How to build an AirPlay receiver with Raspberry Pi Zero

Raspberry Pi Zero
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The number of things you can do with a Raspberry Pi is astounding. For a little over $35, you can create a networked media server for streaming all your digital movies to your TV or give your existing printer wireless capabilities. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

If you’ve yet to decide on what you want to do with your Raspberry Pi, this project shows you how to turn it into a Chromecast Audio-like music streamer. This means you could set up several Raspberry Pis this way, connect each one to a speaker, place them around your house and stream music to each those speakers remotely in a highly configurable way. You can control the music from your phone, tablet or computer.

Create a bootable image

Download the archive containing a Pi Zero-compatible and extract the IMG file from it. Next, get Pi Filler and then open this app and point it at the image you just extracted to create a bootable MicroSD card.

Raspberry Pi Zero AirPlay Receiver

2. Locate configuration file

Once your bootable MicroSD card is ready, eject and then reinsert the card. Open the card in Finder, go to the config folder on it. Hold Ctrl and click the file named settings.ini, then choose Open With > Other. Select TextEdit and click Open to edit the file in plain text mode.

Raspberry Pi Zero AirPlay Receiver

3. Add Wi-Fi details

Locate the [network] section and add your wireless network’s SSID to the line that begins ‘wifi_network = ‘. Type the password required to access the network to the right of the line that begins with ‘wifi_password = ‘. Save the file, eject the card and you’re good to go.

Raspberry Pi Zero AirPlay Receiver

4. Boot and access

Insert the card into your Raspbery Pi Zero and switch on the computer. A flashing green light should indicate it’s booting correctly. Wait a few minutes, then open Safari on your Mac and enter musicbox.local in its Smart Search field. You should see a page like the one below.

Raspberry Pi Zero AirPlay Receiver

5. Change audio output

In Pi MusicBox’s administration page, choose Settings, then expand Audio, click the HDMI pop-up menu and choose ‘IQ Audio DAC’. Flick the ‘Downsample USB’ switch to the Off position. Expand the MusicBox section and flick ‘AirPlay Streaming’ to the On position.

Raspberry Pi Zero AirPlay Receiver

6. Test connection

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click ‘Update settings (reboot)’. Wait while your Raspberry Pi Zero reboots, then connect the Pi-DAC Zero to your stereo system’s auxiliary input and try to stream using AirPlay from your Mac or iOS device to Pi MusicBox.

Raspberry Pi Zero AirPlay Receiver

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