A selection I use to evaluate a piece of gear's macro dynamics, bass extension/slam and transient speed is Bill Holman's big band recording Brilliant Corners. This album is all on about Thelonious Monk tunes arranged by Bill Holman and recorded at a reference level by JVC on xrcd. When I cued up "Straight, No Chaser", the crescendo power of the brass section popped into the room with all the kick you feel sitting in front of a big band at full tilt. The drummer's bass drum licks were taut and clear throughout the loudest passages of this swinging toe-tapping version of Monk's great tune. The Orchid could provide silky-smooth beautiful timbres and tonality but when it was time to rock out, it had the speed and macro dynamics to give realistic drive, rhythm, and pace to the music. This DAC was not overly warm, slow, dark or euphonic. Even though its overall presentation was undeniably silky and without grain, it did not lack in resolution or pace on any music I asked it to play.
The MHDT Labs Orchid DAC offered beautiful timbres, an overall smooth presentation, the spatial qualities of three-dimensional imaging and a sense of air around each player which only tubes provide, plus the resolution, speed and dynamics you'd expect from solid state. Was it a perfect blend? Nothing is but this one comes pretty damn close at combining these sonic virtues. If you take into account the very reasonable ask, the fun to be had with tube rolling, the option of trying different Philips 1541A versions and the excellent craftsmanship, it's a heckuva deal. My Lab12 DAC-1 now moved into my upstairs smaller SET system. It still is a wonderful piece. However, for less than half its cost, the Orchid DAC outperformed it significantly across all sonic parameters to become my new DAC for the big system.
Quality of packing: Excellent, provides good protection.
Reusability of packing: Can be used many times with no problems.
Condition of component received: Perfect.
Delivery: by UPS.
Website comments: informative and easy to use.
Human interactions: Friendly and informative.
Warranty: 1 year.
Final comments: A great DAC with state-of-the-art performance for pennies on the dollar when compared to other far more expensive DACs as identified in the intro.