tidus99
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:10 am

Understanding Audio Output Options

Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:14 am

Hello All,

I have had the Pi for a while now but never really got any further than using XBMC on it.
I dusted it off last week and managed to setup a media server with streaming via UPnP. I have some PC speakers connected to the 3.5mm jack and I am using my Android handset to play music stored on the Pi or my handset.

The above setup is okay and I wasnt expecting crystal clear audio. I have read enough posts to realise that the 3.5mm jack has its problems.

I now want to take my setup further and improve the audio and usability of it. However I don't really no much about the raspberry pi components and their limitations or anything about audio quality for that matter!

1. Would a USB to 3.5mm jack adapter improve the sound?
e.g. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Original-Logi ... 0715696444

2. People have noted that a DAC improves the sound. What would people recomend and do I need to run these off of a powered USB hub?
e.g. http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dl ... 1116720626 (long wait)
e.g. http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=pr ... duct_id=83

3. Any other suggestions?

Many Thanks for your help. = )

masterluke
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:10 pm

Re: Understanding Audio Output Options

Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:34 am

Check out this thread..

http://forum.stmlabs.com/showthread.php?tid=1052

I would definitely steer clear of that USB soundcard from ebay, looks more than a little dodgy.

There is a 3rd option. Your could use a hdmi audio extractor or a HDMI amplifier. This allows very high quality sound (and 5.1+) and works out of the box without needed to install drivers etc. Check out dx.com for extractors. HDMI amplifiers would be ideal, but also the most expensive of course. Good luck!

drgeoff
Posts: 9743
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:39 pm

Re: Understanding Audio Output Options

Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:26 pm

1. All USB soundcards with an analogue output contain a DAC. You can pay hundreds of dollars for a DAC but if your audio source has been through compression you won't gain much if anything in subjective audio quality.

2. There is nothing 'dodgy' with that PCM2704 based card. As many other RPi users and myself will attest, it works well with any of the analogue or two digital outputs..

dpoz
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:09 am

Re: Understanding Audio Output Options

Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:17 am

I'm using an HDMI audio extractor from here:-
http://dpanda.com.au/audio-converters/2 ... actor.html

The device works well but I still have issues with out of sync audio as a result of issues with the TVHeadend client.

tidus99
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:10 am

Re: Understanding Audio Output Options

Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:51 pm

Thanks for the replies so far.

I basically wanted to build a cheap media streaming solution. I already have the Pi, Speakers & recently got one of the recommended nano USB dongles for a fiver.


The 3.5mm jack on the Pi is 11 bit sound correct?

Is the PCM2704 sound card 16 bit?

drgeoff
Posts: 9743
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:39 pm

Re: Understanding Audio Output Options

Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:28 pm

tidus99 wrote: The 3.5mm jack on the Pi is 11 bit sound correct?

Is the PCM2704 sound card 16 bit?
The analogue output from the RPi is not 11 bit, but at 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz sample rates the resolution is very close to 11 bits.

The PCM2704 unit is 16 bit.

ski522
Posts: 394
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:22 pm

Re: Understanding Audio Output Options

Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:36 pm

The PCM2407 card is an excellent card and highly recommended. It is plug and play with the Pi, uses little power and has exceptional sound quality on the analog port as well as providing digital outputs if you want to send PCM to your home stereo via SPDIF. It is a 16 bit card where the output quality on the Pi is equivalent to an 11 bit card.

masterluke
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:10 pm

Re: Understanding Audio Output Options

Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:56 am

Is it supported in XBMC? Is there any lag (lipsync issues)? Does the digital device support 5.1 DTS + DD passthrough?

It seems I'm a little behind the times on this.

bullwinkle
Posts: 117
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:14 pm

Re: Understanding Audio Output Options

Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:44 pm

Hi

I was looking at one of these
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ex-Pro-AV-Pro ... 5659031b48
to use for Internet streaming and local NAS streaming of music. My USB speaker solution is not giving me the results I was after so I was thinking either the the HDMI with the above or just the analogue jack.

I welcome your views,

cdlt,

masterluke
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:10 pm

Re: Understanding Audio Output Options

Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:32 pm

I would imagine the quality would be better than the onboard audio,. There doesn't appear to be a HDMI pass through for the video so this device means no HDMI video so you would need to run headless

gkreidl
Posts: 6048
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:07 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Understanding Audio Output Options

Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:37 pm

There are others for about the same price that also have HDMI output and route the audio to both outputs (analog audio and HDMI) at the same time.
Minimal Kiosk Browser (kweb)
Slim, fast webkit browser with support for audio+video+playlists+youtube+pdf+download
Optional fullscreen kiosk mode and command interface for embedded applications
Includes omxplayerGUI, an X front end for omxplayer

bullwinkle
Posts: 117
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:14 pm

Re: Understanding Audio Output Options

Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:53 am

by masterluke » Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:32 pm
I would imagine the quality would be better than the onboard audio,. There doesn't appear to be a HDMI pass through for the video so this device means no HDMI video so you would need to run headless
yes I plan to run headless or perhaps with a small TFT screen/touch screen or LCD to show track info. I too expect the sound would be better but not sure if I would be gaining a lot. There are a lot of variables in the chain and I trying to understand them or a least the "weakest link".
by gkreidl » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:37 pm
There are others for about the same price that also have HDMI output and route the audio to both outputs (analog audio and HDMI) at the same time.
good point, I guess it could be handy to have the HDMI out option. BTW, as per above I am looking at using your Kweb with my TFT and had some questions. I will come back to you on the appropriate thread.

cdlt,

tidus99
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:10 am

Re: Understanding Audio Output Options

Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:31 pm

My PCM2407 card turned up the other day. Ordered it off of the Ebay store and it arrived in under two weeks so was very pleased.

I just connected the board and with no configuration at all I was listening to music via my speakers. The sound quality through the board is definitely noticeably better than the PI's audio jack. No crackling at all and on par with a CD in terms of quality. :D

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