How to Add a Speaker To a Raspberry Pi

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If you find your project a little too quiet, you might consider adding speakers to your Raspberry Pi. You can use Raspberry Pi in various projects that might require speakers; therefore, as a DIY enthusiast learning how to add a speaker to Raspberry Pi is vital. Fortunately, the whole process is pretty much straightforward and does not require any advanced skills.

Overview

When you add speakers to a Raspberry Pi, you will be able to extend its functionality significantly. The project will allow you to modernize any hi-fi system or old speaker by giving the ability to stream audio directly.

In this article, we shall be discussing how to add Bluetooth speakers to a Raspberry Pi; furthermore, you can as well add support for Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay, and then synchronize multi-room audio.

For you to add all these extra functionalities to your Raspberry Pi, you will have to use balenaSound. There is no doubt that getting Airplay, Bluetooth audio, synchronized audio, and Spotify to operate on your Raspberry Pi can be a bit challenging for newbies.

However, the image offered by Balena helps in simplifying the whole process significantly. It helps simplify the setup process as well as reduces the likeliness of facing any issues.

Requirements

To connect a Bluetooth speaker to your Raspberry Pi, you will require the following:

  • A Raspberry Pi
  • MicroSD card
  • Bluetooth adapter (this is recommended when not using Pi 4, 3, or Zero W)
  • Power supply
  • Wi-Fi dongle or Ethernet Cord (however, you might not require one when using Pi 4 and 33 since they are equipped with in-built Wi-Fi)
  • Raspberry Pi case (optional)

In this tutorial, we shall be using the Raspberry PI 4.

Adding a Speaker to a Raspberry Pi

When adding a speaker to a Raspberry Pi, you will first need to download balenaSound.

Downloading balenaSound

The balenaSound software will help you to stream audio to the speaker via Bluetooth on your Raspberry Pi. The first thing you do is create an application within the Balena web interface. Once you are there, you will use the Default Device Type option and pick Raspberry Pi, which you would like to set as the default device.

When you select it, you will go ahead and click on the Create and Deploy option to continue. Afterward, you will be automatically taken to a page that lists all devices that are deployed with the balenaSound. You will then click on the Add device option to add Bluetooth Speaker software to your Raspberry Pi.

A popup will let you generate a balenaOS image for the selected device. The first thing to do is to select the device type. In case the default setting is not correct, you will go ahead and click the box and then select your device. You will then have to decide the version of the balenaOS image you would like to use. In this case, we shall use the production option.

You might use development images, which will help in troubleshooting all issues that you might be facing. In case you would like to use Wi-Fi, you will click on the toggle underneath the Network Connection header.

You will have to specify SSID as well as Passphrase for connection when enabling Wi-Fi. Once you have all the settings configured, you will go ahead and click on the download balenaOS option.

Writing balenaSound image to Raspberry Pi

Once you download the balenaSound, you will go ahead and write it on the Raspberry Pi. To achieve this, you will have to make use of Etcher– it is a useful tool which is also developed by Balena.

Once you have Etcher software, you will go ahead and click on the Select Image button. When you do so, a file dialog will pop up, allowing you to choose an image that you would like to write to the SD card. In this case, it will be a balenaSound image.

With the image chosen, you will go ahead and choose the device you would like to write the image on. Etcher will choose automatically in case you have a compatible device. Once everything is set, you will click the flash button for you to write the image on the SD card. 

Ensure that you have chosen the right drive before clicking the button since the process tends to wipe out the drive.

When the image has been written on the SD card successfully, you will plug it in the Raspberry Pi and turn it on.

Check Raspberry Pi Bluetooth speaker 

The balenaOS installed and running on the Raspberry Pi will automatically start downloading and preparing the Bluetooth Audio service. Here, we shall be discussing how to check the status of the Raspberry Pi on the Balena interface.

You will first go to the Balena dashboard page and then select a balena-sound application. The page will then list all devices that are running with the balenaSound application. You will use the list and assess the status of your devices.

On that page, you will be able to visualize several details of the balenaSound image that is running on the Raspberry Pi. You will be able to see Bluetooth Audio in the service section installed and running in the Raspberry Pi and additional services such as Airplay and Spotify. You can use this interface to stop, start, and restart all the services with the utmost ease.

Connecting Raspberry Pi with Bluetooth speakers

You can play music in three ways when using a balenaSound image through the connected devices. The three methods you can play your audio are; Spotify Connect, Bluetooth, and Airplay.

Connecting your Raspberry Pi to Bluetooth speakers is relatively easy; the balenaSound will help you with this process by broadcasting itself continually over Bluetooth. All Bluetooth capable devices can connect to the Raspberry Pi and then play music via the connected speakers.

Final Word

Connecting a speaker to Raspberry Pi is relatively easy; by following the tips discussed in this article, you will be able to connect your Raspberry Pi to Bluetooth speakers with the utmost ease. As we conclude, we hope that you find this article helpful as you try to connect speakers to your Raspberry Pi.

About the Author Dan

Just a random guy who likes to build things. Providing tool knowledge, appliance/device testing tips, and DIY project info in an easy-to read & non-intimidating style.