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MHDT Havana DAC - Page 5

post #61 of 2502
Quote:
Originally Posted by rad212 View Post
Giant Killers are pieces of gear that cost a little $$ and sound better than much more expensive $$$ pieces of gear ie, a DAC that cost $800 sounding as good as those costing $2000. Like the statements in this review of the Paradisea:

mhdt paradisea


Just like I said in my post- for my money the Rega Apollo is a far better value to me than the Havana. I really thought the Havana, a dedicated NOS tube DAC with no Op Amps and no digital filters at $800 would trounce a CD player like the Apollo costing $995....
Hi Rad, i don't understand that you consider the Paradisea+ like a Giant Killer but not the Havana being better than Paradisea+.

What is your impression of Habana+WA6 combination? valvule+valvule sounds good? or better a ss dac?

Thanks.
post #62 of 2502
Great looking DAC Towert7, glad you are hearing improvements over your Paradisea+. Which input have you been using it with?
post #63 of 2502
Quote:
Originally Posted by btbluesky View Post
I've just tested the 4 files, 30 secs, and 1 mins. They're all okay with my Havana. Seems you were just unlucky.
Well, it's too bad you're the only one who could test the Havana with those samples. I would have liked to understand if the problem was localized to some units or some setups.
For instance, I was running the DAC on 100V/50Hz while I assume you're in the US? (120V/60Hz).

Also, maybe my amp (Lehmann BCL) has wide bandwidth and is picking that noise and amplifying it more? I guess this is high frequency noise outside audio range but through some amplification circuits, it could result in noise back in the audio range. c.f. post from Dan Lavry which I read through an other thread recently:

PSW Recording Forums: Dan Lavry => Why do Non Oversampling Filterless DAC sound so good

"A DA without a filter introduces image energy that is nearly as high as the energy in the audible range. In the case of non up-sampling DA, the audio content is centered at the sample rate, twice the sample rate, 3 times…. And it goes up to very high frequencies. The amplitude decay curve is rather slow…

Assuming that you could not hear above 22KHz, you say that the image energy will not be heard. But in fact, the DA output signal, both the audio and the images at frequencies above audio must go through some electronics before reaching your ears. Such electronics may be a preamp, a power amp, a speaker, a headphone amp and a headphone… or in a music production environment the signal may be sent to an analog mixer…

It is one thing to ask an amp, or a speaker (or whatever gear is there) to “process” a signal with energy content that is limited to 20Hz-20KHz (or say 10Hz-50KHz) accurately. It is another thing to expect accurate results when the signal contains relatively high energy at high frequencies. When you try to do that, you will find out that the image energy interferes with the electronics in many way. It degrades the transfer curve, which causes inter modulation at all frequencies including the audible ones, it can ruins circuit badly.
...
I could say much more, but those reasons are more then enough to explain that non up sampling has problems, and why no filter is bad news.

Regards
Dan Lavry"
post #64 of 2502
Different type of DAs try to achieve different things. Some do super detail and linear, other do minor euphoric coloration, some try to be ultra fast transient, other doesn't....Depends on what you do with it, one DA can be bad in an env that doesn't suit it, and w/ a diff objective.

The fact is, there are at least 10-20 small vendors out there who have NOS products (with no digital filters, and/or minimal analog filters) that have won the hearts and ears of alot of people.

To dismissed something out right simply because it doesn't follow a theory that is believed to be absolute (not that anything in this world is absolute), is to me unscientific.

Even Albert Einstein needed to revised his theories several times.
And Newton stuff can be dead wrong when apply to atomic/quantum level.

Oh BTW, I tested your files with Havana, and the Trafomatic Head ONE-A SET TC amp with extreme detail+ DT880 250ohm.
post #65 of 2502
Quote:
Originally Posted by btbluesky View Post
To dismissed something out right simply because it doesn't follow a theory that is believed to be absolute (not that anything in this world is absolute), is to me unscientific.
I agree with this. I actually read about potential issues with NOS/filterless DACs only after having noticed the problem on the DAC. It got interesting when I read this actual post from Dan Lavry is it does describe exactly what I observed (like the opening bells on k2hd track with significant non-harmonic / non-pleasant distortion on one of the channels).

Well, I am happy for you that the DAC is working fine. Can you confirm though that you did listen to the same tracks with a "standard" DAC? I am not questioning hearing, but not knowing the tracks before hand, you might not be able to pick up the problem without comparing to a reference... I knew the tracks well so it jumped at me.

arnaud.
post #66 of 2502
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post
I agree with this. I actually read about potential issues with NOS/filterless DACs only after having noticed the problem on the DAC. It got interesting when I read this actual post from Dan Lavry is it does describe exactly what I observed (like the opening bells on k2hd track with significant non-harmonic / non-pleasant distortion on one of the channels).

Well, I am happy for you that the DAC is working fine. Can you confirm though that you did listen to the same tracks with a "standard" DAC? I am not questioning hearing, but not knowing the tracks before hand, you might not be able to pick up the problem without comparing to a reference... I knew the tracks well so it jumped at me.

arnaud.
If designed and built right ... I can see no reason why lack of filters would result in random distortion.

