Orchid vs. Istanbul — anyone compare these MHDT DACs?


Hi folks,
I'm comparing the MHDT Orchid with MHDT Istanbul.

Here are the differences I can see (as detailed on the LTA company's website):

CHIPS
Istanbul: chip PCM56P-K R-2R digital to analog output.
Orchid: chip: TDA1541A R-2R digital to analog output.

TUBES
Istanbul: tube buffered output, tube installed is A Tesla 6CC42 military tube.
Orchid: tube buffered output, tube installed is GE5670 3 mica tube.

OUTPUT
Istanbul: Output level: 2.6 Vrms
Orchid: Output level: 3 Vrms

Finally, FWIW:
Istanbul: barely any discussion of this product
Orchid: tons of discussion

They seem very similar, but I know with DACS the details of the chip make a big difference.

Anyone with experience with both or opinions about those distinctions?

8700e65e 845e 4b1b 91cc df27687f9454hilde45
@hilde45
While I don’t normally refer to other forums/threads, page 23 on the Head-Fi Headphone Review forum, thread (MHDT Labs: R-2R NOS Tube DACs) speaks to the updated Stockholm > Istanbul, Orchid, some Pagoda . I’ve only heard the Havana, Pagoda, Orchid - the main differences people shoot for is "which chip" and "SE vs. Balanced/XLR", and tubes can flavor sound in different directions. This thread may help to look around, scroll down some internal scree photo compares too. I enjoy my MHDT Labs Orchid with Philips TDA1541chip, and prefer R2R Ladder DACS for my ears. I have all of these Various tubes and more to fine tune the different models starting with GE 5670 5-Star Triple Mica (neutral but smooth), WE396A Western Electric (soft), or Tesla 6cc42 (smooth, not too veiled over - my pref), Bendix 2c51,  all have different characteristics, good fun, easy to taylor sound to your liking.

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/mhdt-labs-r-2r-nos-tube-dacs.798259/page-23