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hurtz 30th November 2011 11:56 AM

DIY 6 channel USB DAC
Hi folks!

As the title suggests, I'm looking for a 6-channel USB DAC i.e. USB input and 6 channel analog output (5.1 surround to be exact).
I've been looking around for this but it seems there are only stereo solutions widely available. But since you can buy such an adapter for around 30$ the technology obviously exists.

Why USB? Because its supposed to connect to a laptop!

One solution I found to this would be to use multiple 2-channel DACs on a usb hub perhaps, but this seems kinda ugly.

USB to spdif also falls flat because of the limitd bandwidth/encryption.

As I see it, I would need to find a chip that can do USB --> 3 x I2S and then there should be plenty chips that can do I2S to analog.

I would be grateful for any hints in the right direction!


MatM 30th November 2011 12:12 PM

I don't know of any single-chip solution, but have a look at the Wolfson WM8766 DAC. It accepts 6 channel digital audio input through it's single "I2S-on-steroids" input ( they refer to it as DSP-mode input), or 3x I2S inputs. A suitably cheap micro on the front of this with USB input should work.

Good luck


hurtz 30th November 2011 12:49 PM

Great! Thanks!

this was exactly what I was looking for, equipped with new search-words I also stumbled over the PCM 1681 from TI which does 8 channels, in a quite similar way.

Now I only need to find myself the usb to I2S/DSP conversion thingy!


gruni 30th November 2011 01:20 PM

the VIA VT1728 chip seems to be a perfect match for what you need but I doubt it's easy to get as a private person, especially in germany...

hurtz 30th November 2011 01:33 PM

Indeed I can't even find a datasheet :-D

Possible typo? Even the VIA homepage turned nothing up.


gruni 3rd December 2011 10:44 AM

here you go:

VIA Vinyl EnvyUSB 2.0 8-Channel Audio Controller - VT1728A - VIA Technologies, Inc.

panson_hk 12th September 2012 10:44 PM

Any luck to get VT1728A?

legomedu07 5th October 2012 02:19 PM

hurtz, did you finally have success in your project? I need to do the same...

6 digital audio signals => 6 analogue audio signals...

has someone found a chip like WM8766 DAC but with USB inputs? This way we wouldnt have to use usb-to-i2s converter...

hurtz 9th October 2012 12:01 PM


Sorry it took some time.

I continued to dig aroud this topic but the more I looked the more i realised that it's not really worth the time for me.
I am now using a pcie soundcard again for my measurements.

Maybe I will pick it up again at some point, but I think it's rather unlikely since I have a lot of other projects going on and would like to continue developement on my "yet tiniest single sided lm3886" before digging into a totally new project.


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