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Raspberry Pi Whole Home Audio: The Death of a Dream?

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve written a whole series of posts on my efforts to take a few Raspberry Pis and turn them into a DIY whole home audio solution.

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If you’ve ever looked at the product offering within the whole home audio space, you’ll know that setting such a thing up is either cripplingly expensive, involves tearing the walls apart to run cables, or both.

Where we left off I’d put together a solution that was glorious when it worked, but that was rare. Typically the audio was either out of sync between the devices right from the get go, or quickly got that way.

Getting the Pis to play the same music was relatively simple, but getting it perfectly in sync so that it could be used in a multi-room setup eluded me to the end, and eventually I gave up.

The bottom line is that synchronizing audio between multiple devices in a smart way requires specialized hardware that can properly account for the differences in network latency between each of the end points. The Pi doesn’t have that, and it’s not really powerful enough to emulate it through software.

So is my dream of a reasonably priced whole home audio solution dead? Hell no.

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In October I wrote about Google’s announcement of the Chromecast Audio. At the time it didn’t have support for whole home audio but Google had promised that it was coming. It’s here.

The day they announced that it had arrived was the day I headed over to my local BestBuy and picked up four of these things. I plan to add two more, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Plus, it frees up the Pis for other cool projects. Watch this space!

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