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NOS DACs (Read 6735 times)
Tommy Freefall
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #50 - 06/10/19 at 04:01:40
 
BP arrived and installed!

ps. Orange, I left room in the rack for an Audio Note DAC...
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BP.jpg

Torii Jr., Rachael SE34I.5, ERRx, ZBIT, ZRock2, Tascam CD-240, Border Patrol DAC, Zu Audio Mission speaker cables, Declare Interconnects, Zenhead, Grado 325e
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orangecrush
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #51 - 06/11/19 at 21:34:54
 
Nice!!! Looking forward to your impressions.
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Dana
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #52 - 06/13/19 at 16:20:48
 
Based on the information derived from this thread (and others) my MHDT Orchid DAC is supposed to arrive on Monday. †I especially want to reach out and thank Melvin for providing some insight on what to expect sound wise and took his recommendation regarding the Orchid DAC. †Orange also helped me decide. †I didnít want to spend $1100 on a DAC but his point about the losses over time and trying to cheap out really hit home.
With all your help I based my decision on a couple of factors. †One of the most telling to me was a quote on the Audio Note UK DAC 0.1x review.
ē      ďThe Audio Note UK DAC 0.1x uses the classic Philips TDA 1543 chip, which Peter Qvortrup likes very much, although he noted to me that he would have preferred to use the TDA 1541. †ď
ē      Another deciding factor was the 6Moons review. †The reviewer replaced his TDA 1543 based DAC with the much less expensive MHDT Orchid 1541A based DAC. †https://6moons.com/audioreview_articles/mhdtlab/
ē      Thirdly but less important is I still get to tweak with stuff. †Not only is there tube rolling but also chip rolling. †According to the internet (so it must be true) there are multiple versions of the TDA 1541A chip with different sound signatures to play with.

Everything is a compromise so what am I loosing? †Most important †is the 24-32 bit playback at higher frequencies. †The MHDT will allow 196/24 input but only outputs at 44.1/16 (undersampling???). †With all the HQ streaming services is this an issue? †I donít know yet. †
So thanks everyone for your comments they really helped. †I also have someone to blame if this all goes pear shaped and I purchased and audio product without hearing it first! † Wink
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Bill Murray "What About Bob" There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. My ex-wife loves him.
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Melvin
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #53 - 06/14/19 at 02:45:12
 
Dana, congrats on your decision and purchase. As to the down-sampling of higher resolution files, I wouldn't worry too much about it. It's been well-reported just how well the Orchid handles handles everything thrown at it. The NOS DAC sound, when done well, is intoxicating and it seems you've chosen just the right DAC for your taste. Please let us know what you think of the Orchid after some time with it. Best.
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Dana
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #54 - 06/19/19 at 19:56:37
 
My first impressions of the MHDT Orchid NOS tube DAC:
After an arduous wait (the UPS guy didnít arrive until 9:45 PM Monday night).  Iíve set up the MHDT Orchid and am letting it burn in.
 
Iím using a Raspberry PI and Allo DigiOne as my transport using the S/PIDF Coax connector. https://www.allo.com/sparky/digione.html. The Raspberry Pi is supposed to have a noisy USB output but the DigiOne uses the I2S connection, has a galvanic isolator to lower background noise and the  DigiOne  uses double reclocking of the S/PDIF stream to reduce jitter (one of them taking care of metastability (whatever that is?) and the second one taking care of realigning the data). Iím using Volumio software which includes the DigiOne driver so during the setup wizard, I chose the DigeOne as the I2s DAC/Transport had it working right out of the box.

My previous DAC was the Allo Piano 2.1 with the KALI reclocker board. https://www.allo.com/sparky/bundle-kali-piano-2-1.html The Piano 2.1 uses 2 PCM5142 DAC chips which allowed me to run each channel on separate chips, dual mono. I thought it sounded comparable to the other Over Sampling DACs Iíve heard.

I mainly listen to female vocals, duets and vocal harmonies usually with an acoustic background and am sensitive to what I call glare.  On many of the DACs Iíve heard when a singer increases her volume on a note it takes on an almost ďautotuneĒ characteristic on the leading edge of note that is very unnatural.  The Allo Piano 2.1 was OK most of the time but I didnít notice it at all on my brief listen to the MHDT Orchid.  Vocals were very realistic and pleasant.  The violins (/ fiddles) had that woody sound to them that was absent on the Piano DAC and they werenít screechy at all.  (Big Improvement) The background vocals were much more prevalent and easier to understand and to me even the trumpet sounded more like a trumpet, like it was coming from a brass horn instead of just a trumpet sounding device. (Not to this extreme but it was more like a real instrument instead of one from a synthesizer.)  The MHDT Orchid has a similar type of presentation that Melvin described of the Pagoda as not as forward as the Piano 2.1 with a very different presentation, like I was listening to it in a very dead sounding room. (Iím wondering if this is the NOS sound people refer to?)

