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

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

  1. Hawtin

    Hawtin pfm Member

    Here's what was posted to Facebook on 15th of oct by JohnW. (Should someone be curious, no photos though)

    Lakewest Audio

    A well overdue progress updater (I apologize for my absence since I've been so focused on the development).
    I promised noise floor performance plots of the Array regulator – whose performance is pretty close to the noise floor limitations of the analyzer system (Plots below of analyzers noise floor (50Hz component at ~ -150dB) & the Array regulators output).
    I've been dividing my time between FPGA Firmware development and working on the Clock circuit – both are progressing well.
    I've built and am developing / testing the x32 - 16bit “Multibit” DAC array (with discrete Array PSU, but for this FPGA firmware development PCB spin - an Opamp based output stage (to ease development testing) the production boards will have a discrete output stage). The 40W ribbon cable goes to the FPGA Dev board.
    I've attached photos of the array development PCB, with the underside showing the larger number of Array PSU decoupling capacitors.
    As the main design progress, I've made the decision to keep the Clock block and digital input cards (And possibly the output stages) common between the Multi-bit Dac array and Low-Bit DAC array designs – this allows customer upgrades and reduces the development time moving forward, with the Multibut DAC array the first version to ship.
    In essence, I believe the Multibit DAC array will sound better – but the Low Bit DAC array will measure better... listening tests to confirm.
    I'm still coding the firmware for the Multibit array – I'm constantly battling FPGA resource / clock speed issues, as there are 32x 16bit DAC's in the array – and having to address each individually (each with 35bits wide modulator data paths x32 modulators etc) rapidly eats into the FPGA resources – So I'm having to conceive “clever” ways to reduce the resources without compromising digital performance (without having to reduce data bitdepths etc).
    The clock section... the heart the design... still progressing (painfully) – in the past couple of weeks I've made some major leaps in direction and waiting on chips to arrive to confirm the idea.
    gints likes this.
  2. s1h1

    s1h1 performing within expectations

    mdac2, fdac, devdac, low-bit, multi-bit....
    I've completely lost track now.
  3. killie99

    killie99 pfm Member

    Since 2013 I could have gone to uni, got an honours degree, did a post grade, a masters and a phd.
    In a few years I could have a self driving car, been on holiday to the moon, all my energy needs could come from a tiny portable nuclear fusion reactor and I’ll still be coming back here to read the clock section is developing well.
  4. notevenclose

    notevenclose pfm Member

    Never a truer word spoken, even if inadvertently. I would have done this by now, but... That's nearly finished, but... That was scheduled for last month, but...

    Apologies if this thread is still supposed to be only for those with a one-eyed cripple donkey in the race. I would have refrained, but...
    Asphaltradler, paulski and JTC like this.
  5. russel

    russel ./_dazed_and_confused

    It’s a zero bit DAC and appears to have been for some time.
    Dodeth and Darren like this.
  6. gints

    gints pfm Member

    Than you for posting this, at least some info.

    I see JohnW talking and thinking about modular design and customer upgrades, a far too optimistic I think, will we ever get to that stage? And a lot of programming involved. Is he still alone, doing everything by himself?

    Any word about amplifiers?
  7. Timcat

    Timcat pfm Member

    In other words, "I am still doing the design work that I should have completed by mid 2014". Allegedly that is; there being no evidence that he has done a damn thing since 2013, other than type fanciful reports every so often and sell the designs we have paid for to his commercial customers!
    Rosewind, russel and Darren like this.
  8. Asphaltradler

    Asphaltradler pfm Member

    lordmortlock, russel, brumjam and 6 others like this.
  9. Sibbers

    Sibbers Earthling

    Hawtin likes this.
  10. nostromo

    nostromo pfm Member

    Having just perused the above links, it seems the 'clock section' back then, was very good, completed and ready to go, the detox was ready for production and the thread atmosphere was one of great excitement and frenetic jovial talk with many daily posts by JW and others....that was 2017. I'm amazed how far backwards this project has gone in the intervening 4 years. 2017 must have been the 'heyday' of the MDAC2 project...I now remember that excitement, it was so much fun being a part of all that.

