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Powered Klipsch Raspberry Pi Audio Quality: USB or Toslink?


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Since my Klipsch R-51PM powered speakers have a built-in DAC and a 100% digital amp, I wanted to keep the signal digital throughout the entire pipeline -- so I figured I'd use the USB output on the Raspberry Pi 4.


What I'm trying to ascertain is whether there would be a quality improvement if I used a HAT with Toslink Audio instead of the USB output on the Pi? (my Klipsch have both USB Audio Input and Toslink)

FYI: I'm not networked -- just playing music from a USB Thumb Drive using Moode on the RPi 7" screen.


I appreciate any wisdom!

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Raspberry Pi 3 apparently has a bottleneck with their USB bus as multiple components shared it. If I remember correctly, ethernet is one of the components. Some folks have reported audio glitches when driving speakers from USB. I did not experience this issue on my rpi3 which was networked via wifi.


However, on Raspberry Pi 4, I am experiencing a new issue that I did not experience on rpi3 with the R-41PM. There appears to be some quirk with the speakers that causes the linux sound system to think the speaker is "busy". More details here.



I don't have an answer to your question re: USB vs optical. I suspect that digital is digital regardless of what transport mechanism. rpi4 has resolved the bus sharing issue.

Edited by tsengf
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