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Use a HiFiBerry sound card with your PC or Mac

Users often ask us how a HiFiBerry sound card can be used with a PC or Mac. As you can’t simply plug it into your PC or connected it to the USB port, it seems impossible. But it isn’t. There are lots of ways to do this.
We recommend to use a Raspberry Pi running HiFiBerryOS for this as is already comes with all software that is used in this guide. Other distributions for the Raspberry Pi might also support this. To be clear here: Even when using your HiFiBerry sound card with a PC, you need to plug it onto a Raspberry Pi! The HiFiBerry sound card won’t work without a Pi.

Use applications that support remote players

Music services like Spotify, Roon or iTunes already know a concept of a “remote player”. They can just stream music to it – either from your PC (like Roon and iTunes) or directly from the Internet as Spotify does it with Spotify connect.
Just check out the different services that HiFiBerryOS directly supports:

Bluetooth audio

Almost any laptop and many desktop PCs are equipped with Bluetooth capabilities. If your using a Pi3B+ or Pi4 with HiFiBerryOS, it can act as a Bluetooth speaker. All your applications will directly support it just looks like an external Bluetooth speaker.

Airplay

If you’re using a Mac, you can simply stream via Airplay. MacOS will see a system running HiFiBerryOS as an “Airplay” receiver and you can just select it as a sound output.
On a PC running Windows it is a bit more work. Windows doesn’t come with a software for this, but 3rd-party software like TuneBlade can do this for you.

With this method you can even stream music to multiple players simultaneously.

BTW: When streaming to a HiFiBerryOS device instead of an “official” Airplay receiver, even the free version of TuneBlade will work.

Toslink

If you’re using one of our DSP-enabled boards you can connect the digital audio output of your PC to the Toslink input of your HiFiBerry sound card. When running HiFiBerryOS, just enable “Optical input”:

If your PC doesn’t come with a Toslink output, a simple USB adapter will do the job.

Danielimage-mask
Posted by Daniel on February 15, 2020