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

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

  1. Dodeth

    Dodeth pfm Member

    I feel more sadness than anger. For the first time in my life I’ve had a significant amount money taken from me in a way that appears to be dishonest. I accept that perhaps that wasn’t the intention, but that’s the way it has turned out. I pride myself on being willing to learn the appropriate lessons and move on. Being fairly long in the tooth it’s a tough lesson, but I’ll move on anyway.
    Darren and Lowand like this.
  2. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

    If it measures better it will have less noise in the sound, is a better definition.

    Whether that equates to 'better' sound is up to the individual.
  3. Rune

    Rune pfm Member

    I can see it is using the new AKM4499 DAC:cool: I now like the sound of AKM better than ESS and switched to a AKM4497 based DAC a few years ago. TEAC NT-505 a nice one box solution with inbuild streamer (my third temporary DAC since I sold my MDAC :D)
    It is a pity that AMK based DACs will be hard to find after the fire.
  4. Mark Dirac

    Mark Dirac pfm Member

    Yes, what annoys me most about this debacle is that I have "wasted" years using a temporary DAC, when I could have been enjoying a good DAC and been done with it.
    Well, it's been a good few months since the fire, and my easy purchase, with no price hike, of the RME with an AKM chip suggests that, for whatever reason, there's no supply shortage after all.
    Darren likes this.
  5. clivem2

    clivem2 pfm Member

    It looks like their best DAC chips come from a different plant. The ones impacted are reported to be AK4332, AK4331, AK4432, AK4382, AK4385, AK4373, AK4396, AK4431, AK4456, AK4490, AK4493, AK4495) and possibly ADC series (AK5384, AK5385, AK5386, AK5397, AK5534.
  6. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

    Though this level of DAC's were not available, only a couple of years ago, certainly not at the £ 5/800 price level.
    Mark Dirac likes this.
  7. brab

    brab pfm Member

    Would any of these newer DACs above pay particular attention to their SPDIF implementation, optical or coax? I'd like to move on from my MDAC and CD transport is my major source.
  8. fred sonnen

    fred sonnen pfm Member

    Another missed opportunity.
    It would have been so easy to send a status mail sooo often offered by John to the ninth year. So the tone is set until the appearance of the ninth DACs here once again in the destructive.
    Too bad.

    I have also bought the M400. Here a quality level has been reached, with which I can wait for the FDAC without any problems.
    misterdog likes this.
  9. wintoid

    wintoid pfm Member

    I wrote some time ago that I bet Brexit and the covid vaccine would be done before the MDAC2. I now reckon Musk will be on Mars before the MDAC2.
    Mark Dirac, Timcat, misterdog and 3 others like this.
  10. Mark Dirac

    Mark Dirac pfm Member

    I understand that, technically, USB is fundamentally capable of higher performance than SPDIF. However, I have noticed an increasing number of reviewers recently claiming that SPDIF (via coax) is just as good as USB.
    Darren likes this.
  11. clivem2

    clivem2 pfm Member

    I think spdif is much easier to implement and therefore is more consistently good.
  12. Rune

    Rune pfm Member

    Or it has become Urban myth that Spdif and especially i2s is better than USB because it was 8 better years ago. The new D/D craze on AS forum indicate that and the Chinese DACs add i2s to tick that box. USB has improved a lot since then and has the advantage of being asynchronous.
  13. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

    My M400.


    According to SMSL the top quality Optical connectors are no longer available.
    The above plots show USB measures better but with the threshold of hearing at -120dB,
    there should be no discernible difference.
    I have no sources to try, apart from my TV..
    The modern market seems to like Bluetooth as an input of convenience.

    Note that on the USB plot it is falling off the available scale at -160dB so if DACS are to measure better Audio Precision need to build a new analyser.
  14. sq225917

    sq225917 Bit of this, bit of that

    To achieve same level of performance with spdif as the best usb inputs deliver requires serious design chops. I've never heard of one reaching -130db let alone better. It requires serious isolation and reclocking as well as exemplary pcb design to stop noise spreading from the analogue to digital domains with spdif.

    Starting with something like that old Toshiba dvd player with the near perfect square-wave memory buffer output would be a great help. Worth searching this out, Fikas mentions the model on his pages, only about $200, long since OOS though.
  15. brab

    brab pfm Member

    Thank you for the above comments re SPDIF. I have bought a Soncoz DAC for temporary use based on ASR recommendations. I find that it is competitive with my MDAC on USB, but the MDAC is considerably better on optical, so much so that I felt I was doing something wrong in the comparison although I made the comparison a couple of times.
  16. Space is the Place

    Space is the Place pfm Member

    Have you invested in VFETs? Has JW been in contact with you?
  17. nostromo

    nostromo Member

    Having signed up for the MDAC2 project via this forum about 6 years ago. I sold on my MDAC + LPS a couple of years ago and have tried a couple of stop-gap DACs without going all in and making a serious investment. I always expected the MDAC2/FDAC was just around the corner and kept my money ready in anticipation it would be well worth it and cost north of 1K-(GPB) and become my long-term DAC solution.

    I've been closely following the JW threads here and on FB where I try to be supportive. Like many here waiting patiently, I want to move my Digital playback SQ to the next level. if I can and believe the DAC in my system maybe a bottleneck. I've been very intrigued by some of the more recent posts about these new Chinese DACs. The SMSL M400, Soncoz SGD1 and Topping D90 which are all well respected here and on ASR, they're also in that tanatalising price bracket where a punt may be affordable. It may be less of a punt than I think as most are now available from Amazon, so a home comparison (with say 2) may be easy; returning for a full refund if not impressed a real proposition.

    But then there is the R2R ladder architecture as promised in the MDAC2/FDAC and brought down to a reasonable cost by Denafrips. I wish Denafrips would send out a loan units as I'm hesitant to take a punt based on the online reviews, which are mostly glowing of course. My taste in presentation is definitly for the 'analogue sound', 'digital glare' from my first CD player a Linn Karik and then a Genki actually put me off music and HiFi for over 5 years without me noticing, I was sold the Linn's on the basis: this is the true sound, vinyl is 'coloured', you'll adjust in time. The original MDAC was my first foray into file based music and while it was good the 'digital glare' was there and my music listening sessions became shorter and shorter as with CD.

    Now Brab (post 1175, two above) believes the MDAC is as good, if not better than the Soncoz!! Well that's thrown a spanner in the works for me, as I now regard the MDAC as a poor performer and could never live with it's digital flat sound that would fatigue me within minutes.

    I don't know how to get a proper listen/Demo, ideally at home in my system to an R2R or some of these Chip based DACs, I guess I need to wait until someone starts selling Denafrips on Amazon. On the other hand, maybe, just maybe, the FDAC will come around the corner very soon and my cash reserves may be used up on another DAC. It's a quandary I'm quietly struggling with.
  18. AndrewR

    AndrewR pfm Member

    To add to your options, you may like the natural sound of a NOS Filterless DAC.

    Darren likes this.
  19. brab

    brab pfm Member

    "Now Brab (post 1175, two above) believes the MDAC is as good, if not better than the Soncoz!! Well that's thrown a spanner in the works for me, as I now regard the MDAC as a poor performer and could never live with it's digital flat sound that would fatigue me within minutes."

    Dear Nostromo: Please don't allow one person's subjective observations and possibly flawed comparisons influence you overly. But if you don't like the MDAC (I do, and most of my audio life has been with vinyl) then you may well not like the Soncoz in that it is based on an ESS chip like the MDAC.
  20. paulski

    paulski pfm Member

    That may well be possible but it’s not really ethical is it?
    Mark Dirac likes this.

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