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MHDT Havana DAC - Page 145

post #2161 of 2489

So now you know why Black Gates and Vcaps are so expensive. They are simply the best and you can hear it.

post #2162 of 2489
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimchee411 View Post

I've installed 1000/25 F, 8x 100/25 F, 2x 470/16 FK, 100/50 K, (4) 47/25 VK and they are surely a worthwhile upgrade!  I can see what you guys mean buy "not huge, but significant".  Definitely more open, clear, and direct, better attack, substantially more air, more micro detail, and more accurate timbre, especially percussion.  I was afraid they might sound thin but that is not the case.  The imaging retains 99% of the weight of the Elna Silmic II but much cleaner sounding.  Very musical and engaging!  The *K are new and not burned in so I will see how they evolve.  I would not pay current N series prices to fill the DAC, but what I paid for the F and *K caps I am very happy!  I may slowly add N caps here and there. I can see how in some systems BG might be "analytical" or "hi-fi" sounding but for this warm, organic sounding DAC and in my system, which is all tube (6SN7 + 6550) with Tannoy Turnberry SE, the openness and clarity are much welcomed.

 

I think, considering what you got (Duelund, V-Cap CuTF, BG, ...) you have now the finest Havana from History smile.gif

 

Black Gate (FK, F, N series) are better than Elna Silmic-I & II for this DAC and sound increasingly better. Differences are indeed, substantially quantitatively and qualitatively. I especially remember the micro details & attack and more refined texture, which are incomparably better from the beginning...I think that with these upgrades (including CuTF input caps), Havana is in a special class sound quality&refinement..

My congratulations! wink_face.gif


Edited by loserica - 1/6/13 at 8:01am
post #2163 of 2489
I've just joined head-fi, and the reason is this thread, specifically. I do very little of my listening via headphones, but when I do it is via Stax SR5 driven from a Stax SRA-3S active tube headphone amplifier. I have for many years been active on Audiogon and AudioAsylum under this same handle as here. My hifi systems are built around Zu speakers and Audion tube SET amplification. I'm just beginning to rip my large CD collection and expect to have a Mac-based server up and running within the year. Vinyl and optical disc are my sources now. In prep for adding computer audio, I began auditioning DACs several months ago, from $1000 - $10,000, adding that as someone long working in the software industry I am very skeptical of the intrinsic value of expensive digital products. I am on the other hand very open to relatively inexpensive digital done well and that openness to simple and inexpensive led me to buying a Havana Balanced, blind, some months ago. I've now bought a second one so I have them in both of my systems.

I'm impressed with the zeal for modification evident among the contributors to this thread, and grateful for the wealth of detail aggregated here. At this stage of my life I don't have as much time for complete rebuild of a stock component as I did earlier in my audio life, but I will make a few changes to internal parts. That's not my topic here.

I use the Zu Mission power cord on both my Havanas, along with Zu digital cable terminated BNC. The Havana Balanced on my main system has Bendix 6385 tubes from 1964 production, and the DAC in the second system has NOS Tung Sol 2c51. After break in and one other discovery early, both DACs sound big, bursty, spatially dimensioned, natural and totally beautiful, to the point where I routinely hear guests say "...that's the best digital I ever heard..."

What is the one other change? It's something I haven't seen addressed here in depth yet. When I first received several DACs to evaluate, including my first Havana Balanced, I wasn't impressed with it. Or perhaps I should just say I was disappointed. I don't have a high-res library yet and with 3000 CDs to rip, still climbing, 16/44 is my only priority for the next couple of years. The first batch of DACs I got my hands on were Berkeley Alpha, Auralic ARK+, Havana Balanced and Yulong D18 Sabre. I wanted a range of prices, methods, core chipsets to get calibrated. If you're interested I can post comments on these and others but for now, I'll stick to mhdt.

