rune Audio on the Rasberry Pi, but for now, this is just the easiest way to organize.
You see in the above image that there is a (1) in the top center USB storage box? That's the USB drive with your music. Click that box.
You will see the USB drive as shown below:
Click on that to see all the folders / files on your jump drive.
You have two options at this point:
- You could either open a folder and select individual music files to add to your playlist queue
- Or you could select and queue up a whole folder
In either case, click once on the three white lines to the right of the file/folder (the icon turns blue when you hover over it, that's why it's blue in this screenshot).
A menu opens with the following items:
- ADD - appends file or folder to queue in the last position.
- Add and Play - Adds file / folder to queue in first position. Currently playing song is immediately stopped and newly added file or folder begins playing. Old songs still stay in queue, but are pushed down in the list.
- Add, Replace and Play - Replaces queue with selected music file or folder. Songs in queue are removed from the queue, but not deleted from disk, of course.
- Update this Folder - Rune Audio rescans the folder to check if anything new was added, but does not add any files to the queue. This is just a "refresh" of folder contents.
- Save as Bookmark - Bookmarks folder.
Obviously, you'll want to add items to the queue to get your tunes running, so just add the tracks one at a time or folder at a time. This is why I suggest putting all the songs you want in a "playlist" into a folder. You add the folder using the Add, Replace and Play selection, and your playlist is set.
You can optionally add the tracks one by one from multiple folders and then save that playlist.
In both cases where you add either a file individually or an entire folder, you will see a confirmation message in the lower right corner of the screen that stays for about five seconds and disappears (or click the "X" by hovering over the message to get the X to appear):
This covers the basics of adding songs to your playlist.
Creating A Playlist in Rune Audio
Once you have added the tracks to the queue in the order that you want (click and hold to grab a track and drag it to move), you can easily save the tracks in a playlist by clicking the Floppy disk icon on the lower left below the tracks:
Doing this pops open a window where you can give the playlist a name and then save it:
Once saved, you can recall your playlist at any time by clicking on the document icon in the lower left (next to the save playlist icon). This opens a list of your playlists. Just select the one you want and the tracks load into the queue in the order you saved them!
Adding Internet Radio To Your Library
Another cool feature of the Rasberry Pi Rune Audio Player is that it has the ability to access internet radio stations.
Initally, when you click on the Internet Radio box, the list will be empty and waiting for you to add stations. The layout is the same as your onboard music library.
In my screenshot below, I already have added radio stations, but on yours, again, this will be empty:
Adding Internet Radio Stations to Rune Audio
I prefer to hunt around on https://www.internet-radio.com/ for radio stations. You can usually get streams from your local radio station's website as well, but I like to browse the selections here.
As you scroll through the offerings, you can play the station to see if you like it by using the big play button on the left.
Once you find a station you want to add to the Rune Audio Web Radio List, right click the .m3u link right under the play button and copy the link. Paste the link into a text editor (eg: notepad for Windows machines)
The link will look like this when pasted:
The only part of the link that you want is bolded and in red above.
Copy that and then in Rune Audio, click the Add new webradio link:
This will give you the following box:
Paste the link in the radio URL field, then you can go up to radio name and give the station a meaninful name.
I just use the title listed on Internet-Radio.com by selecting it and copying the text over to the Radio name form:
Lastly, as you click Add To Library button, in the lower right corner, you'll see a confirmation message telling you that the station was successfully added:
Finally, in your list of web radio stations, you'll see the newly added station.
NOTE: One quirk to the Rune Audio player is that it changes the name of your web radio station after adding, so the" Big Blue Swing.com - 64Kbit:... " came out looking like this:
Not sure why it does this, but it's really not a big deal.
On the right, you'll see the three white lines where you click and add the radio station to your queue just like music files.
Keep in mind that if you add a web radio station, the Rune Audio player will not toggle between locally added tracks from your USB drive and internet radio. Once it starts playing the internet radio, it will not change to the next song in your list because Rune does not know when the end of the internet radio song is.
This is the main player interface as you're playing internet radio:
That is pretty much it for this Raspberry Pi Rune Audio player tutorial, but I have a few final words...
Raspberry Pi Rune Audio Music Player Possibilities
I use the Rune Audio player in a very simple and basic way. Using the 3.5mm onboard jack isn't the best solution if you're a high end audiophile. If you really want good sound, and yes, the Raspberry Pi is capable of that, then you will need to add a digital to analog converter, or DAC for short.
Raspberry Pi's have a 40 pin GPIO strip that are used to attach a DAC (among other things). The Raspberry Pi Digital to Analog converter ensures you're getting the cleanest and best sound coming out through line level RCA jacks or 3.4mm headphone jack depending on the type of DAC you purchase.
The other option that you have is to add a USB Digital to Analog Converter if you need to conserve space, height-wise. The DAC plugs into the USB port on the Raspberry Pi and then you plug your headphones / amp into the DAC.
Sure, you could go as far as to make the Rasberry Pi Rune Audio Player be the centerpiece of your home audio system.
Mobile Phone App!
Provided that your Android phone is connected to the same Wi-Fi that your Rune Audio player is on, you can control the music and playlists from your mobile device. Pretty cool for those moments that you're laying in bed and just don't want to get out to change the music.
Alternately, you can browse to the web interface by using the same address or IP as you did on your desktop/laptop computer's browser if you happen to be on iOS or Android if you can't or don't want to download the app.