The Orange Pi Home Media Center is a compact and neatly designed hardware project that combines the power of the Orange Pi board and the high-quality audio capabilities of the MAX98357 stereo DAC. This versatile media center provides a customizable and fully open-source solution for home entertainment. With a rotary encoder featuring an addressable LED circle for media controls and a design inspired by commercial audio gear, it offers a seamless user experience. It aimed to support Mopidy, Volumio or any custom firmware you may come up with.
Initially I made a line-level Hi-Fi version of the board. I use it myself with the off-the-shelf amp to sort of modernize pre-internet era audio gear with Spotify and the rest.
It works great, but it lacks proper integration between music source and the amp. I even connected the amp via relay, but you cannot control input switch remotely etc.
At some point I came to idea of standalone device that would have amp on-board. In that setup amp would probably not be that sophisticated, but at least I can have as much control over it, as I need.
Prototype for the title device was a Hat that accommodated most of the Media center hardware but in compact shape
At that stage it also made sense to add screen, since now it self-contained. It works more or less same way as Pimoroni's Pirate Audio, but it required porting to Orange Pi, since all GPIO libraries are platform specific.
End result is 3-layer stack which works perfectly, but is not very neat to use. Hence the idea of Media Center project