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Visitor badgeir
Visitor
14,942 Views
Registered: ‎11-14-2011

finding FPGA board for audio processing

Hi, I need help on finding a FPGA board for a school project.

I'm making a digital equalizer / effects box based on FPGA.

I want to use analog music signals, so i need a board with ADC and DAC.

It has to be able to handle a sampling rate of minimum 44 kHz (CD quality).

I also want to add sound effects like echo and reverb, so i need a memory of about a second.

 

I found this developing kit:

http://www.digilentinc.com/Products/Detail.cfm?NavPath=2,400,836&Prod=ATLYS

 

It looks promising, but im worried that such a low cost board (199 $) might mean that it has low quality D/A converters?

I don't want the signal to noise ratio to be so high as to be hearable.

And also, will it be able to handle the assignment i want it for?

 

Since this is a school project, the funding is limited..


I'm new to this, so please help! :)

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12 Replies
Visitor badgeir
Visitor
14,938 Views
Registered: ‎11-14-2011

Re: finding FPGA board for audio processing

BTW the board should preferably also be compatible with Xilinx EDK.

I can see this one is.

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Teacher eteam00
Teacher
14,928 Views
Registered: ‎07-21-2009

Re: finding FPGA board for audio processing

If you are looking for a low-noise, extended dynamic range audio DAC/ADC system, you won't find it in a general-purpose FPGA development board.  High-quality, low-noise, low-distortion signal acquisition or reconstruction requires great care in design and board layout.  Just look at the density of the Atlys board and you will see that it is not optimised for clean and pristine audio.

 

The LM4550 audio chip on the board is a commonly used PC motherboard peripheral.  If you are satisfied with the audio quality of your PC's audio recording and playback, then the Atlys board should meet your needs.  If you want measurably higher quality, then be prepared to either design your own circuit board or spend considerably more for an off-the-shelf optimised design (if available).

 

What is the goal of your project?  For example:

  • Learn to design with FPGAs (the specific project and audio quality is secondary)
  • Learn to implement an audio effects box (the algorithms are primary concern, learning FPGA design is secondary)
  • Deliver an audio effects box for operational use (and the implementation doesn't matter)

 

-- Bob Elkind

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Visitor badgeir
Visitor
14,917 Views
Registered: ‎11-14-2011

Re: finding FPGA board for audio processing

thank you, this was very helpful.

I would say both learning FPGA based design and effects algorithms are primary concerns, and sound quality second.

But nonetheless, it would be much more fun to get a product that would sound good.

 

When I record on my macbook, there is some noise and scratching to the sound. I guess thats what i can expect from the above mentioned board.

Is it possible to to buy a better soundcard on the side, and connect it with wires to another FPGA board?

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Teacher eteam00
Teacher
14,912 Views
Registered: ‎07-21-2009

Re: finding FPGA board for audio processing

Is it possible to to buy a better soundcard on the side, and connect it with wires to another FPGA board?

 

The JC expansion connector (see page 20 of the board reference manual) on the Atlys board provides considerable opportunity for wiring up an exquisite audio front end.

 

-- Bob Elkind

SIGNATURE:
README for newbies is here: http://forums.xilinx.com/t5/New-Users-Forum/README-first-Help-for-new-users/td-p/219369

Summary:
1. Read the manual or user guide. Have you read the manual? Can you find the manual?
2. Search the forums (and search the web) for similar topics.
3. Do not post the same question on multiple forums.
4. Do not post a new topic or question on someone else's thread, start a new thread!
5. Students: Copying code is not the same as learning to design.
6 "It does not work" is not a question which can be answered. Provide useful details (with webpage, datasheet links, please).
7. You are not charged extra fees for comments in your code.
8. I am not paid for forum posts. If I write a good post, then I have been good for nothing.
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Visitor badgeir
Visitor
14,910 Views
Registered: ‎11-14-2011

Re: finding FPGA board for audio processing

thank you so much, you've been very helpful. I think I'll be buying the atlys board, and perhaps upgrade the soundcard later.:)

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Visitor john_e
Visitor
14,861 Views
Registered: ‎12-05-2011

Re: finding FPGA board for audio processing

I got pretty good results using an "obsolete" Xilinx ML402 board, w/ its built-in AC97 audio codec. My demo project accepted analog audio through the "line in" jack and codec ADC, ran it through my AC97 interface, my baseband modulator, my noisy (AWGN and/or fading) channel emulator, my baseband demodulator, and my AC97 interface, then out to the headphone (for listening) and line out (for .wav recording) jacks, via the codec DAC. Depending on your application and quality and feature requirements, this might be a fairly easy way to go.