I had prior experience noticing the acute sensitivity of digital electronics to isolation or coupling, and the surface they rest upon. Out of the box and still with a week of burn-in and listening, Havana was smooth, but just wouldn't wake up. It was dead boring. I bought a range of the acceptable alternate buffer tubes and that improved things somewhat, once I got out of the WE 396 variants. Then I started experimenting with resonance control. My racks on both systems are custom laminated solid maple. Everything analog and my optical decks sound good on the surfaces. The racks are coupled to the floor of a slab house via large brass cones, with 10-16 DB of attenuation of any remaining floor-transmitted vibration courtesy of Herbie's Audio Labs decoupling sliders. It was clear from the start that Havana Balanced doesn'l like to rest on its own feet on any surface -- I tried several surfaces listening through Stax phones as well as Zu Definition 4 speakers. Magnetic levitation made things worse. Herbie's Grungebuster Dots were neutral to the cause. Large brass cones on maple improved things significantly and I almost stopped there. But then I put Havana Balanced on a set of Aurios Media Bearings, to achieve a transformational result. I've had similar results with bearings under certain other gear, so wasn't too surprised, except the magnitude of this change was truly exceptional, even extraordinary. I'm going to make some cap changes, but having dones so in other gear in the past I'll venture to say that this change can exceed a fair combination of accumulated electronic component changes. I also then installed K chips (Malaysian) for some further improvement to resolution and projection.

The other DACs all had their resting preferences too. The Aurilic's engineering included physical design of the case and materials to address resonance and it sounded the same on any surface. It needed no further attention. The Berkeley was conclusively improved in different ways by Aurios bearings and magnetic levitation. The Yulong did not like sitting on anything but its own feet on maple.

I think a variety of bearing types will improve Havana and Havana Balanced, including Symposium Rollerblocks. I am also going to try some of the cheaper Herbie's options like Tenderfeet and Iso-cups, for recommendation to people on more of a budget. Also wood cones, carbon fiber, and laminated multi-materials. I'll also say that bearings or cones under Havana Balanced's feet works better than under the bottom plate directly.

I encourage you all to experiment with the physical supports under your Havana and Havana Balanced DACs. Different options will sound different. I find this DAC to be very sensitive to what it rests on and some materials take it backwards, if you have anything like Aurios Media Bearings around, the results of using them may be very surprising in a positive way, to you.

Phil
post #2164 of 2489

Nice comments. Welcome...

post #2165 of 2489
Quote:
Originally Posted by robeeert1 View Post

Remember upper range doesn't always mean better, silver/gold sounds perfect in Havana but take a risk and install SGIO.

I also tried Elna Silmic II 3300uF and compared them with  Elna ROB Tonerex 3300uF. (PS Big filtering caps 3300uF are better than 2200uF in the case of Havana)

Tonerex is more natural and I liked them much better, so lower grade doen't mean worse,

but the best cap choice is Black Gate FK series. Elna Silmic II is not as half good as BG "Fk", "F", "NX" series.

 

I found this old post. Yes, It is very true: BG "Fk", "F", "N" series are the best choice for Havana, clearly better from Elna Silmic I & Silmic II and Cerafine! And what enjoyable sound have those Blake Gate!

After the minimum hours of burning-in, audio layering, the separation of instruments&sound-stage and the transparency (texture) are gorgeous (in collaboration with CuTF, obvious..)

 

I LOVE them. smile.gif


Edited by loserica - 1/12/13 at 7:01am
post #2166 of 2489

Because there are many who use V-Cap CuTF, I think it is important what is noted here:

 

"

  • All V-Cap series use 18 AWG solid copper leads. Because of the nature of solid core copper, extra care should be exercised when bending the leads for installation.
  • Leads should be kept as short as possible, and the caps should be mounted securely. 3M double-sided foam tape works well, as does nylon ties for the heavier parts. If using nylon ties, secure towards the outer edges of the part vs, the central portion of the winding, and avoid over-tightening.
  • Although the V-Caps are not polarized, many have found it best to keep the lead orientation relative to the innermost and outermost foil consistent between left and right channels. Placement of the outer foil for each V-Cap series is listed below. Note that these are general guidelines, and there may be instances where reversing the caps may prove to be preferred in your system.
 
For CuTF & TFTF series:
 
  • The green lead indicates the outermost foil, and should be connected to the lowest impedance path to ground. Another way to identify outer foil is the writing on the label flows towards the outer foil.
  • When used in amplifiers, outer foil should be connected towards the plate of first stage
  • If using as a bypass cap to ground, connect green lead to ground.
  • If using as a bypass cap from a signal to B+, connect green lead to B+.
  • If using in a feedback position, connect green lead towards the output ".

