Review: MHDT Paradisea+ MHDT Paradisea+ DA converter

Category: Digital

The MHDT Paradisea+ is soft and the sound stage set is set back. Prominent initial observations include liquidy vocals that are scary real. After some time on the sofa running through the usual audition tracks and many new ones the intoxicating presentation of the Paradisea+ was hard to surrender

I was immediately addicted to the Paradisea+ without any mods. The only thing I wanted was bit more funk. I love the set back smooth presentation but I wanted a little bit of kick in the bass department. As we all do, go to the forums to see whats up. I was about to spend $$$ but decided that maybe I should mod – with all that goin around. I settled on ASi Teknologies. ASi-Tek solves this problem!
Bass is now full and tight – not exaggerated but accurate – on Dinah Washington’s “Back Water Blues” I heard the usual details but just a bit more separation. “Time Out For Tears” it seems like I can hear the microphone on the other end this musical transaction

So I had to now compare the DAC to the lowly Modified Thorens 166 MKii/Clearaudio combo. I just so had Lionel Hampton’s 50th anniversary live album on both apple lossless and good old fashioned wax.

Wax is best all around. But the Paradisea+ comes real close; so much so, that the convenience off sets some of the delicious dimensionality of the turntable. Actually, I sometimes found myself running to the turntable to lift the stylus when the ipods play list ended. Yeah, sounded that much like my Thorens.

With ASi-Tek Mod vs the Turntable, I found my self switching back and forth to see the exact difference between the ASi-Paradisea+ and the Thorens. The ASi Paradisea+ was immediately a bit more forward and brighter , but with lots of space and separation. The thing I have learned is that what is most important is the conveyance of the emotion within the music. The turntable and ASi Paradisea+ both do it right. Fun, fun, fun – oogles of detail and soft velvety voices with drums, symbols, and instruments tightly defined. Voices seem to float in mid air.

Airy and shimmery (with out any harshness) – instruments seem to float around with the added detail on recordings like Astrud Gilberto’s “So Nice”. But on much of Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Ramsey Lewis, instruments appeared in their respective places. I conclude that the mhdt mod is true / or truer than others, to the original recording. It allows what was on the other end of the microphone to come through, good or bad. Again, as I write on my MacBook Pro and sitting on the sofa I am listening to Astruds “ Eu E Voce “ and her voice is lovely! It is airy like a flower in the sunshine…. Now Dexter Gordons “3 o’clock in the morning”, it is well defined – I close my eyes and point the cymbals, the snare, the sax, the piano way in the back.

The ASi Paradisea+ maintains its yummy - and then adds a bit of Mojo to the mix! If you have one and are looking for a little bit more – as we all are, by the way. Before you spend 2 or 3 grand, try having your baby modded by ASi. Good stuff!

Associated gear
VTL 2.5
Wadia itransport
Thorens 166 mkii
Snell type D
Mapleshade wires, brass footers, and maple platforms

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I am using smae amp and pre amp as you but use the 5.5. What tubes do you use and power cords, just wondering. I use all NOS Mullard 12at7 in pre plus 2 Tulefunken 12ax7, in amy all EL34 Mullard/Amperex / Holland. and 4 Telefunken 12at7. I have the tetrode/triode switch, but like terode better, Thanks for any info.
i have found that the NOS mullard 12at7s to be the finest sounding - in this amp regardless of price. the Winged SEDs are also the ones to have. i am using Mullard EL 34 at the moment and its not the same. i am going try some blacksable or cyro SEDs next. i have not tried the tules but you should mos def try the Brimar 12at7 - in the 2.5 they have bit of a more hollow sound/or space than the mullards and just a bit less lush. but its a cool sound.
oh i forgot - i have all mapleshade ICs, Speaker cable, and power cords. I had kimber silver ICs for years and when i switched to the mapleshade entry level wires, they smoked the $400 cables. same detail, more open and much smoother. i think every mapleshade product is great but the two biggestimprovements, i have found to be the wires and the ampstand. i didn't believe it but i just had some extra footers laying around i put the ST-85 on them and the bass tightened up and extended - i bought the platform with the cork footers. it actually sounded like i upgraded to a ST-150!! - its a great amp - if you put herbies tube dampers? nice! distortion a high levels almost disappears!
My Paradisea with stock GE tube matches your description of the Paradisea+ stock sound pretty closely.

With my current rig, I also wanted more low end extension and kick. The mhdt Constantine does that but with a nice, clean yet more SS sounding midrange. The Paradisea using a NOS Tung Sol tube rather than the stock GE comes close to the dynamics and low end extension of the Constantine but also retains a more tube like midrange. I am quite happy with using either Constantine or Paradisea + Tung Sol tube now in my current main rig.

All in all, both mhdt DACs I use are very good sound values and I can recommend them readily to others.
cool - thanks for the feedback. i also forgot to mention that i was using both the NOS WE and the Bendix. i found both of these to be very similar with the bendix having a bit more bass extension. - i have yet to try the TungSol in the ASi mod. - well see!
I have been using MHDT Paradisea+ in my 2nd system for a couple of years. Currently, it is fed by Slimdevices SB3 and drives directly the Melody KT88 monoblocks, with a set of attenuators. I like it a lot, especially with the following minor tweaks.

The stock Paradisea+ was a bit too relax sounding to me. After putting Bendix 6385 in, everything changed. More dynamic, more details, richer tone, etc. I had tried WE396A and others. Nothing came close.

Then I changed the output coupling caps to v-caps. The "v" in v-caps probably stands for reVealing. I liked the effect from v-caps. However, it was a bit too saturated sounding. So I changed the Bendix 6385 to Russian 6H3NE. This Russian tube has all the virtues except the saturated tone. I liked this unit even better then, except it was slightly thin sounding.

So I changed the opamp to OPA2228. More harmonics and more life like sounding. I like it.

What am I going to do next? Probably replace the stock fuse with a silver fuse to add more inner details.

Being an EE and a tweeker, I enjoy this little DAC a lot. There is one thing I don't quite understand though. The tube has a very low voltage for the plate, less than 20V!
Indeed i also have the WE396A and the Bendix6385. I concur, the Bendix is superior! with a the ASi mods and the Bendix - the music is beautifully reproduced. after 600 hours + or - of breakin, im good with this little gem for a few years! Im not am EE so i trust myself only with the theory - i need to have someone else actually do the surgery.

but the super softness often commented on with this DAC is gone. its analogue with all the detail and tighter bass.
I agree the stock Paradisea sound is quite relaxed, by SS standards.

I have the stock GE tube and a NOS Tung Sol tube. The Tung Sol helps, but dynamics and bass extension is still a touch behind the SS Constantine that I like best currently in my main system with teh ARC sp16 tube preamp.

I have no qualms with the sound of the Constantine in my rig.

I might look for a BEndix 6385 based on this and give that a try at some point to see how that works.