asus-tinkerboard-volumio-music-player.jpg

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.
  • Michele Mainardi

    Hi, thanks for supporting this new hardware. Is it also better than Odroid C2? Are they similar? Thanks

    • If with better you mean faster, yes. However Odroid has i2s support, as of now lacking on the Tinkerboard.

      • Michele Mainardi

        Well, as you said: browsing is super smooth, Network is fast and the sound quality via USB is as good as it can be.
        I was wondering if these features in Odroid C2 are at least as good as the new Asus board.
        Thanks 🙂

        • They are comparable in terms of speed (tinkerboard being slightly faster) and CPU, network is teoretically same (but Tinkerboard has integrated wifi, C2 does not). As for USB quality, the Odroid suffers from some USB instability

          • Dave Taylor

            Any update on I2S output or HAT compatibility with Tinkerboard?

  • Yew Meng Seng

    Thanks so much for bringing Volumio to Tinker Board. One quick feedback – the board run extremely hot with the heatsink installed. Am concern about it toasting away as I typically leave it on 24/7. Not wanting to install a cooler fan – as it introduces noise into the player

    Also there is a small bug with the current version – when wifi is off – tinker board lose connection to the network altogether. Even with ethernet plugged in.

    • To lower the temperature you can try to set the cpu governor to ondemand or powersave.
      You can do it by issuing this command:
      echo ‘GOVERNOR=”powersave”‘ > /etc/default/cpufrequtils

      • Yew Meng Seng

        Thanks for the tip Sir.
        The command didnt work – permission denied – this is even when I use the sudo prefix. I edited the actual cpufrequtils file and set the govenor to powersave. DSD stutters at this setting.

        Maybe its an inherent design of the tinkerboard – may be a good idea to run it with a cooler fan.

    • ASUSTechMKT

      Overall you do not need to worry too much about this. We have designed the processor frequency to align with temperature. Should the temperature reach high enough points the Tinker board will begin to slightly reduce the clock speed and corresponding voltage. Overall the Tinker board will operate normally up to 70c. Once it reaches 80c throttle will occur. If you use the heatsink you are good in helping to ensure reliable operation. Keep in mind the heatsink should be warm as it is conducting heat away from the IHS ( the integrated heat spreader ). Thanks for being part of #TEAMtinkerboard

      • Yew Meng Seng

        Halo Asus team. Thanks for responding to my comments here. Is it ok to use the typical enclosure for Tinkerboard. Coz if its already hot – enclosing it may make things worst. Want to make sure that there is no performance hit. Am using the official raspberry case.

        Do you recommend a cooler fan for tinkerboard?

        • ASUSTechMKT

          Yes as I noted you should be fine as the temperature generally will not reach a throttle point under normal usage ( including Volumio usage ). In this respect I would say you should not have any issues. The chassis I use personally due include a fan. You can find it linked below.

          https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01J1H7SVG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

          Overall though unless you are running a sustained compute workload on the SoC you do not need to worry about thermals even if the heatsink is warm. The only time where this would be need consider even with normal workload would be in extremely hot ambient temperatures. Even then the performance will still be very good just slightly reduced due to the frequency dropping.

  • ShalokShalom

    People sometimes forget that the Raspberry Pi gets produced in England… Calculate that with?

  • Yew Meng Seng

    Hi Volumio team,

    Any further software revision on tinkerboard?
    Has development stopped already for this platform? Thank you

  • Mike Cattle

    This is great news, and when (if) the Tinkerboard supports the IQAudIO DigiAMP+, then I can put a currently idle Tinkerboard to use and upgrade my current Pi-powered Volumio-based living room audio system.

    • Michelangelo Guarise

      We are waiting to update the tinkerboard since ASUS is making some upgrades to the kernel which will allow support for some i2s DACS

      • Axel Just

        This is Greate News!
        Is there a tabel whitch schows us which SBC is compatibel with witch Dac or Amp?

  • Taras Ivashchyshyn

    ALSA has to be updated, DSD gets converted to PCM in direct DSD mode.

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