TINY tiny sound from Speaker pHat


#1

I have 2 Speaker pHat boards and am using them on 2 different Rapsberry Pi Zero W

I installed the code from here https://github.com/pimoroni/speaker-phat as instructed using the command -

curl -sS https://get.pimoroni.com/speakerphat | bash

That worked OK as far as I know, it asked to reboot the Pi at the end of the installation.

I went to “/home/pi/Pimoroni/speakerphat/test” and ran test.sh … and was massively underwhelmed by the resulting sound output / volume :-( It is barely audible and according to “alsamixer” the volume is set to 100.

I have tried both speaker boards but both are the same :-(


#2

Can you post a picture of your soldering.


#3

I have just reinstalled Raspian and then installed the Seaker pHat software and the sound is now louder. However, the quality is pretty poor!

I want to use it as a doorbell chime so am currently looking for some suitable wav files (or would MP3 be better?).

I’ll let you know how it sounds once I find something suitable.


#4

Umm, found some sound files but everything sounds pretty tinny via the Sound pHat - they sound fine from my PC.

Is it possible to drive the speaker any louder? Can I do anything about the tinny sound?

Would I be better off with a different card and an external speaker?!


#5


#6

I have also tried installing PulseAudio - Speaker phat, loud clicks and removing the alsa driver - but the sound quality is still awful :-(

I have tested it by using the command

pacmd play-file "$(pwd)/test.wav" 0

Have I missed anything?


#7

WAV files are lossless audio files, so they’re usually better quality than MP3 files, but they can also be larger and therefore more for the Speakerphat to deal with. I’d recommend using MP3s for the time being and using
"MPG321" to play them.
As for your soldering, some of the joints look a little dry. It’s always best to re-flow them. although since it’s technically “working” I don’t know if it’ll change much.
Everything else you’re doing seems fine… Since it’s occurring on multiple boards, we can mostly rule out product fault, although there’s always the possibility of shipping damage!


#8

Well, I reinstalled Raspian, then the SpeakerPhat software and it still sounded terrible :-( I have tried 2 different hats on 2 Pi Zeros and one Pi 3 … so it seems like that is the standard of output available (not very good). I will talk to the re seller tomorrow.


#9

I also think sound is not great, but I think the board might drive a larger speaker.


#10

We don’t claim overwhelming sound quality from those little speakers.

In fact, on the product page we say:

We can’t claim audiophile sound quality, but it’s perfect for fun little projects where you want to add sound output - speech, notification sounds, or light music, for example.

However, you’d be able to desolder that speaker and solder on a more powerful speaker with better sound quality, if you like?


#11

I have the same speaker and am quite happy with the sound quality and volume. I used VLC to play an mp3 as well as a network stream. They both sound great. I noticed that VLC let me turn the volume up beyond the usual system range so try that. .ie. Try opening the VLC GUI on the desktop and turning the VLC volume all the way up by repeatedly pressing “Cntrl+Cursor Up” keys.

By the way, I also use it as a door chime and actually had to turn it down because it was too loud!


#12

Really?! Is that with a Raspberry Pi Zero? I would love to see the code you used, so that I can test it on my Pi Zero.

It would be so good if it would for me as well as it does for you!


#13

I’ve tried again - I reinstalled Raspbian and then the Pimoroni code to drive the speaker phat, but the sound is still bad, i.e. very crackled and the words pretty much inaudible.

Before I installed the speaker code, I was able to play sounds / music via HDMI and that sounded fine.

Is the above enough to get the speaker working, or do I need to install anything else?

It seems unlikely that 2 speaker cards would be damaged, but maybe they are? If no one has any software options to try, I’ll send them back.

Just to demonstrate what they should sound like, has anyone got a video of a Speaker pHat playing the demo sound that is installed with the Pimoroni software?