Balena Sound Raspberry Pi Zero W

Hi all. Have been using Volumio for a while and wanted to try out Balena Sound. I have a Raspberry Pi Zero W connected and showing up in my Balena Cloud account but nothing showing up to stream locally from my premium spotify account. Maybe I’m missing a step. Also, I have the zero plugged into my USB DAC built into my amp. Maybe this isn’t supported? I do not have the official Pi Zero DAC hat. I also have a Pi 2 I can try with an AUX to RCA connection instead.

Is casting audio from google devices not supported yet? I see airplay brought up a lot but nothing for android. TIA!

Disregard maybe. I think I was deploying plain Balena OS not through the Balena-Sound deployment. Some of my secondary questions still stand like the USB audio out

For example I see the Odroid XU4 is supported but it doesn’t have a 3.5mm jack. Does that mean USB can be used if your amp has a USB DAC built in?

Hi there! Thanks for trying out balenaSound!

It looks like your device was not running balenaSound yet but just the OS. Showing up on the balenaCoud dashboard means it’s running balenaOS. The device might have been downloading a release for balenaSound, or it might be that you did not add one. Depending on the method you used to deploy this is done automatically or manually, were you following a guide, readme on github?

Regardless of the method, there are a couple ways to verify the device it’s running a balenaSound release. On your dashboard, go the application page, to the left you’ll se the Releases page where all releases for that particular application are listed. If there are none then it means you need to manually add one (let us know and we can walk you through it). You can also check on your device details page, on the device card it should state what the Current release and the Target release are. For further verification, also on the device page you should see several services listed on the bottom section of your screen (airplay, audio, bluetooth, etc).

Regarding your other questions, USB DAC’s are definitely supported. They should be picked up automatically and prioritised over on board audio jack if there is one. After we confirm your device is running balenaSound we can look into this if it’s not detected. A quick way of telling is by looking at the logs for the audio service (again you can access them via the device page), logs look something like this:

17.03.21 21:52:27 (+0200) <audio> --- Audio ---
17.03.21 21:52:27 (+0200) <audio> Starting audio service with settings:
17.03.21 21:52:37 (+0200) <audio> - Pulse log level: NOTICE
17.03.21 21:52:37 (+0200) <audio> 
17.03.21 21:52:37 (+0200) <audio> Detected audio cards:
17.03.21 21:52:37 (+0200) <audio> 0 bcm2835-alsa bcm2835_alsa-bcm2835ALSA
17.03.21 21:52:37 (+0200) <audio> 1 dac RPi-simple-snd_rpi_hifiberry_dac

In your case you should see an entry for usb listed instead of dac.

Lastly, casting audio using google chromecast/audio protocols is not supported at the moment. There has been some interest but we haven’t been able to pick it up just yet (here is a relevant GH issue requesting this: possible to add Google Cast-ability audio? · Issue #102 · balenalabs/balena-sound · GitHub).

Thank you for the detailed reply. I actually figured out that I was indeed running just Balena OS without the sound portion. I still was not able to get the USB DAC functionality going. Let me try this again. Any variable I need to alter for this? I’m using a Raspberry Pi 3 and a USB cable from the Pi to my Amp. My amp has a built in USB DAC (so basically it’s own sound card). I know this method works because I’ve used it in Linux, Windows, and Volumio.

Edit, and 5 minutes later it’s working fine. LOL I fussed with this for hours earlier in the week.

You guys should honestly remove the Pi Zero from compatibility list of Balena Sound. It just can’t handle streaming without underruns. Even with things tweaked. Maybe I didn’t tweak enough?

@jayjr1105 Thanks for reporting in. Glad you have balenaSound working on your Pi3 setup. That’s an interesting comment on the PiZero. I’ll report back in and see if we (me lol) can test the latest on a PiZero and see if the experience isn’t the best. balenaSound v3 is always being improved, so it’ll be great to test this out and see if we’re providing a usable experience even for the lower-resource devices.

Thanks for the valuable feedback.