Thanks for your post, I've seen a couple like yours today.
The RDAC is not a copy of the Hibiki DAC, as explained in the post you're responding to, and William's post discussing the development of the RDAC.
The theme of your post seems like "how can you be sure it's not a copy?", so I'll expand on that.
As a company whose long term success depends on our ability to bring communities and companies together, no individual product matters more than our ability to create these partnerships/collaborations.
This is different from most companies that produce enthusiast products, where the success of an individual product launch often makes the difference between paying rent or going bankrupt. I'm explaining this so you can understand the underlying incentives at play, and to help folks understand why there's a theme in many communities of companies doing shady things.
So baseline, for us, there is no product that's worth being shady over, we're not worried about paying rent, we’re focused on getting more people into this community.
Next, a big goal for us in these collaborations is to encourage more community members to create. As such, we go to great lengths to protect and reward those creators. We are approached by dozens of groups every week selling knocked off designs which have no potential for legal backlash and we turn them down. Instead, we work with, and compensate, the designer. We’ve paid out nearly $250,000 in royalties to Massdrop community designers over the last few months.
I'm sure sosolar is a great person, and he/she is probably enjoying a spike in board sales given the thousands of American community members who learned about Hibiki through this discussion, but if the RDAC is a copy of this project, where’s the second board? Why is the part spacing different? Where is the chassis? Why is the power supply different? Etc, these points have all already been covered by Airist. If you want to say “I don't like that Airist's team was inspired to use a similar layout for the top half of the RDAC pcb", that's fine, but if you're going to call it a copy or stolen, that's unfair to Airist, Christian, and the rest of our team who spent hundreds of hours making this drop possible. If the RDAC was related to another project, it would have come out in the development process.
To summarize, it's not worth it for us from a financial or branding point of view to support a copy, and it's fundamentally counter to our goals of supporting the development of more community designers.
It’s been entertaining to watch this unfold, maybe we should add a popcorn button next to our endorsement button, but William provided the technical information, and I’ve provided the Massdrop priorities explanation, draw your conclusions. Thanks for being part of our community!