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MDAC First Listen (part 00101100)

Discussion in 'audio' started by timola, Nov 25, 2015.

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  1. SirBenn21

    SirBenn21 pfm Member

    Been away from the M-DAC 2 upgrade for 10 months.

    Is it still available? Is it ready? Sorry for been to lazy to wade through the months of discussions. I still want to get the upgrade.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Bob L

    Bob L pfm Member

    Welcome back to the land of the living! When you get involved with a development project with a high-flying designer who wants to create the best, it's not a good idea to leave it alone even for a week; as you might have noticed, there have been many new threads generated under this heading.

    Here is an extract from something in the previous thread which attempts to summarise a very small part of what you missed:

    " 2) The designer, John Westlake, set up on his own, initially to redesign the main board, and the project "M-DAC2" was to be a plug-in replacement to fit the old casework, crowd-funded by many of the contributors to this everlasting thread. See the M-DAC Wiki for details.

    3) This has been overtaken by events; M-DAC2 is no more; instead the project has become FDAC, a full-width case housing what we hope will be a DAC to take on anything out there.

    4) Not surprisingly John is busy, so the web site referenced by the wiki is out of date. Until he has time to work on this, if you want to know more there isn't much alternative to ploughing through this and one or two previous parts of the thread. Several earlier posts have done partial summaries. "

    If you paid the earlier development contributions to M-DAC2 then you are on John's list for the FDAC; there are of course production costs to follow. If not, and you want it, contact John urgently; he is getting close to finalising casework orders. Your old MDAC is not upgradeable, except for the power supply possibilities mentioned above. It will be for whatever you want; they have a good second-hand market.
  3. ljmac

    ljmac pfm Member

    Okay, I'm a little confused: I was under the impression that the sharp rollof and slow rolloff filters were native to the SABRE DAC (and indeed these are the only options available on most SABRE-based gear), whereas the other five filters were designed and added by your good self, and unique to the Audiolab gear you designed (plus the QDAC).

    It took me quite a while to realise I was hearing a fractional volume difference between the filters - I initially thought the five extra filters were just more dynamic and fuller sounding, and I think this is the conclusion most people will draw. Considering the other minuscule things audiophiles hear, surely 0.2dB should be a piece of cake?

    I strongly suspect most people use Optimal Transient because it is the default and recommended filter, and most people won't hear much difference between them anyway. It took a lot of extended listening for me to nail their character.

    The most interesting thing for me was that sharp rolloff and slow rolloff sound much more like each other in the bass and midrange than the other five - and vice versa. This is especially surprising in the case of the two brickwall filters, sharp rolloff and optimal spectrum, which I was expecting to sound largely identical. Instead, sharp roll-off sounds much more like it's fellow built-in filter (slow rolloff), and optimal spectrum like the other four.

    I can hear the difference between time domain aligned and frequency domain aligned filters in the treble, but the bass and midrange are determined by something else entirely. Given the built-in vs. added-on split in bass and midrange character, this has lead me to speculate that complexity in the digital domain may be a real issue for sound quality. Hence my suspicion that I may actually prefer the FDAC Lite to the full F-DAC sonically.

    If anybody has an alternative explanation for why sharp rolloff and slow rolloff sound more like eachother in the bass and midrange than any of the other five filters (and vice versa), I'm all ears!
  4. Coll

    Coll pfm Member

    Is it ok to simply use an RCA cable and wire the XLR plug as follows:-
    Connect central cable (signal) to pin 2
    Connect braid to pins 1 and 3.

    Reason I ask is that I have a few spare RCA to RCA cables and I could just cut one of the plugs off and solder on an XLR plug
  5. iansr

    iansr pfm Member

    Rune, you want to bi amp VFETs!! That's enough juice to resurrect the dead. What on earth are you wanting to drive?
  6. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member

    The Wiring Diagram was just for the Balanced ADC inputs - NOT for Balanced outputs as shorting pin 1 to 3 results in the Negative Phase output stage being shorted to Ground.
  7. SirBenn21

    SirBenn21 pfm Member

    Hey JohnW

    I would have sent you on your private message, but it is full

    I want in on the FDAC. I have made no payments. Is it still £400 as for the M-DAC 2. What would be the estimated end cost?


  8. SirBenn21

    SirBenn21 pfm Member

    Thanks Bob
  9. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member

    Hi SirBenn21,

    Tomorrow I have a meeting arrange with a web designer - as we now approach production we need to get more serious with the Website. Later today I'll post an updated FDAC feature + option list.