My wife keeps asking ďAre you happy?Ē and you knowÖ. I think I am.  Iíll know more after a month or two when the tube is supposed to have burned in and Iíve spent some quality time with the artists I need to listen to.
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Bill Murray "What About Bob" There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. My ex-wife loves him.
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orangecrush
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #55 - 06/20/19 at 01:22:02
 
Sorry if this comes across too opinionated, itís just my personal experience. NOS doesnít really mean much. There are many other factors that bring the out the best of the DAC chip.

I had a MHDT Havana with the best tubes (Bendix Red Bank and WE) but I did not like it all all. It was actually harsh on the treble side and the bass was lacking. Mid range was lifeless. Turns out the tube was just a gimmick, it was just a tube buffer, the output was still through a cheap opamp. They really tried to hide that fact. That really put me off MHDT. I really hope their new offerings have changed. But know what you are buying.... After that I went with the best high resolution DAC I could afford at the time which was much better, but I still felt "digital" was lacking.

Then I read allot and realized that DSP of any kind is what I didn't like in most modern DACs.

However many NOS DACS are described at softer, or noted as having rolled off highs or soft bass. That is not what I wanted. I wanted the emotional connection that new DACs have lost but I did not want to sacrifice the resolution, speed and transparency. My research led to a few things I knew I wanted in my next DAC that would be my life time DAC.

1. No digital filter or DSP processing of any kind.
2. Real tube output stage with very linear tubes.
3. Tube rectified power supply and tube regulation.
4. Choice of output caps. I really wanted V-CAPs Cufts.
5. Transformer coupled output with low impedence so I could drive my Torri Mk3 direct or with with a passive pre.

This led me to the Audio Note philosophy and the ANK 4.1. It met all of the above criteria and added more and perhaps the most important feature that is unique (patented worldwide):

6. I/V Transformers are used to maximize the energy transfer during the Current-to-Voltage phase of the conversion resulting in increased dynamics.

The result is unbelievably good. Dynamics are like you have never heard (especially with the Brimer 5842 rectifier), resolution and transparency that rivals the best implemented ESS SABRE32 without sucking the life and emotion out of the music. Bass that is deep and tight and glorious highs.

There are a few other highly technical things the AudioNote circuit does which I confess I don't fully understand. But basically they bypass the SPDIF receiver chip PLL function. This means if you feed your DAC with a low jitter source like the Allo Digione, the SPDIF chip is not adding it's own jitter which makes its way to the DAC chip.

My experience is limited with other NOS DACS, but I spent allot of time with some very nice and expensive high resolution DACs and the ANK 4.1 will be my end game DAC. The AD1865 chips and other vintage chips are going to be gone once day, so even though it was allot of money for me, I feel it was really worth it. I have zero interest in the DAC merry-go-round.

New R2-R designs are still missing the magic of these vintage chips.
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Melvin
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #56 - 06/20/19 at 13:29:08
 
@orangecrush .. "NOS doesnít really mean much". While I think I understand what you're getting at (i.e., many other factors) a non-oversampling DAC is diametrically opposed to the vast majority of DACs sold today. Like you've found with your ANK DAC, many of us prefer the non-oversampled and filterless approach to the often 8x oversampled and filtered-to-death approach, which seems to literally suck the life out of digital. That's not to say all NOS DACs are engineered well or indeed better than all OS DACs; quite the contrary.

Seems to me advancements in digital proved the theory correct and, as with everything else in audio, implementation is key. It's to our good fortune some fine "old-school" type DACs are being manufactured today at every price point and not just for the well-heeled. However, as you mention, those vintage chips will be gone one day. Hopefully by then digital will have advanced to a point where all DACs sound real.

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orangecrush
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #57 - 06/20/19 at 14:40:00
 
I agree 100%. Nicely said!
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Dana
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #58 - 06/20/19 at 16:42:28
 
Hey Orange
If you have any of those old MHDT tubes cluttering up listening area let me know.  I'd be glad to help you clear some space.
Dana
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Bill Murray "What About Bob" There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. My ex-wife loves him.
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Dana
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Posts: 325
Re: NOS DACs
Reply #59 - 06/20/19 at 21:50:23
 
MHDT Tube alert on Ebay.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/283522801655?ul_noapp=true

Western Electric 396A(2C51)Tube*Black Plate*D-Getter for $19.99 plus tax and shipping.

