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Raspberry Pi audio related What audio hats have mebers tried?

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  • Raspberry Pi audio related What audio hats have mebers tried?

    So while I'm sitting here, I decided to jump back into The Pi game. I was just wondering what people have tried. Also, does anyone know if the Pi 3 is still the best for audio, or does the Pi 4 have features/quality that makes it a better choice? What hats and software have you guys tried?

    My Pi setup is a 2b with a HiFi Berry DSP pro RCA version running Volumio and it's pretty impressive.

    I also have a PI 4 running Logitech Media server for music sharing on my network and another 2b running as a squeezebox.

    Just seeing if anyone is doing cool stuff.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I'm running a Pi 3+ model B with Archphile (based on Archlinux) with some custom scripting to detect and switch in EQ settings, playing music through MPD. Controlled via MPDroid on my phone. I'm running local SSD media (no streaming). I'm using an IQ Audio Pro HAT DAC. This offers an extremely compact setup.

    I don't believe the Pi 4 offers much more for audio purposes. Maybe a faster clock speed. Unsure of benchmark comparisons between the 3 / 4.

    I am about to try a Pi3 with ALSA and ecasound for IIR filters for a 3 way active (digital) design. The 8 way DAC is HAT attached but takes the audio stream via an HDMI bridge from the Pi. It is separately powered (and also powers the Pi instead of the usual Pi power pack). I'm hoping there's enough CPU to run MPD as well.

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    • #3
      You might say I have a pi-roblem. I seem to have accumulated over 20 raspberry pi's over the years. Blame it on traffic and a Micro Center on the way home allowing me to find safe harbor where I often seek shelter and usually walk out with a $5 pi zero, But I also have a few pi 3's and one pi 4. The audio on the pi 4 naked (without a hat) is not bad at all - an improvement over previous versions, but for all the rest you will definitely need hardware to improve the audio.
      Hifiberry seems to by my "top shelf" choice of Hats for the Pi 3's. I have a dac plus and a dac plus with the real time clock as my favorites. For my pi 3a+ i like to use Pimoroni Phat dac which has never let me down. The majority of the rest are pi zero's - two with phat beat (not recommended), and the majority of the remainder using either Adafruit's Audio bonnet or their diminutive I2s stereo decoder, both under $10 each. One day I would like to get an Allo Boss as a treat to myself.
      For software, I run the table on just about all, including mopidy, picore player, moode and volumio. I enjoy the hard work put into all of them.
      While I don't use bluetooth often, I have several Parts Express amplifiers and speakers that are receiving the signal and the sound is quite impressive. My outdoor system is PE #320-635 driving the IO-655 patio speakers, fed by a pi zero, adafruit i2s dac and with wifi permitting a strong enough signal to reach my back yard I am happy as can be.

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      • #4
        I picked up an ASUS Xonar USB "sound card" after looking at a lot of the results on ASR and reading on a bunch of the raspberry pi forums. The nicer sound cards are the easiest way to get audio output with THD+N of lower than -100db, and you can use several packages for software DSP on the pi. But the extra cables make a bit of a mess compared to nice the nice clean stack that a pi + HAT makes.

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        • #5
          I have several pi's running Volumio. I tried Moode a few years ago, it was more work to setup and the UI was lacking compared to Volumio. Things may have changed. I have used a wide range of audio hats: PiFi Dac+ (Hifiberry DAC+ knockoff), Hifiberry DAC for Pi 1, Allo Boss, and IQaudiO Pi-Dac Pro. I have also used the SMSL Sanskrit 10th DAC via USB. I'm running the Pi-DAC Pro on a pi 4, but I don't think there is really any benefit over a 3+. Micro Center often has open box pi's as well.
          My Builds - Vigor (Nola Brio Knockoff) - Overnight Sensations w/ Voxel - Speedsters in surplus boxes - Zaph B3N's in bamboo - Classix II in BR-1 cabinets - Dual TPA3116 D2 amp in an old music box - Mariposas

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          • #6
            I have the following running Roon or running Roon bridge with Volumio using Raspberry Pi 3+. Allo Piano 2.1, Allo Boss, HiFiberry Dac Plus ADC Pro, these are pretty decent but of these three I prefer the Allo Boss. The Dac I prefer the most is the TauDac. I have the balanced version of it. A bit pricey compared to other units listed. I can't remember but roughly $450. But performance is almost on par with my Auralic Vega which at time of purchase was 5x the price. Bass on the TauDac is awesome. Here is web site http://taudac.com/.

