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If anyone succeeds in doing this, please let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the instructable. For now, this is a Mac-only instructable. In the next step I will be adding output capacitors to the USB sound cards, here I'll discuss why that is necessary:. In order to save money in the production of the sound card, no output capacitors were added.
The manufacturer has made a placeholder for them, but instead of soldering the capacitors onto the PCB they just shorted the connections. If you don't add them, you will hear a very loud pop every time you plug a speaker or a pair of headphones into the sound card. This is because the inbuilt opamp needs a symmetric power supply, so a virtual ground is placed at half the maximum voltage of 5V. Therefore the amplifier output has a DC voltage component of 2.
In order to filter this DC-component out, and have only an AC audio signal going to the speakers, a capacitor needs to be placed in series with the output. You'll want the capacitance value to be sufficiently high, because we're in fact making a high pass RC filter where the resistance is the amplifier input impedance.
The frequency response is given in the picture above. This means that a frequency of 0 Hz isn't passed through to the output of the filter. However, if the cutoff frequency fc is too high, the lower audible frequencies are also attenuated and there will be no bass present in the signal.
The design tradeoff you have to take into account is the following: For use with an amplifier, typical input resistance is over 40 kOhms. If you plan to plug a pair of headphones into the sound card, a very high capacitance will be needed, since the impedance can go as low as 16 Ohms.
I went with a 47uF radial electrolytic capacitor. The diameter of 5mm is just small enough for the cap to fit inside the sound card's casing, and the fc is below 1 Hz when used with an amplifier, which is more than low enough! For use with headphones, I suggest not going below uF. Do this carefully so that you don't cut other traces as well. If you have a multimeter, use the continuity checker to make sure that the pads are no longer connected.
The negative leads have to be connected to the output jack. Again a continuity checker would be helpful, otherwise just try to follow the pcb traces. In my case the markings were correct, but I've read about sound cards where they are wrong, so don't trust the silkscreen! With this program it's possible to combine any number of connected sound devices into a single virtual one. You can also change the sampling rate, the relative volume, the master clock device and whether you want drift control to be activated.
Cheap 5.1 Usb Sound Card for Mac
Google for more info, or just test the different settings. To identify which channel is which speaker, click on it and white noise will play through that channel only, click again to turn it off. After this you are no longer able to use the keyboard buttons to control the volume, but the speakers probably have a volume control of their own. If I understand correctly, the adaptation is just for preventing loud pop and everything else will just work fine? Or am I missing something? Reply 6 months ago. I like your solution for getting 5. But of course not all sound systems has an optical port: