Phat Beat. Questions before I buy


I was looking at integrating Phat Beat into a project for the VU meter and mp3 playback. But I want the audio to still go out of the Pi 3’s audio out headphone jack, then into an already exiting amp.

Is it still possible to use the vu meter and buttons and have audio still go out of the regular head phone jack?


Yup! Absolutely. Just don’t use our one-line-installer to set it up.

You will have to get a bit creative with the asound.conf file and Pi VU Meter to get the VU working with regular audio, but once you start putting your project together I can guide you through the software setup.


Or would it be easier/ better audio quality to use a Phat Dac/ Phat Beats / Pi Zero W combination?


Despite pHAT DAC and pHAT BEAT using the same pins, they should work fine together The Pi’s analog audio quality has improved a lot since the early days, but yes pHAT DAC will still best it.

Using pHAT BEAT with analog audio isn’t as tricky as I make it sound :D


I ordered the parts. I’m going the Pi Zero W route. I’m guessing, use a stacking header on the Phat Dac, with the Phat Beat on top.


Yup, that should work.


I’m good to go. All the parts came in. I have a brand new Pi zero W with a fresh Raspbian Lite image on a 16 gig card. And Wifi connected. All the headers soldered onto all three boards. And they stack together nicely. What’s next?


You should run the installer for pHAT BEAT, which will set up the VU meter and audio output correctly, then the pHAT DAC 3.5mm jack should “just work” as a consequence of that:

curl | bash


Thank you very much. It worked flawlessly! And sounds absolutely amazing! The vu meter is dead accurate. Everyone who listens to music on a Pi should have a Phat Dac.


Plugged into my sound bar:


I wish the VU meter worked like that in VLC Radio / Pirate Radio. How loud do you have it? At normal volume for me, all I get is the bottom two maybe 3 LEDs lit.


I am only using the line out off of the Phat Dac into a sound bar. So I have ALSA volume at 100%. That being said, I have noticed the number of lights I get depends greatly on the amount of gain in the mp3 file I am playing. For example, mp3s made from older CDs or audio streamed from youtube have the response you have gotten with only 2-3 bars. However, mp3s from newer remastered CDs or itunes, use the full spectrum of LEDs. As seen in the picture above. I was playing a live version of “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac. As an mp3 I had ftp’d directly onto the Pi. And played back with Moc.


Ok, thanks for the added info. :)


The full LED range not lighting for all dynamics is something I’m keen to fix, I’m thinking of taking a moving average of the maximum amplitude and scaling the VU meter against that, or perhaps trying to get at the system volume somehow- but that wouldn’t account for the gain in different music files, or for quieter songs or sections. Like most, I’m more concerned with how good it looks than how accurate it is ;)


Ditto to looking cool over being accurate. =)


I posted a short video of the result I’ve gotten. If you watch toward the end of the video. It’s actually very accurate.



I installed Shairplay, and the vu meter works with music streamed from my iPad.


I put one of the black Ninja Diffusors over my pHat Beat. IMHO it makes it look a lot better.

All I see is the soft glow of the LED’s For me it does double duty as a mounting plate for my pHat Beat and Pi.!AjOYwiwlwDtpgrJY6ORLsK5AVpwNuw