Turn Your Raspberry Pi into a Hi-Fi System with RuneAudio

RuneAudio describes itself as “free and open-source software that turns embedded hardware into Hi-Fi music players.” By installing RuneAudio on a Raspberry Pi, you transform it into a Hi-Fi media center capable of playing music from multiple sources.

You can control Rune from any device. It sets up its own web server that lets you access its user interface over your local network. You can open up a browser or connect with a free app and control your Hi-Fi system.

There are a couple of things that you’re going to need to get set up. Nothing here is too out of the ordinary.

  • Raspberry Pi (1, 2, or 3)
  • SD Card or MicroSD (depending on your Pi)
  • Power Supply for the Pi
  • A way to connect your Pi to your network
  • SD card reader
  • Computer (any OS will work)
  • Speakers
  • DAC (optional)
  • External Hard Drive/Music Source

When you have everything ready, you can head over to the RuneAudio website and download the right version of the software for your Raspberry Pi.

Download RuneAudio

The download is going to be compressed, so use whichever archive program you choose to decompress the images. Usually it’ll be the default option when you click to download. Your goal is to get the extension down to just .img.

To use RuneAudio you need to flash the image file that you just downloaded onto your SD card. Connect the SD card reader to your computer (if you have to) and insert your card. Make sure that there’s nothing you want to save on there because it will be erased completely.

The next part depends on the operating system that you’re using.

Windows

Windows doesn’t have any great disk-flashing utilities built in, so you have to download one. If you have a preference, use that. Otherwise, you can pick up Win32DiskWriter. It’s free and simple to use.

Open Win32DiskWriter after it’s installed. Select the location of your image file and the drive where your SD card is loaded, then click “Write.”

Linux

It’s easiest to flash the image on Linux using the command line. Open up a terminal. Find out where your system mounted the memory card. It’s very easy to check by running gparted. Just look for the entry that matches the card, or you can list the “/dev/” directory and search for the new entry there. It tends to be mmcblk0.

Change directories to your Downloads, then use dd to copy the image as root or with sudo.

sudo dd if="RuneAudio_rpi_0.3-beta_20141029_2GB.img" of="/dev/mmcblk0" bs=8M

The “if” should be set to the location of the image file. The “of” is the location of the SD card. Make sure that you get the “of” value right. It will erase whichever drive it’s pointed at.

Now you can put all of the pieces together. Remove the SD card from the computer and put it in the Raspberry Pi. Connect the Pi to your router. Rune doesn’t require a monitor, keyboard, or mouse for the Pi. You should connect up your speakers, DAC, and your external hard drive (if you have one) now. You can control everything over your network. With the card inserted and the Pi connected, plug it in.

The RuneAudio software will autonomously set itself up. You don’t have to do anything. Just wait for Rune to set itself up. It’s going to take several minutes, so wait for around fifteen minutes to be sure that it’s done setting up before you do anything.

After the wait, open a web browser on your computer. There are a couple ways to get to the RuneAudio user interface. You can try “http://runeaudio” or “http://runeaudio.local.” Depending on your operating system and network, they may work.

If not, entering the IP address of the Raspberry Pi will. You can check that on your router, or you can use any number of network search tools. When you have it, enter it in your browser. RuneUI will display.

RuneUI is the default interface for controlling RuneAudio. It has all of the controls that you need to manage your music playback and library.

RuneAudio Storage

First, you need to set up your library. Click on the menu in the top-right and select “Storage.” Select the location where you store your music. A USB drive is fairly straightforward. If you’re using a networked drive, it requires a bit of work.

RuneAudio Storage Settings

The networked drive setup requires that you enter the connection information for your music storage drive. Make sure that you select the right type of network share and the exact directory. Rune will save all files in the path to your library, even if they aren’t music.

When you’re done adding music, click on the link to rebuild your MPD library. RuneAudio will add your music collection.

RuneAudio MPD

If you plan on using your phone as a controller, you should look into the MPD settings under the menu. Rune uses the MPD settings to connect to apps on your phone like MPDroid.

RuneAudio Settings

Feel free to explore any of the other settings under the RuneUI menu, but none of them are going to stand in your way of playing music.

Queue Music On RuneAudio

Click on the “Library” tab at the bottom of your screen. You will see the folders that you added. When you find a song that you want to play, you can click the menu to the right of the title. It allows you to queue the song. You can start playing it too. The queue that you create acts as a temporary playlist. You can also save that playlist for later.

RuneAudio Playing

Playing music is very simple through RuneUI. The interface is very simple and features the album art of the song that’s currently playing. RuneAudio fetches it automatically.

There are plenty of things that you can do with Rune. If you connect it to a DAC and a great sound system, you will notice the quality. Plus, the interface and the connectivity that RuneAudio provides make it an extremely convenient solution.

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