Best Sound Card for RPi


10 posts
by demonzrulaz » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:20 pm
Hi,

I've looked around the forums and I couldn't come up with an exact sound card that would work. I've been reading that the sound coming from the RPi itself is not that great. This is why I want to get a USB external card. I took a look at this (http://elinux.org/RPi_VerifiedPeriphera ... ound_Cards) and I wanted to get the Creative one. I don't think they sell that model anymore.

I was really interested in the Creative X-Fi Go (http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Soundbla ... ds=x-fi+go)

What USB sound card should I get? I do prefer having good sound quality (for playing music and such).

Thanks in advance!
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by MattCG » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:02 pm
I'm afraid this isn't an answer, but my question is so similar to yours that starting a second topic seemed wrong.

I'm building an internet radio using the Pi and am also using Shairplay to receive an iTunes audio stream as part of the same project. The speaker that I'm using is just a small portable one I had lying around (albeit a reasonable one - it cost about £20).

At the moment I'm suffering terribly from the well known audio quality issues that affect the 3.5 mm output, so I want to use a USB soundcard instead. I'm at a bit of a loss in choosing a suitable adapter. I don't want to buy a £2 cheapie from Ebay if it's going to result in poor audio, but equally I don't want to spend £30 on a decent card if for my purposes something cheaper would have been just as good.

Although specific recommendations would be great, can anyone guide me as to price?

Many thanks,

Matt
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by guidol » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:31 am
MattCG wrote:Although specific recommendations would be great, can anyone guide me as to price?

Not a bargain (around 30EUR), but a good USB-Soundcard:
http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/UCA202.aspx
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The UCA202 provides two analog mono inputs and outputs (for monitoring), USB connectivity and an additional S/PDIF optical output for direct analog-to-digital conversion. The stereo headphone output features a dedicated level control and lets you listen to both the input and output.
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by RaTTuS » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:52 am
possibly the best one would be an HDMI convertor
http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html <- ask smart Questions
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by guidol » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:15 am
RaTTuS wrote:possibly the best one would be an HDMI convertor

Hmm a Audio-Extractor for HMDI cost around 100EUR :shock:
http://www.amazon.de/Lindy-Elektronik-3 ... 005DD46NQ/
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by RaTTuS » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:37 am
http://www.amazon.co.uk/ViewHD-Analog-C ... 008LOIKX6/
this is cheeper
I don't know if it works though
http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html <- ask smart Questions
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by redhawk » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:40 am
For the same price you can get a HDMI to Audio Out + VGA - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1080P-PC-HDMI ... 0929883993

Richard S.
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by MattCG » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:08 pm
guidol wrote:
MattCG wrote:Although specific recommendations would be great, can anyone guide me as to price?

Not a bargain (around 30EUR), but a good USB-Soundcard:
http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/UCA202.aspx


Thanks. I certainly don't mind that much if I'll benefit from it, but given that this will be shut up in an enclosure with a small speaker connected to the headphone socket, do you think I'll see much benefit over one at half or even a quarter of the price? Genuine question.
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by MattCG » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:11 pm
Thanks guys. I had written off an HDMI convertor as being too expensive to consider, but it seems I could get one for the same kind of price as a USB sound card, and without any faff regarding finding suitable drivers etc.

Now the decision is even harder ;)
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by gritz » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:05 pm
I think it bears mentioning that the Pi (and I think the HDMI spec.) isn't designed for supplying the significant amount of power that an HDMI->anything converter may require - there are a few threads on the forum describing how a protection diode on the Pi is reduced to smoking boots mode by doing so. Make sure that any converter can be supplied by external power (some can be powered by a spare USB port, for which you'll need a hub) and the one here:

redhawk wrote:For the same price you can get a HDMI to Audio Out + VGA - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1080P-PC-HDMI ... 0929883993

Richard S.


...has it's own power supply. One other possible caveat is how a converter handles 5.1 sound (should you wish to do so). Does it have a decoder built in, or will it output silence with anything other than 2-channel sound input?

@ MattCG: I think that regarding the Pi personal recommendations of known good hardware (and all details regarding setup) are very important. On a wider note, cheap USB audio dongles are a crapshoot - some may be fine and others are a complete waste of money, so getting one that's known to work is even more important. Re the Behringer: they've been around since the Earth cooled and are very popular in wider Linux circles, but I don't know if anyone's tried one with a Pi yet and success may depend on allsorts - remember that we're seeing daily software updates and other stuff like finding the exact combo of ALSA settings that don't throw a strop may require the patience of a saint. A USB device *may* also require more power than the Pi can provide, but connecting audio devices via a hub creates another layer of abstraction that can cause problems of it's own, so you may need to get creative with Y-leads and such.

This user is *nearly* there with a none-too-expensive dongle:

http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=14199#p151528
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