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            • #7
              Take the Pi4 over Pi3. But take the Asus Tinker Board over both. Tinker Board S costs more but you can run your OS/Music platform without SD card due to 16 gig of eMMC. I have the standard Tinker Board and it runs Volumio beautifully. Almost all audio HATs will work with the TB.

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              • #8
                Unless you are aggressively constrained on space, it seems with the RP4 your highest performance / bang for the buck is going to be USB out to a standalone DAC. The Khadas Tone Board is outstanding, cheap and can be integrated into a DIY project, and in general the bottom has fallen out of the DAC market so you can get plenty of options / performance for cheap.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Onehandclappin View Post
                  You might say I have a pi-roblem. I seem to have accumulated over 20 raspberry pi's over the years. Blame it on traffic and a Micro Center on the way home allowing me to find safe harbor where I often seek shelter and usually walk out with a $5 pi zero, But I also have a few pi 3's and one pi 4. The audio on the pi 4 naked (without a hat) is not bad at all - an improvement over previous versions, but for all the rest you will definitely need hardware to improve the audio.
                  Hifiberry seems to by my "top shelf" choice of Hats for the Pi 3's. I have a dac plus and a dac plus with the real time clock as my favorites. For my pi 3a+ i like to use Pimoroni Phat dac which has never let me down. The majority of the rest are pi zero's - two with phat beat (not recommended), and the majority of the remainder using either Adafruit's Audio bonnet or their diminutive I2s stereo decoder, both under $10 each. One day I would like to get an Allo Boss as a treat to myself.
                  For software, I run the table on just about all, including mopidy, picore player, moode and volumio. I enjoy the hard work put into all of them.
                  While I don't use bluetooth often, I have several Parts Express amplifiers and speakers that are receiving the signal and the sound is quite impressive. My outdoor system is PE #320-635 driving the IO-655 patio speakers, fed by a pi zero, adafruit i2s dac and with wifi permitting a strong enough signal to reach my back yard I am happy as can be.
                  Ever considered the justboom hats?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I got a 3 a while ago for a media center using Kodi and got something weird when streaming where it would ask for network logins etc and stop you from accessing the videos.

                    I've wanted to get a pi zero and incorporate it into a Bluetooth speaker buiuld with a small touch screen but didn't end up doing so, started looking at both justboom and hifiberry hat/amps and just lost focus. Think at the time I didn't like the inability to just turn off a pi without the possibility of corruption was a bit of a turnoff but I noticed there is a hat for that now 😂, that and getting some knowledge of a rotary encoder

                    that being said, I have idea for a viston bf37 build using a PVC pipe which could have enough room for the batteries, screen and pi

