Originally Posted by xenithon
Havana owners - anyone find it too soft for their tastes (and can tube rolling alleviate that)? Specifically, do you find it missing any dynamics/punch or a little curbed at the frequency extremes.
BTW, my frame of reference: found the DAC-1 too bright/clinical/sterile; found the Mini-DAC to be about right in terms of warmth/musicality/punch.
I too found my first DAC purchase (a Musiland MD-10) to sound unnaturally detailed and bright. As mentioned in previous reviews ... I found myself constantly wanting to analyze and pay attention to the "sound effects" as opposed to becoming transparently and absolutely involved in the music.
Mind you, this is with my particular audio chain, which ultimately culminates/terminates with the notoriously finicky Grado RS1's ... so who is too know what another set of phones would have yielded with the MD-10? Just didn't work for me ...
The Havana, however, was a revelation in musicality with my particular gear.
No other way to say it. I was suddenly entralled with music again and all of the emphasized, near effects laden features of my previous DAC simply melted into a lovely, very detailed, rich and musical experience.
The same held true for the Paradisea+ that I had prior to the Havana but the Havana took it to the next level in regards to transparency, detail and soundstage while still retaining the very musical qualities of the Paradisea.
I've heard similar descriptions of the DAC1 as those you use above; I've also heard others claim it as sonically perfect to their ear.
What I've found to be most true when reading the 100's of review pages of 100's of different DACs is that generally you are in a NOS/analogue-esque camp, where naturalness ease and realistic detail are preferred ... or you are in the oversampling camp where analytic, near clinical (but still fun because of it) sound and razor sharp detail are preferred.
Myself? I'm in the NOS camp for sure.
I've played live music and listened to live music for two decades and to my ear, the NOS sound is the sound that best represents what I'd hear in a real physical room with real physical players.
But that's just me, so take all that with a healthy pinch of salt.
This game is as fun as it is because of the diversity of opinions and gear ... so to say one thing is the penultimate ... or even the ultimate ... to me is near blasphemous.