Sound Quality Raspberry Pi 3B+ versus Pi 4

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  • 24. November 2020 at 16:22 #50334

    Well read the article by Mario regarding the differences between the two and was very surprised . In my view using various Pi,s as streamers with Digi hats I have found that there is little or no difference in sound quality between a pi 3 and pi 4 . I do not use any of the Pi,s as DAC,s alone so will not comment on that part of the article / blog .

    My main contention is on the use of a Pi as a stand alone Logitech Media Server . I do this and had a Pi 4 4GB unit which sounded as good as the Pi3 B+ it replaced but worked much faster and smoother . Due to a problem with an LPSU that went rogue the Pi 4 blew , now this was one of the very first Pi 4s issued within three to four days of release . I had a new Pi 4 2gb unit spare that I had just bought to make a streamer so replaced the original Pi 4 4Gb unit with that just swapping over the SD card . Now this worked straight away but there was a big surprise sound quality was so much better the bass was faster more detailed with real texture and the sound image was bigger . Addition of a high quality LPSU pushed this even further . A switch back to a Pi 3 even with the LPSU used just did not come close. I had ordered a brand new Pi4 8GB just because i wanted to and again using the original SD card this worked and sounded just as good as the new 2 GB unit but was so much more responsive and smoother in operation using Tablets , Phone or PC to control changes are instant . Sound quality is the best I have heard in my system and for me using a Pi 4 up to date version (there has been a number of firmware revisions in production which seem to have made a big difference) the increase in sound quality is well worth the outlay . I would agree that my 8GB is over the top and that either a 2GB or 4GB Pi 4 will be fine as an LMS server . I will detail my full system below so that you can see the level .

    Bedroom / Spare Room system – Pi 4 2GB with HifiBerry Digi Pro + Hat – MiniDSP DDRC24 – pair of NVA A20 Power Amplifiers – Stacked (Two Speakers per Side one on top of the other) KEF 103 Reference .

    Main System – Allo Digione Raspberry Pi 3B+ – MiniDSP DDRC 2D – Denafrips Pro 8 mk1 – Croft OTL Amplifier – Quad ESL57 Speakers

    26. November 2020 at 13:56 #50347

    Hi Bencat,

    Thank you for sharing your impressions and experiences with the Pi 3 and 4! As mentioned in the article, the assessment of the difference in sound quality is very subjective. It should be noted that the Pi 4 is of course much more powerful than the Pi 3 due to its technical features. One can probably agree that the sound card used is the most important factor in terms of sound quality and the Pi itself has minor influence on that. All the more interesting are experiences like yours, which confirm that there is a difference between the two Pis when using Digi sound cards.

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