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MHDT Havana DAC - Page 147

post #2191 of 2421

V-Cap CuTF of 0,22uF/600V & 0,01uF instead of Auricap&Russian silver mica turns Havana into something that makes me a great pleasure to listen. CuTF have more than four hundred hours and differences from 200-300 hours are consistent. I feel like listening (as I said) to another dac ksc75smile.gif. It has deepened this impression compared that some time ago when I first installed CuTF capacitors. They do a very good job here. Everything is changed in the positive way: there is more control, a sense of texture and realism, the bass is quick and firm and the highs are extended and refined with a great sense of AIR!! The midrange turns into something delicate but able to be played very realistically at the same time. The sound has opened beautiful. Havana is capable now for a wide, spacious presentation. This is incredible. smile.gif

I feel like ,..I don't want to change anything from now on. Everything seems to be so perfect for Havana, but I have to say that I listen music exclusively on headphones and I perceive a limiting factor on them. It's not like listening speakers. Still I have a strange impression: I realize that I'm not highlight the entire Havana sound potential...that's it.  But, I'm absolutely convinced that CuTF is also here one of the best options.


Edited by loserica - 3/15/13 at 11:34am
post #2192 of 2421

Just received my Mouser order for the PCMP56PK.  

 

They are printed as:

PCMP56P with a K grade on the right side and a country of origin of MLA

 

The originals are printed as:

PCMP56PK with a J grade on the right side and a country of origin of Japan

 

Hope this helps anyone looking to make an order.

post #2193 of 2421

Question for the Havana experts. My Havana sounds amazing with my speaker setup, especially with the triple-mica GE tube. The priority there is on mellowness and good tone. But when I connect it to one of my headphone amps—Bottlehead Crack and CTH—it sounds indistinct, soft, and low in gain. By comparison, the Centrance Dacport LE—which is a lot brighter and less juicy—sounds much more full and detailed through headphones. Anyone else experience this? Does the Havana have a low output level, or high impedance, or something else?
 

post #2194 of 2421
Quote:
Originally Posted by mink70 View Post

Question for the Havana experts. My Havana sounds amazing with my speaker setup, especially with the triple-mica GE tube. The priority there is on mellowness and good tone. But when I connect it to one of my headphone amps—Bottlehead Crack and CTH—it sounds indistinct, soft, and low in gain. By comparison, the Centrance Dacport LE—which is a lot brighter and less juicy—sounds much more full and detailed through headphones. Anyone else experience this? Does the Havana have a low output level, or high impedance, or something else?
 

 

I'm not consider myself an "Havana expert", I just followed the recipe for success whit this DAC, to be closer to the dream sound. I, Robert, and other owners of this DAC, we listen in large part on headphones (in our case, electrostatic ear-speakers). I have never reported such problems. I use for example only the digital coaxial input and the signal coming out of PC (iMac) is converted usb>>Spdif by an external transport. Which input (usb, coax or optic) you use when heard on headphones?

post #2195 of 2421
Quote:
Originally Posted by loserica View Post

 

I'm not consider myself an "Havana expert", I just followed the recipe for success whit this DAC, to be closer to the dream sound. I, Robert, and other owners of this DAC, we listen in large part on headphones (in our case, electrostatic ear-speakers). I have never reported such problems. I use for example only the digital coaxial input and the signal coming out of PC (iMac) is converted usb>>Spdif by an external transport. Which input (usb, coax or optic) you use when heard on headphones?


Thanks for that. I use a good USB cable out of my Mac into a Stello U2 USB-Spdif converter, then a Wireworld Coax into the Havana. I prefer that sound over USB direct into Havana. At least on the speakers.

post #2196 of 2421
Quote:
Originally Posted by mink70 View Post


Thanks for that. I use a good USB cable out of my Mac into a Stello U2 USB-Spdif converter, then a Wireworld Coax into the Havana. I prefer that sound over USB direct into Havana. At least on the speakers.


It's a good setup. I successfully use the Legato. My eXStatA is made in a purist way, also: there isn't lights, volume potentiometer, the transformer (which is a Hammond 369JX)  is positioned outside/not inside into amplifier, etc. Bottlehead Crack is based on tubes, mine is solid state. From experience (confirmed by others), Havana is synergistic and prefer the "SS" amplifying becouse, ...there are to many tubes. You know what I mean?

So, with my electrostatic setup I perform the volume control from the player (just digital control). I noticed that the sound into headphones was allways undistorted and extremely powerful!

post #2197 of 2421
Quote:
Originally Posted by mink70 View Post

Question for the Havana experts. My Havana sounds amazing with my speaker setup, especially with the triple-mica GE tube. The priority there is on mellowness and good tone. But when I connect it to one of my headphone amps—Bottlehead Crack and CTH—it sounds indistinct, soft, and low in gain. By comparison, the Centrance Dacport LE—which is a lot brighter and less juicy—sounds much more full and detailed through headphones. Anyone else experience this? Does the Havana have a low output level, or high impedance, or something else?
 

