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MDAC First Listen (part 00110010)

Discussion in 'audio' started by 44000khz, Aug 15, 2016.

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  1. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member

    Sounds like you might need to fully reset your unit - I believe its Hold Select Up and Down together during power-up...
  2. Superior

    Superior pfm Member

    Hello John,
    please can I have the solution with the superior board?
    I really really need a dac, because it´s the centre of my whole music system.
    So that´s why I would be really happy if you could send me the option with the superior board.
    Thank you!
  3. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member


    OK, as soon as I've shipped mrflibble unit today, I'll work on your unit.

    ATM. the Superior PCB has x8 Vishay Bulk foils fitted (GBP 85) - do you want be to keep these fitted or replace with standard (no fee) parts?

    Also I suggest having the new clock PCB fitted - (special price to you for GBP50)?

    So new clock and 8 Bulk foils GBP135...

    Let me know how you want me to proceed....
  4. Superior

    Superior pfm Member

    Hello John,

    oh, please change the Vishay Bulk foils with standard resistors.
    With the Vishay foils I will wait till FDAC release.

    The new clock PCB sounds interesting, but the last time I have agreed to something like that, you have designed a whole new MDAC2 PCB ;)
    So only if you have the "new clock PCB" completely ready beside you and you could integrate it smoothly, I will go for it.
    Otherwise I would leave it. I really need a working DAC :rolleyes:

    Oh, and please don´t forget the spare remote. (very importand)

  5. timola

    timola pfm Member

    I went too and agree with most of what you have written. I found the sibilance/ringing really pronounced and fatiguing even after just a few minutes of listening. Worst were: Metrognome, Chord Dave, and Audio Research....the only DAC that I heard that I reckon was almost sibilance free was the DCS Vivaldi and that was doing some fancy upsampling and DSD conversion and had a separate clock unit. (the MDAC is rather good on this)

    I agree the Magneplanar were really nice doing a good job in a very large room, they had an excellent sound stage and clarity of presentation.

    The B&W room trapped me for 40 minutes and the demo unconvincing, the speakers are not to my tastes and can easily be better for SQ.

    A bit of a disappointment as a whole. The Focal Naim sound was so bad even the guys running it were standing outside the room most of the time. (They denied rumours of a Samsung take-over).

    It seems to me the only people out there trying to sell HiFi are Absolute Sounds and they were the highlight of the show, particularly the Alexx demo.

    Sorry for being off-topic....just saying a good sibilance/ringing free DAC is really needed!....i.e. a Westlake FDAC.
  6. adamdea

    adamdea You are not a sound quality evaluation device

    I don't know whether this is an enormous consolation Richard, but the relevant statistic is surely the life expectancy of a 77 year old man which a google search suggests to me is nearly 10 years.

    I agree with the general sentiment though. Ironically I am only able to bear the wait because I'm less optimistic than most that a better dac will make an enormous difference.
  7. Coll

    Coll pfm Member

    Would still be nice to get some idea of when we may get the FDAC
  8. mrflibble

    mrflibble pfm Member

    Thanks John, that is good news. :)

    You don't have to add the new clock circuit. I had changed my mind about that. But if you have already added it, then that is cool too. :)

    PM me the invoice after you have finished and I will pay you by PayPal.

  9. mattgbell

    mattgbell Help the elderly and unwell!

    I'm with you on the not being so optimistic about it making an enormous difference. It's (non-ironically) one reason why I'm not interested in the MDAC2. What appeals about the FDAC is its swiss-army-knife feature set (incl. DRC), whereas the MDAC2 is just a 'better sounding' DAC.

    Or have I misunderstood the MDAC2 design? On this subject, if anyone can dig up the most recent description of the MDAC2 design, it'd be most helpful.
  10. mrflibble

    mrflibble pfm Member

    You could try an R-2R or a NOS DAC, they are reportedly more natural. I have been using a Schiit Modi Multibit whilst waiting for my MDAC repair, it has a very nice and natural sound and not expensive. Worth a punt and if you don't like it you shouldn't lose too much when reselling it.

    Metrum Acoustics produce some well regarded NOS DACs, but these are more expensive.

