balenaSound sound quality is not excellent

Hi there! I can happily report that I finally found a true working synced multi-room solution, thank you!

However, I am wondering about the sound quality. I use Hifiberry Amp2 and a HifiBerry DAC+ Pro together with two RPi 3. The music sounds a bit flat and rough, simply put not as good as when using a “different solution” (no offense!).

Now, the “different solution” couldn’t do multi-room synced. Is maybe the fidelity lost due to the snapcast transmission? Is there anything that can be done about the quality of the sound?

Thank you in advance!

Hi, it is unlikely that you would be loosing quality in snapcast transmissions as these are transmissions of digital content and free of loss. The loss of quality typically occurs where the digital recording is converted to analog (DAC) and in the analog path following that.
Have you looked at https://sound.balenalabs.io/docs/dac-configuration/ ?
Regards Thomas

Hi, thanks for the reponse.

Yes, I they are configured as per instruction, using variable hifiberry-dacplus, since both the HifiBerry Amp2 and DAC+ Pro run on that, and I’m getting sound so it works technically.

It’s not a loss of quality in that sense, all the “data” is there, but the high range just sounds harsh. I mean, Spotify at 96 kbps will sound worse than a flak at 1411 kpbs, but both are still digital.

Is there not a bitrate setting in snapcast or something?

I am by no means an audiophile, the better half is, but even I noticed…

You can read up about how snapcast works here https://github.com/badaix/snapcast . Apparently sound quality can be affected by snapcast but that would be to do with network transmission delays or errors. So looking at network quality might be worthwhile. Do you notice quality issues in all rooms ?

Hi again, thanks for the link. The roadmap there did state " Hi-Res audio support (like 96kHz 24bit)", so maybe I can look into that. I did notice the harsh character in both rooms, but I’ll check the network quality and see if that could be affecting.

Really cool to finally have a working and synched multi-room setup though.

Hey @superapan I think the one thing to do is try do a straight comparison of a single device, so we eliminate snapcast and see if that single device produces the sound you expect. I know there were some reports of poor audio quality on Raspberry Pi 3 B/B+ since it has Bluetooth and wifi running over the same interface and chokes things, so perhaps to rule that out as well you could temporarily hook the device(s) up to ethernet to see if things improve.

Thanks for the new ideas, I just read up on the bluetooth+Wifi issue with the RPi 3. Is it possible to disable the bluetooth chip only, while keeping the wifi one alive? For now I just hit “Stop” in the services, but maybe it will default to on when it reboots?

You can use pi3-disable-bt as a dtoverlay, and the documentation for how to use this is here: https://www.balena.io/docs/learn/manage/configuration/#managing-device-configuration-variables