MHDT Orchid or Audio Mirror/ pick one for me please

I have been looking around at my first streaming system ever, never even owened a dac. I have owned a Ezemplar Audio tube Denon 2900 and Exemplar tube Oppo 105 for the last 15 years, others have come and gone these always stayed. I mostly listen to records. I have been looking at dac's for a couple months and these are the 2 tube dac's I am considering. Solid state I looked at RME, Border Patrol, Ayre, Mytek, Chord and others. I like how the Orchid can except so many tubes and likes mods. Audio Mirror looks interesting I understand maybe more detail,  which is important. Both are in my price range, I want to start out slow and not spend to much on first purchase in streaming. I will also need a cheap streamer. Thanks for any suggestions. I'm kind of lost!!
Audio Mirror has a 2 week return policy.Not sure about the others
A bird in the hand....
I own the Audio Mirror and love it. The Orchid is also highly thought of at less money. You might consider the features, such as inputs, as the AM is configurable prior to purchase.
They both have a return policy, Orchid is 10% restock fee. Seems like both have loyal owners. Is one better than the other or just different presentation. Full dynamic and refined air is very important, I just don't want a lean sound. I would hope both having tubes neither will be light in presentation and with a full soundstage.
It looks like either you are a tinkerer or have plenty of resources to pay others to tinker with your purchases- meaning never quite happy. I say that without any hint of criticism. 
If you are financially  able and enjoy buying, trying, and selling- the world is your oyster.  In that spot I would buy higher end mainly because streaming is going to be a different experience  than the analog you are accustomed to. 
I like to tinker as well, so I went with a Raspberry Pi and attached Dac hat. Inexpensive, under $150 total, for streamer and dac, I enjoyed the process, and I now have a baseline for future comparison. I also was not coming from vinyl. 
Truthfully, right now I have zero motivation to upgrade. Some songs, such as some older Daryl Hall I listened to this week, sound not so great. They may as well on a CD or other format. But others sound really good. Most of my equipment is older- it was mid high end and I tweaked it continuously. Finally it was good enough for my hearing ability. I absolutely love the access to an infinite variety of music. 
I strongly considered both and got the Orchid. Both can tube roll.

Two further considerations:
Orchid -- 1 year warranty, not US based but Linear Tube Audio sells them and can repair if necessary.
Mirror -- 2 year warranty and made in US (Minnesota).

Perhaps write to both and see how quickly they respond.

Having never heard the Mirror I cannot comment. I like the Orchid but it's the only one I have. I am going to try a new tube on it, soon. There's a Facebook group devoted to the Orchid with just a few members but they're very knowledgeable and may have an opinion.
I trust @mesch a lot, FWIW.
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You mention he Border Patrol & RME.
I have owned both.
In my estimation the RME is the better DAC.
I found the Border Patrol lacking in detail and air.
The RME is very detailed without sounding sharp or etched.

That being said, I now own the Audio Mirror basic model.
Again, my opinion, it is far more musical than either of the above DAC's.
It has both detail, superb sound stage and imaging.
The tonality is also splendid.

I have had a number of DAC's over the years and I must say I find the AM to be just a wonderful piece of gear that presents the music naturally and realistically. 

I have not heard the Orchid, though I did consider it.
It is held in high esteem by those who own it.

One other point worth mentioning is that the Audio Mirror can be upgraded in several different ways going forward.

Kind regards,

I've got an SW1X DAC2 Special with inboard USB in the works. It will likely be a month before I have it and another week of burn-in before I have impressions to share. I have very little in the way of expectations as for me vinyl rules and the DAC is for casual listening of my large jazz collection on CD. Don't get me wrong-my interest is piqued and if I get the kind of sound I have heard from Audio Note's DAC or even 90% of that, I will be thrilled. My CD's have been burned via ethernet to my Aurender N100H. If things sound promising, I would then upgrade to a higher level of Aurender. Galen Carol is a national treasure in my book and I would rely on him as to how far up the Aurender hierarchy to go. So look for a post from me in six weeks or so if SW1X is on your radar. 
I tried the Orchid and Pagoda and a few other well reviewed DACs but found that none of the R2R DACs really had any effect on my near all tube system, which includes an Exemplar 3890 Denon CD player. I didn't try the Audio Mirror, as it wasn't possible in Australia, but ended up buying a Pure Audio Lotus 5 which works very well with tubes, providing a touch more dynamic sound without being overly bright.
Again, my opinion, it is far more musical than either of the above DAC's.
It has both detail, superb sound stage and imaging.
The tonality is also splendid.

I owned the Audio Mirror Tubadour III SE DAC.  It sounded wonderful.  I only sold it because I got an excellent deal on a mint DirectStream DAC. 