 

http://www.v-cap.com/installation-notes.php

post #2167 of 2489

As Xmas has just passed some spare time on my hands to test some 6385 tubes i purchased of EBay, i purchased these about 3 months ago been waiting for some time to test and burn them in and give my opinion on these Russian tubes.

All tubes where left to burn in for 20 hours then 40 hours, now i no these tubes are cheap to buy so here goes.

 

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/6N3P-E-2C51-6385-ECC42-Russian-double-triode-NIB-NOS-Tubes-2-pcs-/280758505664?pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item415e82d0c0

 

These where ok, for the money better than some 5670 4 times the price.

 

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/USSR-6N3P-E-2C51-6385-ECC42-double-triode-tubes-NEW-NOS-QTY-2pcs-/320915190672?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ab8093390

 

These where not good, the sound of strings or percussion sounds just feel off the end no room to breath with this tube.

 

Now i no this is not a perfect world, but if i was to compare these to my Bendix 6385 on a score bored them the Bendix would be a 9 out of 10, these Russian tubes above would be a low 2 out of 10.

They did not give the sparkle of sound or depth to the sound stage, in closing do not waste money on these.

post #2168 of 2489

    Quote:

Originally Posted by robeeert1 View Post

Vcap 0.01uF CuTF used as inputs in Havana compared to Russian silver mica play closer to your face and sound richer with incredible precision, extremely well separated instruments.

They have much better timbre, refinement and fun of listening. Silver Micas play flat in comparison. The articulation of CuTF is much better (stronger) and you'll hear a better dynamics.

It's one of the best upgrades. This is after 200h.

 

I have only twenty-thirty hours with CuTF (to the input stage) and it is too early to make elaborated judgments, but I would not be able to return to Silver Mica!! With CuTF, instruments are credible in terms of realism. Resolution and the micro-details are also improved and I think these issues will improve gradually with their burning-in. It seems to be one of the best upgrades for Havana, without reservation. smile.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimchee411 View Post

Loserica, congrats on the .01 CuTF's.  If you find a big improvement with those, I highly recommend getting the 0.22 to match.

This DAC is really starting to separate itself from all other DACs I've tried.  I believe the PS Audio PWD Mk II has nothing on it now.

 

I ordered the 0,22uF capacity and the third 0,01 CuTF. In about two weeks the CuTF "set" will be almost completely and I think, ...here is the end of the road with this DAC (for me)! ksc75smile.gif

post #2169 of 2489

There is a new MHDT DAC out, using AK4396.

 

A head-fi thread got started at:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/650126/mhdt-steeplechase-nos-tube-24-192-dac-thoughts#post_9143290
 

Any Havana user having tried this new DAC yet? and if so, how does it compare? 

post #2170 of 2489
Quote:
Originally Posted by 213Cobra View Post

I've just joined head-fi, and the reason is this thread, specifically. I do very little of my listening via headphones, but when I do it is via Stax SR5 driven from a Stax SRA-3S active tube headphone amplifier. I have for many years been active on Audiogon and AudioAsylum under this same handle as here. My hifi systems are built around Zu speakers and Audion tube SET amplification. I'm just beginning to rip my large CD collection and expect to have a Mac-based server up and running within the year. Vinyl and optical disc are my sources now. In prep for adding computer audio, I began auditioning DACs several months ago, from $1000 - $10,000, adding that as someone long working in the software industry I am very skeptical of the intrinsic value of expensive digital products. I am on the other hand very open to relatively inexpensive digital done well and that openness to simple and inexpensive led me to buying a Havana Balanced, blind, some months ago. I've now bought a second one so I have them in both of my systems.

I'm impressed with the zeal for modification evident among the contributors to this thread, and grateful for the wealth of detail aggregated here. At this stage of my life I don't have as much time for complete rebuild of a stock component as I did earlier in my audio life, but I will make a few changes to internal parts. That's not my topic here.

I use the Zu Mission power cord on both my Havanas, along with Zu digital cable terminated BNC. The Havana Balanced on my main system has Bendix 6385 tubes from 1964 production, and the DAC in the second system has NOS Tung Sol 2c51. After break in and one other discovery early, both DACs sound big, bursty, spatially dimensioned, natural and totally beautiful, to the point where I routinely hear guests say "...that's the best digital I ever heard..."

