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Raspberry Pi USB : noisy?

sjeesjie

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I heard from a famous audiophile youtuber today, that the audio USB output of the Raspberry Pi is very noisy.

I was a bit disappointed at first because this is exactly what I use to stream my music. But then I thought well I can’t hear any noise so why worry, right?

But now there’s this voice in my head... I’m listening to a noisy source. But am I? Is it scientifically proven that this is a ‘dirty’ source? He was also complaining about the power source for the Raspi. I’m using the standard wall plug but as an audiophile you should at least buy a PSU of course!
 

EdW

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This or something similar has been said on this site a few times:

I, and many others on this site, use a RPI4 via its USB socket to feed a USB DAC. A decent USB DAC will sound identical when fed from a RPI4 or an expensive USB audio grade streamer. I’m pretty certain that these golden eared reviewers would not be able to tell the difference if given a true blind test and would probably refuse to participate in such a test.
Specifically, there will be no USB ‘tones’ apparent either audibly or on a spectrum analyser using a RPI4. There will be no sound break up or clicks assuming that you’re running half decent software
 

abdo123

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There are some known problems with RPI3, but no problems with RPI4.

Was the youtuber Darko by any chance?
 
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sjeesjie

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There are some known problems with RPI3, but no problems with RPI4.

Was the youtuber Darko by any chance?
No it’s Hans Beekhuizen. He looks like a really technical dude who knows what he’s talking about, but somehow I can’t help but feel he’s selling snake oil. Maybe he doesn’t even know it himself (because he has technical pesumptions).

I hear contradictory stuff about the Pi4 vs Pi3b+ . Because the ethernet and usb ports are somehow better seperated on the Pi4, the USB noise should be lower. But some other people point out that the 4 has higher noise because of the higher power consumption and faster cpu. Maybe I’m just blessed for not hearing all that noise on my RPi3b+? :-D
 

Bamyasi

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The question was not about audibility, it was whether RPi USB is measurably noisy. You can find some measurements for the RPi 3B on Allo.com website and I believe they posted some RPi 4 ones on DIY forums elsewhere. Yes, native RPi USB is 10 to 20 times more noisy compared to (manufacturer claimed) Allo.com USBridge USB interface. Does it matter? Likely, no. But the same can be said about 90% of the measurements published on this forum: most of the differences you will find here are completely transparent.

However, trolling a person because of his legitimate question about the electronic equipment characteristic that can be (and was, in fact) easily and objectively measured is not a right thing to do, IMHO.
 

abdo123

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No it’s Hans Beekhuizen. He looks like a really technical dude who knows what he’s talking about, but somehow I can’t help but feel he’s selling snake oil. Maybe he doesn’t even know it himself (because he has technical pesumptions).

I hear contradictory stuff about the Pi4 vs Pi3b+ . Because the ethernet and usb ports are somehow better seperated on the Pi4, the USB noise should be lower. But some other people point out that the 4 has higher noise because of the higher power consumption and faster cpu. Maybe I’m just blessed for not hearing all that noise on my RPi3b+? :-D

Or maybe you're just not using LAN?
No it’s Hans Beekhuizen. He looks like a really technical dude who knows what he’s talking about, but somehow I can’t help but feel he’s selling snake oil. Maybe he doesn’t even know it himself (because he has technical pesumptions).

I hear contradictory stuff about the Pi4 vs Pi3b+ . Because the ethernet and usb ports are somehow better seperated on the Pi4, the USB noise should be lower. But some other people point out that the 4 has higher noise because of the higher power consumption and faster cpu. Maybe I’m just blessed for not hearing all that noise on my RPi3b+? :-D

The problem with RPi3 was not high noise floor or something like that. More like audible clicks and pops.
 

EdW

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RPI3 can give some issues with some software - occasional pops. If with your software you’re OK then fine.
Any decent DAC can handle a bit of digital noise on the USB input port. If it can’t it hasn’t been properly designed.
It is perhaps interesting to note that the highest performing DAC on this site, the OktoResearch DAC 8 STEREO has an option to include an inbuilt RPI4 streamer.....go figure :)
 

SJ777

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No problem with RPi USB noise. Of course Allo will talk about noise and their (more expensive) equipment that reduces noise. Just ignore all of it and enjoy your RPi.
 

somebodyelse

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Archimago did some actual measurements with a Pi 3 and a PC so you can see how much (or little) difference it makes, at least with a halfway decently designed DAC. There are some measurements of the variation in noise on the 5V line for various PCs, and indeed different ports on the same PC, in other posts there. The Pi is within the normal variation of USB ports, though where in the range it is will depend on the power supply and what other things you've got plugged into it. In any case a DAC with a USB input shouldn't have a problem with this as it's normal and expected from a USB port. If it makes a difference you should probably be looking at your DAC manufacturer not the Pi, PC or whatever source. Dongle-style DACs have an excuse as there isn't room to do much power supply conditioning.

Ground related noise (ground loops or leakage current issues) can occur, but that applies to PCs and other streamers just as much as to a Pi, and again will vary depending on the specific power supply among other things.

The Pi 3 vs. Pi 4 thing is complicated - read the kernel bug report for details. It's got nothing to do with the ethernet port, limited bandwidth or noise.
 

