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About this page[edit]

This wiki page is set up to track information about a proposed Next Generation M-DAC Mainboard PCB development as well as to track 'pledges' from would be customers.

This site has been relocated here from it's original location due to recent page editing policy changes.

The project has begun![edit]

The project has been officially kicked off on September 5th, 2013. See the PFM announcement. If you taking part in supporting the development through installments, please follow this link which will lead you to a PayPal button. Do not forget to leave your PFM user name and contact email as you'll be instructed during the PayPal checkout process. Be sure to have your name on the list of pledges. Thanks to everybody for your support.


The M-DAC, as good as it may be in its original Audiolab version, can be dramatically improved upon with extensive circuit and component modification. Unfortunately said modification requires a highly skilled hand and is extremely time-consuming. It is unfortunately not realistic to entrust a 3rd party with carrying out these modifications due to the very specialized skills, tools and test equipment (let alone trust) needed to get the work done properly and with expected results. Given each upgrade taking anywhere between 2 to 4 days to carry out, it is clearly not a good way to satisfy the large number of people signing up to have their M-DACs brought to another level of performance.

So what's Next?[edit]

Rather than dedicating months upon months painstakingly laboring on upgrades applied to the existing M-DAC Mainboard, arguably the time would be better spent to prepare a new version of the M-DAC PCB with all the modifications already in place. And then some.

Upgrading M-DACs would then consist of a relatively simple entire Mainboard swap for a new one. Something that takes little time and could be even carried out by 3rd parties or indeed on a DIY basis. While this would obviously necessitate time for development and production, at the end of the day this would enable much higher throughput and lots more upgraded M-DACs finding their ways to many more people, enriching lives of music lovers around the world - unlike the current scheme which is confined to EU customers only.

Being able to have a brand new Mainboard would allow not just streamlining of existing circuits upgrade - it would be a perfect chance to push the envelope even further with a pair of ES9018 in Dual Mono instead of just a single one in stereo for the ultimate performance, it would enable us to upgrade the USB chip to a High Speed USB 2.0 enabling 32 bit resolution at up to 768kHz as well as 64Fs and 128Fs DSD support.

The PCBs would be built in EU and fully tested & qualified by John to guarantee consistency.

M-DAC2 will come in 3 different versions(L1, L2, L3), mdac2 l2 will also feature advanced clock, DSP, analog -20dB attenuator and maybe bluetooth, mdac2 l3 will also have an ADC which will support 768 KS/s PCM and 7056khz true DSD.

Proposed features[edit]

  • Dual ES9018 Sabre32 DAC ICs
  • HS USB Audio Class 2 with up to 32bit/768kHz and DSD support
  • Level 2+ upgrade applied from factory
  • 'Toy' & 'Fusion' Bulk Foil resistors supported on PCB
  • Passive AV bypass RCA inputs / OR:-
  • Option for additional 4Way Female XLR balanced headphone connection:- 1 left +, 2 left -, 3 right +, 4 right -, (Shell Ground)
  • No more Left Channel Crackling bug
  • Increased tolerance to nasty sources (ATV, AEX, Sonos)
  • Output RCA and XLR will work together

How to get there[edit]

In order to execute this plan, there would have to be at least 50 people committing to this endeavor in a Kickstarter-like style. Over the course of 4~5 months these 'backers' would be asked to send monthly installments to support the development, prototyping and ultimately first production run. At the end of this period they would have already paid up for their Next Generation Mainboards and would be the first to receive them. As per the original upgrades, there would remain the option of additional Bulk Foil resistor upgrades for which the new PCB would be already prepared for.

Costs involved[edit]

  • Next Generation Mainboard built cost + 300...500 £ in development funding
    • L1 MDAC2 Basic = £300 for development funding + PCB cost (expected to be around £200 to £250).
    • L2 MDAC2 with DSP, Advanced Clock, -20dB Analogue attenuator & Bluetooth options = £400 for development funding + PCB cost (expected to be around £250 to £300).
    • L3 MDAC (L2 + ADC) = £500 for development funding + PCB cost (expected to be around £300 to £350).
  • mdac2 l2/l3 will only require 4x vishey z-foil resistors for the analog filter and is now standard, more the Z-foil resistors will instead be tested at different positions to see if there is any improvement in sound quality
  • New M-DAC unit with Mainboard swapped for Next Generation £800~900 or salvages mdac(370£)

The "Fusion" resistor options are in addition to the above PCB cost.

