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Pulse DAC compatible with Raspberry Pi?


Can anyone tell me whether or not the Pulse  DAC (via USB) is compatible with the Raspberry Pi? 

I'm interested in setting up a music server using my Raspberry Pi (running Volumio) and was wondering if anyone has had success outputting sound via USB to a Pulse. 



Current Setup:

Raspberry 3B+ connected by USB to my Geek Pulse xfi + LPS attached and USB flash drive for music files and I'm having issues booting up the pi. I tried just booting up with only the Geek Pulse and it would boot and intermittently would detect my DAC. And of course attaching my USB flash drive after bootup could not play the music and create static noise to my speakers.

Does anyone have success with RPi 3B+ and Pulse?  I read somewhere it's possible that the USB ports on Rpi3 doesn't have enough power for data from Geek Pulse. 

Hmmm....I used the Pi2 w/moode (v2.3) with my Xfi. Songs are stored on my NAS.

But once in a while songs didn´t start to play when i clicked on them.
I installed another image which help a while but then it occured again so I "returned" to my SBT.
Haven´t tried v.2.4 yet but I´ll probably give 2.5 a try (once it will be availabe).


Because this is fun, I'm trying to get MoOde onto my Raspberry Pi 2, but for the life of me, I can't get it to boot. At first, I thought I damaged either the SD card or the Pi 2. I have a B+, so I put NOOBS onto the SD card and was able to boot the B+. I then was able to boot the Pi 2 with the same SD card and NOOBS

But when I use Win32DiskImager on my PC to write moode-sdimg-r24.img to the SD card and then boot, I see some flickering of the disk activity LED, but nothing output to the attached monitor.

It's driving me nuts and now I have nothing because I used the SD card on which RuneAudio was running. This was after I bought 3 new 32GB SD card and had the same failure, thinking that maybe these new cards can't be used with a Pi.

I'm having a facepalm moment

After listening to several 192/24 tracks, I find that it's very noisy. This is playback from a USB stick to the USB connected Pulse. At this point, it is a novelty, but not something that I would want to build my system around. I could see myself using it at work because of the small footprint.

When I switch to the DurioSound card directly attached to the Pi, plugging my HE-400s directly into it, it is much quieter. The volume is not as loud as I would like it, but its good and fun.

I'm going to stick with JRiver or PureMusic on my Mac

I just finished listening to several tracks from the Raspberry Pi 2.

The Pi has a USB cable to the LPS4, and there is a cable from it to the Pulse Infinity.

I've been able to play up to 192/24.

From there, my collection jumps to DSDx1 and DSDx2. I don't have anything in between.

Playing DSD has the Pulse displaying 352K, but there are a lot of pops and glitches.

I was able to play from a USB stick local to the Pi and also stream from my NAS.

This was with RuneAudo.

I do have extra SD cards, so I'm going to take Thomas' suggestion and check out the other media centers

Thomas, I have other issues with my Pulse Standard and my Pulse Infinity, so I am not surprised that you have an issue. I'm going to work through my issues via the support tickets that I have opened

Andrew Zander said:

> It seems like a good way to setup a dedicated music server that is independent of any other computer/OS. It's far cheaper (and smaller footprint) than having a dedicated laptop/desktop computer.

Yes, a Pi is cheaper, smaller, and uses less power than a laptop or desktop computer. The biggest problem with the Pi from my perspective is the lack of really good software. On the PC and Mac platforms, there are a number of excellent, mature software products available, both free and commercial products. That's not true on the Pi. I have tried Rune Audio, Volumio, and moOde. They're all easy to install, and they all work reasonably well, but none of them are as full-featured or as easy to use as JRiver on Windows. Furthermore, each of them seems to be mostly the work of one person, often working on it in their spare time. Will these products continue to be available and updated in the future?

I set up JRiver on my Pi, which was a fairly involved process. It basically has the same user interface as the Windows version, which is quite a good one. In addition, the JRemote app on the iPad works with the Pi version of JRiver, providing a user friendy, full-featured remote capability. I run my Pi headless and control it with my iPad. It works OK, but I've had JRiver crash a couple of times, leading me to believe that it's not nearly as stable as the Windows version. JRiver on the Pi is still a fairly new release, so it will probably improve over time. I hope so.

I will also be interested to try Volumio version 2 when it becomes available. Michelangelo Guarise, the lead developer of Volumio, is doing a complete re-write of the program to eliminate some serious limitations. He promises that it will be significantly faster and better when he is done.

Jerald Josephs asked:

I'm wondering what selection you make in Volumio to use a USB connected DAC?

In Rune, I was change it to "none", I think. I don't see anywhere that it recognizes a USB-connected external sound card.

Rune, Volumio, and moOde all recognize external USB DACs. In Rune, when I have my Geek Out connected to a USB port of the Raspberry Pi, the Geek Out shows up in the list of audio output interfaces in the MPD configuration, and I can select it. Approximately the same thing is true in Volumio and moOde as well, although the details differ a bit.

