I currently have a wireless USB headset which works ok, but has the typical drawbacks of USB headsets (acts as a separate sound card to the host OS). For that reason I'm considering to get a Pi and use it like this:

  • USB headset on the first USB port
  • simple USB soundcard on the second USB port

That way I could connect the stereo jacks from the USB soundcard to my PC's onboard soundcard and use the USB headset like a "normal" headset. Additionally I could do probably some nice stuff with the GPIOs to connect e.g. a rotary switch for volume adjustment and a mute button.

However, since I don't have a Pi yet I wonder if there'll be a noticable latency with this setup? On the software side I thought about using JACK to make the connection between the two audio devices.


The USB chip on the Pi is a strange piece of hardware, intented to be used rarely, with some missing features, emulated by the driver. And the ethernet port is actually a USB one. If I understood correctly, you plan to use 3 stereo streams: headset playback and full duplex to the PC. This seems unrealistic, especially if you have some network traffic. There are a bunch of I2S DAC available now, which use the I2S bus instead, but no ADC yet.

As for JACK: situation has improved, some cards work quite well, other produce horrible sound. There is a thread on the Raspberry Forum: http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=33462

NB: if you want to pair 2 soundcards into one, you will have timing issues unless you hack the oscillator of one to drive both. See http://alsa.opensrc.org/TwoCardsAsOne

  • There won't be network traffic so the only thing on the USB ports would be the headset and the soundcard. For the clock timing issue: jackaudio.org/multiple_devices sounds like it's not too hard to get rid of the issues on the software side? Nov 4 '13 at 13:53
  • "YMMV". Getting JACK to run with one card is a journey on its own. As far as I know, nobody got multiple streams working succesfully. And I for one am very interested in 4 mono streams in / 2 mono streams out, for a radio application.
    – M Noit
    Nov 6 '13 at 10:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.