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The John Westlake/Lakewest MDAC/FDAC, VFET and Detox

Discussion in 'audio' started by Tony L, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The purpose of this thread is to produce a clear overview and time-line of the various John Westlake projects that have been occurring within the series of ‘M-DAC first listen…’ threads here on pfm. Most of these threads still remain in the site archives and will remain locked from this point onwards.

    I must state from the outset that until comparatively recently I have had no understanding or involvement in this project. I have little interest in DACs and just allowed these threads to run without any scrutiny or intervention beyond assessing any reported posts (which have been remarkably few in number). There are not enough hours in the day to read everything on a site as busy as this one and I am still struggling to understand what the various projects and variations within project actually are, or what people expected to receive for their investments (I thought this was just a £300 DAC board, maybe an extra £100 for a case!). For clarity these projects have nothing whatsoever to do with pink fish media as a business, there has never been any financial stake or profit motive, nor has any money been taken, held, or processed via this site.

    This thread seeks to produce a timeline for the various projects as detailed in the three posts below this one which were assembled with the very considerable help of one of the project investors. I am very grateful indeed for this help. I do however fully expect to have both missed and misunderstood stuff, so please do not view this thread as set in stone, it will be amended and reworked over time as new information comes to light.

    I do not see it as my role to take any moral stand or stance here, pfm’s only interest is in providing an absolutely fair, honest and transparent platform from which those who have invested may gather their thoughts and decide how they wish to proceed. I am however somewhat horrified by the amounts invested and I feel right out of my depth with regards to how pfm should react beyond supporting those who have invested to the very best of our ability.

    I am also very conscious that for this thread to be of any real use it can not be allowed to become ‘toxic’. It is intended merely as a factual spotlight and I sincerely hope an unbiased and accurate piece of journalism. It will as such be moderated with an iron fist - pfm does not intend to host any opinion or attacks from casual onlookers, this thread exists purely for project stakeholders, John Westlake, and any moderation that may be required.

    The preferred outcome is obviously that John Westlake now takes this opportunity to publicly manage his investors expectations and produces realistic timelines to deliver the various products as promised.

    The thread format is as follows:
    • This opening post.
    • Three posts detailing the three main projects each containing direct links to John Westlake’s own comments in the hope of establishing an accurate project overview and timelines.
    • Various posts copied from the most recent M-DAC thread (now locked) detailing pfm members investments.
    • Free discussion amongst project stakeholders for however long they wish pfm to host it. Effectively this thread will become the new home for all discussion on this site of these projects. The ‘M-DAC first listen...’ threads have run their course.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
    highfi, Ptah, mikeyb and 4 others like this.
  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Project and timeline information for MDAC2/FDAC:

    LakeWest Wikis etc: (this contains a list of investors) (proposed specs etc)

    Jun 29th 2013 - Post 245: John's first MDAC2 discussion:

    Sep 5th 2013 - Post 501: John's offer of MDAC2 with a ship date of March 2014 for first units:

    July 26th 2015 - Post 7: "I'll have to close the MDAC2 / MDAC2 Slave order books as I need to arrange production with a firm number of units":

    August 7th 2015 -Post 168, 250, 316: MDAC2 is morphing in to FDAC:

    August 10th 2015, Post 490, 494: "The FWC Fusion DAC has only become possible with the support of the miniDSP partnership": (LakeWest didn't become a sub-brand of miniDSP)

    August 11th 2015 - Post 605, 643: John tells sponsors to sell their original MDAC as we have moved to the full width FDAC and there is no need for the original MDAC: (Advice to customers to sell their MDACs is significant as the project eventually returns to using the original Audiolab MDAC chassis)

    July 12th 2018 - Post 85: MDAC2 is back on the agenda with MDAC2 boards to be available in 60 days time. John sets up a private and self-moderated Facebook page to control future discussion of the project:

    March 10th 2019 - Post 1158: John lists the options for MDAC2:

    July 22nd 2019 - Post 338: A new cut-down MDAC1.5 announced as current product with a stated timescale "in a couple of months":

    Aug 21st 2019 - Post 411: “MDAC1.5 will be ready with 4 months, first MDAC2 boards end of the year”:

    October 20th 2019 - Post 546: " first MDAC1.5’s could be seen around the New Year":
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Project and timeline information for VFET project:

    Aug 2nd 2014, post 128: First discussion of the VFET project:

    Aug 4th 2014, post 177: "hopefully the first units will be built around Christmas (2014)":

