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TOUR: MHDT Labs Stockholm V2 NOS DAC tour! PCM56P-J R2R D/A chips, Bendix 2C51 Tube, 24/192 input

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  1. Soundsgoodtome
    This TOUR HAS Finished and impressions are linked on next post down!!!

    Hello Head-Fi community
    , being a part of this site for some time now and expanding my musical journey as well as the different gear I've been able to listen to; I figured closing in on 5000 posts it would be a great time to put together a tour for one of the best discoveries I've made upon joining the hobby years ago. Looking at my list of gear on my profile will show you I've gone through quite a bit sources, phones, amps. Many I've thoroughly enjoyed through the sonic journeys. Up until today, one discovery in the journey I've made are the MHDT line of DACs. With very little coverage of this DAC, I offer to tour a self-purchased Stockholm V2 to share this little known gem of a company.


     
    MHDT Labs, a Taiwan based company, started producing their own multi-bit/R2R DACs in seeking pleasing but accurate sound to the 4 founders of the company. Their earlier models, Constantine and Paradisea, were some of the most musical DACs I've heard but without sacrificing a whole lot in detail and resolution. Fast forward some 10 years and they now offer several models ranging from AD R2R chips to the more common PCM1704.

    The name MHDT comes from an acronym of the original 4 founders and the first letter of their Zodiac signs (Mouse, Horse, Dog, and Tiger). The acronym meaning was later changed to Music Heaven Development Team but given the time of the year and that Lunar New Year is upon us (Feb 7th on this side of the globe), I would prefer the original meaning of the acronyms of the name. :)

    The original focus of the company is to create a musically pleasing sound that catered to the liking of the founders. What it has evolved into is an accurate recreation of sound and timbre of instruments and vocals while remaining musical to ones ears. Searching around the net will yield many reviews from many in the speaker side of audio but using these DACs with headphones has shown the amazing accuracy they're able to reproduce from the digital files.

    A little disclaimer: their website is a bit of a throwback in terms of layout, just part of the company charm I suppose. Most e-mails are answered directly by Jiun himself and I believe the company while creating fantastic sounding DACs, may be a bit slow on the response as it is a smaller company compared to Audio-GD. That should not detract you from the company, however keep in mind if you do make inquiries. Lastly I'm not associated or affiliated with the company, just another enthusiast who really likes the products.
     
      MHDT.png
     
    There are several models in the MHDT Labs lineup and after a recent comparison between the Paradisea 3 (discontinued), Havana 2, and Pagoda, I've come to the conclusion that the Stockholm V2, which can be said to be the latest iteration of the Havana line using the PCM56P-J R2R chip minus the use of the internal opamp, would be a great candidate to tour as not only does it represent the MHDT house sound it also takes the level of clarity above previous models without sacrificing the lineage signature. I also own the Pagoda which does offer a level of clarity above the other units but at the sacrifice of some of the musicality and timbre that the company has well crafted into their signature, consider the Pagoda as the one-off in terms of of fitting into an 'audiophile' signature by straying from the house sound.

    The Stockholm V2 is a non-oversampling tube buffered DAC that can handle files up to an 'audiophile' 24-bit 192khz but downsamples this signal internally to 16-bit which is then turned into an analog signal via the Ti/BB PCM56P-J chips. While the DAC is NOS and tube buffered, the DAC is not slouchy or heavy in color but only hints in warmth and has a sense realism in sound I've not heard in other gear.

    The requirements to join the tour:
    - Be a USA Head-Fi member
    - Have at least 150 posts and have joined H-F prior to 2015 or know me personally / have met in person.

    To sign up, write in a post of this thread with the following:
    - List of gear you'll be using with the DAC including headphones, speakers, amps, and DACs in comparison.
    - Your experience with audio gear and if you've had experience with an R2R DAC previously/currently. 

      -Also list if you're part of the music industry (engineer, musician, etc) or have some musical training on an instrument.

    After sign-up has been closed, I will select 7 members within the list to participate in the tour, 3 have already been chosen and are local Head-Fi members/friends who have shown interest in person. This will make a faster start to the tour and get a few impressions rolling. I do ask that participants refrain from reading the written impressions/reviews until you've made yours, the power of suggestion is quite persuasive.

    Details if you are chosen for the tour:
    All participants must be in the USA, this makes it less complicated logistically. I ask that you write an impression however short or long of your notes or a full review of the unit when you are finished (although not required). Each touring member is required to pay for shipping to the next member in tour, which is to have tracking and full insurance. USPS or FedEx is to be used for shipping. Members keep the unit for 7 days, first day starts day after receiving the unit and item must be shipped on the 7th day to the next member (if 7th day falls on a Sunday it is to be shipped the next day). Upon receiving the unit, tour members are to report condition of the DAC within the same day with a picture of everything received.