    I like nostalgia and wonder if we could ever all get together again and recreate that excitement again. I remember talk of everyone meeting up for a party. Perhaps, if ever we all get an MDAC2 at home we could revive those halcyon days...if only...
  11. adamdea

    adamdea You are not a sound quality evaluation device

    2017? you are having a laugh. It had already turned sour a long time before
    Darren likes this.
  12. Asphaltradler

    Asphaltradler pfm Member

    I think the clock section was 'almost complete' 2014, then began what must be called 'backwards engineering' - with every year the completion diminished...

    When we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the MDac funding not so far in the future, we might reach the point where there's supposed to be nothing at all. And after that witness the first electronic component built from negative matter, not to be confused with anti-matter!
    adamdea, Dodeth, Rosewind and 3 others like this.
  13. Dodeth

    Dodeth pfm Member

    I retired in 2017. How time flies. Unlike FDAC development etc. I’ve given up on my investment in this, but I still feel drawn to check for updates. It’s some sort of masochistic compulsion.
    adamdea, Timcat, Hawtin and 3 others like this.
  14. nostromo

    nostromo pfm Member

    It seems you and a few others were sounding the warning klaxon then. I must admit, I thought you guys were just a little too demanding and impatient, a little like when you're on board a ship or an island (ala LOST) with many fellow travellers where there are always some that protest and cause trouble a bit more than others. With about 150 people the project needed strong focused control especially with everyone wanting different emphasis on the spec. We now know that was lacking and JW instead of leading behaved like one of us getting caught up with the 'visions of the emrald beyond' (ala The Mahavishnu Orchestra).

    It's weird, I can read the latest update from John and feel everything will turn out well and pretty soon, but then I read posts here and feel the complete opposite. Maybe I'm still in denial.
  15. nostromo

    nostromo pfm Member

    I take it you'd not buy one if shipment was on offer?
  16. Timcat

    Timcat pfm Member

  17. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    Keep dropping in occasionally. Sad to see you aren’t sorted yet. Hope the torment ends soon.
  18. killie99

    killie99 pfm Member

    The warning signs were there right at the start of the project but the rose tinted glasses were being worn by everyone.

    Before MDAC2 there was the MDAC Sovereign and some others I can’t remember the names of, some of the folks involved in this waited lengthy periods of time to get their MDACs upgraded and returned.

    Before MDAC there was years of talk of TDAC which never materialised but nobody, to my knowledge, ever paid for a TDAC.

    TDAC, I believe, sort of morphed in to FDAC in John’s head as talk of tube output stages started to be banded about, and the rest as they say , is history.

    The other major red flag that surfaced in the first 2 or 3 years was the Detox. A small project designed to try out John’s ability to produce a real product before going full on with MDAC2/FDAC production. Despite supposedly having the product complete there was excuse after excuse as to why he couldn’t get them made, and to this day has never produced anything other than 1 unit which 2 people got to try out.

    Head to the first few posts in this thread if you want to refresh your memory on some of the false promises.
  19. Timcat

    Timcat pfm Member

    A dark tale:

    A man promises to design and build an improved version of a DAC that he had designed in the past and takes payments in advance for doing the design and development work from a group of interested individuals.

    Time passed and at least one person with project management experience offered to help with the apparently stalled development process. The man refused this offer of help.

    The same man promised to design and produce some power amplifiers to a relatively conventional basic design and took significantly larger sums of money from interested individuals. There was no suggestion of there being any possibility of non-delivery.

    He made a number of additional promises to design and produce further improved products; notably a device for cleaning a USB input, for which he took additional payments from interested parties.

    After a passage of time, he sold designs for a DAC that had all the hallmarks of the improved DAC promised to the original investors and the USB device to commercial customers.

    Some eight years later, he had still failed to deliver anything to the original investors, not one DAC, not one amplifier, not one USB device.

    Now, those of a cynical nature might deduce from these facts that the man in question never had any intention of ever producing any of the promised products. Instead, they would conclude, that he made his promises in order to obtain money to fund the development of designs for sale to his third party commercial customers and thereby increase his personal profits. One little fact that would stick out to those of a cynical nature, is the man's refusal to take on an experienced project manager. Why so? An experienced project manager would have found out what was really going on.

    I wonder who this man is? You may wish to guess, but I couldn't possibly comment.
  20. sam_cat

    sam_cat C'est Crounchifique!

    If I were a betting man I would bet that more money would be wanted before anything could be shipped. And not a small amount either.
    From memory money after not long (originally it was much less clear, holds the full history of what the website said) was labelled as to 'fund development' and delivery would be 'at cost'.
    Dodeth likes this.

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