MHDT Labs DAC: Havana or Paradisea+ ?

How do they compare ? I read a lot about the Paradisea and Constantine but what about the Havana ?
I am currently an owner of the Paradisea (non-USB version) and I absolutely love it. It's musical performance is just spectacular with my Accuphase.

From people who have upgraded to the Havana, so far I have heard nothing but positive feedback. Here is a review that might give you some ideas:


I've had the Paradisea+ for six months. As most who have heard this DAC will claim, ... I love it. It strikes a wonderful balance between detail, musicality and ease that works so great with my Grado RS1's.

That said ...

"Mouse," at MHDT labs was gracious enough to loan me a new Havana for this weekends Houston Head-fi meet.

I just got it today and even pre burn in (really just caps and fuse since it has no opamp) I'm noticing pretty dramatic differences over the Paradisea+.

Number 1: Significantly more detailed; could be a plus or a minus depending on your preferences. But the detail is several notches more with the Havana. This might have to do with the lack of an OPAMP.

Number 2: More "air" and space to the instrument seperation. Again, fairly substantial of a difference. This, of course, enhances the soundstage effect (which I personally sort of like).

Number 3: Technically as nit picky as I can be, ... the Havana is not as utterly smooth and seductive as the Paradisea+

The Paradisea+, though slightly narrower sounding and slightly less detailed, still possesses this unbelievable ease about the way it delivers the music.

On the flipside of that same idea, some folks would call the Paradisea+ sluggish or 'blurred' compared to the Havana.

The Havana is smooth as well ... just not quite as "buttery" smooth as the Paradisea+.

This very initial difference in the DACs could very well change once the brand new Havana has 200 or more hours on it (my Paradisea+ is pushing 1000 hours easy).


Just some thoughts ...
S1rrah great review. In a very detailed system such as mine, the Paradisea+ has an excellent synergy due to its "buttery" quality. I bought mine in like new condition a little over a year ago, so it also has more than a thousand hours on it now. Using the Bendix Redbank tube. What tubes did you use in your comparison?

The tube question is interesting.

I've listened to the Havana with my standard Paradisea+ fav tube, a Bendix 2C51 as well as with a NOS Tung Sol 396A.

What I've found though is that I prefer the more "tubey" sounding, more lush Tung Sol 396A over the more detailed and "airy" Bendix 2C51 in the Havana.

The opposite is true in regards to my Paradisea+.

In regards to my listening preferences ... in general ... I do not like an end product (sound) that is in anyway "digital" sounding.

I like sound that communicates as it would in a room with live performers ... and frankly, most digital delivery systems don't meet that mark.

The Paradisea+ does meet that mark and it meets it well.

The Havana, as well, meets that "live music sound" benchmark ... but to my ear, more so when using a warmer sounding, more liquid tube like the 396A variants.

It's still quite decent with the Bendix 2C51, but begins leaning towards the sharp side of things ... at least with my notoriously picky Grado RS1 headphones.

With something like Sennheiser HD650's ... with their legendary "laid back," smooth and "dark" sound ... my comments might be completely different.

Thanks for the word.

I recently picked up a Paradisea+ from a fellow a-gonner. I haven't had much time listening to it due to traveling, but I did have time to swap out the stock GE tube and replace it with an Ericsson 2C51 NOS tube. I managed to get the Ericsson for $17..Brent Jesse has them for $200/pair. While that doesn't mean much in & of least mine must be worth $17.

The Ericsson tube was certainly a step in the right direction with a very noticable improvement in the shimmer & decay of cymbals...I've only had about 15 minutes to actually listen. If you can find an Ericsson for a reasonable price...I'd go for it.

Just a little update to those interested in the Havana over the Paradisea+.

After a full 100 hours of, literally, constant play time ... the Havana has smoothed out quite dramatically.

It's really pretty mysterious to me what happens in the first 100+ play hours on a new piece of gear.

I had initially stated that the Havana lacked some of the liquid and utterly smooth musicality of the Paradisea+ ... while at the same time having noticeably more detail and a slightly better soundstage ...

Now ... though ...

Be it burn-in on caps, fuses or otherwise ...

The fact remains ...

The Havana is just as smooth and liquid as my older and tried and true Paradisea+ ... while still retaining the aforementioned edge in regards to detail and sound stage.

(I'm still using it with a Bendix 2C51 tube, btw)

Anyway ...

The improvement over the Paradisea+ is there ... but it's only something the most nit picky, very exacting of us would demand or notice.

That said ...

I count myself a member of that group, so ...


I'm going to try and figure out a way to keep this loaner DAC in my household.


Hope this is informative to you folks.

Thanks for the useful comparison info.

I'm thinking of adding an outboard DAC to my second 2-channel A/v system and may give the Havana a try. I already use a Paradisea in my main system and can concur with a lot of what has been said here about that DAC.
Hope I'm not carrying this off in the weeds but... Anyone have experience comparing the Paradisea to some of the other popular and affordable DAC's that are out there right now like the Benchmark, PS Audio DL3, or DACMagic? I currently have a DACMagic but have been intrigued by the Paradisea (that pesky audio bug!). I'd ultimately have to give it a try in my own system of course, just looking for some more comment about the Paradisea and how it compares. Great comments from S1rrah by the way; very helpful!
I too have a LM Ericcson gold pins for my Havana and really love it. It was not until I found the United Eletron 5760 and fall in love to the warm and soothing sound of this little gem. I found that this tube is often forgotten since people are more familiar with the bendix.
I know this is an old old thread :)
But it's kind of relevant to me right now
I have Maverick audio d2 and want to upgrade the tube,the most common and highly recommend is the Bendix 6385 (really pricey..) So I am looking for good cheaper alternative that equally good,I so the last post about the United Eletron 5760 but I can't find it anywhere
I already have the Tesla and ge,I find the Tesla better overall but a little too bright and treble picky (most of my listing is through monitoring headphones - Beyer dt1770 pro) 
Any help will be appreciate!