    More details in PM upon being chosen for touring. If you have any questions please feel free to PM me.

     
     
    MHDT Labs Stockholm V2:
    non-oversampling R2R DAC with a tube buffer. Complete discreet output with no opamps or digital filters.

    st01.jpg
     
    Comes with GE 5670 stock tube but tour unit will be fitted with Bendix 2C51 NOS tube for better performance.
    st02.jpg
     
    Unit is configured for 115V usage (switchable via jumpers to 230V)
    st03.jpg
     
    Dual BB PCM56P-J with tube output buffer. Design output discrete with no opamps or filters in path.
    st05.jpg
     
    Inputs are up to 24/192khz files via USB, Optical, RCA, or BNC spdif:
    st07.jpg
     
  2. Soundsgoodtome
    Tour is all set!! The schedule is below and details are in a PM to all the participants.
    Let's get this DAC on the road!!

    USATOUR.png
    Chosen members on tour:
    1) @ericr - WA --
    2) @Barra - WA 
        2/24/16 write-up here and here
    3) @Torq - WA
        3/5/16 write-up here
    4) @grizzlybeast - OR
         3/13/16 write-up here
    5) @Greed - CA
         4/4/16 write-up here
    6) @kayandjohn - MI
         4/5/16 write-up here

    April
    7) @JoeDoe - AL
        4/20/16 write-up here
    9) @Luckbad - CA 4/30-5/2
        4/25/16 write-up here
     
     
    10) @Soundsgoodtome - WA
     
     
     
    - Dates are just estimate but should be close in actual touring.

    Drivers can be found here for Windows based systems: (use v1.03) http://dhost.info/mhdtlab/Usbdriver.htm
    - Mac/Linux does not require drivers, just plug and pray.
    - The manual can also be found on page above.
     
    Luckbad likes this.
  3. Soundsgoodtome
    Reserved
     
  4. Barra
    Looking forward to hearing it.
     
  5. Luckbad
    You're the man! After the tour is over, maybe we can do a mini exchange/tour and listen to the Atlantis, Stockholm 2, and Pagoda.
     
  6. Soundsgoodtome
    Not a bad idea! Looking forward to your impressions on the Atlantis, it's really peaked my interest since you mention about the AD chips. Did you get yours yet? Shipping took 3 days to for me, which I believe is a record for receiving anything from overseas.
     
  7. Luckbad
     
    It's in customs right now. May be here this weekend, but probably early next week.
     
  8. grizzlybeast
    To sign up, write in a post of this thread with the following:
    - List of gear you'll be using with the DAC including headphones, speakers, amps, and DACs in comparison.

    Headphone Amp Inventory
     
    ••• Pioneer SA-6500 
    ••• Geek Pule X ∞ 
    ••••• Cavalli Liquid Carbon
    possibly Black Widow (on order) or Trafomatic Head 2 or both

     
    Headphone Inventory
     
    ••••• Pioneer HRM-7 Modded
    ••••• Audeze LCD-2.1 modded
    ••••• JVC DX1000 modded
    ••••• ZMF Omni Red Sandalwood (T50 Mod) 
    ••••• Sennheiser HD650
    not sure what other headphone if any additions

     
    Vs Geek pulse infinity (good dac, sucky headphone amp)
     
     
    - Your experience with audio gear and if you've had experience with an R2R DAC previously/currently. 
    no experience with R2R Dacs. 
     
     
     - Also list if you're part of the music industry (engineer, musician, etc) or have some musical training on an instrument.
    Have been in various studios to record but not really knowledgable as an engineer or anything. 
     
  9. ericr
    Thought I'd chime in to say I'm pretty thankful to live in Seattle and have met Soundsgoodtome as it's unlikely I would have otherwise ever heard an MHDT DAC. But I did - and soon after I became the happy owner of the Paradisea 3 (discontinued) from MHDT Labs and a believer in the hype surrounding R-2R. As a result, my BiFrost Uber fell to disuse in favor of the P3.

    Then Schiit released the Multi-bit upgrade for the Bifrost and as one who really appreciates (but cannot financially justify) the Yggy my Bifrost upgrade order was placed within 24 hours of its release. R-2R goodness for my Uber!

    Now TBH I hesitate a bit (no pun intended) here, for worry they may run me out of town for saying it, but the Bimby has fallen to disuse as well. Yep, it's always right here ready to go (I leave my DACS on all the time), but I almost always connect to the Paradisea 3!

    Don't get me wrong. The Multi-bit upgrade for the Bifrost is a no brainer for $250 and significantly upgraded its performance over the Uber. Just not quite to the level of the P3.

