Tutorial: Connect Mini/Pro to other I2S DACs

Hi everybody,

for those of you, who like to use the I2S capabilities of the boards and do not have any clue how to do it. this is for you.
In this manual I’m using three different clients.
The first one is a simple, tiny and very cheap Dac with the PCM5102 chip that will make the sound quality much better. I still recommend to use the Arylic DAC extension board, because I personally think it sounds better. But, that’s up to you.
The second one is the Wondom ADAU1701 Dsp board. It’s a Dsp that can be programmed with Sigma Studio software. It has 2 analog inputs, 4 stereo I2S inputs, 4 analog outputs and 4 stereo I2S outputs.
The third one is the Wondom JAB5 Dsp Amplifier board. It has two analog inputs, one I2S stereo input, one bluetooth 5.0 Aptx-HD input, 4 x 100W amplified outputs and one stereo I2S output. The amplified outputs can be bridged so you can use them to make a 2.2/2.1/2.0 + I2S system.
Note this is an Arylic forum and I only discuss how to connect the Up2stream boards to the Wondom boards and how to set the settings in Sigma Studio. I assume that you know how to programm them and make a filter chain. There are lots of tutorials and videos in the internet on how to do that.
I’m not a guru on I2S and have not much experience. So, if I’m wrong on something, than please let me know.

First:

Connect the Pro v3 or Mini v3 to the PCM5102. Masterclock is not required (MCLK/SCK).
GND - GND
LRCK - LCK
BCLK - BCK
IIS_DATA- DIN

For powering the PCM5102 from the Pro v3.
VCC_5V - VIN

For powering the PCM5102 from the Mini v3.
VCC_3V3 - 3.3V

That’s all. See picture:

Second:

This is how to connect to the Wondom ADAU1701 Dsp board and chain it to the PCM5102. The PCM5102 in not neccesery if only Analog output is used.
Masterclock is required (MCLK). Power (VCC) leaves unconnected.
Pro v3/Mini v3 to ADAU1701:
MCLK - Mclk
GND - GND
LRCK - MP4
BCLK - MP5
IIS_DATA- MP0

ADAU1701 to PCM5102 (Masterclock is not required (MCLK/SCK):
MP11 - BCK
MP10 - LCK
MP6 - DIN
GND - GND
3,3V - 3.3V

See picture:

Create a new project in Sigma Studio or edit an existing one. Be sure you change the settings as in the following picture.

In the schematic input 0 and 1 is analog, 2 and 3 is I2S. Output DAC0,1,2 and 3 is analog and DIG0 and DIG1 is I2S. An example is in the next picture.

Third:

This is how to connect to the Wondom JAB5 Dsp Amplifier board and chain it to the PCM5102. The PCM5102 in not neccesery if only Analog output is used.The JAB5 Bluetooth and I2S input can not be used at the same time. So, it’s necessary to turn the onboard switch from (M)aster to (S)lave.
Masterclock is required (MCLK). Power (VCC) leaves unconnected.
Pro v3/Mini v3 to JAB5:
MCLK - MCLK
GND - GND
LRCK - LRCK
BCLK - BCLK
IIS_DATA- DATA1

JAB5 to PCM5102 (Masterclock is not required (MCLK/SCK):
BCLK - BCK
LRCK - LCK
DATA0 - DIN
GND - GND
3,3V - 3.3V

See the next Picture:

Programing in Sigma Studio is just slightly different from the Dsp-only Board. DATA input is MP1. See next picture. The input for I2S in the schematic is the same as for bluetooth and that is 4 and 5.

That’s it.

Sidenotes:

There are a few downsides on using I2S. On the Up2stream boards the internal Dsp functions and volume controle of the remote are dissabled when in multiroom mode. In the app its still working though.
The other is not related to I2S. In multiroom mode the clients are in mixed stereo. That means you here the same on both channels.

Hope this all helps.

2 Likes

Interesting read, thanks for sharing. I think I’ll try the PCM5102A board option (commonly available in Raspberry Pi stores).
What makes you say the ES9203 board sounds better? They both can do 24 bit 192kHz @ 112dB SNR , the PCM5102A even higher…

Also, would you happen to know if the default volume level is higher with such external DAC? I find that with the Up2Stream onboard analog outputs I typically have to set the amplifiers I’ve retrofitted the volume control knob to about halfway open (not nice when you switch to another audio input source and forget to turn the volume down first :wink:
Or is there a way to control the default volume level in the app or APWorkbench?

The internal DAC of MINI has max output voltage level 1Vrms, and the DAC ES9023 has max output 2Vrms.

About the sound quality. It’s just a matter of personal taste and they both sound very good.

The volume is notible higher then on the mini and pro standard output. The volume of I2S boards can not be changed by the app when in multiroom mode. In APWorkbench you can not change the volume of the I2S boards.

Very helpful, thanks. I will just give the PCM5102A option a go on my next project and will inform here when done.

That would be nice. If you need some help. Be free to ask.

I want to connect the Up2steam with the Wondom JAB5. As I understood, the PCM5102 is only needed if I want to have analog output?

Yes indeed. You only need it if you want 2 extra analog channels. The 4 Analog outputs of DSP chip are occupied by the Amplifier chips. You can also use the same port to add another device. Like another JAB5, JAB3 or everything that supports I2S input.