USB sound card recommendations

Hi all,

Can anyone recommend a half decent quality USB sound card for an OSMC Raspberry Pi?

I’ll be using a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B for the application, which is the main sound source for the ceiling speakers in my kitchen diner.


  • Nothing to distract from the music - no glitches, background hiss, pops, squeaks etc…
  • Reliability, ease of use - It needs to work after a reboot / power cycle without any user input, ie: it has to be family / user friendly for a Linux alien.
  • Middle of the road audio quality, as the kitchen diner is a touch ‘echoey’ having a hard floor, so super quality would be wasted in the room.

I didn’t want to blunder in with anything too cheap and be disappointed, while at the same time, I don’t want to waste money by buying something expensive only to find it doesn’t work with an OSMC Raspberry Pi.

So any recommendations / personal experiences would be more than welcome!

Many thanks, Scott.

USB may not be best.

I2S DACs avoid the USB subsystem and you can DMA buffers straight to the device, so you won’t get high CPU utilisation as a result.


Thanks Sam - it’s a good idea, do you know if anyone has done this? Any tutorials / examples etc…?

Thanks, Scott

Google for HiFiberry.

Thanks - typical asking questions before searching!

Of the I2C DAC options, which ones are recommended to fulfill my criteria in post 1? Any user experiences?

Also, is there much in the way of changing the OSMC / Pi config to get it working? Or do they just work out of the box?

Thanks, Scott

The hifiberry is a really good choice and supported by many distributions.
If you get the amp model you only need speakers and a single 12V powersupply. Just connect speakers and you got a full blown kitchen radio/tv powered by OSMC.

They should work with osmc out of the box. You might have to configure it in the audio options.

Oooh, that amp is neat! Really neat!

Thanks for opening up my eyes!

With a HifiBerry physically occupying the whole GPIO header, I assume only some of the pins are used - can I therefore continue using GPIO LIRC for infra red remote control (one GPIO pin required, can share power)?

Thanks, Scott.

Yes you can, you’ll need to change the pins specified in the lirc_rpi overlay in My OSMC however

We stock an RF remote if you do not have a remote already


Thanks Sam, it looks good, I might be wrong, but it doesn’t appear to have volume control? I currently use an old Microsoft RC6, which while most buttons are overkill, volume is handy.

You can remap any buttons for any role.

We are going to make the Up and Down keys control volume during playback in a future update

Most users use pass through, and controlling audio via the AVR is almost always a better option, so we didn’t explicitly mark any buttons as volume buttons, but you can change any buttons to control volume and in a near future update we will add some functionality, including long press support


That sounds excellent Sam, thanks! XBMC / KODI has needed a good, well thought out dedicated remote for a long time…

We’re soon to replace our main TV, one of the criteria will be working CEC control. I always take a Pi on holiday with us for evening movies while kids are in bed, so I get to try them on a few TV’s, and have only really had plug and play CEC success with Samsung TV’s.

This audio system I’m piecing together will live out of sight in a kitchen cupboard, so most control will be using Yatse or html interface, but it’s good to have something to hand to quickly stop / pause / skip etc… I will install a small screen inside the cupboard for maintenance etc…

Cheers, Scott.