Martijn

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As a result of this very nice site, a few months ago I bought a rpi4 and connected it to my nice rme adi2 dacv2. It sounds perfect. streaming via wifi is really stable (I use ubiquity ap‘s) and I use a standard rpi smps. I tried ropiee and volumio and both I like when using the rpi4 as a roon endpoint. Before I streamed via an onkyo all in one streamer/dac ns6170 ( I think also pretty good and well engineered with dual akm4490 dacs), but could sell it now because of really nice sounding and stable rpi4 rme adi2 combination. The rme digicheck test files I played via roon, rpi4, passed without any problem. So bit perfect And I would really advise positively on the rpi4 as usb streamer, even Via stable wifi.
Downstairs I use a Metrum Ambre decent and 20 times more expensive streamer, but to be honest, I cannot hear a difference. It is really a decent streamer well engineered I think, with nice psu and femto clocks and a connection to the dac bij i2s, utp connection. But I bought it years ago before I found this site ;-)
 

jae

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No it’s Hans Beekhuizen. He looks like a really technical dude who knows what he’s talking about, but somehow I can’t help but feel he’s selling snake oil. Maybe he doesn’t even know it himself (because he has technical pesumptions).

Hans frankly does not know what he's talking about. He is convinced his Mytek DAC with external PSU and audiophile network adapters / cables / usb cleaners improves sound quality by an appreciable amount, when objectively speaking any $200-500 modern chinese DAC will outperform his setup even with USB noise. Beyond hilighting product features and usability, take anything he says in regards to sound quality with a grain of salt. In fact in almost every case you can disregard sound quality opinions from reviewers in general if there are reliable specs that say otherwise.
 

acbarn

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As a result of this very nice site, a few months ago I bought a rpi4 and connected it to my nice rme adi2 dacv2. It sounds perfect. streaming via wifi is really stable (I use ubiquity ap‘s) and I use a standard rpi smps. I tried ropiee and volumio and both I like when using the rpi4 as a roon endpoint. Before I streamed via an onkyo all in one streamer/dac ns6170 ( I think also pretty good and well engineered with dual akm4490 dacs), but could sell it now because of really nice sounding and stable rpi4 rme adi2 combination. The rme digicheck test files I played via roon, rpi4, passed without any problem. So bit perfect And I would really advise positively on the rpi4 as usb streamer, even Via stable wifi.
Downstairs I use a Metrum Ambre decent and 20 times more expensive streamer, but to be honest, I cannot hear a difference. It is really a decent streamer well engineered I think, with nice psu and femto clocks and a connection to the dac bij i2s, utp connection. But I bought it years ago before I found this site ;-)
I have this same setup (Rpi4>ADI-2 DAC) and totally agree!
 

threni

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Hans frankly does not know what he's talking about. He is convinced his Mytek DAC with external PSU and audiophile network adapters / cables / usb cleaners improves sound quality by an appreciable amount, when objectively speaking any $200-500 modern chinese DAC will outperform his setup even with USB noise. Beyond hilighting product features and usability, take anything he says in regards to sound quality with a grain of salt. In fact in almost every case you can disregard sound quality opinions from reviewers in general if there are reliable specs that say otherwise.

I never heard of the guy and did a quick google; his background was selling hifi, and then working in the trade press. At best this adds precisely zero to any "argument from authority" weighting.
 

FooYatChong

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Always reminds me of a discussion about power supplies on the RME forum and someone brought up an HB video asking "Are you claiming this guy is wrong?"

Schermafbeelding 2021-01-10 om 16.15.31.png
 

ahofer

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I heard from a famous audiophile youtuber today, that the audio USB output of the Raspberry Pi is very noisy.

I was a bit disappointed at first because this is exactly what I use to stream my music. But then I thought well I can’t hear any noise so why worry, right?

But now there’s this voice in my head... I’m listening to a noisy source. But am I? Is it scientifically proven that this is a ‘dirty’ source? He was also complaining about the power source for the Raspi. I’m using the standard wall plug but as an audiophile you should at least buy a PSU of course!

It's BS. There were issues with Pi-3's USB, but not 4. And most any competent DAC will shield you from any downstream effects of this stuff. Just another excuse to sell expensive tweaks. Look at the reviews on this site of the ether-regen and the Rendu devices and you will see.
 

ahofer

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No it’s Hans Beekhuizen. He looks like a really technical dude who knows what he’s talking about, but somehow I can’t help but feel he’s selling snake oil. Maybe he doesn’t even know it himself (because he has technical pesumptions).

I hear contradictory stuff about the Pi4 vs Pi3b+ . Because the ethernet and usb ports are somehow better seperated on the Pi4, the USB noise should be lower. But some other people point out that the 4 has higher noise because of the higher power consumption and faster cpu. Maybe I’m just blessed for not hearing all that noise on my RPi3b+? :-D

He promised a while ago, while singing its praises, that he would make a video explaining WHY the Sonore ultra-rend made a "black background", but since then... silence. He *acts* like a measurement guy, but mostly just makes a video instruction and manufacturer specifications presentation. Of course there are no specifications for the Rendu, so...it's an instruction manual.

See my back and forth with Andrew Gillis, who sells the Rendu:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/rendu-nucleus-claim.19115/#post-627910
 

Katji

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There are some known problems with RPI3, but no problems with RPI4.
Was the youtuber Darko by any chance?
:D Darko the Prolific. iow, He works hard for his money. Nice job, maybe... :) maybe internet fame is better than corporate performance evaluations.
 

rkbates

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A very rough test that may allay some of your fears. Use Audacity to generate a 1 minute 1 kHz .wav file and play it back via the pi with the output of your DAC going into a pc soundcard (even a laptop mic input will do). Use Audacity to record and generate a spectrum of the played back file - any audible glitches or discontinuities will be visible in the spectrum. Never had a problem with pi 1,2 or 4 playing music via usb
 
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