RetroPie plug in USB speaker


The 2 down sides to my ZeroBoy build I did recently were that it didn’t have a build in battery power and that it didn’t have sound. I seen that the MintyPi was using a USB sound card to give their handheld a speaker by soldering a speaker to the 3.5mm jack. So I thought I could do the same to add sound to my ZeroBoy.


First of all I thought I could get away with one of their super cheap USB soundcard like the one below

This was not the case so I had to track down the exact one that they were using in the MintyPi build, You will need to search for PCM2704 and it look like the one below

Its super easy to get this to work with RetroPie, I found THIS blog post which made it really easy to set up. So plug-in your USB sound card and boot up retropie.


So you should have your USB sound card inserted and boot up retropie. You can ether SSH into retropie or using a keyboard press F4 to bring up the command line.

First thing to do is check to see if your pi can see the USB sound card, Use the command below

cat /proc/asound/modules

Which should give you these back in the command line

0 snd_bcm2835
1 snd_usb_audio

You can see the USB sound card on the second line. By default the pi will use the 0 snd_bcm2835 which is the headphone jack, We need to tell the pi that we want it to use 1 snd_usb_audio as the default audio interface.

To do this we need to edit a file, I’m using vim but you can use what ever text editor you are familiar with.

sudo vi /etc/asound.conf

You will need to add the following to that file you just opened

pcm.card1 {
type hw card 1
ctl.card1 {
type hw card 1

pcm.!default card1

Save the file and reboot. After you have rebooted you will need to go into the “RetroPie setup” in the GUI or using

sudo /home/pi/RetroPie-Setup/
 if you are SSHing in.

Once in you will need to select “Configuration/tools” then “audio settings”. Once in that setting you will need to hit F6 then select USB sound card, You will be able to set the default volume using your arrow keys.

Now if you just want to use your headphones with your Raspberry pi zero you are done but if like me you want to an add a speaker follow me below.

Adding a speaker

So the picture from the MintyPi build guild will tell you all you need to know about wiring up the speaker

I used a DS Lite speaker in my build because they are nice and compact. I just hot glued my speaker to the PCB and wired up the speaker like in the photo. If you still want to still use the headphone jack you will need to add a switch between one of he wires going to the speaker so you can turn it off when using headphones.



2 responses to “RetroPie plug in USB speaker

  1. Pingback: Retropie plug in USB speaker – gStore·

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