Worth adding a Wolfson Audio Card?

This is my first ever post. Firstly I just want to say thank you to Sam for all his sterling work on the project. Also thanks to everyone else that has ever contributed to these forums, the information has been invaluable.

I have a couple of questions. I’m running OSMC Alpha 4 on my Pi2 and things are running pretty harmoniously. My Pi2 generally eats whatever I throw at it. The only real issue I have is that videos with DTS audio makes the videos stutter (which I know is an issue that has been covered exhaustively in forums elsewhere) – I know the issue is related to the Pi’s processing power/hardware rather than OSMC. So I have been considering buying a Wolfson Audio Card to add to my Pi2. Couple of questions: 1) Is the card currently supported in the Alpha-4 build? Will I be able to get it running with OSMC? 2) Do you think it’s worth it? Will it be able to handle DTS audio and not make the videos stutter anymore etc?

I appreciate anyone’s thoughts and advice. Thanks in advance.

If it’s just passthrough sound I don’t think it’ll make any difference as the Pi isn’t technically doing anything with it anyway… I think.

I have a Pi B that plays DTS fine through the HDMI then split out optically to my amp. I only tend to watch 720p films though. Is it related to this? Have you tried playing the files directly from the Pi not over a network etc.

Thanks for your reply. I find that DTS videos stutter regardless of whether I use passthrough or not. I assume that the Pi must be doing something with the video because it has a hell of a lot of trouble handling it.

I use the RCA connection rather than HMDI which may exacerbate the issue. The Pi can even handle 1080p films as long as I demux the audio down to two channels. I always play videos directly from the Pi so the network isn’t the issue either.

I just wonder whether a sound card would fix the stuttering?

I wouldn’t recommend the Wolfson card currently, as it’s not supported by the Pi’s kernel and without custom patches won’t work with OSMC. That may change in the future.
Currently HifiBerry is supported by the kernel.

Do you have a receiver? Does it support HDMI input? Does it support DTS?
Are you overclocking?

You really should have no issue with DTS files. I can play raw Blu-Ray videos on Pi1 with software DTS decode.
DTS was problematic in the early days, but we’ve done a lot of optimising and it doesn’t require much more CPU than other codecs.

Can you provide a sample file that you have problems with? We can see if others have problems, or if perhaps there is something unusual in your setup.

Thanks for the head’s up. I will steer clear of the Wolfson then. HifiBerry sounds like the way to go (if at all).

No, I don’t have a HDMI/DTS receiver I’m just using the RCA jack and plugging it straight into an big, old CRT television. To be honest, I’m not concerned whether the audio output is merely Stereo or full 5.1 just as long as it stops stuttering. I find that any high resolution file (i.e. bigger than 5gb) is invariably encoded in DTS and it’s a pain to have to demux all the time. Do you think that maybe it’s an issue with playing DTS over a phono/RCA connection?

I’m not overclocking.

I can provide you with a sample of a problematic file. How would I share it with you? Although to be honest, I don’t think the files themselves are the issue because every single DTS file I have encountered (over 15 at this point) has caused an issue.

I very much doubt an old CRT can play DTS sound and the Pi is having to handle the file to decode it down to stereo through the RCA jack, which is probably a big overhead and on top of that I would guess it’s also decoding the movie file down to a non HD format to go through the RCA connection.

I’d suggest not bothering to rip or download your movies in such a high format when it’s not HD or Digital sound the Pi might handle it a lot better.

Avoid Wolfson sound card for Pi.

Their kernel support, or rather lack thereof, sucks.

Thanks so much for all your help guys. Stupidly I hadn’t considered that the Pi would need to decode the HD video/audio down to pass through the RCA connection. Obvious when you think about it.

Next month I’m finally gonna catch up with the times and buy a new TV with an HDMI input lol (and I’ll look into getting a receiver too). So hopefully my troubles will be over.

I’ll steer clear of the Wolfson too.

I appreciate all the advice guys :smile:

One thing to consider if you’re buying a TV is if it does full pass through of the sound by HDMI or optical onto an amp. Or perhaps your receiver has HDMI AV switching and you plug the rPi into the amp then onto the TV.

Otherwise like me I had to get an extra box that splits off the sound optically from HDMI feed as a) my TV doesn’t have audio pass through and my amp is optical or RCA only (both older kit).

I also have the option of getting the HifiBerry Digi+ but saving that for when I have surplus funds :slight_smile:

I’m struggling to understand why you have problems with 5G files with DTS.
I can play 40G files with DTS using software decode on Pi1.
(Bit rate is a more useful measure that file size, but I’ll assume you are referring to a film of 90-120 minutes).

You should probably experiment with overclock as that may be a simple way of playing the files.
I would be interested in seeing a sample of a file (you can cut a couple of minutes out of the file and upload it to a site like dropbox or google drive and others can test it).

mmg from mkvtoolnix is good for making sample files.

Cheers I’ll keep it in mind when I get the TV. Fancy a HifiBerry Digi+ too when I’m in the money.

I’m hoping that it’s related to decoding over the RCA connector, but I’ll report back.

I’ve tried overclocking it in the past but it didn’t seem to help the stuttering. Perhaps further tweaks are necessary.

I can upload a sample, although I’m still not convinced it’s related to the files themselves (given that I’ve tried around 15 files at this point). Although I’ll happily upload something to Dropbox etc