usb output - sound quality problems

Hi there,

Long time no see.

I had been using my Raspberry Pi B+ with Volumio 1.5 for a long time, without major problems - some halts here and there, but overall, great combination feeding the USB input of my Arcam irDAC DAC. Main sources were Spotify, a network drive, both over wifi, and a USB pendrive connected on the RPi back port.

Some Volumio updates ago - before getting into Volumio 2 - something strange started happening: the USB output would stop and restart between songs. The “click” on the irDAC when playing several songs in between them was annoying enough, that I ended up placing an iPad to feed Spotify to the irDAC. No problems, and good enough sound quality. I was sad!

Tried different things, and problem was never solved. But then something worse happened, sound quality got really bad: wav file would play ok, but anything above that would sound horribly. I thought something had gone wrong with my wifi network, so I moved the files to the USB pendrive, and same thing happened.

The power source is a 2.0 amp wall charger, and have never had problems with it so far.

I have just installed Volumio 2.129 from scratch. And all these problems persist. I’m sadder.

I’ve rechecked the HD files on my Onkyo receiver, and man, they sound good!!

Any ideas or suggestions on what to try???

I would really like you input.

Kind regards!


Adding background to my problem…

Here is the bug report:

Didn’t know how to choose the proper text sections to include here… any suggestions on this?

I would greatly appreciate if anyone could look into this issues.

Many thanks in advance!!



Are you able to test feeding your DAC from the Pi in another way than USB?

The Pi USB ports are well known to be a bad source for audio. Only a few people report some sustanable succes but many report usb related issue (given that reporting failure is done much more than reporting succes obviously).

I would guess that you were one of the lucky few that had a stable working situation for some time using usb given the versions and components you were using.

But I wouldn’t count on the change to get back to a stable situation with the new versions and components.

Maybe consider a different feed to the DAC like spdiff or I2S or even a Pi DAC.

Good luck if you pursue trying. Let us know.

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Thanks much for replying.

What do you mean, exactly??? As far as I know, the only way you get digital signal out of the Pi is using its USB port. Is there another way???

It seems so! I was really happy with it for a long time… but well.

Thes is actually sad.

What are you guys using?? What is the recommended “standard” way of getting a digital signal out of the Raspberry Pi B+??

Moreover, if Volumio is what I really like, what is the recommended platform for it?

Which has the more stable USB implementation???

Many thanks again!



There are a few ways you can use a Pi as a music source.

Probably the most used option is to stack a so called HAT DAC board on top. This gives you an analog stereo (left/right mostly RCA connectors) signal you can feed into an amp (or active speakers).

Some even use a DAC and amplifier board to stack on their Pi so you only have to connect (passive) speakers.

If your amp (or DAC) has digital inputs, you can use an SPDIF HAT board to put on top of the Pi.

These are all options if you want to stick to using a Pi.

But Volumio is also available for other platforms of which some of them ARE very suitable to be used in combination with USB. For example x86 or Sparky can work very well if you want to use USB.

I think if you really want to go for the best hifi with Volumio, using USB on a capable platform is the best route.

When the Pi has your preference, either a HAT DAC or SPDIF (depending on your amp) is your best bet.

Good luck and as always, YMMV :slight_smile:

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Take the sound from RPi’s usb is not a best deal, especially if you’re using ethernet connection because usb chip sharing the same bus with ethernet. Try the one of pi hats from Volumio shop. You’ll be surprised how good can be the sound from this combo.

Regards, D.

Thanks Man.

Which one do you mean, exactly?? The DAC Hat kit…?? Because all I want is using my own DAC…

Or there is another RPi alike that is going to give me the USB output I’m looking for…??



What kind of input does your DAC take? I’m using an RPi3 with HifiBerry Digi+ (NB: not the Pro), and with coaxial digital connection to the DAC. It works perfectly as far as I can hear.

If you want to stick to using the Pi, look at SPDIF HAT boards like the Hifiberry Digi series or from others (Allo has a HAT board on the roadmap that looks promising).

If ultimate HiFi is the goal, look at an x86 system with proper USB, for example Intel NUC based ones.

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My combo RPi3 with Digi+ connected to Tubedac-11 by coax sounds much better than macbook pro with Aurvana player connected to the same DAC via USB. To use PC like a quality music source you will need to build your own mITX solution with SOTM pci-e to usb board that quite expensive … tx-usbexp/.
RPi3 with Digi+ and Linear PSU is the real deal.

Thanks! Those boards look nice, but when you start adding up components, a Mac Mini doesn’t look that expensive. I guess I can try that path as well, in the look for high quality playback.