Marian do you mind if I ask did the Orchid sound better or worse than your Exemplar Denon CD player? I still have my Exemplar Denon 2900 and love it with Amprex SQ's. Some times I prefer it to the Exemplar Oppo. What did you use to stream into Orchid? 
MHDT Lab Orchid here.

Several friends also run the Orchid and Pagoda. We like it, R2R ladder implementation and all. One buddy runs the Pagoda in a recording-master studio. I demo’d the highly regarded Benchmark Dac3 B myself. Preferred Orchid for home audio, no fatigue.

All have A/B’d them several times with onboard DACs in various streamers and CD players continue to comment to this day just how much better it really is with the MHDT DAC. I really enjoy mine, it really opened another door for folks who did not wants spend thousands more on streamers and CD players. Focused on DAC, tubes, cables.

The owner/designer of MHDT Labs has been real good to all of us, dealing direct, or you can go to LTA in the USA too. One guy had an issue but it was his fault. They took care of him. Either way works.

Still running the stock TDA1541A chip and known others to change it with moderate success. The stock chip works just fine. Beware of fakes if you try to replace it.

The unit responds favorably to tube changes depending on what you are looking for. The stock GE5670 5Star Triple Mica is not bad, more detailed. For a tad softer, many of us like the Tesla 6CC42, and for even more laid back the Western Electric WE396 was very smoothed over, too much for my rig. Still running the Telsa in mine, less bright than the GE.

Input: also responsive to higher quality SPD/IF Digi COAX, with OCC copper vs. OFC copper. Compared many times to optical and USB.
Output: same goes here, benefits from OCC copper over OFC, or it has in my system which tends to be fairly transparent and revealing of changes.

The stock coupling caps are pretty good as-is. Just for grins a buddy and I both I went for it and changed them out for a higher grade Mundorf Silver/Gold Oil and one other brand. It might have made a small difference over a long settling period. Stock caps are fine as-is, pretty nice, if you just want to leave it alone.

Can't go wrong with AudioMirror too. Nice stuff.  Happy with my MHDT Labs so far.  Good luck.  
Another Orchid owner here, my first stand alone DAC and streaming Qobuz with a Node 2i. I can listen for hours at a time, no fatigue, very smooth yet enough detail for my ears. Using a Luxman integrated wIth Harbeth SLH5+. I'm using the upgraded tube from LTA, haven't tried any other tubes yet.  
I have professionally reviewed both Dacs (The Orchid for Six Moons the Tubadour SE III for Stereo Times) and own both of them. If you want to discuss this with me, just shoot me a message and I'll get back to you.
I have the Audio Mirror 45W SET mono- blocks and can tell you Vlad B. is great to work with. I would also have the AM DAC but am about 95% vinyl. Vlad pays very close attention to the sound of his products. These amps reproduce music wonderfully.
I love my AMT3se and know of another member who did a direct shootout between an upgraded Orchid and the AMT3se. He chose the AM.

I chose mine over a Lampizator Amber 3, PS Audio Directstream, iFi DSD Pro, Matrix x-Sabre Pro, & Shiit Bifrost 2. All with extended auditions in my system except the Shiit which a friend brought over for me to try.
I sold my Denafrips Terminator once I got my AM Tubadour III se dac. It sounds more musical and has better tonality. It just sounds more natural in my set-up without giving up detail. The Termy might be a little cleaner, but doesn't have the texture or draws you into the music as much.
How does the AM Tubadour III SE with streaming compare to using CDs in a good quality CD player?  I have a 2005 Accustic Arts CD player that I'm very happy with (24 bit/96kHz Enhanced Multi-Level Delta-Sigma DAC, 8-times oversampling,  Burr Brown PCM 1728).  I'm considering adding a DAC for streaming Tidal or Qudoz, and curious if streaming with the AM or another DAC could equal or better my CD player.

I know I'm missing out on instant access to infinite music, but sound quality is a priority. Thanks. 
@teajay  I'm keen to get your thoughts on a comparison between the Orchid and Tubadour III DACs.  
I'm a new member so don't seem to have privileges to send a DM. 
Is there some other way to contact you?
@tonnesen The AM does not include a streaming input, so sq of streaming vs. cd will completely depend on the equipment that's providing input.  That said, the only thing I miss about my cd player (which was an exemplar Denon 2900 8 years ago), is going to the used music store.
cal3713, did you find the AMse to sound better than your Exemplar  Denon 2900 or just different? I still use my 2900 and think it sounds great. I don't understand why the Orchids are selling used between $900 and $1000, one sold the other day in one day for $1080. I can buy a new one for $1200 in US or have MHDT send one from over seas $1000 shipped of ebay. How dependable are the Orchids. I talked to Vlad and he is a super nice guy, I'm starting to think AM and upgrade to SE later. The only reason I like the orchid is I have tons of real nice 6922's, 6sn7's and could use those in Orchid.