    IIRC your a MDAC Toy / Fusion owner so you have the GBP300 credit towards the FDAC project :) The FDAC no longer uses any parts from your MDAC - the FDAC is supplied with its own Chassis, Remote control and PSU. bip.456.jpg bip.455.jpg bip.458.jpg
  10. occamsrazor

    occamsrazor pfm Member

    Yes please, am also interested. Doesn't have to be fancy but would be good to summarize all the features and specs.....
  11. Coll

    Coll pfm Member

    Hi John
    Thanks for reply, sorry I did not explain myself very well.
    I do have XLR to XLR leads for the balanced outputs to my power amplifier.

    The lead I was talking about was for connecting my tuner which has phono (RCA) outputs to the FDAC L3 analogue inputs.
    So is my idea ok for that lead.

    Incidentally will the output from the FDAC for connection to a power amplifier be a similar voltage to the 8200CDQ.
  12. SirBenn21

    SirBenn21 pfm Member

    Thanks. I'll pay with the old paypal selection list for now. looks great buy the way.
  13. Rune

    Rune pfm Member

    Yes it is madness :D
    I drive my Dali Epicon 8 with 4xnCores at the moment and thought that I would not want something with less power when I signed up for the second pair. It was before John doubled their power rating.

    So now I might as well try to biamp when I get the amps :cool:
    Further down the line I will probably want to get another par of speakers to try hafler souround if it gets implemented in the FDAC.
    I have also signed up for two full spec FDAC so if I change my mind I can use them in a second system or any speaker I might upgrade to.

    So all bases are cowered.
  14. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member


    Renata's not here for me to confirm ATM - but if you have a Toy / Fusioned MDAC then you only need to pay the "Toy/Fusion owners L2 development instalment" of GBP100 to join the FDAC project (As a Toy / Fusion owner you have a GBP300 credit).

    I'm about to add the FDAC L3 & L3 MC/MM Phono development instalment payment option as we are progressing well with the design of the ADC + Phono stage.
  15. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member

    For best operation with a SE RCA input source wire the lead exactly as indicated in the link (where Pin 1 & 3 are Grounded at the RCA Cable end - Not at the XLR cable end) - this results in a Pseudo Balanced connection.

    This also applies to the Phono stage inputs when using a "Standard" SE wired turntable output.

    Yes the same output level as CDQ / MDAC.
  16. SirBenn21

    SirBenn21 pfm Member

    Hi John. I do not have a Toy / Fusioned MDAC, just the standard. I have not put anything towards the project as of yet. So I will have to pay the full 400 pounds I think, but you let me know.

    Just one small request on my part from reading a bit through the posts and it might sound a bit silly, so I apologize in advance and that the "FDAC lite" be renamed. It just sounds inferior. Or maybe just call it the "FDAC" and the one with all the Phono extras the "Deluxe" or something like that. Anyway just a thought. :)
  17. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member


    I sent you a PM :)

    The FDAC Lite is a smaller "Shoe Box" sized unit that uses some circuit sections from its bigger brother the FDAC - but without the FPGA / DSP / ARM its a much costed down design.

    Our immediate interest in the FDACLite is to be able to listen to the FDAC analogue stage and confirm the USB Drivers etc - understandably due to the physical size limitation it will not be in the FWC FDAC league - but that said it well still be a stunning DAC think Mirus performance level.
  18. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member

    The latest FDAC feature summary:- Versions 02.pdf

    For those who have already paid for the FDAC L2 development fees and are interested in the L3 ADC Line level option then we have added the L3 ADC Development Paypal Button (GBP100).

    For those who are interested in the L3 (ADC) + MC/MM internal Phono Stage then we have also added the Phono Stage development option (this is additional to the basic L3 ADC development fee).

    The "At Cost" Phono stage adds about GBP50 to GBP100 to the basic L3 cost.

    Arrangements will be made to purchase the optional Low MC step-up transformers directly from Lindhaul or us in Czech Rep.

    The MC/MM option can be used without MC step-up transformers but for lowest noise with Low output MC I recommend the use of MC transformers.

    The Transformers can be installed by the FDAC L3 MM/MC owner at anytime in the future just "Plug and Play" no soldering required.
  19. adamdea

    adamdea You are not a sound quality evaluation device

    I think the volume difference is the most plausible explanation for the differences you hear. Volume differences can be experienced as a change in quality. Although the difference in volume is small, it is IMHO a more plausible cause of a perception of changes in bass or mid than a minute amount of pre-or post ringing at inaudible frequencies, or the complexity thing (whatever that means).
  20. fusion5

    fusion5 on the dark side of hifi...

    Accoring to the new spec sheet, the FDAC lite has a "High Isolation, Ultra Low noise, Low impedance PSU", but misses "Internal HQ 115V / 230V PSU".

    Will the FDAC lite PSU be internal?
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