problem with Balena-sound and passive speakers, sometimes only one speaker working (stereo setup)

love balena-sound and love how easy to use it is. I would like to begin by thanking all the devs for providing such an awesome service for free!

I have my Pi 4 connected through the 3.5mm jack to an amplifier powering two speakers. (3.5m to RCA cable)

My problem is that sometimes the system works perfectly and sometimes one speaker turns off or sometimes the system just start sounding poorly all together.

the only settings i tinkered with are the sound levels in aslamixer, as the typical rule with passive speakers is to raise the volume to the max on the software level and control the volume manually using the amplifier.

I tried to use a headphone jack splitter, to split the mic input from the sound output, just incase this is what’s causing the issue. it didn’t really work.

When i plug the 3.5mm cable to my laptop or mackbook the sound is perfectly fine.

This is my UUID 2f09d61e907c99ea9da7cc08d3501d57

Hi Abdul, thanks for your kind words!

Initially I would say hardware is probably more likely to be at fault here, but since you say your audio cable works fine in other scenarios let’s try to dig in a bit.
Can you share the commands you used to alter the sound levels? From what you are describing I asume you are running balenaSound version 2.x, correct? I ask because we recently released 3.x and the way audio is setup differs drastically between those major versions. In both versions however output volume should be maxed out by default so I think it’s not necessary to alter it. ALSA utils can also be tricky to properly use, specially in terms of adjusting volume.

Assuming the commands you used are good, and that you don’t get any strange errors logged (please share logs if this is the case!), I’d try with another audio cable. I know you already tried the cable with other equipment, but from my experience audio cables (cheap ones specially) can be very unreliable in unpredictable ways :laughing:.

Another question if you will, can you expand a bit on what you mean with “sounding poorly”? Is the audio getting choppy? White noise added? Clipping/saturation? Thanks!

oh wow i installed balena-sound not a week ago. and you guys already released an update! cool!

Anyidea how can i check for updates over balena cloud? or do i have to reinstall?

I shared your exact opinion on the cable so i went ahead and purchased a new (high-duty) one from AudioQuest, while the quality improved when the setup is ‘working’ it still didn’t solve the actual problem

as for the volume, i just used alsamixer -c 0 and used the up and down button to raise the volume on the available sound cards. it was set at 75% before i did that.

Out of interest, does this happen on all audio sources through the balenaSound or is it only found on a particular source?

I haven’t actually tested that, currently i’m deploying the application using the ‘deploy now’ button on github just to make sure i didn’t miss any updates. I will let you know afterwards.

Update: my amplifier was the cause of the issue, it was certainly dying. buying a new amplifier completely solved my problem.

Hi Abdul,

We are happy to know that you got to resolve your problem.

To answer your question, you can just click again on the “Deploy with Balena” button on that repo and it will push the latest updates to your application. You’ll get to see an option to either update an existing application or deploy to a new one. I hope this helps.