Don't take this the wrong way ... just off the top of my head.

I'd love to read any material you might have that might support such explanations ...

Thanks for the provocative thread/issue ...

As stated via PM ... my Paradisea+ ... also a completely NOS/filterless DAC ... has produced nothing but faithful representations of whatever I play through it.

In the spirit of fun commentary ... I will say this ... those tracks suffering from errors in production (clipping, etc. at the studio level) are very obvious when listening through the Paradisea ...

Those tracks recorded well, in turn, are reproduced very well ...

Just some thoughts ...

Best.

.joel
post #67 of 2502
Quote:
Originally Posted by s1rrah View Post
I'd love to read any material you might have that might support such explanations ...
Well, it's standard theory for A/D D/A, any textbook on signal processing discusses aliasing. I do not know about electronic circuit design though, and the impact of feeding a given preamp stage with high frequency noise beside the audio signal itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s1rrah View Post
Thanks for the provocative thread/issue ...
I was trying to be more constructive than provocative, but apparently, it's being perceived as such. I wish this DAC could have worked in my setup, as I said I actually loved the sound apart from that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by s1rrah View Post
In the spirit of fun commentary ... I will say this ... those tracks suffering from errors in production (clipping, etc. at the studio level) are very obvious when listening through the Paradisea ...

Those tracks recorded well, in turn, are reproduced very well ...

Just some thoughts ...

Best.

.joel
Hahaha, amen to that, this is the reason why I provided a sample of "This is K2HD sound". If you have an issue with that particular recording / mastering, well, I don't know what to say! This is one of the best audiophile CDs I have ever come across. Frankly speaking, I am not a big fan of these K2HD CDs as far as the content, but suspecting the quality of the recording / mastering is barking at the wrong tree imho. But, I think you mentioned this in the spirit of fun commentary, you did not mean you discredit my observations. I do agree though that problems can often reside in the recording rather than the source. Just not the case here, that's for sure (as I said, the CD sounds prestine out of any other DAC I have tried).

Thanks again for testing this out anyhow,

arnaud.
post #68 of 2502
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post
I have had a mixed experience with the Havana...

The good part: MHDT Lab. I do not think I have ever gotten better customer support than with Lin-Li and Jiun-Hsien.

How it started: I expressed some interest for the Havana through email exchange with MHDT Lab. Next thing I knew, a package from China was knocking at my door. I HAD NOT EVEN PAID FOR THE UNIT!! Actually, I believe that part was a mistake, but Lin-Li did not freak out or anything, he was patient.

Meanwhile, the bad part of the story comes... Unlucky me, I happen to have several audio tracks that just did not sound right with the Havana. To cut the story short, I would hear significant hiss and "crackle" on the right channel when the music balance was toward the left channel (thus right channel supposed to be quieter).

We worked through various potential culprits like a bad tube (fortunately I had a spare TungSol, and it exhibit the same issue), computer related issue (but this happened regardless of the input and on both my imac and PC laptop), faulty DAC (I flipped the left and right channel DACs but that did not solve / flip the problem).

Next big surprise, I receive a SECOND unit by mail (I still haven't even paid for the first one)! Talk about no compromise customer support! Unfortunately, this time, the noise was on the left channel.

I finally sent both unit backs to MHDT lab, sadly because apart from this issue, I actually truly love the sound of the DAC (it beats the cr*p out of my Black Cube Linear built-in DAC). Very detailed, smooth, deep soundstage, honest bass, dynamic, basically lifelike.

Now comes my 2 cents question to you Havana owners... If you happen to have any of the following audio tracks, do you notice anything like I did?

1. "Touch" from Christopher Hardy on "This is K2 HD Sound": the opening bell sounds highly distorted on the right channel (like it's going through a guitar distortion unit or something!).

2. Beginning of "Monsoon" on Jack Johnson's "Sleep through the static": the hiss and "crackeling" noise is clearly present on the right channel and modulated by the left channel signal (intermittent keyboard).

3. I have a few others but that's an old french audio test CD so nobody is going to have that... I can provide the wav files to anyone who wants them though...

Note that I created "flipped version of the tracks" with left and right channels inverted. I thought that maybe that would make the hiss / distortion switch to the left channel. But that was not the case, still the problem is heard on the right channel (with the original DAC unit they sent).

When I sent the units back to MHDT (and they reimbursed me the shipping fees by paypal! Kudos MHDT), I included and audio CD with the above excerpts. I haven't heard from them (I feel for them though, as they spent so much time for my case already).

My conclusion at this time, is that unfortunately, there might be a flaw in the design philosophy of the DAC... In particular, I can imagine you can have a more transparent signal by including the minimum amount of processing after the D/A conversion, such as skipping low pass filtering. But in my experience with the Havana, I have a feeling the low level distortion / noise heard on the right channel (or left depending on the unit somehow) might be an illustration of the spurious noise not filtered by the DAC. But man, I would be curious to see measuremements on the DAC because I could CLEARLY hear the problem, so we're not talking -80dB noise here, maybe -20dB at most!

