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Volumio for ASUS Tinkerboard is now available

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The Tinkerboard on paper can be just the perfect match for Volumio

This is why we were so excited to put our hands on it. Right after unboxing you can feel the build quality and the attention to details that ASUS put into the board design: everything from the thick black solder mask, to the colored GPIOs headers is just about build quality.

And if we talk about mere specifications, it can’t get any better:

  • CPU: Rockchip RK3288 – Quad core 1.8 GHz ARM Cortex-A17 (32-bit)
  • RAM: 2GB dual channel LPDDR3
  • Storage: removable MicroSD slot ( supporting SD 3.0 )
  • Display Output: full size HDMI 1.4
  • Audio port: 3.5 mm audio jack ( supporting line out and microphone in )
  • Audio Playback: 192k/24bit sample rate
  • GPIO: 40-pin header with 28 GPIO pins
  • Ethernet: Gigabit LAN ( not shared with USB bus )
  • Wireless: Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, with IPEX antenna header
  • USB: four USB 2.0 ports
  • Integrated SPDIF Out (requires soldering 2 pins)
  • I2S Output

More informations at Tinkerboard product page

From what you can see, there are many reasons to believe that the Tinkerboard is just a perfect fit for Volumio, and the most serious candidate to become the platform of election to build an audiophile music player. Some of the advantages we think are just great are:

  • Its blazing fast: really, it is. I would also say faster than low-tier X86 machines
  • It features an external Wi-fi antenna connector, super useful to extend its wireless capabilities without the need of external dongles
  • The integrated Analog Jack is very competent and sounds good enough for casual music listening, and it’s capable of 24\192 playback
  • Integrated SPDIF output, although you need to solder 2 pins
  • Gigabit LAN onboard, without all the known problems of PI with USB BUS

However, to make a Single Board successful and worth, there are many pieces that should come together. As Volumio Team, we were indeed excited by the ASUS Tinkerboard, however, I2S DACs are still not supported as of now: Tinkerboard supports I2S output, however for some reasons the I2S output is handled (at driver level) via USB. We’re still not sure how I2S connection is handled at Hardware level, and whether the board is Pin compatible with Raspberry PI in regard to I2S. We’re working closely with ASUS to clear everything related to I2S and try to extend its compatibility with Volumio’s supported I2S DACs.

We can conclude by saying that the Volumio on the ASUS Tinkerboard is among the best (together with X86) you can get: browsing is super smooth, Network is fast and the sound quality via USB is as good as it can be (especially when paired with  iFi’s  iPurifier2). To become the real Raspberry PI killer (we do find that the price difference is more than acceptable for what you get more) it remains to be seen how I2S support will evolve, but rest assured we’re working with ASUS to make it happen.

As always, you can get Volumio for ASUS Tinkerboard on our download page

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Michelangelo Guarise

Passionate. Heretical. Deeply in love with Technology and Music. I live in Florence, Italy where I teach Interaction Design and Marketing. I'm Volumio's founder and CEO, and I love every second of this great adventure. My audio gear is some strange mix of valve and digital amplifiers, all self built in some cold winter sleepless nights. And I just can't turn that volume knob down.

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