Nice! Glad you're happy. The Orchid is an awesome DAC with a great chip. Enjoy!
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I also fully agree. I have the upgraded Tung-Sol tube via Linear Tube Audio (probably the same dealer you bought from). I also have the Node2 now as just the streamer and I agree 100% with your assessment. The setup really matched up well with my BAT tube preamp and solid state amp and my Apogee Duetta II Signature full range ribbon speakers (I’m getting them completely upgraded with Graz ribbons in a few months - waiting for a slot to open with Music Technology in VA). Anyway, I couldn’t be more happy with my decision to buy the Orchid. I’m sure it would have been the same if I bought the Pagoda balanced :). For anyone interested in the Orchid check out the 6Moons review. During the vetting process I spoke to the reviewer, Nicholas with Linear Tube Audio and Jiun (chief designer) with MHDT. They were all excellent interactions. Cheers!
The node is unfortunately not audiophile grade material. Glad you’ve got a real piece of gear now. I also think there’s something to this tube dac business. Just bought a wells audio cipher dac using 12bh7 tubes and it has finally settled my mind about dacs. Sonic upgrade from the holo audio may in my experience. Hadn’t heard the orchid, but I’m sure it’s sweet and less digital sounding.
The Orchid is a really nice entry into the world of digital music beyond the Sonos/Bluesound type gear (not that Bluesound is bad). I recently took my DAC game to another level and moved the Orchid to a second system, but lived happily with it for quite a while. It's detailed, but very easy to listen to. I would not describe it as "rolled" off, it just doesn't have the "digital edge" that many DACs do, especially many of the ESS chip designs.
Jiun is a prince. I bought my Orchid 2nd hand and the USB connection wasn't working. I contacted him about getting it repaired and he sent me a new board at no cost, even knowing that I was not the original owner. If that's not standing behind your products, I don't know what is.
Most DACs will outperform the stock Node 2i. The ESS in my Parasound P6 (optical or coax) does a decent job, and easily sounds better then Node 2i.
The charm of the Node is the simplicity and with some limitations, the app interface.
Snd for what I use a streamer for, it’s not critical.