Open-source USB interface: Audio Widget

Busy lab day

Hi guys,

here is the result of a couple busy days in the lab.

In the background the first playing AB-1.13 proto board. The AK4430 came right up. My first impression is that perhaps the bass is more aggressive, but I haven't had time to do proper testing. Note the funny phono connector. Next I'll solder up the discrete regulators by Demian / Oneoclock. Perhaps build two boards and do listening tests between the two.

In the foreground is the new USB-I2S module with clocks on the module. I disconnected the XOs on an AB-1.1 and plugged the new module right in.


Cheers,
Børge
 

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juanito

Member
2006-11-20 8:10 pm
Hi, has any body tryed the qnktc dac with an Imac OSX? I'm useing mine with my Imac 21,5" core i5 and after a while of palying flacs it starts to make a hizz noise. Sometimes after a long while the noise will get lower and then again a big hizzz. Does any body know what is it?
I hav been fiddeling with the midi app and nothing getting better. Also I have windows 7 (+asio+foobar) via bootcamp on my Imac and have same problem.:confused:
then I have a windows netbook and it's all fine, as smooth as silk.

Well if someone has had similar or same issue with this DAC and an Imac computer I'll much appreciate your help: THANKS!

Bye
 

Remrk

Member
2011-09-29 5:37 pm
for those interested in audio upgrades of the AW , i have changed the 5 os-cons with 4+Elna Silmic ARS 220uF + 1 Muse KZ ( only had 4 elna ) 220uF and the difference in sound is astonishing. The highs are now very smooth and silky yet very detailed and stage is focused and distinct while bass is deep and robust.
Although is a great and unexpected improvement it still misses some... zing (or magic) but hopefully some regulators will bring that back ( i'm still on usb power )
 

juanito

Member
2006-11-20 8:10 pm
Yes, it have been tried on various Macs (including an "Air") with no problems whatsoever.

lucky you! ;)
did you use any particular cable? did you plug the USB in any particular port? which OS are you using? any special settings with midi app?

I use the same settings as I use with my Asus 1215N netbook, but somehow the Imac "doesn't like them", except that with OSX I can't use foobar... I don't really understand why.

By the way, has any body used an USB Dac with a windows based tablet?


Cheers.
 
Juanito,

Here are some questions which may help to sort things out:
- Are you using an updated firmware version?
- Are you using UAC1 (green front light) or UAC2 (red)?
- If you open up the case, how do the red and green LEDs on the module behave?

I had similar problems a long time ago on previous firmware. In that case the module LEDs started acting up a little while before the audio imperfections started.

Børge
 

juanito

Member
2006-11-20 8:10 pm
Hi Borge,
I don't know if I'm using an updated version of the firmware.
The front led is always green.
As soon as I can open it, I'll let you know about the boards. Thanks.


Juanito,

Here are some questions which may help to sort things out:
- Are you using an updated firmware version?
- Are you using UAC1 (green front light) or UAC2 (red)?
- If you open up the case, how do the red and green LEDs on the module behave?

I had similar problems a long time ago on previous firmware. In that case the module LEDs started acting up a little while before the audio imperfections started.

Børge
 
Hi Juanito,

I just compiled and uploaded new Audio Widget firmware at audio-widget-20120519.elf - sdr-widget - Latest Audio Widget firmware - Audio and Control Interface for Amateur Radio SDR and Audiophile USB-DAC - Google Project Hosting

There are no new features in this. All the red USB modules I have shipped out recently are built from the same sources.

If you follow my signature to the SDR Widget Wiki you will see instructions on how to use Atmel Flip to transfer the new firmware to your Audio Widget. This is the PC method. I'm not an expert in doing the same thing on Mac/Linux.

It is also important that you download and install Nikolay's AWSetup.zip. You find it under ASIO Driver download. < Anyone with write access to SDR Widget homepage, feel free to copy the link list at the top of www.qnktc.com >

With new firmware and WidgetControl.exe installed on your Windows computer it is possible to set the different parameters. I have attached a screenshot of what things look like here. After "Save" you must press "Reset" for the changes to apply. Reset takes 5-6 seconds.

To change between USB Audio Class 1 & 2, hold Prog until the front LED changes color and then goes dark. After that release Prog and press Reset. The opposite Audio Class should then kick in. This procedure you can do on any OS.

Please let us know if a FW update helps.

Børge
 

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Remrk

Member
2011-09-29 5:37 pm

juanito

Member
2006-11-20 8:10 pm
Hi Borges, I'm sorry but it's a bit of a nightmare to install an elf file to my USB DAC... well if this is what you ment. the instructions I don't understand much what I have to do really. I got the widget control running. But I don't understand what I have to do next... some Atmel flip application wich must have the batchwhatever:crazy:
I've downloaded several files and don't quite understand what do I have to yet. It's not strait forward at all.

Hi Juanito,

I just compiled and uploaded new Audio Widget firmware at audio-widget-20120519.elf - sdr-widget - Latest Audio Widget firmware - Audio and Control Interface for Amateur Radio SDR and Audiophile USB-DAC - Google Project Hosting

There are no new features in this. All the red USB modules I have shipped out recently are built from the same sources.

If you follow my signature to the SDR Widget Wiki you will see instructions on how to use Atmel Flip to transfer the new firmware to your Audio Widget. This is the PC method. I'm not an expert in doing the same thing on Mac/Linux.

It is also important that you download and install Nikolay's AWSetup.zip. You find it under ASIO Driver download. < Anyone with write access to SDR Widget homepage, feel free to copy the link list at the top of www.qnktc.com >

With new firmware and WidgetControl.exe installed on your Windows computer it is possible to set the different parameters. I have attached a screenshot of what things look like here. After "Save" you must press "Reset" for the changes to apply. Reset takes 5-6 seconds.