 

I'm no expert, either but I have used MHDT DACs for more than a few years; going on five or six? I'm not sure. First a Paradisea, then a Paradisea+, then a Havana (for the longest) and now a Stockholm (v1).

 

I've used them with electrostatics myself (SR-404/SRM-006T) and for the past four years or so, with Grado GS1000's (the headphones I've found to best approximate the speed and soundstage of the Stax set up I had, which I loved but sold in favor of a more flexible dynamic set up). Across the board, with both solid state amps (a Stello HP100 for a couple years) and a Ray Samuel's Raptor tube amp, I've never found the MHDT DACs (especially the Havana and even more so the Stockholm) to sound indistinct or soft. Granted, the v1 Stockholm that I have, has slightly less output than the Havana previously but this simply means a very slight up tick in my amps volume pot; I in fact, find the Stockholm to be a slightly more lively and detailed (spacious) DAC than I do the Havana but I enjoy them equally.

 

I also have had several other DACs in my house, an Electrocompaniet ECD-1, a Neko D100 Mk2 and a Stello DA100 ... and just speaking clinically, both the ECD-1 and Stello DACs were quite a bit more "digital" sounding, more hyper (execrated to my ear) detail and what I consider in so many DACs to have a very unrealistic character to the high frequencies which I just don't like ... especially with Stax ear phones and even more so with the Grado GS1000's. The Neko DAC, to it's credit and though not technically a NOS design, was still very reminiscent of the Havana/Stockholm DACs with perhaps a bit better, tighter and deeper bass.

 

But I certainly never have found the Havana to sound soft or lifeless or anything like that; it could have to do with my earphone choice as the GS1000's are extremely sensitive to source and amp, having about the most detailed voice of any headphone I've ever heard (short of certain Stax I've heard) ... and the high freqs, especially, can become troubling if not amped/sourced correctly. But the Havana has always been one of my favorite DACs for them, even with my Ray Sam Raptor tube amp (which, technically, is a hybrid amp as it uses a solid state power supply cabled to a separate tube output amp stage; it's a very fast but still obviously tube sound).

 

Anyway ... hope you get it suss'd. I know that having multiple sources/amps in my house sort of gets me confused at times and I can spend, literally, DAYS A/B listening. But once I settle on any give set up and leave it in place for more than a couple days? I end up loving it, no matter what it is, really (though in the end, I prefer the NOS sound over up sampling, any day and specifically with my cans).

 

Best...

.joel

post #2198 of 2421
Quote:
Originally Posted by s1rrah View Post

I've used them with electrostatics myself (SR-404/SRM-006T) and for the past four years or so,

 

I've had this setup two years ago. Then Havana was upgraded only with JW 396A (WE) and V-Cap OIMP. The sound was relaxed, and I really enjoyed. After that, I went to SR-404LE and eXStatA (SS). I owned both setups simultaneously and I made some comparations between them. The "Limited Ed." of Stax was clearly better. Instruments were FULL-body... and with 404LE the sound texture was more refined compared with SR-404.

Today, after going through lengthy series of changes (but it was my non-audiophile pleasure: the tunning!) biggrin.gif Havana sounds special with 404LE & eXStatA!!  If I remember correctly, it was about seven / eight upgrade session with Havana; to many, yet...but it was worth.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by s1rrah View Post

I also have had several other DACs in my house, an Electrocompaniet ECD-1, a Neko D100 Mk2 and a Stello DA100 ... and just speaking clinically, both the ECD-1 and Stello DACs were quite a bit more "digital" sounding, more hyper (execrated to my ear) detail and what I consider in so many DACs to have a very unrealistic character to the high frequencies which I just don't like ... especially with Stax ear phones and even more so with the Grado GS1000's. The Neko DAC, to it's credit and though not technically a NOS design, was still very reminiscent of the Havana/Stockholm DACs with perhaps a bit better, tighter and deeper bass.

 

Eugene compared Havana (it was the full-upgraded version with CuTF, Black Gate, K-grade japanese chips, etc.) with other more expensive DACs, including Calyx, Metrum Octave and Berkeley Alpha and the results were surprising. smile.gif

allow me to quote: >>"I cannot understate how much the Havana can improve over its stock incarnation -- I mean many leagues better. Havana owners can probably all agree that it is not a highly detailed or dynamic DAC, but it is clearly the most detailed DAC I've had in my system now and maybe the most dynamic as well. It is really something special when you put very good parts in it. The costs add up (especially the teflon V-Caps!) and well exceed the price of DAC itself, but in the end it can easily stand up to, and I would imagine for many people beat, far more expensive units".<<

Very interesting.

