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Element14, Wolfson Announce Sound Card for Raspberry Pi

By - Source: Element14 | B 4 comments

Raspberry Pi started out with the intention of teaching the basics of computer science and programming to children in schools. However, the ultra-cheap single-board computer has since evolved into so much more than that. The developer community latched onto Raspberry Pi and its applications are as varied as its userbase. The board has been to the classroom, space, and the science fair. Now, hobbyists and DIYers have a new toy to play with.

Raspberry Pi manufacturer Element14 and Wolfson Microelectronics have announced the availability of a new Wolfson Audio Card for Raspberry Pi. Available exclusively through Element14, the card brings both line-in and line-out headphone support as well as headset support, on-board stereo microphones, and digital audio S/PDIF functionality to Raspberry Pi. Full features below:

  • 3.5 mm jack (4-pole) for a headset/boom mic combination for gaming or VoIP applications
  • 3.5 mm jack for microphone input
  • On-board MEMS microphone
  • 3.5 mm jack stereo line input for connection to devices such as digital audio players (iPod, etc.) or mobile phones
  • 3.5 mm jack stereo line output for connection to devices such as external stereo amplifiers or powered speakers
  • Phono jack for electrical (not optical) S/PDIF digital input
  • On-board class D power amplifier for external speakers, with connection to external power source if needed
  • Small pin header for extra functions if they are low cost, already on-chip, and don't require any further components
  • Raspberry Pi form factor

"The Raspberry Pi has been a phenomenal success, bringing affordable computing and software programming to a new generation of innovators," said Alistair Banham, Senior VP & GM of Custom Solutions at Wolfson Microelectronics. "With the Audio Card, Wolfson is delighted to provide a new accessory that opens up a whole new world of applications to the Pi community."

The Wolfson audio card will be available through Element14 in Europe, North America, and Asia and will cost $33. That's not all that expensive, but it does double the cost of your Raspberry Pi kit, which is priced at $35 (for the 512 MB Model B version). Raspberry Pi also has a camera board, but that sold out on Element14 and hasn't been back in stock since. The tiny board measures 25 x 20 x 9 mm. It weighs just over 3g.

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  • 3 Hide
    WithoutWeakness , March 11, 2014 11:10 AM
    These will sell very well. There are a lot of audio/video applications for the RPi that are forced to user audio over HDMI and then route the audio out from the display. Having an add-in board with 3.5mm microphone in and 4-pole out will make lots of users happy but adding digital S/PDIF out and a stereo out with on-board amp will be even more flexible for modders and DIY'ers. I can't wait to see what to community cooks up with this board and the RPi.
  • 0 Hide
    _BigHead_ , March 11, 2014 12:10 PM
    Why wouldn't you put some form of digital out on this? Digital Coax, SPDIF, anything besides being only able to use the HDMI out on RPi would have made me buy this. When i saw this article, i was ready to buy before the page loaded if it had some form of digitalout. Makes no sense why you would have almost every other connection type besides a digital out..What clowns...
  • 2 Hide
    68vistacruiser , March 11, 2014 1:42 PM
    I'm suspecting that the "Phono jack for electrical (not optical) S/PDIF digital input" is really "output", though I will leave room to be wrong about that.
  • 3 Hide
    WithoutWeakness , March 11, 2014 1:53 PM
    Quote:
    Why wouldn't you put some form of digital out on this? Digital Coax, SPDIF, anything besides being only able to use the HDMI out on RPi would have made me buy this. When i saw this article, i was ready to buy before the page loaded if it had some form of digitalout. Makes no sense why you would have almost every other connection type besides a digital out..What clowns...


    It's not clear in the article here on Tom's but the white connector is an S/PDIF input and the yellow connector is an S/PDIF output so it does indeed have a digital output. You can read "SPDIF OUT" on the PCB below the connector in the photo in the article but it is written upside down ("SPDIF IN" is written on the other side of the white connector) . Tom's only lists the S/PDIF input in the article but the info can be found and confirmed elsewhere.

    Here's Engadget's article showing a photo of the board installed on an RPi: http://www.engadget.com/2014/03/11/raspberry-pi-wolfson-audio-card/

    Here's a photo of the board with labels for each of the connectors: http://www.element14.com/community/servlet/JiveServlet/showImage/102-55903-4-192307/callout.png