To change between USB Audio Class 1 & 2, hold Prog until the front LED changes color and then goes dark. After that release Prog and press Reset. The opposite Audio Class should then kick in. This procedure you can do on any OS.

Please let us know if a FW update helps.

Børge
 
Unfortunately, it isn't straight-forward. Atmel's Flip program needs a lot of hand-holding. I have done some minor changes to http://code.google.com/p/sdr-widget/wiki/Board_programming?ts=1337549350&updated=Board_programming

Feel free to improve on the wiki entry to make it more user friendly. You'll just have to ask here for write access.

To program the board you need to plug in the unit and hold Prog, press Reset, release Reset, then release Prog. At this point in time the drivers provieded by Atmel should make the bord recognizeable. It is now ready to receive new firmware.

Assuming you want to upload widget.elf to the Audio Widget, the whole command is:
Code:
batchisp -device at32uc3a3256 -hardware usb -operation erase f memory flash blankcheck loadbuffer widget.elf program verify start reset 0

Personally, I have added that fairly long command to a batch file prog.bat which contains:
Code:
batchisp -device at32uc3a3256 -hardware usb -operation erase f memory flash blankcheck loadbuffer %1 program verify start reset 0

With it the programming command would simplify to "prog widget.elf", assuming that both prog.bat and widget.elf are copied to the \bin folder of the Atmel Flip installation.

I hope that helps.


Børge
 
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Situation of firmware for AB 1.1

Hi Borges, hi everybody,
I've been away for a long while, and I see that a lot of things have changed.

I own an audio widget AB1.1, the one with ES9023 DAC ....
What's the actual situation? Is this configuration still supported in latest firmwares, or what is the most recent firmware that runs on my board?

I would like to put my hands on the code ... is there a "clean" version of the code that is OK for my board? What version do you suggest me to see, anyway?
Thank you in advance. starn02
 
Hi,

the firmware is the same for all Audio-Widget versions. If you follow my signature you'll see links to the github pages etc. The current branch is "audio-widget". If you're working on a Windows computer I suggest you also download Nikolay's drivers.

More hands on the code is good! Anything in particular you want to play with?

Børge
 
I tried to understand some version, but in the code I found a lot of reference to different dacs ... so I wondered if the support for es9023 was removed.
If I'n not mistaken there is no special initialization code for es9023, just the setup for I2S which is the same for other codecs ... or not?

I 'm starting to work with UC3A3 (I have some experience with other controllers), and audio widget's code is really interesting. If I understand well for the audio only version a lot of code is simply not used ... LCD, software defined radio, rotary encoder ....
I was able to import one old code version (more or less dated to last december) into AVR Studio 6, and to compile it. I'm wondering if it's based of Atmel Software Framework, and on a specific version ... I don't understand what is "standard" (that is, sourced from Atmel library) and added code, especialy for USB ....

Another question: what's the situation about the small doughterboard with Atmel chip? Did it change since the one that I bought (AB 1.1)?
Thank you. starn02
 
The dac type "generic" now supports all DACs that just work out of the box with I2S and no special configuration. (If anything, only hardware config.) The PCM5102 only needs one additional control line for filter control, but it is "generic" too.

Are you using Windows or Linux? I'm using Win7, Cygwin, AVR32Studio 2.7. I build with "make clean audio-widget" but use AVR32Studio for editing and searching. But beware that some editors freak out if you're using git to check out different branches while files are open.

The USB-I2S module is basically the same as the one in the AB-1.1 box. The updated module has two added features: - The possibility of putting the XOs on the module, and - 2.54mm IO in addition to the same 2.0mm IO which you know. So no need to get a new one!

Børge
 
Thank you so much for the description of the internals ... some lines such as these are really priceless to understand.

You last detail about new doughterboard feature (support of local XO) is very interesting to me ... I'd really like to use such "engine" for different applications ... are such modules on sale separately? What is the cost? Is there any licence for special usages?
Thank you again. Starn02.
 
lucky you! ;)
it was not my own... :)

did you use any particular cable? did you plug the USB in any particular port?
no and no. :)

which OS are you using?
sorry, I don't know. They were not mine. I use only Linux.

Anyway, «USB Audio Class 2.0 is natively supported by Apple™ OS X version 10.6.3 and above»

any special settings with midi app?
no, we plug it in and it just worked without doing anything special (except perhaps selecting the output).
 
Thank you so much for the description of the internals ... some lines such as these are really priceless to understand.

You last detail about new doughterboard feature (support of local XO) is very interesting to me ... I'd really like to use such "engine" for different applications ... are such modules on sale separately? What is the cost? Is there any licence for special usages?
Thank you again. Starn02.

With the danger of becoming too commercial here... Yes, I do sell two versions of the module, one with and one without XOs. The MCU MUST receive a 11.2896MHz clock when playing 44.1/88.2/176.4, and 12.288MHz when playing 48/96/192. A control line from the MCU selects which one is used. When the module does not sit in an analog board which can provide this, the module itself can hold the two necessary XOs and a divider. Just follow my signature to the module page and have a look at the schematics.

Børge
 
hi starn92,

You might like ti join the audio-widget google group amd search the archived posts and u will get a lot of info about the firmware.

The stock armel software framework has been modified for our use, especially the i2s stack and the i2c stack etc. So u need to use the copy of software framework in the firmware repo. If u are adventurous you can try to patch the stock framework.

As for licensing, it is GPL v2.

Alex