 

 

 

 

post #2199 of 2421
Quote:

Originally Posted by loserica View Post
 

Eugene compared Havana (it was the full-upgraded version with CuTF, Black Gate, K-grade japanese chips, etc.) with other more expensive DACs, including Calyx, Metrum Octave and Berkeley Alpha and the results were surprising. smile.gif

allow me to quote: >>"I cannot understate how much the Havana can improve over its stock incarnation -- I mean many leagues better. Havana owners can probably all agree that it is not a highly detailed or dynamic DAC, but it is clearly the most detailed DAC I've had in my system now and maybe the most dynamic as well. It is really something special when you put very good parts in it. The costs add up (especially the teflon V-Caps!) and well exceed the price of DAC itself, but in the end it can easily stand up to, and I would imagine for many people beat, far more expensive units".<<

Very interesting.

 

I don't doubt this at all. I'm not going to mod my own DAC any time soon, mostly as I don't have the skillz necessary and nor the money at this point; but, I *am* stalking Audigon and various other forums on the chance a mod'd Havana comes up for sale ...

 

Further, and for those who might be considering such themselves? I find the stock Havana and Stockholm for that matter, to be an *exceptional* value for the asking price ... like I said, I've tried a bunch of others, some twice the price and have never thought about changing (going on quite a few years now).

 

Rock.

 

.joel


Edited by s1rrah - 3/16/13 at 9:26am
post #2200 of 2421
Quote:
Originally Posted by loserica View Post

Hi,

 

Who compared directly Auricap with Clarity Cap MR series into Havana? smile.gif I think I will try to replace all Auricaps with them (of 0,1uF capacity)

They should be better from Auricap...

 

I didn't compare Auricaps and Clarity Cap Mr but I don't recommend those (i mean the MR caps) on strategic points as, if widely open, they're not musical. I put 2 on input in my havana because they're famous to open the sound and create a lot of air but my trebles are quite harsh, straights (stiff). There's something not musical in the sound of my havana. I strongly suspect them to create this and I'm going to change them for something silkier, more analogic. I already changed one on C12 some months ago by a Jupiter HT cap and the sound was more pleasant, more analogic.

 

I also have a Mundorf silver/gold/oil cap, and several Silmic on power section inside, so they must have their impact on what i hear but i'm pretty sure harsh trebles and lack of musicality I hear are caused by Mr caps on input.


Edited by mako44 - 3/20/13 at 5:32pm
post #2201 of 2421
Quote:
Originally Posted by mako44 View Post

I didn't compare Auricaps and Clarity Cap Mr but I don't recommend those (i mean the MR caps) on strategic points as, if widely open, they're not musical. I put 2 on input in my havana because they're famous to open the sound and create a lot of air but my trebles are quite harsh, straights (stiff). There's something not musical in the sound of my havana. I strongly suspect them to create this and I'm going to change them for something silkier, more analogic. I already changed one on C12 some months ago by a Jupiter HT cap and the sound was more pleasant, more analogic.

I also have a Mundorf silver/gold/oil cap, and several Silmic on power section inside, so they must have their impact on what i hear but i'm pretty sure harsh trebles and lack of musicality I hear are caused by Mr caps on input.

ok, Thank you. Havana remains unchanged this time. etysmile.gif

post #2202 of 2421
Quote:
Originally Posted by loserica View Post

 

Eugene compared Havana (it was the full-upgraded version with CuTF, Black Gate, K-grade japanese chips, etc.) with other more expensive DACs, including ........Berkeley Alpha and the results were surprising. smile.gif

 

Really ? We all have different Havanas here depending on what we put inside but I actually have the Total Dac A1 at home (which is famous here to be a very good NOS dac http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/totaldac/1.html - worth 3000 euros now) and on my setup A1 is better than Havana. It's not night & day but significative enough, A1 is definitively more pleasant to listen to. As I said previously Clarity MR caps I put on input are really not musical (well I think this is due to Mr caps) and I guess if I change them by something else differences between both dacs would be less important. However I'm not sure it will be enough to make up A1 as it sounds very coherent in many aspects to my ears.

 

Except problem of musicality and harsh trebles I mentionned the other thing I noticed easily when listening back to Havana after A1 is that my Havana is a bit more flat and lifeless. Timbres & presence feelings are as good on both, and even very slightly better on havana (jupiter and silmic effect may be), recordings atmospheres, mids in general, spatiality too. But otherwise I'd say A1 is a bit better on the rest or at least especially : better coherence, balance, micro details, micro trebles that bring life to music, fluency, may be better dynamic ? May be air, attacks and decay are also better on A1 too but I'm not sure i would have to compare more carefully. For example sometimes there's something that hurts my ears on low frequencies or low mids on my dac that disapears with A1, it seems low frequencies, mids and trebles are more homegenous, coherent in their globality (better fluency). I also hear more impact, life in music on most of recordings this may be due to a lack of micro trebles on havana, something Ioserica mentionned when he spoke about the Sanyo oscon.

