Khadas Tone Board for VIMs

VIM have only 2 USB. External sound card USB is 1 USB on the VIM and remains only 1 USB connector for other purposes. No one except Khadas, will not produce cheap sound card connection via a proprietary 40-pin connector. I strongly doubt that most users want audiophile the sound output for 100-200$. Many of them lack a simple audio output for headphones or speakers, to use VIM for audio playback without HDMI adapter and the monitor.

External powered USB can do the magic for those wants more USB ports and simple audio for less than a 20 USD/EUR. From other hand, good audio board can drive more interest from a very strong community. VIM is the most powerful DIY ARM device at reasonable price. I think that Amlogic have analogue output by design, so it can’t be so hard to get interface out. I can’t judge from Khadas business point view what is best for their business or even from the point of view of Khadas users. This is my opinion based on my own interests :slight_smile:
BTW, balbes, I sow you givit a try to Volumio for vim. What was the result? Is this possible at all? I think they use kind of MPD fork with own web based “GUI”. Is this possible to patch their interface only which is open source and to use for example on Armbian custom MPD installation?


Does it has RCA Spdif output?

Yep, has, the left one is RCA for both IN and OUT with hardware configurable.


Very nice! :+1:
Thank you!

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Yes, Volumio works well on all TV boxes with chips S9xxx via external USB module for sound output. I tested with a simple sound card for$ 2 and with a USB DAC. I have not yet figured out with a built-in sound system AMLM8AUDIO, it only works partially. You can see all the details in these topics.

If You have any TV box with S9xxx you can try his work. This system runs as well as LE from SD card.


Thanks @balbes150

All my s9xxx boxes are Khadas LOL

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V10 previews:


Make no color for left RCA (SPDIF in/out) if possible or use different form red and black color :slight_smile:

Yep, we just purchased two colors for the V10 version for testing only, and will distinguish with different colors when mass production.

One more questions: for SPDIF Out, does tosink make more sense than RCA?

Btw: we will change the DAC to ESS9038 in V11 version.

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Toslink make seance only when you want to connect TV because usually they don’t have SPDIF (RCA). From audio point of view toslink is the worst digital audio interface because of the extra jitters in conversion to and back conversion from light. But from your perspective (i mean Khadas business) i can’t judge.
Main problem with hat dacs is that they not do passtrough for multi channel audio. It will be perfect if you add spdif or toslink (for movies is not a big difference) interface directly from the GPIO so if somebody use VIM+Tone board with libreelec for example he can easy have DD or DTS passtrough when he watching movies and stereo analogue output for music (no meter he is listening DSD or MP3). This is of course when VIM is not connected to the receiver with HDMI :wink:
There is still a lot of receivers out there w/o HDMI. Usually they are really good ones and it is really hard and expensive as well to replace them with the new models withowt to lose quality. So if the user want to connect VIM to the TV Set trough HDMI and to receiver trough toslink/spdif for multichannel audio plus analogue RCA trough embedded DAC for stereo will be perfect combination.

About the dac chip … will be a dream to have ESS9038 in HAT design. And i think going for best in his class chip now is a good investment for the future :wink:

I keep my fingers crossed, waiting to take Tone Board in my hands.


Optical spdif is poor and this board is not for TV, for TV is enough DTV boar with optical spdif.
We need coax, i2s and usb audio only for our hi-res car system.

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Who is we? You can get spdif/toslink, i2s audio and usb audio for your car Hi-Res even now without Tone Board :wink: Moreover you can get Hi-Res trough toslink and i am sure you will not hear any difference in the car :slight_smile: Going deeply, i think that toslink can be better choice for car projects, because of full electrical isolation provided by this interface.
The main purpose of Tone Board is a DAC. Talking about spdif is no sense actually. This is an extra connectivity option only for existing VIM functionality and nothing related to the DAC!

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@davemf, i can give you a good idea for Hi-Res car transport. You will need old fanless (better industrial design) PC with all audio interfaces you need on board. Install Daphil OS with local player configured. Connect to your favorite car audio amp. Use iPeng (for iOS) or whatever app for android to control. You can add wireless display to any android based device to show you now playing information together with the album art (Squeeze Display)

This will cost you approximately 80-150 USD


My point is that Hi-Res DIY transport and Audiophile DIY kit is two different things. Believe me :wink:


Russian top Hi-End car audio community. And toslink can get hi-fi only, but we use top Hi-END audio components with coaxial-spdif or i2s or usb audio transport:
-coaxial-spdif for low cost
-usb audio transport for medium
-i2s for top and best of the best

Not need Daphil, We use Volumio (it is beter) and on Khadas soon…


I know, but Volumio is Music Player Damon based “OS” with all problems going from that. Example is you have to use web based interface which slow to show you the album arts for example. I like volumio as well with installed Roon Bridge and squeezelite for compatibility. You can install Volumio in any x86 device, so if you don’t like Daphile you can use Volumio in above explained project :wink:

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I am sure you know that you can have Hi-Res up to 24bit/96KHz (in some cases up to 192KHz) trough toslink :wink:

It is strange what you are saying because to get Top-End sound you need transport to be in slave mode instead of master mode and using DIY boards only Billabong can do that. In all other cases I2S over USB is the only way for proper reclock because you have asynchronous data delivery to the clock working in master mode.

optical spdif plays a lot worse than the coax. The price of a good optical cable is $100, and the price of silver Russian coaxial cable is $10 and coax gives incomparably better quality. Because jitter on the optical line is much longer than coaxial. And I2s has very little jitter.

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If you go severeal post above you can see that my statement is that toslink is the worst digital audio interface. Even i have explained why shortly. Silver cables are disputable because of the mid-range frequency exposition and low frequency affect. They are good with some speakers and they are not with others.

BTW, my Russian is much better than my English. I grow up in Moscow. Метро станция 26 Бакинских комиссаров :wink:

Видимо из-за моего плохого английского мы не поняли друг-друга. :slight_smile:

Почему я именно за эту плату расширения и коаксиальный выход, да все просто, это средний уровень хорошей системы - самый популярный. А если нужна оптика, то можно купить USB-spdif конвертер за 5$ и его будет достаточно. А вот если нужно лучшее качество звука, то тогда надо выбирать другие интерфейсы.

Серебренные кабели применяются для коаксиального spdif - цифрового сигнала, а не для аналогового, и для цифры из-за лучшей чистоты материала он лучший, т.к. джиттер намного меньше чем у оптического очень дорогого кабеля, а с дешевыми даже сравнивать нечего. Аналоговый сигнал вообще никто не рассматривает.

Но в топовых системах лучше использовать i2s сигнал напрямую в аудиопроцессор, чтобы исключить джиттер вообще.
И чем выше частота сигнала, тем больше будет проявляться джиттер и оптика тут просто ужасна.
Данная Tone Board это лишь попытка сделать более-менее качественный звук, и чтобы сделать специальную систему типа Volumio и на ней все опробовать.

Молодцы разработчики что прислушиваются к мнению пользователей и выполняют пожелания.