General advice needed! Audio codec sheild or other DSP?

Hi there,

I have been making small synths with the atmega328 for sometime and am starting to get frustrated with the quality of sound. I can run about 5 oscs at 12 bit, 8kHz (with a lot of noise).

I have seen the MICrODEC and Audio Codec sheild here: and have a few questions...

It appears that the Codec chip used in these products is used to clock the atmega. I don't really understand why the codec is needed if the atmega is running at ~44kHz and telling the codec exactly what to do, couldn't the atmega be doing it itself?

I want to be able to make something with lots of voices and oscillators, with a high sound quality. Further down the road, I'd like to playback samples too. Should I just try and get into proper DSP programming or could I potentially be doing all this with my own version of something like the wavesheild / MICrODEC?

All advice is greatly appreciated.


Wow over 100 views and no replies!

Well, if anyone is interested, I just bought a dsPIC33F and a microstick II. A little worried about the lack of support for noobs, but hopefully I'll be making quality noises soon enough.

Great questions. I'm curious of the answers myself. :D

I was probably one of the 100 - as far as audio goes I am a total noob, but interested, hence I had a look but had nothing to add.

Still interested in what you are doing though so keep us updated.

Duane B

Arduino noob here, but experienced programmer/systems engineer. I think that Arduino can do all the things the Audio Codec Shield can do, but they've done a lot of the "piddly work" for the user, added hardware connections, etc... rs

You lost me at

matto: It appears that the Codec chip used in these products is used to clock the atmega.

could you explain that part?