 

Once again it's not night & day (except the problem regarding Clarity Mr caps) but nor marginal, let's say the difference is as big as if I would put rcore back from havana. The result is that A1 sounds more refined, musical, involving & coherent.

 

I only compared both dacs directly 3 times because it's not practical to do it in my room (I mean now i'm just listening A1 without trying direct comparison), but will try to compare more in details on sunday to higlight differences. I would have liked to compare them once my MR caps are replaced by something else but I won't have the opportunity unfortunately. There still has room to improve it with vcap cutf and black gate for example.

 

Here's my setup : Clarity Mr caps on input, Mundorf silver/gold/oil on C11, Jupiter HT on c12, Silmic 2 on the caps Ioserica/Robert recommend to change by Black Gate (& by the way 3 of them are still the stock ones), and Silmic 1 on power section (don't think it has a big impact on sound). The rest is common at yours I think : rcore, vcap cutf on output, shottky, shinkoh, auricaps, bendix 6385 64'.


Edited by mako44 - 3/22/13 at 8:18am
post #2203 of 2421

Well I made another direct comparison, on Jack Johnson tracks this time, my havana is definitively dryer and less musical than A1. I knew that but it's particularly obvious on direct comparison, my havana sounds "horrible" with JJ tracks. It's sharp & dry, digital. Where A1 is silk, soft (in the good sense), analogic, welcoming. I'm not worry about that as I remember I had the same feeling with MR caps on c12 and it disapeard with Jupiter HT. Don't know if it will make up all the gap comparing to A1 though. I wanted to keep Clarity caps to open the sound but i see how much it was an error now.

 

I have the impression that low frequencies are a bit slower/rounder than A1 (it's slight) however with a more detailed listening there is no more air nor more trebles (there's even a bit more highs on my havana, but they're too harsh). I didn't noticed problems of decay neither.

 

This Total dac is really nice.... I'll try to swap the MR caps with Silver mica before giving it back if I have the time, I'd like to make a direct comparison without them.


Edited by mako44 - 3/22/13 at 11:17am
post #2204 of 2421
Quote:
Originally Posted by mako44 View Post

Except problem of musicality and harsh trebles I mentionned the other thing I noticed easily when listening back to Havana after A1 is that my Havana is a bit more flat and lifeless. Timbres & presence feelings are as good on both, and even very slightly better on havana (jupiter and silmic effect may be), recordings atmospheres, mids in general, spatiality too. But otherwise I'd say A1 is a bit better on the rest or at least especially : better coherence, balance, micro details, micro trebles that bring life to music, fluency, may be better dynamic ? May be air, attacks and decay are also better on A1 too but I'm not sure i would have to compare more carefully. For example sometimes there's something that hurts my ears on low frequencies or low mids on my dac that disapears with A1, it seems low frequencies, mids and trebles are more homegenous, coherent in their globality (better fluency). I also hear more impact, life in music on most of recordings this may be due to a lack of micro trebles on havana, something Ioserica mentionned when he spoke about the Sanyo oscon.


Here's my setup : Clarity Mr caps on input, Mundorf silver/gold/oil on C11, Jupiter HT on c12, Silmic 2 on the caps Ioserica/Robert recommend to change by Black Gate (& by the way 3 of them are still the stock ones), and Silmic 1 on power section (don't think it has a big impact on sound). The rest is common at yours I think : rcore, vcap cutf on output, shottky, shinkoh, auricaps, bendix 6385 64'.

 

@mako44, one question: Have you changed the CuTF (to output)? I remember that you tried the CuTF after a few months ago...

 

Havana increases more just by the latest changes that are very critical for him: Black Gate capacitors (instead Elna), but more importantly CuTF to the input section (and I would add the 0,22uF capacitance). To these are added the japanese K grade chips and probably ROB Tonerex on power section. But the most important changes for this DAC are the BG and V-Cap CuTF capacitors. It need to be reminded the Duelund also, that would be better than CuTf to the output section (Eugene compared them both and it seems that Duelund Cast PIO is a little more natural, more refined..)

post #2205 of 2421

Yes I have the vcap cutf on output (it brought very nice improvements), I gave my full setup at the end of the previous message if you want the details. Once again I'm sure swapping Mr caps by something else, especially vcap cutf, will change a lot of things : I hear exactly the same bad things than on c12 before choosing for Jupiter HT. And I remember how vcap cutf improved the sound comparing to Mundorf s/g/o on output so no doubt it should be a nice step.

 

I may also try Black Gate too if you think they're better on havana (cleaner but I read silmic have better timber shades....). However on Jack Johnson direct comparison it was night & day : A1 was on another class. Anyway MR caps (well I hope this is them) distort eveything so I need to put them away before comparing further.

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