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Mhdt Lab Paradisea and Constantine DAC gets rave review

post #1 of 89
Thread Starter 
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazin...ratory_dac.htm

For those awaiting a "formal review," this should be the go-ahead run. I've always felt the Paradisea and Constantine had great potential, given the DAC chips and particular design choices, much more so than Mhdt's entry-level DAC's...

Now we need a Zhaolu, Storm Digital, Paradisea/Constantine shootout..
post #2 of 89
Cool! My DAC is finally getting some well-deserved press.

Thanks for posting that link, Jon L. I actually placed my winning bid on eBay for my Constantine the morning before heading right out the door to go to the last SoCal meet.

I've only heard the Dialogue II and now my Constantine, but they both sound terrific IMO. I'm interested in hearing the Paradisea and Renaissance II.

Plus, you gotta love that transparent acrylic casing

post #3 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Borat
Cool! My DAC is finally getting some well-deserved press.

Thanks for posting that link, Jon L. I actually placed my winning bid on eBay for my Constantine the morning before heading right out the door to go to the last SoCal meet.

I've only heard the Dialogue II and now my Constantine, but they both sound terrific IMO. I'm interested in hearing the Paradisea and Renaissance II.

Plus, you gotta love that transparent acrylic casing

How specifically does Constantine and Dialogue II sound different?
post #4 of 89
Let me first state that I only heard the Dialogue II during a meet so take this with that in mind.

My impressions of the Constantine are similar to the Enjoy the Music reviewer. It has to my ears an even tonal balance.

In comparison, the Dialogue II has a weightier sound with a nice warmth to the midrange. The bass is more impactful and not as controlled, nothing too offensive to me though. It has a seductive analog sound, which is to say very smooth and liquid. Resolution is not world-class by any means, but overall very "musical" and enjoyable.
post #5 of 89
MHdt Lab just added a USB version of the Constantine to their lineup of Non-OS DAC's. See here.

It looks like they sacrificed the BNC input for the USB.
post #6 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L
For those awaiting a "formal review," this should be the go-ahead run. I've always felt the Paradisea and Constantine had great potential, given the DAC chips and particular design choices, much more so than Mhdt's entry-level DAC's...
Seems like you missed "my formal" review Jon! haha

http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=185055
post #7 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loftprojection
Seems like you missed "my formal" review Jon! haha

http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=185055
Nice review. I didn't understand why you said, "I connected the DAC with a relatively cheap coax and used the CD23T as a transport so that the comparison would be fair."

One-box CDP has a huge advantage over DAC's b/c there's (usually) no need for spdif inside the CDP, so to be "fair" to the DAC, you would need one awesome digital coax!!

I think you might be surprised by the effects of a really good coax cable, and I would bet the DAC will surpass the CDP more..

Anyways, the "Constantine USB" is an interesting development, but I wonder how good the CM102 USB chip used is ..??
post #8 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L
Nice review. I didn't understand why you said, "I connected the DAC with a relatively cheap coax and used the CD23T as a transport so that the comparison would be fair."

One-box CDP has a huge advantage over DAC's b/c there's (usually) no need for spdif inside the CDP, so to be "fair" to the DAC, you would need one awesome digital coax!!

I think you might be surprised by the effects of a really good coax cable, and I would bet the DAC will surpass the CDP more..
Jon, what I meant is I used the CD23T as transport into the DAC versus the CDP alone. I could have used the DAC with lets say my computer versus the CDP but THAT would not have been a fair comparison. You are right that I could squeeze out even more with a high end digital coax but I'm waiting for my final computer solution before buying an expense coax and then getting rid of my CDP. For now the "cheap" coax does a really good job and the more I listen to it the more this DAC really shines with jazz music...
post #9 of 89
It would be good to see formal reviews of the Storm Digital, Lite Audio, and Zhaolu DACs. All these new Asian contenders are getting hard to juggle!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Borat
Cool! My DAC is finally getting some well-deserved press.

Thanks for posting that link, Jon L. I actually placed my winning bid on eBay for my Constantine the morning before heading right out the door to go to the last SoCal meet.

I've only heard the Dialogue II and now my Constantine, but they both sound terrific IMO. I'm interested in hearing the Paradisea and Renaissance II.

Plus, you gotta love that transparent acrylic casing

Borat I think we're using the same shelf.
post #10 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L
Anyways, the "Constantine USB" is an interesting development, but I wonder how good the CM102 USB chip used is ..??
Well, I emailed MHdt about USB Constantine.

Good News. The USB version should be available around 7/1.

Bad News. CM102 USB chip does internal USB-to-spdif conversion, not I2S.
post #11 of 89
I had the Dialogue II and I can tell you that the Storm Digital D02 is in a different league. Far better bass and a holographic soundstage but just as non fatigueing as the Dialogue and with a fantastic case as well.
post #12 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydeecee
I had the Dialogue II and I can tell you that the Storm Digital D02 is in a different league. Far better bass and a holographic soundstage but just as non fatigueing as the Dialogue and with a fantastic case as well.
Never heard the Dialogue II so can't really argue with you but according to the designer himself, the Paradisea is a definite upgrade over the Dialogue II. It is his top of the line where the Dialogue II is his bottom of the line. They are not based on the same chip either, Constantine/Paradisea are base on TDA1545 and Dialogue/Renaissance are based on TDA1543.
post #13 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydeecee
I had the Dialogue II and I can tell you that the Storm Digital D02 is in a different league. Far better bass and a holographic soundstage but just as non fatigueing as the Dialogue and with a fantastic case as well.
I hope so ~ the Dialogue II is 150$.. the Storm is 500$
post #14 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeW
I hope so ~ the Dialogue II is 150$.. the Storm is 500$
I don't think I've ever seen a Dialogue II go for $150, more like $200 - 225 + $35 shipping and by the way the Storm D02 is $412 + shipping. Yes, still quite a disparity in price but the build quality of the D02 alone warrants the extra money and I have to agree with jaydeecee on the sonic upgrade. I don't want to sound like I'm bashing the Dialogue II though because I'm not, it's an excellent little DAC for the money but the D02 takes things to a whole new level in both sound and build. That said I'd really like to hear MHDT's other offerings as well, the Paradisea in particular caught my interest but it's pricing tends to be about the same or more than the D02.
post #15 of 89
Well the Paradisea fared pretty good against a DAC that is 2 to 4 times it's price depending if you build it yourself or buy it built! Pretty interesting read, the words used in the Chime don't seem quite as positive as when the same guy wrote about the Paradisea.

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazin...logy_chime.htm
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazin...ratory_dac.htm

What's also interesting is that the modded Squeezebox digital out didn't smoke the USB fed into the DAC.

I think the Paradisea should get more a bit more recognition than it does.
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