Originally Posted by kimchee411
No, I'm not saying it sounds better, but I'm not saying it sounds worse, so I wouldn't necessarily "put my money" on the Pagoda. What I'm saying is that taste comes into play and it's not just the number of bits that matter. I also didn't know the Pagoda is R-2R, which is cool. For me, the Havana is proven in matching my preferences and ability to upgrade extensively to become a very high quality DAC. With the mods it is beyond great for the money, it is flat out great.
Yes, NOS means "Non Over Sampling" but what I was referring to is the Japanese PCM56P-K chips pulled from old CD players that several of us here have found to sound better than more current production Malaysian K grade chips. Point being that older doesn't mean inferior.
Yep, it's about personal preference and system synergy. Havana sounded good on my electrostatic Stax system but maybe sometimes too relaxed.
I personally feel the need to revitalize the sound, which can be normal at a time. It's a different approach to implementation and another sound, somewhat complementary to "NOS" dac. Here it is not "just" about components and about its quality, ..K-grade Japanese chips are great!! they deserve taken into account when doing an upgrade.
Of some financial considerations, I kept Havana and I put off the replacement with DAC7, although I still have in mind the AR sound. Do not do this if you cannot keep more DACs in your systems!
That wide sound and beautiful stereo image or excellent bass extension even on headphones. Medium frequencies are extensive and covers the whole spectrum of sound and have that impact, that firmness and strength: very good sound-stage!
Still, I like something more Havana on treble, it render better high frequencies in the upper range. Here this converter is the king (should note that I haven't felt this before and that only Rike S-Cap capacitors gave me this change on highs in this manner. Before I felt a lack of treble and even V-Cap CuTF after they had over a thousand hours of burning were unable to do so ). It is now a very difficult decision to sell Havana because it has something special in terms of tonality. AR DAC7 was slightly different and it had his own refinement, I must say it sounded so natural in terms of sound texture and very relaxed too..
PS: Havana react so positively to the upgrade of operating system. Now I use OS X Mavericks 10.9 (Apple iMac with ART Legato-I) and as player Pure Music.
Edited by loserica - 11/24/13 at 7:54am