Sound move: Audio card brings Hi-Fi to Raspberry Pi

12th March 2014
Mick Elliott

Raspberry Pi has Hi-Fi. Farnell element14 has launched the Wolfson Audio Card which allows Raspberry Pi owners to use high quality audio capabilities as the inspiration for their latest Pi innovations. The card brings both line-in, line-out headphone and headset support, on-board stereo microphones, and digital audio S/PDIF functionality to the Raspberry Pi for the first time.

It opens up a wide range of possibilities such as using the device to create a voice controlled wireless home media network capable of running 24-bit “better than CD quality” music playback.

The Audio Card has been developed by ace audio chip designer Wolfson Microelectronics which has oceans of experience in designing in more than two billion chips to many of the world’s leading consumer devices, from high-end audiophile equipment brands such as Linn and Astell & Kern, through to popular mass market devices like the Samsung GALAXY range of smartphones.

At the heart of the Wolfson Audio Card is the WM5102 chip, a highly-integrated Audio Hub which can be found in many smartphones, tablets and other portable audio devices today, and which enables high resolution audio playback such as that normally found on high-end audio equipment. The Audio Card also includes Wolfson’s WM8804 high performance consumer mode S/PDIF digital interface transceiver and dual WM7220 Wolfson digital MEMS microphones for high quality audio capture and record.  

To celebrate the launch, Wolfson and element14 have teamed up with HDtracks, The Source for Studio Master Quality Music Downloads, in conjunction with Chesky Records, to offer Wolfson Audio Card customers a free five-track 96kHz/24-bit quality music playlist*, to show off the high quality audio playback capabilities of the Wolfson Audio Card.

“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,” commented Alistair Banham, Senior VP & GM of Custom Solutions at Wolfson Microelectronics. “Working with element14 has given Wolfson the opportunity to bring more high quality audio to the Raspberry Pi and enable developers, students and hobbyists to experience great audio quality when developing applications.”

David Shen, CTO at element14 said: “The Wolfson Audio Card brings an incredibly exciting audio development capability to the millions of people who already use the Raspberry Pi.  With its comprehensive feature set, ease of use and extreme audio quality, designers will have a completely new audio toolset from which to work from.”

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