The cost range of the basic L1 unit has increased by £50 due to the addition of extra features such as isolated USB and "Toy" resistors as standard, I'll endeavourer to keep cost within the budget, hopefully we should come in at the lower to mid end of the target range.

Who is in for it?[edit]

If you are willing to commit to this effort, support the development and pilot production by monthly installments (£100), help make it a reality and be among the first ones to enjoy the Next level of performance, please put your PFM nickname on the first list by clicking here.

Those who paid for Level 2 upgrade already and would be getting the Next Generation Mainboard at cost, please put your name down on the second list by clicking here. You would only be asked a one time payment (~£125) to cover the production cost once we place orders for material.

Pledges to support with monthly installments[edit]

  1. pkerai (atleast Toy, maybe Fusion).
  2. tunkejazz (New condition salvaged M-DAC unit with Mainboard swapped for Next Generation and Fusion resistors, BLACK)
  3. steve-g - Black unit
  4. flahutbux - Black unit (Original to MDAC MK2 Toy, incl. DSD and AV bypass)
  5. killie9
  6. Space is the Place (new condition salvaged MDAC in silver with next gen mainboard and Toy resistors)
  7. StephenB (L3 FDAC caps and phono - full Bhuna)
  9. dtd - new silver unit, fusion + DSD
  10. LarsS
  11. fred sonnen (black)(2x 9018, 786Fs & DSD support)(Fusion)
  12. MajorMajor
  13. anjora (new salvaged silver unit, fusion, L3)
  14. KevinNZ
  15. misterdog (with integrated Cappuccino dispenser)
  16. sam_cat (2x Fusion)
  17. Akasha (New Condition salvaged silver unit)
  18. amershamman
  19. GWM
  20. AlanH (New Condition salvaged Silver unit, Toy resistors)
  21. vincey103
  22. MatiasN (New condition salvaged M-DAC unit (black)+ Toy)
  23. Bob L (prefer new condition salvaged MDAC in black, if available, with next gen mainboard and toy resistors)
  24. lapkwan
  25. mavwong (new condition salvaged MDAC in black with next gen mainboard and fusion resistors)
  26. moosemeat (MDAC MK2 PCB + Toy)
  27. Mikas
  28. ArthurG (Orignal unit Black,Mk2 PCB + Toy upgrade)
  29. trevjm (+ Toy)
  30. clerenlas (next generation mainboard + Toy (just poss Fusion), AV bypass, back panel colour black)
  31. mnewbould (New M-DAC unit (black) with Mainboard swapped for Next Generation + Fusion)
  32. ducatiman
  33. Achim, full Fusion PCB (full package "L3" with DSP and input etc.)
  34. Minton (Fusion + Salvaged silver unit)
  35. clivew
  36. mig
  37. Obi1 (New Condition salvaged Silver unit, Fusion Option, resistors shipped to John already)
  38. timberline
  39. PavelPinkFish
  40. Django (MDAC MK2 PCB + Fusion)
  41. Manimal
  42. rmgalley (Existing silver case, MDAC2 with Fusion option - and later the wide case with CD transport)
  43. Valpe (New M-DAC unit (black) with Mainboard swapped for Next Generation + Fusion + AV bypass)
  44. Tiberius (new PCB + Toy upgrade)
  45. Traf (Mk2 PCB + Toy upgrade - happy to diy swap)
  46. mbaudis (new or new condition salvaged unit silver + Toy)
  47. jo sharp mdac2 + toy resistors
  48. Ben2876 (Fusion MDAC2)
  49. Tonyb
  50. Trevski220
  51. ddenyer + toy
  52. justoffjustin
  53. hluga (John you got my Toy resistors !! L3 MM/MC)
  54. rbroer (Salvaged M-DAC unit with MK2 PCB + Toy)
  55. Noddy213 (MDAC Mk2 PCB + Fusion)
  56. cjayc DSD Fusion and balanced HP
  57. ag66 (MDAC MK2 PCB + Toy)
  58. TimR (DSP version + Black salvaged unit +fusion +AV bypass + spare MDAC2 silver back panel, + spare MDAC1 black back panel)
  59. Sonic_D (MDAC MK2 PCB + Toy)
  60. Shaolin (MDAC MK2 PCB + Toy)
  61. rudyv1 (MDAC MK2 PCB + Fusion)
