How much is your time worth? That’s the question we might ask ourselves when first glancing at Bryston Limited’s latest digital audio streamer, the BDP-π, which for US$1295 gives us a Raspberry Pi and Hifiberry Digi+ snapped into a custom case and boxed up with switch mode power supply – a combination that might otherwise be purchased for well under three hundred hundred dollars.
Direct from the press release: “The BDP-π will playback digital music ranging from MP3 to lossless 24/192 high-resolution files and can be connected to virtually any DAC using the provided S/PDIF, Toslink, USB and HDMI connectors.”
Now our plot thickens a little.
Said HDMI connector will pipe digital audio into the likes of Arcam’s SR250 integrated, OPPO Digital’s more ubiquitous BDP-105 or a NAD M51 DAC. The catch? HDMI supply is hamstrung to 16bit/48kHz. Elsewhere, with USB, with TOSLINK and with coaxial, PCM file handling stretches out to 24bit/192kHz. No DSD, no worries.
Still reckon you could build your own for less? Again – how much is your time actually worth? Raspberry Pi-based streamers don’t build themselves.
For AURALiC Aries LE owners on the cusp of pointing out that their preferred streamer is less costly and (perhaps) better looking, riddle me this: is AURALiC’s Lightning DS control app available for Android devices? No, it is not.
Bryston’s BDP-π can be controlled via a web interface – hello Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS and Linux – or any dedicated MPD control app. Alternatively, one choose to drop additional cash on Bryston’s own infra-red wand.
Does your Aries or DIY solution’s front panel feature a colour TFT screen and associated control buttons? Would your operating system serve cover art [see footnote 1] to that same screen [see footnote 2]? Would that screen also display virtual digital VU meters? Bryston’s BDP-π offers all of these features.
Music supply comes via any direct-connected USB storage device, across the LAN from a NAS device, from any Roon server – yes, BDP-π is Roon Ready – or from the Internet via Tidal and/or Internet radio stations.
Of course, if you think you can build your own for less, there ain’t nuthin’ stopping ya. The BDP-π is for the cash rich / time poor among us or it’s for digital audiophiles who demand a Raspberry Pi-based streamer’s casework not look so generic that you want to hide it away. That display screen will likely see this piece o’ Pi demand pride of price in any hifi rack.
Best served with coffee, black and strong.
Further information: Bryston Limited
Footnote 1: From the BDP-π’s user manual: “The art is read from a JPG file contained within the folder in which the currently playing track resides.” Bliss will automatically create these .jpg files should they not already exist in your library.
Footnote 2: Presumably in the interests of lowering electrical noise, the screen is disabled when the BDP-π is connected to the downstream DAC over USB.