What is the one other change? It's something I haven't seen addressed here in depth yet. When I first received several DACs to evaluate, including my first Havana Balanced, I wasn't impressed with it. Or perhaps I should just say I was disappointed. I don't have a high-res library yet and with 3000 CDs to rip, still climbing, 16/44 is my only priority for the next couple of years. The first batch of DACs I got my hands on were Berkeley Alpha, Auralic ARK+, Havana Balanced and Yulong D18 Sabre. I wanted a range of prices, methods, core chipsets to get calibrated. If you're interested I can post comments on these and others but for now, I'll stick to mhdt.

I had prior experience noticing the acute sensitivity of digital electronics to isolation or coupling, and the surface they rest upon. Out of the box and still with a week of burn-in and listening, Havana was smooth, but just wouldn't wake up. It was dead boring. I bought a range of the acceptable alternate buffer tubes and that improved things somewhat, once I got out of the WE 396 variants. Then I started experimenting with resonance control. My racks on both systems are custom laminated solid maple. Everything analog and my optical decks sound good on the surfaces. The racks are coupled to the floor of a slab house via large brass cones, with 10-16 DB of attenuation of any remaining floor-transmitted vibration courtesy of Herbie's Audio Labs decoupling sliders. It was clear from the start that Havana Balanced doesn'l like to rest on its own feet on any surface -- I tried several surfaces listening through Stax phones as well as Zu Definition 4 speakers. Magnetic levitation made things worse. Herbie's Grungebuster Dots were neutral to the cause. Large brass cones on maple improved things significantly and I almost stopped there. But then I put Havana Balanced on a set of Aurios Media Bearings, to achieve a transformational result. I've had similar results with bearings under certain other gear, so wasn't too surprised, except the magnitude of this change was truly exceptional, even extraordinary. I'm going to make some cap changes, but having dones so in other gear in the past I'll venture to say that this change can exceed a fair combination of accumulated electronic component changes. I also then installed K chips (Malaysian) for some further improvement to resolution and projection.

The other DACs all had their resting preferences too. The Aurilic's engineering included physical design of the case and materials to address resonance and it sounded the same on any surface. It needed no further attention. The Berkeley was conclusively improved in different ways by Aurios bearings and magnetic levitation. The Yulong did not like sitting on anything but its own feet on maple.

I think a variety of bearing types will improve Havana and Havana Balanced, including Symposium Rollerblocks. I am also going to try some of the cheaper Herbie's options like Tenderfeet and Iso-cups, for recommendation to people on more of a budget. Also wood cones, carbon fiber, and laminated multi-materials. I'll also say that bearings or cones under Havana Balanced's feet works better than under the bottom plate directly.

I encourage you all to experiment with the physical supports under your Havana and Havana Balanced DACs. Different options will sound different. I find this DAC to be very sensitive to what it rests on and some materials take it backwards, if you have anything like Aurios Media Bearings around, the results of using them may be very surprising in a positive way, to you.

Phil

 

Welcome, Phil, and thanks for your observations!  Indeed, resonance control is a big aspect that hasn't really been addressed in this thread.  I admittedly haven't done much in terms for feet/platforms with this DAC and my systems in general, though the changes I have made have been certainly noticeable.  I am planning on trying various metal and wood spikes and will eventually get thick maple platforms for my electronics.  Currently I am using some cheap bearing type metal feet I got off eBay.  Not sure what kind of difference they make but will do some testing.  Question for you: how do you attach the feet/spikes/pods to the component?  I have used thin double sided tape but am thinking maybe thin dab of Blu Tac to provide better coupling and energy transfer between the component to the footers.

 

 

On another note, I got my hands on a pair of NOS 1966 Bendix 6385 at an amazingly good price and tried one out last night.  WOW, unquestionably the best tube I've used in this DAC.  So much detail and separation compared to any other tube, even the Bendix 2C51.  Unbelievable bass as well and a vibrant, musical sound across the spectrum.