    So thanks Soundsgoodtome, for the honor of the pole position on your tour! While I may not be able to swing a Yggy at this point in my life, I'm thinking by selling off some unused gear I might be able to move-up the MHDT food chain a bit. Assuming the Stockholm 2 impresses, of course.

    -Eric
     
    Luckbad and Soundsgoodtome like this.
  10. doctorjazz
    Fell in the LH Labs rabbit hole, have a Vi Tube DAC coming...was thinking about doing this, but I'll be sad if I decide I like this better, going to stock my head in the sand and not take any chances...:)
     
  11. JoeDoe
    The requirements to join the tour:
    - Be a USA Head-Fi member: CHECK
    - Have at least 150 posts and have joined H-F prior to 2015 or know me personally / have met in person.
      (Sign-up ends February 14th): CHECK

    To sign up, write in a post of this thread with the following:
    - List of gear you'll be using with the DAC including headphones, speakers, amps, and DACs in comparison: MacBook Pro running JRMC20, Bladelius DAC, MAD Ear+, Grado RS1i & GH1
    - Your experience with audio gear and if you've had experience with an R2R DAC previously/currently: Been a head-fier for almost 3 years. Attended several meets and I've owned/auditioned more than 100 pieces of head-fi gear. No prior experience with R2R
      -Also list if you're part of the music industry (engineer, musician, etc) or have some musical training on an instrument: I'm a band director with two music education degrees. I'm also a regular gigging drumset player and self-taught bassist.
     
  12. jaywillin
    looks like i meet the minimum requirements
    i'm in the US and i have at least 150 posts 
     
    headphones :
    HFM he500
    grado rs2
    alessandro ms2i
    custom symphones magnum v6
     
    amps:
    garage1217 project sunrise iii, (by way of soundsgoodtome) varios tubes
    gustard h10 
     
    dac:
    teac ud-301
     
    th3.jpg
     
  13. RCBinTN
    Hi All,
     
    Thanks for the opportunity to audition this DAC.  Sounds like a ton of fun!
     
    I copied (parts of) the post from @grizzlybeast to cover my bases...
     
    1. My home rig is:  MacPro 2014 w/ JRiver21 - AQ Evergreen toslink - Gungnir MB DAC - Wywires Blue XLR interconnects - Bryston BHA-1 amp - Wywires Red - HD800 or LCD-X.  It is a fully balanced rig.
    2. The tested DAC will directly replace the GMB in the rig.  The comparison will be directly between the GMB and the Stockholm V2 DAC.
    3. My past experience with DACs has been:  Schiit Uber BiFrost (DS) - Schiit Gungnir (DS) - Schiit Gungnir MB.  With every step, the SQ improved.  I am very happy with the current SQ.
    4. I am not part of the music industry.  I am an engineer and LSSBB.  I believe in the value of A/B comparisons.
    5. I am, and will always be, somewhat of a musician.  Experience:  recorder, trombone (ages 10-18), acoustic piano (ages 6-58).  I learned to read music when I was six years old :).
     
    Did I miss anything?  
     
    Just a thought, you may find it helpful to focus on a music genre / resolution for the test.  For example, using MP3 or 16/44 or 24/96 music could make a difference.  Also, my headphones have very different sound signatures.  If we limit those variables, the tour may provide more consistent results...
     
    All the best -
    Dick Bailey
     
  14. RCBinTN
     
    Hey let's go bro!!
    Nice to see ya on line.
     
  15. ruthieandjohn
    It is with great humility and excitement that I hereby apply to be a stop in the tour.

    If you agree, I would use the same 10-feature acoustic comparison for three-way rankings of components that I detailed here. .

    I will write a review in which I will spell nearly all the word correctly (though the MHDT website tells you that a color option is "sliver!")

    I have the Schiit Bifrost Uber USB2 with Multibit upgrade, and any number of portable DACs (VAMP VERZA, Sony PHA-1, CEntrance HiFiM8, and Beyerdynamic A p 200) to use as comparison, plus many of the best headphones (Sennheiser HD800, HiFiMAN HE1000, Grado PS1000, Ultrasone Ruthenium Edition 8) and nearly every Grado known to man or beast (PS1000, HP1000/HP1, GS1000, Bushmills X, GH-1, PS500, HF-1, RS1, RS1i, RS2i, RS2e, SR325e, SR3225is, SR325i, SR325, SR225i, SR125e, SR125, SR80e, SR80, SR60i, GR10e, iGrado).

    I am a wannabe of the music industry. Though I have been playing and performing classical piano for 53! Years, I am 4 months into learning jazz piano.

    Please let me know whether I should write this application on a $20 bill (or on the top of a Krell $5,000 amp) and send it to you.

    Thanks!
     
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