  62. Vinz (MDAC MK2 PCB + Toy - Silver)
  63. pix (new silver unit + toy)
  64. jansen (new salvaged silver mdac2, L3)
  65. ChrisPa - mk2 PCB (or reprocessed full unit) + Toy
  66. pach1606-mk2 PCB +fusion
  67. whitehead
  68. adeware (MDAC MK2 PCB + Toy)
  69. Boozyuzi
  70. ocarolina (salvaged black unit, mk2 pcb + fusion)
  71. Dodeth (Toy)
  72. haridhos
  73. The_Bear (with Toy upgrade)
  74. LittleToast (Next Gen mainboard with Fusion option)
  75. timow (Next Generation PCB, will decide later between toy or fusion option, original unit black)
  76. supersilent (Next Gen mainboard with Fusion option)
  77. PeterZ
  78. JSSH (mk2 pcb + toy option)
  79. ukpd (Black Panel)
  80. desp_erado (Black Salvaged MDAC with AV Pass Through + Toy)
  81. Asphaltradler
  82. cstanpfm (mk2 PCB + fusion)
  83. Adaptivemotion (New salvaged silver MDAC + MDAC MK2 PCB + Fusion + two European mains plugs)
  84. highfi
  85. gugi100 (Salvaged M-DAC unit with MK2 PCB + Toy)
  86. rober
  87. Roberto
  88. myrddin (pcb + fusion)
  89. banjoman (Black MDAC - L3 please)
  90. 99CZL (Black) Toy (or Fusion, not decided yet) + XLR balanced headphone connection
  91. tto (Toy)
  92. vanwykca (new silver with mk2 PCB and Toy)
  93. Sebbyp Fusion option
  94. tomisiv (Black salvaged MDAC2 with Toy)
  95. jiminsd
  96. rundll32 (Salvaged black mdac, Next gen mobo, AV bypass, Fusion option, self-upgrade)
  97. alloja (Next Generation PCB, Toy option, AV bypass, original unit silver)
  98. SirBenn21 L2 MDAC2
  99. TheRyge
  100. stellablues
  101. russel
  102. Nick1881
  103. Radyson
  104. Stuart Frazer (PCB + Fusion)
  105. JBoy (salvaged black M-DAC unit + Fusion resistor)★
  106. giannitom (salvaged black M-DAC unit + Toy resistor)
  107. djvitamind (Next Generation mainboard with Fusion option)
  108. Wardi23 silver finish
  109. greyrab black finish MDAC MK2 PCB + Fusion
  110. titepa (Orignal unit Black, MK2 PCB + Toy upgrade)
  111. FUSION5 (? resistors)
  112. peterzz (salvaged black + Toy resistors)
  113. Alavan (MK2 PCB + toy for existing black MDAC)
  114. ttier (salvaged 'as new' M-DAC, black, 115V)
  115. Rune (PCB + Fusion)
  116. Suopermanni (PCB + Toy maybe fusion + DSP)
  117. mcai7et2 (PCB + Toy, maybe fusion)
  118. carloica (PCB L2) Silver Version
  119. bigbuckyball (L3, toy, maybe fusion)
  120. koyiz (PCB L3 black)
  121. Lowand (PCB + Toy, maybe Fusion)
  122. Rosewind (salvaged black MDAC + "L3" version with best sensible Vishay configuration).
  123. HifiPicco (salvaged silver MDAC with "german" psu (if possible) + Fusion option, most probable also ... DSP + Bluetooth + Analogue attenuator + ADC)
  124. kjelld DSP+ Bluetooth + Analogue attenuator + Hi Performance ADC + Toy
  125. sprint (Black MDAC. Most likely Basic unit + DSP + Bluetooth + Analogue attenuator + Hi Performance ADC with Toy/Fusion option to be decided)
  126. Eeerni (salvaged MDAC + Toy option)
  127. slacktavist (PCB + TOY )
  128. Paolo Anziano (L4 Version with Toy/Fusion to be decided. Original black MDAC)
  129. Bizxo (L2 version with Toy/Fusion. Original black MDAC)
  130. ti33er AVBypass and The very Best Of your Design please - BLACK MDAC2
  131. jimsmy (L3)
  132. mike9876 L2 maybe L3 options to be decided.
  133. stunsworth L2 or L3, probably with Fusion option
  134. stefanolo (L2, internal PSU prefered, black, rest depends...)
  135. flambeur
  136. Kryptonian / Richard Orchard L3 + wifi
  137. Neil A (MDAC2 L3 PCB + Toy + Fusion + DSP)
  138. rjpcardoso (L2 or L3 + best resistors)
  139. toozeup (L3 + wifi)
  140. FlipnFill The very best of your design please
  141. Timola (MDAC2 L3 with best resistors in the new full size chassis with remote controller)

