They often say that good things come in small packages, and they are correct. The Wertheim Audio Piccolo is the perfect partner to both the Wertheim Audio MA6P Classic and Retro loudspeakers. To be honest, we cannot take much credit for this bit of kit, other than the cute little wooden shell it lives in. What we have tried to achieve with the Piccolo is to carry out the work for you that would be required to put this little DIY gem together, especially for those who find DIY something they would rather not attempt.
While developing the range of MA6P speakers we decided it would be perfect if we could find a small amplifier to offer as an option to power them. Having always been fans of Squeezebox Server, we were delighted to learn that this software has been maintained as open source, and available to run on various platforms. Not being computer programmers though we were a little apprehensive about getting it all working together, that was until we came across Max2Play. Max2Play is an intelligent piece of software that sets up a browser based administration interface easily allowing you to configure the Raspberry Pi3 with add-on audio cards, music servers/players, video servers/players, and various plugins. Full details are available at Max2Play.com with comprehensive documentation and instructional videos.
We suggest setting up the Piccolo using the Squeezebox Server software option offered in Max2Play. This enables you to run the Piccolo as either a stand-alone Squeezebox Server or a Squeezelite Player. Single or multiple Piccolos running as Squeezelite Players can be controlled by either another Piccolo or a PC running Squeezebox Server software. Max2Play also offers the options to setup the Piccolo with Shareport (Airport), Bluetooth, Accesspoint, as well as other audio player options. All the information required to setup these options is on the Max2Play.com site, as well as built into their web based interface. If you would like to install Squeezebox Server software on your PC to control the Piccolo as a Squeezelite Player, the Squeezebox Server software for various operating systems can be downloaded free from here: mysqueezebox.com/download
Based on a Raspberry Pi3, Cirrus Logic/Wolfson Audio card, and Max2Play Premium software, the Piccolo can be used as a wireless or LAN based media server able to play media files from directly connected USB hard and flash drives, network drives, iTunes, internet radio stations, and various music services, such as Spotify, via plug-ins. The Piccolo will play most audio file formats up to 192Khz @ 24bit. It can also be setup as an HD video player using Kodi Media Centre, and the HDMI output if you would like. For audio, the Piccolo offers stereo digital out, stereo analogue out, a single headphone output, and it can power a small pair of speakers directly via the built in low power stereo D-Class amp. There are also various applications available for both Android and Apple smart phones that will allow you to control a Piccolo running as a Squeezebox Server from your arm chair. We recommend the (Logitech) Squeezebox Controller application for this. It is available for both Android (Google Play app store) and Apple (iTunes app store), and is free. There are other controller applications available, some free, others not. Try them if you wish.
Each Piccolo is setup with Max2Play and a 2 year Premium licence ready for you to install the server/player of your choice, although as mentioned earlier, we suggest Squeezebox Server as a great place to start.
The Piccolo is also very adaptable. If at any time you decide that you need more power to run your MA6Ps than the Piccolo’s built in D-Class amplifier offers, you can simply connect a ‘bigger’ power amplifier to the Piccolo’s stereo analogue output while maintaining all its other features. You could also add a stand alone DAC to your system via the Piccolo’s digital output if you wish. Hence, the Piccolo is able to maintain its place in your system as a media server under various configurations.
So unless you suffer from ‘upgrade-itis’ we think that you will be happy with the Piccolo and MA6P combination for quite a while to come. The Piccolo server is available for purchase at AUD $395.