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Is is possible to use the 3.5 jack on the Raspberry Pi as a line-in?

I need to record audio through the Pi and I didn't find anything conclusive about its audio capabilities. Would like to make sure before searching for a sound card.

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You cannot record sound through the 3.5 jack of the Pi right now. See here http://www.raspberrypi.org/help/faqs/#audioStandard

As an alternative you can use a sound card like the Wolfson or a USB microphone/sound card. If you go with the Wolfson (which is the option I went with) there are two important things to know before you buy:

  • It does not work with the B+ version of the Pi, which is really the only one getting stocked right now
  • Unless you're up for compiling your own kernel, you're going to have to use Raspbian 3.10 or so
  • You won't be able to record at rates below 32kHz; this seems to be a bug that they're working on fixing. You can downsample, but that will just put more strain on your CPU, so that doesn't seem like a great option to me.

Even given all the above, the Wolfson works pretty well for my purposes. If you already have a Pi, I would recommend the Wolfson if you have an A or a B, and a USB card/mic if you have a B+. If you don't have one, you're probably better off sticking with a USB option for now, since it will be extra work locating a deprecated Pi for no real benefit.

  • Please note that most USB card/mic combos only offer a mono line in. – 576i Aug 7 '15 at 10:08
  • @576i mics are by necessity mono, but I'm surprised that line in would not be stereo; on the Wolfson there is only one port for a "headset" which is the standard one that most phones and laptops have nowadays. – vlsd Aug 20 '15 at 0:00
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    I was surprised about that to and found out the hard way after buying one. I own the wolfson card and miserably failed at compiling the drivers into a current raspbian. After a few wasted evenings I found out that there's a successor "cirrus logic audio card" that works with the newer pi models. The newer images for that card work the wolfson card, as well... My cirrus cards are still boxed (just arrived this week), so I can't say how well they work but I expect them to work just a great. – 576i Aug 20 '15 at 14:05
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    There is now a revised Wolfson card suitable for the B+ (and 2) since the company was acquired by Cirrus Logic. – SlySven Jan 7 '16 at 4:59
  • There are now more GPIO sound cards available which have line inputs, check here for a short list : elinux.org/index.php?title=RPi_Expansion_Boards#Sound – Matt Jan 16 '17 at 12:19

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