I've been trying to get speakers to work for a while now. I got the Amazon Basic speakers, (https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-Powered-Computer-Speakers-A100/dp/B00GHY5F3K?ie=UTF8&keywords=computer%20speakers&qid=1465334147&ref_=sr_1_3&s=pc&sr=1-3) which are active and connect through USB and headphone jack. However, they don't show up anywhere, but are receiving power and lighting up. When I enter "aplay -l" I receive "**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****" and nothing below that. It's the same when I plug in my headphones, and I'm not able to adjust the volume. Any suggestions?

Edit: I'm running Raspbian Jessie on a Pi 3 B. I have both the 3.5mm and the USB plugged in, yet they still don't show up. I've tried going through configuration, but the 3.5mm option didn't do anything, and forcing 3.5mm directly didn't change anything either.

  • You may want to indicate which operating system and model of Pi you are using.
    – goldilocks
    Jul 7, 2016 at 16:15

2 Answers 2


Those speakers are USB powered, but use a 3.5mm jack for audio. They don't communicate any data whatsoever over USB - you'll need to use the 3.5mm jack if you want to get audio out of them.

If you look at the pinout of a USB cable (per the image below) you can see that it has 4 lines - Gnd, Data+, Data-, and +5V. Because USB is such a common standard it's now commonplace to find lots of devices which run at 5V and use USB plugs for power, but which have the data lines literally soldered together at the connector. These devices produce no data, receive no data, and the USB plug is used solely to provide 5V/around 500mA of electricity.

USB pinout

This explains why your speakers are lighting up when they're plugged in, but you'll never see them appearing in a device list. They're receiving power from the Pi and are on, but there's nothing in them that communicates over USB.


I'am going to assume that you have a Linux OS/Raspian as it is in the NOOBS(New Out Of Box System). I think you are asking why your speakers wont work.(Please tell me if that's not it) It could be a configuration problem. As by default Raspberry PI have the audio configured to go through your HDMI cable and to your TV or your just headphone. But sometimes the auto-detection is inaccurate so it may be desired to configure it manually. Here is How:(Also my resource) https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/configuration/audio-config.md

I hope that solves the problem :)

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