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DAC Configuration

While most Raspberry Pi boards come with an onboard sound card, it's well known that the quality you can get from them is not the greatest. The Pi Foundation does an excellent job at keeping the cost of their boards down, but that comes with some compromises with audio being one of them. The audio circuitry does an OK job, but it's nothing stellar.

If you want to upgrade the sound quality of your balenaSound devices (or if you are using a board that does not have onboard sound card such as the Raspberry Pi Zero), you'll need to add a DAC board (Digital Audio Converter) to your project.

Configure your device

To get a DAC board to work with balenaSound, you will need to make a couple of changes to the device configuration in the balenaCloud dashboard. Click on the specific device within the application and select Device configuration in the left-side menu. Once you're there, do the following:

  • Disable the on-board audio by editing the existing RESIN_HOST_CONFIG_dtparam variable to set ”audio=off”.
  • Add an additional custom configuration variable called BALENA_HOST_CONFIG_dtoverlay. The value of this will depend on your DAC board (see table below).
  • Cycle the power by unplugging your pi.

DAC Configuration

If you're using multiple devices with multiple DACs for multi-room audio, you'll want to do this process per unique device that is using a DAC. Do not set this variable fleet-wide as it will affect every device within your application.

dtoverlay Values

These are the DACs that are known to work with balenaSound. If your DAC is not on the list let us know! It's usually very simple to add support for new DACs, feel free to open a PR or issue on our repository.

DAC NameBALENA_HOST_CONFIG_dtoverlayWorking
Suptronics X400iqaudio-dacplusWith issues
Pimoroni Pirate Audiohifiberry-dacYes
Pimoroni pHAT DAChifiberry-dacYes
Justboom DAC HATjustboom-dacYes
Justboom Digi HATjustboom-digiYes
miniBoss DACallo-boss-dac-pcm512x-audioYes
PiFi Digi+hifiberry-digiYes
IQaudIO Pi-DAC+iqaudio-dacplusYes
Hifiberry Amp2hifiberry-dacplusYes
Hifiberry DAC+hifiberry-dacplusYes
Hifiberry DAC+ Lighthifiberry-dacYes
Hifiberry DAC+ Standardhifiberry-dacplusYes
Hifiberry DAC+ Prohifiberry-dacplusYes
Hifiberry DAC Zerohifiberry-dacYes
Hifiberry Amp+hifiberry-ampYes
Hifiberry Digihifiberry-digiYes
Hifiberry Digi+hifiberry-digiYes
Hifiberry Beocreatehifiberry-dacYes
Hifiberry DAC+ DSPhifiberry-dacYes
Hifiberry MiniAmphifiberry-dacYes