MHDT Labs: R-2R NOS Tube DACs
Mar 25, 2021 at 6:17 AM Post #422 of 470

bpiotrow13

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Hi, in addiotion to my previous question on MHDT Orchid/Denafrips Pontus comparison, Hava Anyone changed chip in MHDT into something like DA1541A S1 Single Crown? Doues it make sense i.e. will it improve the sound substantially?
 
Apr 16, 2021 at 6:17 AM Post #426 of 470

Todd R

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I just got a Pagoda DAC. It's only been here for 4 days but I've been running music through it 24/7. I got the upgrade WE 396a tube in it.
I'm using it in my speaker system. It's very detailed but the soundstage is closer to me and the midrange can be shouty and aggressive.

Does this DAC calm down after a while, or is this how it sounds?

I'll put the stock tube in tonight (never tried it. I'm still within my 15 day trial period and really want to like this DAC, but it may be going back if things don't improve.
 
Apr 16, 2021 at 7:33 AM Post #427 of 470

bpiotrow13

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I just got a Pagoda DAC. It's only been here for 4 days but I've been running music through it 24/7. I got the upgrade WE 396a tube in it.
I'm using it in my speaker system. It's very detailed but the soundstage is closer to me and the midrange can be shouty and aggressive.

Does this DAC calm down after a while, or is this how it sounds?

I'll put the stock tube in tonight (never tried it. I'm still within my 15 day trial period and really want to like this DAC, but it may be going back if things don't improve.
It is a tube Dac and it should change significantly while dac and especially tube is burnt in. I do not have Pagoda (have Orchid) but i understand it is less tubey than Orchid. It should be smooth anyway as it is R2R with tube. Try also different tube (eg Mullard).
 
Apr 19, 2021 at 10:06 PM Post #431 of 470

Dawgfish

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Never heard the Pagoda or Orchid but every other MHDT Dac I've heard (quite a few) have all paired well with the Raytheon Windmill Getter 5670. I like it much better than the WE 396A in all the MHDT Dacs I've tried it in. I do find the WE396A can be shouty as you described but still I think your dac may need some burning in. I've never found any MHDT dac to be harsh or not smooth to some extent. Also soundstage has always been a strong suit for all MHDT dacs I have heard. The tube you have also may be bad (I've heard some tubes that just sound like crap even when they measure well). Try the stock GE tube and see how that changes the sound for you or makes any difference.
 
Apr 20, 2021 at 5:36 AM Post #432 of 470

Todd R

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Never heard the Pagoda or Orchid but every other MHDT Dac I've heard (quite a few) have all paired well with the Raytheon Windmill Getter 5670. I like it much better than the WE 396A in all the MHDT Dacs I've tried it in. I do find the WE396A can be shouty as you described but still I think your dac may need some burning in. I've never found any MHDT dac to be harsh or not smooth to some extent. Also soundstage has always been a strong suit for all MHDT dacs I have heard. The tube you have also may be bad (I've heard some tubes that just sound like crap even when they measure well). Try the stock GE tube and see how that changes the sound for you or makes any difference.
I did try the stock tube briefly. I didn't think it sounded very different until I put the WE back in, then I heard the difference. WE was calmer and more laid back. I moved the Pagoda to the headphone system (ZMF Pendant, ZMF Verite closed) and it sounded great so It's staying there.
 
Apr 20, 2021 at 8:19 AM Post #433 of 470

Dawgfish

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Good deal! I highly recommend trying the Raytheon Wind Mill Getter 5670. If you are looking for more bass the RCA 5670 is a good tube to try. The Bendix 6385, Tung-Sol 5670, and WE JW 2C51 are also good choices (as well as your WE 396) but all of these can be extended in the highs if you are sensitive to treble.

I like the Raytheon because the bass and mids are beautiful while the highs are slightly more relaxed than most mentioned above while still having good detail. Soundstage is good also. BTW the absolute best tube I have found in this tube family for soundstage and imaging is the Bendix 6385. It's pretty incredible in that regard actually. Some people find them on the bright side and they are usually pretty expensive so there is that.
 
Apr 27, 2021 at 6:13 PM Post #435 of 470

Soundsgoodtome

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Nice to see this thread have traction until today, been a minute since checking into the Hi-Fi world.

As for the Pagoda being bright, it is their most "detailed" DAC... this tend to make it their brightest offering - although compared to sigma delta dacs, it's still quite more pleasing to the ear. I presume you are listening to lossless tracks that are well recorded.

I would recommend to pair the Pagoda with something with a laid back sound signature in the speaker or headphone output. The Stockholm line is what was more laid back, with a slight pronounced mid (although easily altered with tube rolling). The Philips TDA chip offering was the most laid back. IIRC, the MHDT dacs needed some time to settle in. I used to let them run for a few weeks before judging, also powered them off each day briefly to cycle the tube. I used to use the most economical power cable by Zu Audio out of Utah with good results, power cables make an audible difference on these dacs.
 

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