Small is beautiful
The new Raspberry Pi Zero W is out and it comes with onboard WiFi and Bluetooth which makes tinkering even more fun.
But what does the new board mean for audio applications?
Well, first let’s talk about the obvious feature: size. Audio setups can be large and impressive. There is a certain charm in tiny setups that still create good sound. Think about a very elegant modern sound bar or a streamer hidden behind your bathroom mirror.
Besides the size, the Raspberry Pi Zero (W) needs less energy than its bigger siblings. This can become handy when you are thinking about building a portable system, powered by an external battery.
Because the Raspberry Pi Zero W comes with WiFi and Bluetooth onboard you can easily control your setup remotely and playback music on the microSD card, from your network and Internet streams without the need for any adapters.
All HiFiBerry “+” boards can be connected to the Raspberry Pi Zero (W), but we also offer a specially designed product line.
The DAC+ Zero is the smallest member of the HiFiBerry DAC family and fits perfectly onto a Raspberry Pi Zero. Even if it doesn’t offer advanced features as volume control and EEPROM, it still provides very good sound quality and 192kHz/24bit playback.
If you are planning to built an ultra tiny sound setup, go for the HiFiBerry MiniAmp which delivers up to 3 Watts directly to your speakers. The volume might not be enough for a huge room but is perfect to add a bit of extra sound to your kitchen or bathroom.
Before you order your boards and get started, you should be aware of some limitations of the Raspberry Pi Zero (W) as well:
- You need to solder the GPIO header onto the Raspberry Pi Zero.
- The Raspberry Pi Zero (W) boards only come with Micro USB and Mini HDMI connectors, if you want to connect any USB device, you need an extra adapter.
- The CPU is less powerful than the recent full-size Raspberry Pi boards. This isn’t a problem for audio-only applications, but you might notice a difference if you use CPU intense applications like Kodi.
- While the Raspberry Pi Zero W comes with onboard WiFi and Bluetooth, the Raspberry Pi Zero doesn’t, so you would need a WiFi dongle or Ethernet adapter and an adapter to connect these to the Zero’s Micro USB connector. Therefore we prefer the Zero W over the Zero for audio applications.
By the way, did you know the DAC+ Zero and MiniAmp also work with the Raspberry Pi B+, 2 and 3? Go ahead, try combinations and let us know about your ideas.
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March 24, 2017