    Dec 13th 2014, post 506: "MDAC2 / VFET amps will be developed in paralleled":

    Dec 19th 2014, post 660: "In 2015 we will release the MDAC2, MDAC2 Slave & VFET amps":

    Mar 1st 2016, post 133: "I plan to spend 2 hours a day on the VFET design - I'd like to see these in "production" late summer or as soon as FDAC is complete":

    May 6th 2017, post 691: "VFETs this year":

    Jun 23rd 2018, post 101: "I'm currently working on the 8200MB+ update PCB design, the forerunner to the full sized VFET's.":

    May 14th 2019, post 112: "The VFET's are a much easier project then the MDAC2 - and will be out later this year.":
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  4. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Project timeline and information for Detox project:

    Aug 28th 2015: Post 316: Detox announced at sponsorship fee of £50 per unit with an estimated total cost of £130:

    Aug 28th 2015, Post 398: "will be looking to start shipping the units towards the end of October":

    Nov 27th 2015, Post 52: "The big uncertainty is the cost of the milled chassis - if there's a cost difference then its a matter of a few 10's of pounds.":

    Mar 8th 2016, Post 328: Prototype Detox working:

    Oct 7th 2018, Post 432: John discusses the reason why he has made a decision to not build or ship Detox:

    Sep 21st 2019, Post 481: Further discussion as to why no Detox units have been made or shipped:

    Oct 19th 2019, Post 525: “I'm arranging 10pcs and will collect them on my next trip to Asia before Christmas...”:
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
  5. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The posts below respond to a request for investors to indicate what was outstanding on the final ‘M-DAC first listen...’ thread. They have been copied across leaving the original content in place. That thread is now locked.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
  6. killie99

    killie99 pfm Member

    6/9/13 - £100 MDAC2 1st Payment
    12/12/13 - £100 MDAC2 2nd payment
    9/6/14 - £100 MDAC2 3rd payment
    6/3/15 - £100 MDAC2 4th payment
    30/9/15 - £50 Detox payment
    21/1/16 - £100 FDAC L3 payment
  7. Spike

    Spike pfm Member

    I’m good with that Tony.
    I paid £300 on the 4th August 2014 and then £370 for a salvaged MDAC on the 5th August for the record.
    I believed that this would be an upgraded and improved MDAC called an MDAC2 with all singing and all dancing components. However, over the years it was constantly changed and I had no idea what it was to be.
  8. Stunsworth

    Stunsworth pfm Member

    That’s fine with me Tony. I’m in for £550 in total.

    That breaks down as £300 for the FDAC/MDAC, £100 for an AD converter (AKA Level 3), £100 for a MM/MC phono input and £50 for the Detox.
  9. fred sonnen

    fred sonnen pfm Member

    Between 2013 and 2016 I have paid GBP 550.
    500.- for FDAC
    50.- for Detox
    1x PMD100 chip ;-)

    For the records:
    If once available I am interested to buy the one box integrated solution. A couple of years ago, I moved my interests from MDAC2 to FDAC because of the integration of DAC, HQ-PSU, CD-Drv, Valve stage, Detox integration, ect.

    I understand the reasons for the delays. Some of this is also due to the ever-increasing wish list from us/ customers.
    It remains to be seen whether the long development phase will lead to THE device. In the past not every DAC John created was a hit, as the Creek DAC shows (But I don't know the background).
    What is and was really bad is the lack of communication regarding progress. I do not have much sympathy for that also. I'm well aware of the verbal interference. But this cannot be avoided in the anonymous internet. But also here the long development time may be a reason for that.
    I can also understand that the small quantities make production and its costs difficult. But also here the long development time may be a reason. Keyword: Detox There was a marked for that.

    But I am still convinced that we will get a great DAC from John.
    A more and continued transparency communication in such a Crowdfunding projects would certainly have helped.
  10. russel

    russel ./_dazed_and_confused

    I think it was 400UKP last time I checked. The problem with this project has been mission creep, instead of the upgrade we invested in there have been god knows how many changes including completely new designs with different options, John should have delivered the simple upgrade he promised, which now looks like being the MDAC 1.5, and then developed new products based on that. It was very frustrating watching features I didn’t ask for being added to the project just adding delays and cost.
  11. GWM

    GWM Lost in the 70's

    I'm in for £950 total.
  12. Manimal

    Manimal pfm Member

    I'm in for £400 for MDAC2 and am no longer interested in any product that may evolve. I have lost all trust and would just like to recover my money and move away.