Level 2 owners getting Next Gen PCB at cost[edit]

  1. JTC (L2 Toy to MDAC MK2 "at cost" conversion)
  2. Arthur (L2 to MDAC Mk2 "at cost" conversion)
  3. PlutoX (Toy to MDAC Mk2 "at cost" conversion)
  4. PhilCTTE (Fusion to MDAC Mk2 "at cost" conversion,)
  5. JohanH (Fusion to MDAC Mk2 "at cost" conversion)
  6. FUSION5 (Fusion to MDAC Mk2 "at cost" conversion, payment in advance possible to fund operation)
  7. Joke721 (Toy to MDAC Mk2 "at cost" conversion)
  8. MattN (Fusion to L3 MDAC (L2 + ADC) with "at cost" conversion -
  9. iansr (Salvaged MDAC required, divert £50 payment for bypass to PCB leaving balance of £75)
  10. Malyq (Toy [Fusion] to MDAC Mk2 "at cost" conversion)
  11. Akasha (Toy to MDAC Mk2 "at cost" conversion)
  12. 00fiete (L2 to L2 MDAC MK2 "at cost" conversion, black unit)
  13. EIffel (Toy [Fusion] to MDAC Mk2 "at cost" conversion (Salvaged MDAC (preferably Silver) /new PCB)
  14. Sq225917 (Just pcb will home upgrade.)
  15. Ale79 (L2 "Multicom" MDAC to FUSION MDAC MK2)
  16. jirij (Toy to MDAC Mk2 Toy/Fusion salvaged black MDAC)
  17. Richard Kimber (Fusion to MDAC Mk2 Fusion "at cost" conversion)
  18. mnewbould (Toy [Fusion] to MDAC Mk2 "at cost" conversion + £50 advance Credit for the MDAC2)
  19. travelfotografe (new condition salvaged silver M-DAC, upgrade to "Flagship" spec'ed version :-> )
  20. wintoid (Toy to Fusion MDAC Mk2 "at cost" conversion, or possibly salvaged MDAC)
  21. JemHayward (will have refurb MDAC (silver, but could change my mind later...) with new pcb, and full fusion spec - analogue input etc.. compromises!)
  22. ajr37 (Fusion to MDAC Mk 2 Fusion)
  23. Vaughan (L2 Toy to MDAC MK2 "at cost" conversion)
  24. mark.king
  25. Steven Toy (L3 Toy to MDAC MK2 "at cost" conversion)
  26. Yanntoe (L2 to MDAC MK2, L3 "at cost" conversion)
  27. jarip (salvaged silver unit + Toy/Fusion)
  28. simonom (L2 Toy to MDAC MK2 "at cost" conversion)
  29. pack (Toy to MDAC Mk2 "at cost" conversion)
  30. uwe061 (Fusion to MDAC Mk2 "at cost" conversion)
  31. rtrt
  32. therixonator (Toy to MDAC Mk2 "at cost" conversion)
  33. halook