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 3rutu5 View Post

                      Ever considered the justboom hats?
                      I did. it was a dac/amp combo and it sounded fantastic, but unfortunately it had a short life. It may have been my power supply, but i seemed to have shorted it out, and to make things worse, I sought Justboom's technical support during the summer months when apparently all of Europe was "on holiday". I eventually gave up, (and to be fair - they attempted to assist after a while) but the lesson learned was that when one piece that serves a dual purpose goes out - you are SOL squared. That is probably one reason why I use the low end dac's more too.
                      PE sells 299-564, momentary push button switches that can help with the power off and SD card corruption issue you brought up. I can' find the link on how to code the button for the pi, but the github site is still up. But add that and maybe an LED to your pvc pipe project, and you're on to something pretty cool sounding.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by silverD View Post
                        I have several pi's running Volumio. I tried Moode a few years ago, it was more work to setup and the UI was lacking compared to Volumio. Things may have changed. I have used a wide range of audio hats: PiFi Dac+ (Hifiberry DAC+ knockoff), Hifiberry DAC for Pi 1, Allo Boss, and IQaudiO Pi-Dac Pro. I have also used the SMSL Sanskrit 10th DAC via USB. I'm running the Pi-DAC Pro on a pi 4, but I don't think there is really any benefit over a 3+. Micro Center often has open box pi's as well.
                        I've been using various Pi's with Moode for a few years now, it's been developing along at a good rate (ver 6.5 just came out) and I'm very impressed with it, though I haven't been following what Volumio's been up to. Have run 1b+ (maybe on the edge of being too slow due to lower power, but not quite) and 3 and 3+. The later pi's are nice with the Wifi built in, as well as Bluetooth. Agree about not needing more than a 3+ powerwise. Doing resampling, running a headphone crossover EQ, and streaming a FLAC radio station, a 3+ is still barely breaking a sweat....

                        DEFINITELY get something better than the internal audio, it's really bad. I got an Allo Boss, nice, but you can run just about any external USB DAC. I have a Schiit Modi 3 and its very nice for a bit more if you don't mind going from $60 to $100, and having another external box. Topping D10 tests pretty good as well, for maybe $80? Also have run my speaker testing SB X-fi and X-fi HD USB cards, no problem. Have had one on the main stereo as a source, another running the Shiit Stack for headphones, name them different names and drive with your cell phone in your seat... Ahhhh....

                        Check ASR for cheaper HAT style DAC testing, for the brand I can't remember right now that is nearly as good as the Allo Boss for a fair bit less... Haven't run it, but Allo also makes a "mini Boss" or something that fits on a Pi Zero, if you need to embed a tiny endpoint in a speaker...

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Prana Ferox View Post
                          Unless you are aggressively constrained on space, it seems with the RP4 your highest performance / bang for the buck is going to be USB out to a standalone DAC. The Khadas Tone Board is outstanding, cheap and can be integrated into a DIY project, and in general the bottom has fallen out of the DAC market so you can get plenty of options / performance for cheap.
                          Thanks for the link to Khadas, and the great testing that they do over there.

                          I think I hear a difference - wow, it's amazing!" Ethan Winer: audio myths
                          "As God is my witness I'll never be without a good pair of speakers!" Scarlett O'Hara

                          High value, high quality RS150/TB28-537SH bookshelf - TARGAS NLA!
                          SB13/Vifa BC25SC06 MTM DCR Galeons-SB13-MTM
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                          • #14
                            Over the weekend I found a new OS to try out: HifiberryOS. It is pretty slick in terms of navigation, using slide screens and overlays instead of links. It is a lightweight, minimal system at the moment. To the OP, if you live on the cutting edge, it appears they have a version for the RPI v2 just waiting to be tested, and you can configure it for Logitech Media server.
                            My thoughts beyond the modern UI are as follows. Pros: small size OS, very quick install, steep but short learning curve ( Firefox Focus overlays their close browser button over the Menu option button), equalizer that works, many sound source options including bluetooth, airplay, DLNA and squeezebox. Customizeable - I ditched their images and replaced with my own.
                            Cons: awkwardness - slide in screens and equalizer setting buttons are not a good combo, Volume scale is very rough and tough to manage, need to know your way around wpa_supplicant.conf if you dont have ethernet.
                            Overall, very impressive considering the adolescence of the program, all the cons are minor and outweighted by the pros by far.

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                            • #15
                              The biggest issue with USB is that the Rasberry Pi may not have the necessary software drivers to recognise your CXA81 or may recognise it badly. There are USB drivers for similar devices reported as working on a Rasberry Pi, but until you try it you can't be 100% sure MyPrepaidCenter
                              Last edited by Campbell; 05-06-2020, 06:46 AM.

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