I have tried all 3, and prefer moOde, although it's certainly not perfect. Rune only lets you browse your music collection by genre, then by artist. moOde lets you browse by album title, artist, or genre. Also, moOde comes with a number of pre-configured Internet radio stations, whereas with Rune you have to set them up yourself. But try them all. 16 GB micro SD cards are not very expensive. Buy a couple of extra ones and you can try all 3 programs without losing your setup.

I'm using RuneAudio on my Pi 2, for which I have to select an I2S kernel module in order to connect to the DurioSound card that is directly mounted on the Pi.

I'm wondering what selection you make in Volumio to use a USB connected DAC?

In Rune, I was change it to "none", I think. I don't see anywhere that it recognizes a USB-connected external sound card.

I could switch over to Volumio, but I kind of want to stick with RuneAudio for the moment.

I don't know if the Pulse optical input does or does not use the same clock as the USB input. 

You can add a optical output to a Raspberry Pi using an add-on module like this one:

What you describe is a setup that I'm looking at trying to setup: A headless Raspberry Pi 2 with a USB external hard drive setup as a web-based media player that will output audio to the Pulse, which will feed my stereo.

I read somewhere (I can't recall where, though) that the USB output on the Pi is much noisier than a USB port on a standard PC. I'm not sure if this is true or what the cause would be (probably due to better power regulation found in PC power supplies). I'm not sure if an LPS would help filter out any of this noise.


You make some good points.

It's my understanding that the USB input on DACs provides the best sound quality because of the ability to synchronize the clock within the DAC to the clock within the computer. I don't know enough of the technical details, but I do know that not all of the inputs a DAC are equal in sound quality.

That being said, given the connectivity choices available with the Pulse, why not use a Raspberry Pi? I just don't see how you can use anything other than USB, though. My Pi's don't have optical out

I pulled my Raspberry Pi 2 out of the bin to get this setup too. It has a Durio Sound Card mounted upon it. It's pretty cool. You can run the entire thing off a battery and I have it reading hirez files of a USB stick. It was a fun project, but the volume output from its own headphone jack not high enough to drive my cans.

This time, I can connect it to my audio system, disable volume control altogether and use the RCA L&R outputs on the Durio or a USB connection to the Pulse. I should also be able to stream from my NAS to the Pi to the Pulse.

I'm gonna have some "Pulse Pi" this week :-)

Why not a Raspberry Pi? 

It seems like a good way to setup a dedicated music server that is independent of any other computer/OS. It's far cheaper (and smaller footprint) than having a dedicated laptop/desktop computer.

Even if audio over USB between the Raspberry Pi isn't reliable, I would suspect that using an optical output would be.

I complete agree with @J.P. Morere

I just received my Pulse and my Pulse Infinity and both are working fine with my Macbook. I for one find it difficult to understand why one would favor a Raspberry Pi over a PC or a Mac. But hey, if you dig a Linux based system, I get that.

The reason I wouldn't do that would be that I would be using the USB bus for both the DAC and for the media which has my music. I can see where you may have a streaming media server over Wifi to the Pi instead, but I wouldn't use the USB bus for both functions because it often causes problems with the audio playback

@Thomas, you cannot unplug and plug your Pulse into the USB of your PC and have it recognized where it is recognized by your Mac, then it is not the Pulse. It's the USB connection on the PC or the cable you are using to connect it.

Are you always using the same USB cable for the Pulse, no matter where it is connected?

I'm currently using my Pulse Infinity with my audio system and my Pulse with my Mac. When I had them together with the audio system, I was removing one USB cable for the other, where I had two cables, each one connected to a Pulse.

The Mac always recognizes which one is connected although I may have to restart the software in order for it to be recognized properly.

I'm really going to have to get my Pi setup with this to see what its like!

Thomas, if the Geek Out is reliable with a PC and the Raspberry Pi and the Pulse is not then you really need to open a support tixand get the Pulse fixed. It should be rock solid with any USB 2.0 port. At least, mine is. I have had no issues over 250+ hours of use, even through several system reboots and a power outage. Andrew, don't give up on the Pulse before you even get it. You WILL receive it and it will likely work just fine and is sure to sound very good. At least my infinity does. Do remember that FAR more people will post about equipment with problems than those whose equipment is working properly. J.P.

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That's a real shame, both about the Pulse not working with the Raspberry Pi and PC. 

I was on the fence about keeping my Pulse (if/when I receive it), it's looking even less likely now.

I have not been able to get my Raspberry Pi 2 working with my Geek Pulse (the basic model), with or without the LPS. That's perhaps not surprising. My Pulse will not work reliably with my PC either. It sounds really good when it's working, but when I start up the PC, the PC may or may not detect the USB connection of the Pulse. It works fine with my MacBook Pro, though.

However, my Geek Out 1000 (gen 1) works great with the Raspberry Pi, even when the Pi is powering the Geek Out. It works fine with Volumio. I prefer moOde, though. They're both free. Try them both and decide which one you like better. The Geek Out also works with the Raspberry Pi running JRiver Media Center 21, controlled with JRemote on an iPad. 

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