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Visitor xiengineer
Visitor
14,092 Views
Registered: ‎01-29-2009

Re: finding FPGA board for audio processing

Allthough this is a bit old I would add another hint for those who find the thread after a search for this question:

 

Spending time to optimize an FPGA based circuit design for audio has no worth at all. Circuit boards for highly precise data aquisition like for professional audio has totally different requirements than high dynamic FPGA designs and PCBs should be kept far away from each other. So the easiest way is to just take a cheap FPGA eval board and add a professional ADDA device with S/PDIF. It is also possible to work around S/PDIF and connect to an ADC directly when using a professional plugin module and link it via I2C or proprietary protocol like done here:

 

http://www.96khz.org/htm/spartan3platform.htm

 

 

 

 

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Historian
Historian
14,086 Views
Registered: ‎02-25-2008

Re: finding FPGA board for audio processing


@xiengineer wrote:

Allthough this is a bit old I would add another hint for those who find the thread after a search for this question:

 

Spending time to optimize an FPGA based circuit design for audio has no worth at all. Circuit boards for highly precise data aquisition like for professional audio has totally different requirements than high dynamic FPGA designs and PCBs should be kept far away from each other. So the easiest way is to just take a cheap FPGA eval board and add a professional ADDA device with S/PDIF. It is also possible to work around S/PDIF and connect to an ADC directly when using a professional plugin module and link it via I2C or proprietary protocol like done here:

 

http://www.96khz.org/htm/spartan3platform.htm


So you're saying that professional audio cannot use FPGAs connected to converters on the same board?

 

Well, that's a bunch of nonsense. 

 

Putting measurement- and professional-quality low-noise analog electronics and converters on the same PCB as an FPGA (or a DSP, or any other processor, for that matter) is a solved problem.

----------------------------Yes, I do this for a living.
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Visitor xiengineer
Visitor
13,894 Views
Registered: ‎01-29-2009

Re: finding FPGA board for audio processing

> So you're saying that professional audio cannot use FPGAs connected to converters on the same board?

 

No I did not say this, at all. You should read posts carefully before trying to interpret them and answer them the way you did by calling others' word non sence. You did not get me.

 

I was refering to the post directly above mine, where somebody used an FPGA based board to move it to an audio board which I considered to very likely to fail for higher demands.

 

This is a completey different thing and has nothing to do with your "interpretation".

 

Maybe you want to have a closer look at the phrase "FPGA based circuit design" and think about what this means. Commonly used eval boards as mentioned are exactly such boards - in particular: the focus is on FPGA, not on analog quality. Make some meassurements with the board and find aprooved what I am saying. I did so already.

 

Again:

 

No, I did not say, that FPGA and analog circuitry do not cooperate well with each other in general. They do not do this in this case, so the recommendation was to seperate them. Generally one will also keep the sub circuits away from each other, by separating power, gnd and shielding.

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Mentor awillen
Mentor
4,232 Views
Registered: ‎11-29-2007

Re: finding FPGA board for audio processing


@xiengineer wrote:

> So you're saying that professional audio cannot use FPGAs connected to converters on the same board?

 

No I did not say this, at all.


Yes, this is exactly what you said:


PCBs should be kept far away from each other.

Maybe it's not what you had in mind, but bassman did not misinterpret your words.

 

Also, "FPGA based circuit design" does not mean what you think it means. It refers to hardware designs targeting FPGAs (i.e., "running" on FPGAs). It does not refer to FPGA evaluation boards.



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Historian
Historian
4,227 Views
Registered: ‎02-25-2008

Re: finding FPGA board for audio processing

Lighten up, Francis.

 

You said, "Spending time to optimize an FPGA based circuit design for audio has no worth at all. Circuit boards for highly precise data aquisition like for professional audio has totally different requirements than high dynamic FPGA designs and PCBs should be kept far away from each other."

You wrote, "FPGA based circuit design," without specifying any caveats in particular. You didn't say anything about "commonly used eval boards." So my "interpretation" of what you wrote was based on what you wrote, not on what you didn't write.

Capisce?

Oh, and by the way: I do high-quality mixed-signal (FPGA and high-resolution ADCs) design every day. So I know what needs to be done to ensure that the FPGA signals don't corrupt what I'm trying to sample.

----------------------------Yes, I do this for a living.
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Observer thomas1974
Observer
4,028 Views
Registered: ‎05-16-2012

Re: finding FPGA board for audio processing

It seems you are strongly misunderstanding each other. The point was not if it is possible to create FPGA PCBs with audio compatibilty at all, but if evaluation boards like mentioned by the thread opener are useable for this because he fears noise.

 

I second xiengineer's recommendation to keep that seperately in this case and add a further hi-q-audio board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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