    I've been doing a lot of experimenting recently with source components, cables, DACs, etc to put together a high quality bang for the buck system.

    This is what I have come up with so far:

    Elfidelity AXF-8 Soundcard->Fisual Holywood TOSLink->Schiit Modi Multibit->Schiit PYST RCA->Schiit Jotunheim->Fisual Havana XLR->Focal CMS 50

    The Fisual Holywood is reported to be a glass cable (although it does not mention this in the item description) and is silly cheap. It sounds clearer and more resolving than the plastic IXOS cable I was previously using.

    An alternative to the Elfidelity card would be the Asus Xonar Essence STXII, they both have TCXO clocks. I compared both and there is negligible difference. Sometimes I thought the Elfidelity card was superior but other times I couldn't tell the difference.

    I tried the Elfidelity USB power filter card with a Supra USB cable and this gave a cleaner and clearer sound than the motherboard USB but not as good as TOSLink from a quality soundcard. TOSLink from the motherboard was about the same as the filtered USB.

    I get quite a bit of sibilance with the Focal CMS 50's, but this is because of their metal tweeter - I find it very irritating. I've put them up for sale. I have a pair of Sennheiser HD650's connected to the Jotunheim and I don't hear any sibilance with them unless it is on the recording.

    It will be interesting to compare the Modi Multibit to my rejuvenated MDAC when it returns :)
  11. mrflibble

    mrflibble pfm Member

    Are the images showing about 500ps of jitter? I'm not too good at interpreting the oscope traces.
  12. adamdea

    adamdea You are not a sound quality evaluation device

    I can't find one. This tells you a bit

    It is intended to be a streamer as well as dac. Don't think it had analog inputs. Not sure whether the SoC would have enough grunt for some dsp assuming there was some software support.
  13. jansen

    jansen pfm Member

    John, as one of the fdac, vfet, detox, salvaged unit preowner/owner I am definitly still in for all of them. Please use my salvaged mdac (a silver one) for mdac2! This will ease the pain of waiting for the other toys :).
  14. Richard Kimber

    Richard Kimber pfm Member

    I have made my will, though ;)


    - Richard
  15. Richard Kimber

    Richard Kimber pfm Member

  16. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member


    I'm afraid you need the replacement clock board to replace the failed crystal / circuit on the MDAC PCB - it has become apparent with the benefit of hindsight that the Clock circuit design on the MDAC stress the poor quality Crystals from China which results in there failure over time...

    You MDAC looks like its had very little use...
  17. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member

    Yes, correct and it varies over time...

    Here's with the clock board fitted, now to less then say 50pS (most likely Trigger Jitter):- Replacement clock.JPG

    You MDAC with replaced Bulk Caps, a few extra PSU performance tweaks and the Clock PCB fitted. Fibbles DAC.JPG

    I recommend to try V0.90 software for best SQ.
  18. mrflibble

    mrflibble pfm Member

    Okay, I understand. It is all cool :)

    I have used my MDAC quite a lot, honest! Just not everyday. I look after my stuff :) I had it open before sending to you and it was quite dusty inside because my room is very dusty. I gave it a bit of a clean, maybe that is why it looks like it has not had much use.

    It was sounding much worse than when I first had it, I'm glad it was not my imagination. I guess if I had been using it more the problems would have come apparent sooner. The power button was dodgy from near the beginning but I didn't send the unit back because I was enjoying using it. I thought it was just a mechanical problem.

    To be honest, I now think it is somewhat poor by Audiolab to use sub-standard quality components. I can't imagine it would cost them much more to use better components. They were just cutting corners. It does not fill one with confidence when considering their current products.
  19. Richard Kimber

    Richard Kimber pfm Member

    Maybe this has already been covered, but I'm pretty confused (mainly, I guess because I've previously just been considering the full FDAC with a screened chassis): if there's a streamer option, and if it uses the original case, how is proper shielding achieved?

    - Richard.
  20. adamdea

    adamdea You are not a sound quality evaluation device

    The Mdac2 does not have internal shielding. It isn't the full statement design. It will still work but it may suffer from whatever it is the screened chassis screens out.
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