Those two would be more comparable than the two siblings I have the Paradisea+ and the PreDAC. The PreDAC basically replaced the Paradisea and is a step up. The difference would be less between the step up Havana and the step down TD.
I have owned both, and to me it's not even close. The Havana is in a different league.
The Tdac is not the same as the Tadac, or the Predac for that matter which was only available for a very short time. I own the most recent 2010 Tdac and to my ears it's a great sounding dac and is supposed to be much better than the Tadac. I've never heard the Havana but I have a difficult time believing it's in a different league than the Tdac. If you're in the N.Y. N.J area I would be more than happy to let you demo the Tdac. FWIW I've also heard the Eastern Electric dac is supposed to be a great sounding dac as well
I own a 2009 Tadac with built in pre and I used to own an MHDT Havana. Both paired with an Empirical Audio Turbo-3.
Neither was a cut above the other, plain and simple. The havana may be a bit more resolving/forward, but the Tadac has a built in preamp that is crucial in my setup. Both sound more similiar than different in my setup (great midrange due to tube design). The MHDT may be less forgiving of a bright/forward setup.
I bought the Tadac on a whim while my Redwine Isabellina was being repaired and once I replaced the cheap chinese tubes with mullard 12au7's, the Isabellina went up for sale.
I'm not sure if this version is what you're asking about (the 2009 TADAC), but I've owned a Benchmark Dac1, a Bel Canto DAC3, the Havana and an Isabellina as well. The Tadac is truly a great DAC if you feed it a clean digital signal and get rid of those cheap tubes it comes with. A good power cord helps as well (as one did with the Havana).
I also replaced the stock eh 12b7 tubes with a pair of Siemens silver plates and it really made a big difference. Paul also has an upgraded power supply for about $150.00 which is supposed to take things to another level.
I owned the TaDac and the PreDac, and the Havana was in another league from both. It had a much deeper and wider soundstage, and much greater bass extension. I had almost the identical set up to what I currently have, and you can look at my system.
I think it helps to know what someone has in their system when they comment on gear to know how it will match with yours.
My setup is fairly resolving. I say this as I had a sterile/analytical setup before with a benchmark dac1, musical fidelity a308 and a pair of quad 22l2s. U could hear every little detail but it was brutally harsh with some recordings. My assumption being the dac1 was at fault but the bel canto yielded similiar results.
My present setup is a macbook, ea offramp turbo3, tadac, rogue stereo 90 modded by rogue, livingvoice ibxr2 speakers and a hydra8. I get almost the same detail but a very analog/smooth sound. Digital cabling was crucial, as things didn't relax until I threw in a purist digital RCA and an axis USB cable. I don't prefer upsampling so that may have something to do with my take on dacs.
And to macdadtexas's point, each system and each person's taste has impact. It's been said here on agon and elsewhere a million times.
Goes w/o saying, but tubes, digital cabling and ICs can make one DAC sound miles better than another. I guess the key thing I found is the Havana and Tadac were more similar in my setup in that they're tube versus solid state and can be driven in simple 16/44.1 with similar good to great results, particularly with a clean/low jitter signal. The TADAC has the built in preamp and though many quip about the "tubyness" nob on it, it actually helped quite a bit in fine tuning my setup to match cabling/etc.
Macdad, I doubt you're the guy I sold my Havana too, but I did eventually sell it to a guy in Texas. Can't recall who it was though...
I've used both and prefer the Tadac, the Havana is too soft for me.
I find it a little odd that someone who wasn't all that thrilled with the Tadac would then go and purchase the Predac? From what I understand you need to use the tubiness control on the Tadac judiciously or you could ruin the sound. That being said I would dare to compare the new Tdac with anything sub $1000.00 and then some.
I didn't hate the TaDac, but when I bought the Havana, and in my system it was so much better, I sold the TaDac. I thought the PreDac would be an improvement, that would be a normal assumption, don't you think?
It was not any better. Since I tried so many DAC's, let me put them in the order of how I rated them, and I have actually had all of these in my system.
1) Berkeley Alpha
2) Bryston BDA-1 (so close to the Berkeley and about half the price, I bought this one)
3) MHDT Labs Havana - not the last word in detail, but super musical and a very rich full sound.
4) Bel Canto DAC3
5) PS Audio D Link III
6) Benchmark DAC 1
7) TaDac/PreDac (sounded about the same)
I have listened to the PS Audio Perfect Wave Dac extensively, but not in my system. It is also an excellent DAC and I would put it in the same company as the Berkeley and Bryston. It is actually a bit more flexible than either of those, and may have a better top end than either. Hard for me to really tell since it was not my system.
Macdad, do you prefer upsampling and a more detailed presentation? I ask this as the bel canto and ps audio digilink are very similiar to the benchmark dac1 and all these default to 24/192 from what I recall? The tdac goes to 192 as well. It's definitely a different sound than 16(or24)/44.1 simple redbook.
That's a really good question, and it does make a difference. On my Bryston, it definitely sounds better upsampled, and you have the choice.
Also, I never use the USB output. I would like to try the new PS Audio PerfectWave in my system. I have liked it quite a bit in someone else's system, but that system was much warmer than mine, so of course I liked it.
My friend he got Bel Canto DAC3 and I compare them with pre dac i like pre dac better because dac3 has good saperation and so clear but to bright after listening more I prefer pre dac but make sure you chance the tubes and I never try Havana.