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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. Luckbad
     
    In short, I'm very treble sensitive and I love mids and bass. With the same tube, the Pagoda is brighter with a deeper soundstage. The Atlantis has good width, but not as much depth with the same tube as the Pagoda. It's a more mid-focused DAC than the Pagoda. The Atlantis also responds pretty dramatically (in DAC terms, anyway) to tube rolling, while the Pagoda signature gets tweaked a little less by a tubes. The Pagoda is a little more dynamic overall.
     
    I like that the Atlantis responds so well to tubes and has 2dB rolled-off treble at 20kHz (vs. 1dB for the Pagoda). The Bendix can give you significant detail and clarity with a helping of treble, bass extension, and a slightly dryer signature. The GE Triple Mica tubes give you a good helping off bass and a lovely euphonic signature.
     
    If you want added treble, nice bass extension, and insane soundstage, you can use 6N2P tubes with an adapter (I sent one to both @Soundsgoodtome and @Torq for them to try out). I still have a bunch of those tubes from Ukraine and several more adapters on the way from China. The treble gets a little more pronounced than I prefer with them, but I'm particularly treble-sensitive.
     
    Really, I think no matter what you do, you'll be getting a lovely sound from any current MHDT Labs R/2R Tube DAC. All of them have amazing timbre and instrument reproduction, and all of them can be adjusted to taste with tubes. I think I've purchased 15-16 completely different tube types at this point to try, which is how I landed on the GE tubes (more bass, not more treble but still good detail, and a very tube-like sound). I almost stopped after listening to Western Electrics because they do great things for the soundstage and bass, but they also feel a little softer to me than the GE.
     
    Soundsgoodtome posted some impressions here:
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/798259/mhdt-labs-r-2r-nos-tube-dacs/75#post_12403552
     
    As did I:
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/798259/mhdt-labs-r-2r-nos-tube-dacs/75#post_12405385
     
    grizzlybeast and Torq like this.
  2. Greed
    Hey Everyone,
     
    Package is secured and DAC is currently being warmed up. I'll have a few hours today to write some notes. Tomorrow I'll focus more on comparisons. Here are some photos of the packaging as per the guidelines set at the beginning of this tour. Need to once again thank Andrew and MHDT for spending their time and resources to allow us audio nerds to hear these units for little cost to us. 
     
    IMG_20160318_115535.jpg
     
    IMG_20160318_115703.jpg
     
    Initial Impressions are overall good. Let's face it, there is a LOT of crap out there, especially in this price bracket. For under $1000 this DAC seems to be quite competitive with some of my personal top best in category. I'm not saying this is a giant killer (it isn't, I'll tell you that off the jump) but it seems to give you a step in the door and then some for those looking to enter the R2R kingdom. 
     
    After one hour of listening to some of my more familiar tracks - I'm already picking up on differences when compared to what I have hear at the moment, which is the Schiit Yggdrasil, Metrum Pavane, Theta Gen V, Gumby, Tascam UH-7000, RME Babyface, and my older Buffalo III SE.
     
    Throughout my testing I'll be using the same front end, cables, headphones, etc. - Custom PC based music server > Uptone Regen w/ Custom PSU > DACs 
     
    Headphone Rig will be: Uptone Regen w/ PSU > DACs > Eddie Current Studio > HD650 (Modded) / HD800 (Modded)
     
    Might try it with my JBLs here on the desk and speaker system as well. 
     
    Happy Listening!
     
    IMG_20160318_180938.jpg
     
    Soundsgoodtome likes this.
  3. grizzlybeast
    which RME babyface do you have? the new one?
     
  4. Greed
    RME Babyface Pro
     
  5. Soundsgoodtome
    ^^ Nice! Hate to derail my own thread and you can answer in our PM, but how do you like the Tascam pictured under the EC? Seems an interesting do-all unit. Also please give the Stockholm several hours of on time and if you can just leave it turned on for best sound. If you want more dynamics try the AEG tube, the Bendix will provide the most linear sound, while the GE triple micca will provide a more tube sound. 
     
  6. Greed
     
    Swapped tubes for the AEG and things seem to be more to my liking. Still listening and comparing but so far, I'm impressed with what this DAC can do. 
     
    @Soundsgoodtome - The Tascam is a pretty nice unit. It's only being used as my mic pre and a   Definitely the best preamp section I've heard from an all-in-one unit so far. Better than my RME, 2i2, Forte, and Apogee. Neutral, clean, nothing of note wrong. Not as black or silent as a standalone preamp like the Warm Audio stuff for example but really nice for the price. Only issue I have with it is the line-outs are true line-outs, they have to run through the internal preamp section.
     
  7. grizzlybeast
    ^Nice!...When I sent it to you I swapped the tube for one I couldn't remember the name of. I put the original tube probably in the wrong box... Sorry!!! I totally forgot to mention that[​IMG] but I am sure you figured it out. 
     
    My DAC sounds good out of the box. all of the dust on it is not mine and the camera exaggerates it but I am really glad I went with the black version.  DSC_0003.jpg
     
  8. Torq

    You bought one too?

    Nice!

    Still very much enjoying mine ... and finally getting around to some of the tubes that @Luckbad sent me.
     
    headphones.com Stay updated on headphones.com at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.headphones.com/ andrew@headphones.com
  9. grizzlybeast
    ^yup... silly tour.. I better not join another one unless something else goes.[​IMG]  j/p the S2 earned it's place here. 
     
  10. Torq

    I enjoyed my time with it enough that I really didn't want to let it go.

    Glad to know I'm not the only one that was seduced by the MHDT/Stockholm 2 charms! Makes me want to check out the Atlantis and the Pagoda ... not heard the AD chip in the Atlantis at any length and I'm a bit more of a PCM1702 fan than a 1704, and would very much like a Burr Brown PCM63 series model, but this thing is entirely wonderful.

    Congrats and enjoy!
     
    headphones.com Stay updated on headphones.com at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.headphones.com/ andrew@headphones.com
  11. Soundsgoodtome
    First congrats to both your purchases! Now if you're adventurous...

    The AD1856 chips are interchangeable with PCM56P. From 213Cobra's impression of the difference between the dac chips in sound, it seems the AD1856 is very similar to the sound of the chips in the Atlantis, the AD1862 (not compatible with the Stockholm or Havana).

    http://www.head-fi.org/t/730874/mhdt-labs-pagoda-any-owners-out-there/120_30#post_12437724

    The AD1856 can be had at Mouser or Ebay. There's a seller selling the K version if you want the best but I couldn't find any comparisons between the standard ($35/pr) vs k version ($55/pr).
     
  12. Torq
     
    Very interesting - I didn't realize there were pin/spec compatible alternatives beyond different bins of the same basic IC.
     
    I'll have to give those a try, thanks!
     
    headphones.com Stay updated on headphones.com at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.headphones.com/ andrew@headphones.com
  13. Greed
    DAC is inbound to the next tour member. Had a chance to get quite a bit of listening in this week, spring break! Will have write-up soon when I get a chance to write my notes down into a more constructive compilement. 
     
  14. Soundsgoodtome
    Oh man, I don't know if to say that fell on your break perfectly or to apologize for taking time you could've been somewhere with much needed free time!!

    But seriously looking forward to what you have to say having some very nice DAC on the bench for comparing notes as a full R2R convert.
     
  15. RCBinTN
    I'm sorry folks, but my work schedule just became very unstable.  Not sure when I'll be in the country over the next weeks/months.  Therefore, sadly, I need to bow out of the DAC tour.  Thanks for considering me for the tour to begin with.  Happy listening!
     
    Best regards,
    Dick
     
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