This app note is a short example of playing back stereo audio from a Linux desktop to a miniDSP device.

Please note: miniDSP can't provide support for non-miniDSP hardware and software. In particular, we cannot trouble-shoot Linux-related issues. If you get stuck with Linux and miniDSP hardware, try a simple configuration such as the one we describe here and then proceed from there.

Basic Linux setup [Top]

We'll assume that you already have a computer running Linux. Since there are so many different Linux distributions ("distros"), it's impossible to give instructions that will work for all of them. We chose a user-friendly distro to use as an example and installed Linux Mint on an Intel NUC.

Photo of miniDSP IL-DSP with Intel NUC

The photo above shows our IL-DSP headphone amplifier, which we've used for the screenshots below. However, all miniDSP devices that support audio playback over USB are class-compliant and so will also work with Linux without any need to install drivers:

Note: this app note describes stereo audio playback to a miniDSP device over USB. However, it's not possible to configure a miniDSP audio device using Linux, as our configuration plugins run on Windows and Mac only.

Install a music player[Top]

For high quality music playback, you'll probably want a dedicated music player. For this app note we installed Strawberry. Download the package that matches your version of Linux from the linked page. The current (as of 2019) version of Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu Bionic, so we downloaded the Ubuntu Bionic installer.

Once the installer is downloaded, open and install it. In Mint, for example, just double-click on the downloaded file. You will probably need to install a few additional packages:

Install the Strawberry music player

Configure playback [Top]

Connect your IL-DSP or other miniDSP device to the Linux computer with a USB cable. Start Strawberry (in Linux Mint, go to the main menu at lower left and then the Sound & Video section.) Drop down the Tools menu and select Settings.

  1. Click on Collection and add your folder containing music files:

    Add folders to the Strawberry library
  2. Click on Backend and select the option "Output to a sound card via ALSA." Then select the miniDSP audio device:

    Add folders to the Strawberry library

    Note that we disabled volume control in the player. This is because we use the volume control in the IL-DSP.

Play music [Top]

Navigate the library and double-click on an album to add it to your playlist, then press the Play button.

Strawberry player control buttons

And that's it!

Playing audio from Strawberry to the miniDSP IL-DSP

Have fun, and please let us know how you go in our forum!

Postscript: system-wide audio [Top]

While Strawberry allows you to select an audio device specifically for music playback, you may also want to select your miniDSP device as the default system-wide output for all audio playback. This will vary with the specific version of Linux that you use. On Linux Mint, open the main menu and go to the Preferences section, then select Sound. There you can choose the audio output device, like this:

miniDSP IL-DSP as system-wide audio device on Linux Mint

Related Products - USB Audio products