Anyhow, Havana owners, I am hoping to hear your experience!

Arnaud.
Hey,

Today I got my Havana and my first thought was: It sounds heavenly.

But I wanted to test the songs you mentioned. So I took Jack Johnson's "Monsoon" in FLAC and played it. So I cannot hear any distortion at all. I even took my headphones off and put just the right cup onto my ear and turned up the volume very high (as at the beginning the right channel is almost silent).

This was tested with USB -> Havana -> standard 1.5m cable -> Trafomatic Experience Head One -> GS-1000

But I can tell you that I hear much more details/soundstage/smoothness than going through my modded iBasso D2. For example one of the first songs I played was "Fire Above, Ice Below" from Agalloch. And I noticed for the first time the guitarist touching the strings not only the guitar tone itself. I don't know exactly how to describe it... but there are a lot of details I never heard before, while it maintains a very musical sound, quite warm and full. I wouldn't call it a analytical.

At the moment with about 100h of burn in of the Head One and 4h of the Havana I'm really happy with the Havana/Trafomatic Head One/GS-1000 combination.

As soon as I'll have more time (don't know if it will be this week) I'll post a more detailed review of both.
post #69 of 2502
100% agree. I'm using Havana/Trafomatic Head One too. The DT880 is being pushed to the limit, the sound is so smooth, detail and natural, I actually sometime prefer the DT880 instead of my main bookshelf.

The headphone setup was suppose to achieve the goal of not disturbing my family when I want some good sound. Now I use my headphone when there are no one around...funny....
post #70 of 2502
Quote:
Originally Posted by MONVMENTVM View Post
Hey,

Today I got my Havana and my first thought was: It sounds heavenly.

But I wanted to test the songs you mentioned. So I took Jack Johnson's "Monsoon" in FLAC and played it. So I cannot hear any distortion at all. I even took my headphones off and put just the right cup onto my ear and turned up the volume very high (as at the beginning the right channel is almost silent).

This was tested with USB -> Havana -> standard 1.5m cable -> Trafomatic Experience Head One -> GS-1000

But I can tell you that I hear much more details/soundstage/smoothness than going through my modded iBasso D2. For example one of the first songs I played was "Fire Above, Ice Below" from Agalloch. And I noticed for the first time the guitarist touching the strings not only the guitar tone itself. I don't know exactly how to describe it... but there are a lot of details I never heard before, while it maintains a very musical sound, quite warm and full. I wouldn't call it a analytical.

At the moment with about 100h of burn in of the Head One and 4h of the Havana I'm really happy with the Havana/Trafomatic Head One/GS-1000 combination.

As soon as I'll have more time (don't know if it will be this week) I'll post a more detailed review of both.
Glad it's working for you! MHDT said it could possibly be the voltage difference (unit for designed for 110V/220V while Japan is 100V). I just wish they had a fix for me...

As for the overall sound quality of this DAC, I agree it's very detailed while not sounding in the least bit digital.

Send me a P.M if you want to try the other tune (K2HD CD). The problem was more obvious in this case because distortion of bell sound is easy to pick up. But again, it looks like only the units were performing wrong only in my system.

arnaud.
post #71 of 2502
Arnaud, have you tried to see if you get the same problem with another non-oversampling DAC?
post #72 of 2502
To those who might be interested:

...



...

Tubeworld.com has a cryo treated NOS Bendix 6385 for sale for the rather insane price of 375.00 US:

https://www.tubeworld.com/6005.htm

...


Search that page on, "6385" and you'll find it.

Considering I've passed on opps to pay 80 bucks for the same tube in the past ...

I'm certainly not going to spend that sort of money on a Bendix 6385 but maybe your crazy enough too.

:-)

So, FYI to you (and anyone else looking for the much bally-hood Bendix 6385 tube).

I am only the messenger.
post #73 of 2502
@ARnaud and others...

I have received a MHDT Labs Havana DAC in the mail as of Oct. 21 ... 10am or so.

And I've spent a few hours listening ( it appears to be a brand new unit ) ...

And there's no distortion, in either channel, that I can discern.

It's a bit more airy and spatious sounding than my tried and true Paradisea+ ... a bit more "refined" and articulate ...

But there is no distortion as per the OP's original comments.

???

Dunno.

I'm liking it more and more every hour I listen.



...

Here's some recent shots (well, from today and no later):

...



...




...



...

More later and as I have time to demo the unit.

But for now ...

It sounds like my Paradisea+ ... but with a bit more detail, "air", and seperation among intruments.

...

(Thanks MHDT!)

post #74 of 2502
Wow it has a slightly different design... nice!

Btw. I still haven't paid mine. I asked them almost 2 weeks ago about their paypal account, so I can finally finish the deal... but didn't get any answer until now... weird.
post #75 of 2502
does anybody know if there will be a havana without the tube buffer? like the constantine was the paradisea without tube buffer ?
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