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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Feb 2020
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    9

    PiCorePlayer DAC/amp basics question

    Hi all - got a question that arose from a basic setup of PiCorePlayer.

    My receiver is a basic 5.1 receiver that only has RCA inputs/outputs. My soundbar is a Yamaha one with coax audio and TOSlink inputs. I'm running a basic Analog-Digital Converter from my receiver's output to the soundbar. The soundbar controls the volume.

    I've configured a Pi 3 with PiCorePlayer. It works fine and outputs audio over the headphone jack. Right now, it's outputting to RCA via a 3.5mm male to RCA male splitter. The volume is really low, even if I pump the soundbar volume to max. For whatever reason, the volume, bass, and treble controls on the receiver don't work - welcome to the wonderful world of thrift store audio.

    If I get a HiFiBerry DAC+, will I also need an amp to boost the volume coming out of the RCA plugs on the HiFiBerry? If so, what's the lowest possible cost option that will do okay? I'm no audiophile, I just want a Sonos-like setup in my living room.

  2. #2
    Senior Member paul-'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    2,896
    Why not just get a board with digital out, and skip the receiver altogether. You can get boards with TOSlink and Spdif coax outputs.

    Hifiberry, Justboom, Allo all make Digi cards that would do that.
    piCorePlayer a small player for the Raspberry Pi in RAM.
    Homepage: https://www.picoreplayer.org

    Please donate if you like the piCorePlayer

  3. #3
    Senior Member M-H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Western Europe
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    212
    Quote Originally Posted by MohnJadden View Post
    ... outputting to RCA via a 3.5mm male to RCA male splitter. The volume is really low, even if I pump the soundbar volume to max. For whatever reason, the volume, bass, and treble controls on the receiver don't work - welcome to the wonderful world of thrift store audio.
    The pi 3 should be able to output at reasonable levels for a line output.
    The sound quality is much debated and criticised, but might be OK to you, depending on music type and setup.
    And sound quality is best at about 90-97% of the max volume of the pi.
    And if you can control the soundbar for volume, it will give you quite a reasonable sound at reduced volumes.

    To minimise cost, first verify the setup to your soundbar and its converter.
    Output from your receiver , a pi and a mobile phone should all be reasonably enough for the set.
    Perhaps you linked your pi though the receiver , and the receiver is reducing the output ? Eliminate it in your tests.
    And verify the volume of your pi output in the software ( lms WEB interface ), and use different audio files, as these can differ quite a lot too.
    overall bad connections can give a low volume too. Check cables till you know they are OKE.

    You could do without a DAC. However a dac does not need to be expensive, google pcm5102 on you favourite electronics market, and you should be able to get one below 10 Euro easy. ( a minimalistic one is available from 3 Euro, a ready to plug dac on a HAT about 20 euro's
    With a dac, sound quality at low levels is noticeably beter than the software dac in the pi.
    This enables you to reduce volume of the pi, and do not need to grab a remote IR controller for that.

    Good luck, M-H
    Pi based multi-room audio system powered by PiCorePlayer(s):
    Pi3B with Phat-dac in a Rasptouch, 2 pi B+ with Cirrus Logic Audio Card, Pi Zero with Phat-beat , and a few other tests...

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