@paulcreed Unfortunately I sold the exemplar and switched to streaming & computer audio in 2012, so I can't make any comparison. Every part of my system is different.

And the AM takes 6922s, so you're all set for tube rolling with it too. It has an output stage that can utilize 5977, 6N1P, 6DJ8, ECC88, 6922 and 6H23P tubes.  
And at least with the two week trial period, you can try running your exemplar direct and through the AM to test it out for yourself.

Do try a second source (e.g., a computer through USB) as well though, as the exemplar should hold it's general house sound, even when decoded by another dac. That'll let you figure out a bit more about whatever dac you're demoing
Yea, sorry about that it is $1210, the one I looked at is another model, they just look the same and I assumed it was the Orchid. 
A quick way to start with streaming is to get a RaspberryPi based solution (RPi). You can build one yourself if you like to tinker, it is not very hard, or by a ready-made product.  I built my own by adding a HifiBerry Digi+ to a RPi and placing it all in a box and then connecting it to my normal dac through s/pdif.

If you don't want to tinker you can by one already assembled like the Volumio Primo or Orchard. You might need to subscribe to MyVolumio to get Tidal och Qobuz.

I think streamers are still evolving and they contain a lot of software which makes it harder to keep them going for years to come. If the company that built it is out of business you might not get any updates and it might stop working. For these reasons I would probably limit my spending on streamers for now and wait a few years.
Glad I found this topic. I have a PS Audio Directstream Jr. and like it. Been curious to try a NOS dac. Was reading about SW1X, Audio Mirror, Border Patrol, Orchid, etc. I’m just wondering if these are an improvement over the DSJr.? SW1X Level 2 Special or Level 3 STD. peaked my interest but others sound good at a lower price. The Audio Mirror TSE sounds like it uses some top tier parts like dueland caps. Anyway, if anyone has experience with the DSJr. and these NOS dacs I’d be curious to hear your experiences. 
@abd1 I had a Directstream dac with the bridge 2 for two months. I strongly prefer the Audio mirror. 

That said, the DSD dac does something in it's signal processing that simply doesn't work for my ears. I had a Perfectwave for many years and twice tried to upgrade it to the DSD. Both times I sold the unit and went back to the pwd. Not sure if there's some phase issues or something that my speakers and I are particularly sensitive to or what, but it just doesn't work for me. Given all the positive experiences people report with it, I have to assume there's something special going on in my auditory system. 

Anyway, I truly adore my AMT3se and highly recommend it. It sounds so much more like real music to me than the psa units, and as I said above, I also loved my Perfectwave.
I had a Directstream Dac Senior for a couple years then I bought a Denafrips Terminator. Which I liked better, but tried a AM Tubadour IIIse and thought it sounded better out of all of them. It has the smoothness of the DS and the prat of the Terminator. Plus really nice tone and timbre and just has a natural flow about it.
I should probably mention that I was referring to a DS Sr as well...

And I'll second everything @snopro said above, but also add that it has a lovely holographic soundstage as well. Above all, it just sounds right.
I have the Orchid and like it a lot. I've rolled tubes, with slight improvements each time, but nothing earth-shaking. Stock, it sounds great. This is my 2nd NOS DAC. I dislike D/S & will only have multibit or NOS now.

Another factor that nobody seems to mention: the MHDT Labs Orchid is very compact, <1/2 the footprint of many other DACs, including the AM. That really matters in my space-constrained desktop system. 
That's a good point about the small footprint Orchid. True. Nice. 

I too would not be able to use another DAC, mine sits on top of my rack next to a streamer. 
Karl,  don't start out slow it's real expensive.  At the time to buy .  Buy as much product as you can  You're trying to not have to upgrade in a year 
    hope it helps 
I just wanted to mention that it's clear that you can't go wrong with either of these dacs, owners seem to universally love both and I suspect they're more similar than different.

If you're feeling stuck, you either need to demo both and let your ears decide (AM at least gives you a free trial), or go with @twoch's advice and buy whichever one you think will make you feel satisfied and prevent the upgrade itch.

In the end that's why I got 6 dacs in house at the same time. The experience of trying many different competitors (and topologies) really made me feel much more settled with my final decision. That's another nice thing about using these old dac chips. Once you personally experience their superiority over new technology, it makes the constant feed of new ones less attractive (although I'd still love to hear a bricasti).