According to the MHDT website this is a top tier tube for the MHDT DAC
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Bill Murray "What About Bob" There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. My ex-wife loves him.
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orangecrush
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #60 - 06/21/19 at 02:38:17
 
Unfortunately not, that was over ten years ago I had the Havana.
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Dana
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #61 - 06/24/19 at 14:38:58
 
AHHHHHH!!!What a wonderful world we live it... I hate it. Just announced the Raspberry PI 4 was  released today.  It now has USB 3.0, true Gigabit Ethernet and has separated the USB bus from the network bus so it's a lot cleaner signal and can now run a real 64 bit OS.  A quality fanless music / streaming server for $50.  One week after I purchased a new PI 3...  
Sigh
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Bill Murray "What About Bob" There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. My ex-wife loves him.
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Melvin
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #62 - 06/24/19 at 19:50:30
 
That's too bad Dana. $50 ain't bad so perhaps you can find another use for that Pi 3 after you score a Pi 4, assuming you will Wink.

I had similar experience with my Qute HD DAC when I had it upgraded to the EX. Not a month later Chord released their latest-greatest iteration of the Qute with a completely re-engineered USB input which no longer needed a Mac driver. Subsequently, they stopped developing the old driver(s), leaving many of us sh*t out of luck. IIRC the USB input stopped working with Yosemite. Such is the way of technology but it left a bad $500 taste in my mouth. Yes, a $500 "upgrade" which I assumed would somewhat future-proof the usefulness of the DAC. Lesson learned. The DAC still works via Toslink and BNC thankfully. I'm no longer a Chord customer.
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Dana
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #63 - 06/27/19 at 18:12:28
 
I want to give a Shout Out! to Linear Tube Audio who I purchased the orchid DAC from. †The MHDT Orchid 6Moons review stated that there would be spare tube when purchased from LTA. †There wasn't an extra tube on its arrival so I contacted them about it. †

LTA response:
Hello. This was a limited time arrangement based on tube availability. Unfortunately, we have run out of the tubes we were offering for free due to the popularity of this amp.
That said, we want you to be happy, so we can send you a second tube.

I find that admirable and will recommend them to anyone who asks.

On the other note I purchased one of the "WE out of balance D getter tubes" †and WOW! †It changed the whole sound signature. †MHDT says the original tube takes up to 30 days to season but I may never know as I'm not sure I can go back.

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Bill Murray "What About Bob" There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. My ex-wife loves him.
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Melvin
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #64 - 07/09/19 at 14:41:04
 
Quote:
I had similar experience with my Qute HD DAC when I had it upgraded to the EX. Not a month later Chord released their latest-greatest iteration of the Qute with a completely re-engineered USB input which no longer needed a Mac driver. Subsequently, they stopped developing the old driver(s), leaving many of us sh*t out of luck. IIRC the USB input stopped working with Yosemite. Such is the way of technology but it left a bad $500 taste in my mouth. Yes, a $500 "upgrade" which I assumed would somewhat future-proof the usefulness of the DAC. Lesson learned. The DAC still works via Toslink and BNC thankfully. I'm no longer a Chord customer.


Sorry for being off-topic but I would like to add some info I just recently discovered. With summer here I decided to change out some gear, including the Pagoda. I was curious about using the microRendu with my Qute EX and searched around a bit, hoping but not expecting. Well, as it turns out, Sonore addressed the USB issue for many older Chord DAC's with their Sonicorbiter 2.7 update. Sonicorbiter is based on Fedora Linux and USB support (all bit/sample-rates) for the Qute EX is among those listed. It works great! Apparently Jesus (Sonore) worked with Roon, Signalyst, and Chord to make this happen. Kudos to all, especially to Jesus.

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Tommy Freefall
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #65 - 08/04/19 at 03:58:38
 
Orange, youíve probably already seen this, but for those who havenít, this is a brief but interesting interview with Peter Qvortup of Audio Note UK, where he chats about DACs, Amps, Measurements vs Listening, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEUW3Y7IZRA

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Torii Jr., Rachael SE34I.5, ERRx, ZBIT, ZRock2, Tascam CD-240, Border Patrol DAC, Zu Audio Mission speaker cables, Declare Interconnects, Zenhead, Grado 325e
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orangecrush
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Re: NOS DACs
Reply #66 - 08/05/19 at 05:38:07
 
Thanks Tommy, I havenít seen that one.
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