 

There is an eBay fixed price listing that went up today for NOS 1964 6385 at $150.  "More than 10 available" -- get em while they last.  I bought 2 of those as well.  It is a decent price for a tube that is hard to find.  I know because I've been looking for months!  Even though it's double what I paid for the 1966 pair I currently have I still think it's well worth the cost because it's that good.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bendix-6385-2C51-396A-5670-6N3P-NOS-NIB-/281062535003?pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item4170a1ef5b

post #2171 of 2489
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimchee411 View Post

 

Welcome, Phil, and thanks for your observations!  Indeed, resonance control is a big aspect that hasn't really been addressed in this thread.  I admittedly haven't done much in terms for feet/platforms with this DAC and my systems in general, though the changes I have made have been certainly noticeable.  I am planning on trying various metal and wood spikes and will eventually get thick maple platforms for my electronics.  Currently I am using some cheap bearing type metal feet I got off eBay.  Not sure what kind of difference they make but will do some testing.  Question for you: how do you attach the feet/spikes/pods to the component?  I have used thin double sided tape but am thinking maybe thin dab of Blu Tac to provide better coupling and energy transfer between the component to the footers.

 

 

On another note, I got my hands on a pair of NOS 1966 Bendix 6385 at an amazingly good price and tried one out last night.  WOW, unquestionably the best tube I've used in this DAC.  So much detail and separation compared to any other tube, even the Bendix 2C51.  Unbelievable bass as well and a vibrant, musical sound across the spectrum.

 

There is an eBay fixed price listing that went up today for NOS 1964 6385 at $150.  "More than 10 available" -- get em while they last.  I bought 2 of those as well.  It is a decent price for a tube that is hard to find.  I know because I've been looking for months!  Even though it's double what I paid for the 1966 pair I currently have I still think it's well worth the cost because it's that good.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bendix-6385-2C51-396A-5670-6N3P-NOS-NIB-/281062535003?pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item4170a1ef5b

 

Well done smile.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimchee411 View Post

I took these as pics I installed the 0.22 300V CuTF.

 

700

 

I only listened 30 minutes or so after making the change, but CuTF definitely shows its magic here!  Obviously things will open up substantially through the long break-in period, but straight out of the box there is a palpable improvement in micro detail, air, clarity, and precision.  I was not sure how much difference the three 0.01uF CuTF made as I was going through a number of changes at the time, but this one is undoubtable, IMO.  Note that I was using Jupiter Vintage Tone here, which does have a... hmm, somewhat warm, creaminess to it.  It sounds indeed quite "vintage" -- hard to describe.  It would be great for an electric guitar amp, but bringing out the nuances in all the pieces of an orchestra is not its forte.  So if you have something like a Clarity MR the contrast might not as be as stark, but nevertheless the character of whatever cap you put there seems to come out at this position.

 

I felt what you said here, also. But takes time for burning-in (they are CuTF..) Mine 0,22 CuTF is of 600V, therefore is slightly larger - but perfect fit.

 


Edited by loserica - 4/15/13 at 6:36am
post #2172 of 2489
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimchee411 View Post


On another note, I got my hands on a pair of NOS 1966 Bendix 6385 at an amazingly good price and tried one out last night.  WOW, unquestionably the best tube I've used in this DAC.  So much detail and separation compared to any other tube, even the Bendix 2C51.  Unbelievable bass as well and a vibrant, musical sound across the spectrum.

 

There is an eBay fixed price listing that went up today for NOS 1964 6385 at $150.  "More than 10 available" -- get em while they last.  I bought 2 of those as well.  It is a decent price for a tube that is hard to find.  I know because I've been looking for months!  Even though it's double what I paid for the 1966 pair I currently have I still think it's well worth the cost because it's that good.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bendix-6385-2C51-396A-5670-6N3P-NOS-NIB-/281062535003?pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item4170a1ef5b

 

Nice find, congratulations! That Bendix is a good tube, some day you'll find much better tube, believe me. wink.gif

post #2173 of 2489
Quote:
Originally Posted by robeeert1 View Post

 

Nice find, congratulations! That Bendix is a good tube, some day you'll find much better tube, believe me. wink.gif

 

Thanks.  Do you mean you think there's a better tube out there than the 1960's Bendix 6385, or better deals?

post #2174 of 2489
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimchee411 View Post

 

Thanks.  Do you mean you think there's a better tube out there than the 1960's Bendix 6385, or better deals?


There is a better tube out there. The deals were great especially the first one. (1966).


Edited by robeeert1 - 2/10/13 at 10:20am
post #2175 of 2489

Hi, i have been using some 6386 GE 5 star which are a great tube to look at to, i love the bendix 6385 and the 2C51. I like the 2C51 for good hard rock dance music and the 6385 for when more space is needed in the sound.
 

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