    The amount of timescales that have come and gone is beyond anything that could be considered reasonable.

    I was in for a DIY fit board with new front and rear panel.

    I don't want to move onto Facebook for updates. We've had too many updates with no tangible progress for their to be any point in doing so. JW took my and others cash via this forum and should not scuttle off when it gets hostile.

    Thank you Tony for your support. Much appreciated.

  13. StephenB

    StephenB Pointy birds...........

    Here's some more for you Tony...

    I'm in for Fdac level 3 with phono, 2x detox and a pair of vfets, forgive me if I don't have the exact dates to hand but that equates to £3000 [600+50+50+2300] [numbers corrected thought I had paid 2200 ]

    I was #7 in the FDAC list last time I looked so been on this road as long as anyone

    BTW John, I am way past being hateful as you say, and yes foolish, but only for believing your words and promises, interesting to see how you continue to treat a tier 1 customer who has also offered to progress this project in the past

    it should have been obvious that I was trying to add some humour to this travesty of an project as nothing else makes for pleasant reading in this thread
  14. Wardi23

    Wardi23 Member

    Long time since I either visited or posted here, but I’ve been along for this ride since the start too:

    MDAC2 originally then morphed into FDAC - 600 GBP, level 3 with phono and AV bypass
    DETOX - 50 GBP

    It is very sad it has come to this after so very long.
  15. Hawtin

    Hawtin pfm Member

    Payments so far (dates from 9/2014 to 4/2016) :
    MDAC2 / FDAC: 500 GBP
    Detox: 50GBP
    Salvaged MDAC: 370GBP
    total 920 GBP
    Regarding the last item, it was discussed long time ago that payment for salvaged MDAC could be transferred as credit to other items. This was probably around the time when FDAC was conceived.

    I'm in for MDAC2 level 3 which I still wish for if it ever was constructed. Not happy about the wait or the lack of communication.
  16. hluga

    hluga pfm Member

    Hi tony

    Here is the summary of my payments:
    FDAC: 600 GBP
    USB Detox: 50 GBP
    MDAC2 Streamer: 185 GBP
    DEVDAC: 300 GBP
    Power Amps: 2300 GBP
    I'm in for M/FDAC and Dtox and VFET and DEVDAC.
    I am on facebook and i believe that it will end with more than the expected products
  17. Space is the Place

    Space is the Place pfm Member

    Well it's a bit sad that its come to this really, I always expected John to deliver the MDAC boards...eventually, and still think he's a good bloke, who'd help anyone if he could, just useless at organising anything!
    Right at the start there was a guy who was up for managing the MDAC2 project and it's deadlines etc, obviously that didn't happened.
    But those who were trusting and are in for the VFET amps etc, i feel very sorry for them, if i'd have spent that much i feel it would have had a negative impact on my life and health if i'm honest.

    I've just checked and i've made three payments of £100, i think i stopped paying as i completely lost interest in what was going on. I did purchase a salvaged MDAC too, which i've been using as a headphone amp and has worked fine, but i only bought it for the MDAC2 board, as it sounds a bit mechanical.
    Would have been nice to have had an upgraded mainboard or whatever but can't see it happening (this year, maybe Spring? Munich show? ;))


    DEV DAC/MDAC2 board, whatever, £300.00 (first payment 15 Sep 2013)
    Salvaged MDAC £370.00 (11 Dec 2013)
  18. wintoid

    wintoid pfm Member

    I think because I was an MDAC Toy purchaser, I'm only in for £150, comprising £100 for MDAC2 and £50 for the Detox.
    zarniwoop likes this.
  19. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    I'm in for:

    VFET monos: 3070£
    Detox: 50£

    I originally entered the frenzy for an MDAC2, but my investment in the DAC was added to my VFET payments in agreement with John.
    February 2014 + June 2014 + March 2015:
    - 4 MDAC development installments: 400£
    - Salvaged MDAC: 370£
    = 770£ ---> Somewhere along the way John allowed me to convert these funds towards the final payment of VFETs
    August, September and October 2014:
    VFET paid up to 2300£ (three installments of 800£ + 1200£ + 300£)
    September 2015:
    Detox: 50£
  20. clivem2

    clivem2 pfm Member

    I'm in for £50 for Detox. Small beer compared to many. This was to be a quick project to help JohnW generate funds to help with his DAC project. Life has moved on, I've no idea whether I'd sink more money to buy a Detox now.

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