Wireless Speaker

This guide is written by mikebrady. For a regularly updated guide go to the GitHub repo.

This is the guide for making the speaker on a Raspberry Pi. The speaker will end up being compatible with AirPlay 1 (the older version that doesn’t support multiple speakers. Click here to use the development version that does support AirPlay 2)

Simple Installation Instructions

Here are simple instructions for building and installing Shairport Sync on a Raspberry Pi B, 2B, 3B, 3B+ or 4B. It is assumed that the Pi is running Raspbian Buster Lite – a GUI isn’t needed, since Shairport Sync runs as a daemon program. For a more thorough treatment, please go to the README.md page.

In the commands below, note the convention that a # prompt means you are in superuser mode and a $ prompt means you are in a regular unprivileged user mode. You can use sudo (“SUperuser DO”) to temporarily promote yourself from user to superuser, if permitted. You can also use sudo su to promote yourself so you don’t need to keep putting sudo in. For example, if you want to execute apt-get update in superuser mode and you are in user mode, enter sudo apt-get update.

Configure and Update

Do the usual update and upgrade:

# apt-get update
# apt-get upgrade

(Separately, if you haven’t done so already, consider using the raspi-config tool to expand the file system to use the entire card.)

Turn Off WiFi Power Management

If you are using WiFi, you should turn off WiFi Power Management:

# iwconfig wlan0 power off

WiFi Power Management will put the WiFi system in low-power mode when the WiFi system is considered inactive, and in this mode it may not respond to events initiated from the network, such as AirPlay requests. Hence, WiFi Power Management should be turned off. (See TROUBLESHOOTING.md for more details.)

Reboot the Pi.

Remove Old Copies

Before you begin building Shairport Sync, it’s best to search for and remove any existing copies of the application, called shairport-sync. Use the command $ which shairport-sync to find them. For example, if shairport-sync has been installed previously, this might happen:

$ which shairport-sync
/usr/local/bin/shairport-sync

Remove it as follows:

# rm /usr/local/bin/shairport-sync

Do this until no more copies of shairport-sync are found.

Remove Old Startup and Service Scripts

You should also remove the startup script and service definition files /etc/systemd/system/shairport-sync.service/lib/systemd/system/shairport-sync.service/etc/init.d/shairport-sync/etc/dbus-1/system.d/shairport-sync-dbus.confand /etc/dbus-1/system.d/shairport-sync-mpris.conf if they exist – new ones will be installed if necessary.

Reboot after Cleaning Up

If you removed any installations of Shairport Sync or any of its startup script files in the last two steps, you should reboot.

Build and Install

Okay, now let’s get the tools and sources for building and installing Shairport Sync.

First, install the packages needed by Shairport Sync:

# apt install --no-install-recommends build-essential git xmltoman autoconf automake libtool \
    libpopt-dev libconfig-dev libasound2-dev avahi-daemon libavahi-client-dev libssl-dev libsoxr-dev

Next, download Shairport Sync, configure it, compile and install it:

$ git clone https://github.com/mikebrady/shairport-sync.git
$ cd shairport-sync
$ autoreconf -fi
$ ./configure --sysconfdir=/etc --with-alsa --with-soxr --with-avahi --with-ssl=openssl --with-systemd
$ make
$ sudo make install

By the way, the autoreconf step may take quite a while on a Raspberry Pi — be patient!

Now to configure Shairport Sync. Here are the important options for the Shairport Sync configuration file at /etc/shairport-sync.conf:

// Sample Configuration File for Shairport Sync on a Raspberry Pi using the built-in audio DAC
general =
{
  volume_range_db = 60; 
};

alsa =
{
  output_device = "hw:0";
  mixer_control_name = "PCM";
};

The volume_range_db = 60; setting makes Shairport Sync use only the usable part of the built-in audio card mixer’s attenuation range.

The next step is to enable Shairport Sync to start automatically on boot up:

# systemctl enable shairport-sync

Finally, either reboot the Pi or start the shairport-sync service:

# systemctl start shairport-sync

The Shairport Sync AirPlay service should now appear on the network with a service name made from the Pi’s hostname with the first letter capitalised, e.g. hostname raspberrypi gives a service name Raspberrypi. You can change the service name and set a password in the configuration file.

Connect and enjoy…

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