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Brian kaczynski with second sound

MacroFab Engineering Podcast #208

Brian Kaczynski with Second Sound

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January 22, 2020, Episode #208

Brian Kaczynski of Second Sound joins the podcast to discuss Frequency Detection, Integrated Circuit layout, and buying yourself more bits with code.

Brian Kaczhnski

  • Brian earned his Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 2001
  • Has worked since 1999 as a mixed-signal/RF ASIC designer focusing mainly on LAN applications such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, etc
  • His passion for music and desire to bridge the gap between acoustic/electric instruments and music synthesizers (both analog and digital) inspire his current work

Second Sound

  • Why the name Second Sound?
  • How many employees?
  • ACO100 and ACO160 ICs
    • What is an audio controlled oscillator?
      • Frequency detection
    • ACO160 vs ACO100
    • Moving from custom Ic to Firmware solution?
      • What drove this decision?
      • How does this differ from the hardware solution?
      • Will you be offering the ACO100 IC?
    • Development Boards
  • Integrated Circuit creation
    • How did you go about designing these chips?
      • Software?
      • Required Files?
    • What was your process of getting them manufactured?
    • Tips and tricks for people wanting to manufacture Ics?
    • Challenges and what to avoid?
  • What changed to enable going from a chip design to a MCU firmware based design?
Brian Kaczynski of Second Sound

Brian Kaczynski of Second Sound

The ACO160 evaluation PCB.

The ACO160 evaluation PCB.

About the Hosts

Parker Dillmann
  Parker Dillmann

Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.

In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.

In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.

Parker also runs the blog,, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.

Stephen Kraig
  Stephen Kraig

Stephen Kraig began his electronics career by building musical oriented circuits in 2003. Stephen is an avid guitar player and, in his down time, manufactures audio electronics including guitar amplifiers, pedals, and pro audio gear. Stephen graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro!