I'm quite new to the DIY world but I wanna try to build a "smart clock". And I'm having trouble with making a choice on the audio output. So far, if I'm right i have 3 choice

  • Use the on-board jack connector : easy to use but low quality
  • I2S output : seems to have high quality but expensive hardware
  • USB to jack dongle


  • Audio over the HDMI

Am I right ? What's the best solution ? For each of them do I still have to connect it to a stereo amplifier before connecting to the speakers ? If so how do I choose the "size" (I mean in Watts) the amplifier and outputs ?

  • I experienced very low volume when using the builtin analog output of the Pi when connected to an old stereo system. Although, you can't have any simpler or lower cost interfacing. For completeness of options, you can also send audio over the HDMI interface. – HeatfanJohn Jan 7 '14 at 14:31
  • I use the Pi to listen to internet radio. The on-board jack audio quality sound fine to my ears. Just make it easy for yourself. – Gerben Jan 7 '14 at 18:56

I am using the Audio jack prom a PI, with good result. Be aware that the quality of your power supply have profound effect on the quality of the audio from the PI.

I the beginning I did not the this output as usable, as it was filled with noise, using a standard USB supply, for charging cell phones. I then got a Goobay charger, as tested on this page and all the noise went away.

For your second question. Yes, You do have to add an amplifier, unless You can accept quite low sound levels, the jack can run a headphone, need any more You must amplify. But for a smart clock this does not have to be a expensive HiFi amplifier I guess.

(if anyone has a link to a cheap fitting amp, please comment this answer)

  • +1 for the extensive power supply testing. The page has 2 Goobay supplies, I assume that you went with PS #10 (the 2nd one). – HeatfanJohn Jan 17 '14 at 20:54
  • @HeatfanJohn Yes I got #10, and yes i really love the work this guy did on testing those supply’s. – Otzen Jan 17 '14 at 23:23

Use the built-in audio jack. For better quality sound, use a noise free power source or a battery as suggested above.

Here is an audio amp module based on LM386 from ebay. You will need to splice an old audio cable to wire it up.

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