External USB sound cards working with VLC and RPI4, August 2022


with this post I just want to share a hardware solution.

The built-in audio device of RPI4 was quite insufficient in my case. It drops one or two words out of a spoken sentence. So I was searching for a hassle-free and cheap audio solution.

I ordered two usb stick alike external sound cards to compare them. Both cost about 10 Dollars or Euro.

Both seem to contain a Realtek sound card and the quality of sound is similar. I am not convinced they are that hassle-free after all. First of all they don’t work plug-and-play with HA. I have to reboot the machine. Then they show up in the dropdown-menu of the VLC media player.

The Kiwibird was detected more reliable while the Ugreen vanished several times from the dropdown-menu. This was the same after changing the positions of both in the RPI4 USB slots.

So far the Kiwibird is the winner. It is more stable, it is a little shorter and it is the cheaper one. So I go with this one.

When I unplug the RPI4 to simulate a blackout, the sound is still connected after reboot. Unplugging the USB stick requires a fresh configuration.

I will report, if the setup will work on the long run.

Model numbers

  • Kiwibird, model U2JA9-B4, EAN 5060421781440
  • Ugreen, model 80864
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What were your long-run experiences with these devices? I’m currently trying to get a Topping D30 DAC working with Home Assistant, and am having issues getting it to connect at all… Currently considering getting a different USB sound card for easier connectivity.

I have no long-rund experiences. I was content to get it running and didn’t made any practical use of it. I learned how to use the Alexa media player for to speak out messages.