Ted Smith opens up and tells all

Ted Smith and I spent an afternoon chatting about the MK1 and MK2 DACs and I recorded that conversation. If you have 45 minutes or so to invest, this is a great way to learn all about the new DAC and the differences between the MK1 and MK2.


Just found this in my YouTube feed! Watching now. Great so far. Really love all the details Ted provides.

Watching the video a second time - about all the menu choices available to turn isolation off or on.

Also Ted relays that there won’t be a firmware release every few months like the MK1, but closer to updates every year. I guess he has learned so much since the Mk1’s release, that there’s less simple little things to try and optimize.

Having had galvanic isolation feeding my bridge II via EtherRegen, I can attest to how much more natural and non fatiguing it made my DS. Can’t wait to hear isolation in many different areas.

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What a great interview! I just love how Ted makes very big challenges in the design seem so matter of fact. What a brilliant mind.

@Paul - I’d like to know more about what Ted was referring to when he was speaking about two separate things he wants to do to the MKII. At time 33:29 Ted discusses “things we found out really late in the MKII production hardware and not by having to work around that hardware I can tune things a lot better and lower the THD somewhat.”

I have an original unmodified Beta unit. Is there a change that’s happened to beta MKII’s that went back in for updates or in the currently shipping MKII’s that I will need to be able to realize the change Ted is referring to when it it released?


This is a very interesting video indeed! It seems to be possible to switch the galvanic isolation of every in- and output on or off and there’s an option of floating the shield on balanced outputs.
I would love to see these features to be worked out in a clear instruction how to get the optimal settings. Is there a difference between used (connected) and unused in- and outputs? What’s the effect of noise removal plugs?

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I was referring to the attenuator switches being noisy. Before we knew that they were noisy and that that noise was there even if when the attenuators weren’t being used I was trying to balance things like THD, noise, … when tuning the SDM. Now that we know the source of the noise and have removed it from the units sent to the field I can retune the SDM to lower THD a little.

No units were shipped with the bad attenuator switches.


All of the ground lifting is very system specific. Probably the best thing to do is to lift the output grounds and see if that helps. Then lift each input in turn to see if that helps. Then revist the outputs. There may be no differences with lifting some or all of the inputs and outputs, or there might be profound differences. Another feature I didn’t mention in the video is the ability to turn off the power for unused I2S or USB inputs. The UI to enable disabling of those power supplies will be in a new release somewhere near you in the next couple of months. Spread around the Mk II posts are reports of using shorting plugs on the I2S, USB and other digital inputs. Once again the results vary from nothing to very worthwhile.


Not only does it need to warm up, but if it was brought indoors from being outside condensation often forms which can cause shorts, etc. until things dry out. How long this takes depends on the relative humidity both inside and outside. I don’t know if you might have run into this, but I have in the past.


@tedsmith OMG! I was on the fence and had kinda decided that I’d stick to the Mk 1 because of the expense report wouldn’t be approved by the boss.

This video totally convinced me! You’ve made a sale :grinning:

Thanks for taking the time to make the video, explaining it and putting in all the work.


Ok, called and ordered. Oh well, easy come, …


Don’t talk to people that have better equipment then you, it will only cost you a-lot of money. :grin:

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Oops, too late!

Wise choice I’d say

Creative geniuses often can’t help themselves- so maybe there will be more frequent updates?

Part of my interest in the MKII was being able to take the ride as the product gets updated - which I really enjoyed on the MK1 (except for one early update I didn’t like).

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