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Meier-Audio CORDA Aria

post #1 of 235
Thread Starter 
I bought one of the Meier-Audio CORDA HA-1 MkII amplifiers in the Meier-Audio jubileum (jubileum = jubilee?).

Checking the Meier-Audio website for more info, I noticed the HA-1 MkII is no longer listed and the CORDA Aria has appeared.



FYI, post #108 on page 6:
Originally Posted by Jan Meier
Dear Headfellows,

Just to answer a few questions:

"So it's a Meier design made by Shanling?"

Yes, the amp indeed is build by Shanling. However, all the designs, including those of the PCBs and the enclosure were done by Meier-Audio. Granted, the enclosure looks very much like the Shanling designs but that was done to keep costs low. To make a more different enclosure would increase costs considerably. And to be honest, I do like these enclosures. Pictures really do not do the amp justice.

"so it's made in China? or simply assembled in China?"

All the parts to be used (brand, model) have been clearly specified by Meier-Audio. Some parts could not be organized/provided by Shangling. These were either send by Meier-Audio to China or, if not critical for sound, high quality replacements were provided by Shangling.
For instance the NEUTRIK headphone jacks and the BUF634T were send from Germany. However, the polypropylen capacitors made by Vishay that I normally use have been replaced by WIMA versions. The same for the low-impedance electrolytics that have been replaced by Nichicons. All high quality stuff. As said, there are hardly any sonic differences between the very first prototype and the final test-amp that I received from Shanling. If any the latter sounds even better, as it has a better powersupply.

"but is prototype hand-soldered by Jan himself and real amps are made by Shanling?"

The prototype in principle is a modified HA-1 MkII. It has the same powersupply but I did make this amp to test a new circuit topology that allows to eliminate a non-linear parameter that is an inherent property of any normal opamp circuit. The final ARIA design comes with this new circuitry and a better powersupply (and with a crossfeed filter and an USB-DAC added).

"Someone stated that the components are also made in China."

That is true for many products made in China. However, with the ARIA it has been clearly specified what parts have to be used. Many have been made by non-China manufacturers like Burr-Brown, National-Semiconductors, WIMA, NEUTRIK, ALPS, Bulgin, Texas-Instruments, Lumberg.

Be aware that Shanling is a true High-End, high-quality manufacturer that also produces for many other very renowned (non-Chinese) High-End companies.

"What sort of DAC sits in the Aria and how does it compare to say, a Creative Audigy 2 zs?"

The PCM2704, made by Texas-Instruments is a rather simple DAC that also can be found in the PORTA CORDA MkIII. However, thanks to a much better powersupply and a very carefull implementation the sound is surprisingly good and although I have no personal experience with a true High-End sound card I'm pretty sure that the ARIA will be able to compete pretty well.

"why there's no "medium" crossfeed setting, only "low"."

The new circuit topology mentioned above did have some consequences for the implementation of the crossfeed filter and made the addition of an extra filter setting rather complicated and expensive. Therefore the choice was made to implement one level only.


post #2 of 235

Such a radical design change as compared to the current Corda products.
post #3 of 235
Hm. I prefer understated looks. It looks interesting anyway.
post #4 of 235
Jan Meier told me in an email that he would release a Usb/dac/amp (of the HAI/II ilk) around the year end. This might be it
post #5 of 235
Jan has sent me a prototype of the Aria's amp section (which he finally generously ceded to me!). It has become my main amp since quite a while. That should say something. So don't expect too little!

post #6 of 235
So here's the obvious question. Will it likely cost more than the HA-1, surely not less...?
post #7 of 235
Where will the Corda Aria stand in the Corda amp line? As the replacement of the HA-1 MkII? Up there with the Preheads? Upper still ?
I noticed in the Meier-Audio photo that the Aria only has one headphone output (like the HA-1...)
I agree it represents a radical change in Meier-Audio cosmetics, but I kind of like it.

post #8 of 235
Boy, ugly box!. It looks like a cheap chinese prête-à-porter amp!. I liked much better the old corda boxes. Have you seen the new DHA-3000 in akwok's post?. Now, that's an amp!!. Of course, for that kind of money, it should be....
post #9 of 235
Originally Posted by fjf
Have you seen the new DHA-3000 in akwok's post?
well, new for akwok... but the amp's been around since the latter part of 2003.
post #10 of 235
Hmm, I expected the HA-1 MkII to be discontinued after reading the jubilee thread. (So I took the chance and bought one for a nice price .)
I doubt the Aria will be the replacement for the HA-1 and expect a higher price though. Don't know about the looks, it does look great indeed, but I loved that harmless and unspectacular design of the HA-1 which made the complete Meier amp series really unique.
post #11 of 235
I always liked the looks and especially the build quality of Meier's amps -- I have confidence that the news ones will be very nice in both regards.
post #12 of 235
Although I've always had a weakness for the classic, understated Corda design -- especially in the HA-2 --, I like the new design quite a bit.

post #13 of 235
If looks only told the whole story than that is one killer amp.
post #14 of 235
Originally Posted by JaZZ
Jan has sent me a prototype of the Aria's amp section (which he finally generously ceded to me!). It has become my main amp since quite a while. That should say something. So don't expect too little!

your informal review for us is pending , isn' it true ?
post #15 of 235
btw the new design recall me a bit the Shanling house design ( and the Sugden Headmaster too )
I'm with team oldies at the moment though
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