or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Meier-Audio CORDA Aria
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Meier-Audio CORDA Aria - Page 7

post #91 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by oscar437
so it's made in China? or simply assembled in China?
What's the difference?
post #92 of 235
parts are made in china too.
post #93 of 235

More thoughts

With some evil scheming, I managed to borrow the Aria prototype and pair of Zu cables for a day. Having lived with a MG Head OTL and stock cable for several weeks, I almost forgot what the HD 650 is really capable of. The music sounds so transparent, natural and completely devoid of listening fatigue. It's really amazing what this headphone can do with the right amp and cables (and source and power and ICs, etc. but this is a headphone forum after all).


I can only emphasise again that it's the treble which really makes the Aria stand out from the earlier Corda amps I've had in my system. It has an effortless feel to it while maintaining an excellent focus and transient response at the same time. A bit drier than what the HA-2 does but more accurate IMO. This is another fine example how high end detailing and transparency don't not have to come at the expense of sibilance or glaring brightness. I find that the ultimate test for the upper registers is a long-term listening to test its naturalness and effortlessness, and the Aria certainly passes this one cum laude.

[Edit: To add one further thought here. Being able to render the treble in an effortless and non-fatiguing manner is very tough to do from my experience and it doesn't matter if the rest of the amp sounds warm or not. Even my MG Head had me sometimes clench my teeth at music certain passages. Although achieving this kind of treble may require a careful matching of cables and good power, the amp and source are the most critical factors here IMO.]

But mind you, the Aria still sounds very much like a Corda by retaining an even-handed frequency response and a very good sound coherency that seems to be a common trait among Corda amps.


However, the Aria does not shine itself most of the time but lets the music shine instead (doesn't this sound cheesy?). With the MG Head, most of the music started to sound the same after a while and it became a bit boring to listen to it. Although not quite to the same extent, I sometimes felt similarly about the Talisman T-3H or Earmax Pro. After one hour or two hours of listening, the initial appreciation about the amp's sound fades away, but the amp's distinct touch remains while at times tainting the music with unnecessary forte. This is perhaps a bit too strong of statement but you get my point. With the Corda, I can just pop in one CD after another and it sounds very different each time by taking on the music's idiosyncratic vibes and colorations. For those familar with Audio Note's article "Road to Audio Hell", the guys at Audio Note would surely take a liking to the Aria for its ability to exceed in the category "Comparison by Contrast". Personally, this is what neutrality and tonal accuracy means to me, and it's something only a long-term impression can bring.


This is the best amp I've ever had in my own system at home. Simply wonderful. But I should stop writing and keep on listening since, alas, I'll have to return it tonight.
post #94 of 235
OK, there's no way that was a balanced post so I'll try add a few more comments here.


The Aria is a fast amp and such, it's not a very romantic or euphonic amp. And in spite of the audiophile prejudice, I don't necessarily mean euphonic in a bad way. Personally, I couldn't care less if the sound is "true to the original" or not but fact is that it usually sounds better that way since as mentioned above, I believe that different music and different styles simply sound better when they sound differently as they're supposed to. However, if one likes the extra touch of tubes or other euphonic characteristic, I think that's just a different perspective and matter of preference. Further, a slight bias towards one direction doesn't make an amp automatically coloured or inaccurate. But even it does become "inaccurate" (by whatever standard that is to be defined), I still think that's ok. To use a headphone analogy: If Grados only sound good with rock and I only listen to rock, who cares? (Grado fans have to excuse this simplified example.)


Further, I still hold the contention that the Aria is not a bass-monger. Quality, especially bass texture and depth, is very high. The bass is snappy and detailed. Frankly, it has everything you could wish for in a quality bass, but it just lacks that extra tick of slam for me. Perhaps it's the Hd 650 but I somehow doubt it.


As any other amp, I think the Aria is not devoid of any specific traits either. In the case of the Aria, it would be a certain dryness it exhibits. Restated as a technical merit, it would probably pass under "focus" amongst other things. Whereas a mediocre amp blends several instruments together both in the plane parallel to the face and the perpendicular direction, the Aria separates instruments and voices very clearly with sharp boundaries, which also leads to a very holographic soundstage experience by the way (due to a lesser degree of mushing up the sound and hence better layering).

The edges are pretty hard and distinct, which is also where we transfer into another technical area of the Aria, which is its transient response. The notes fall hard and without a lot of cushioning. So we have both speed and weight to the notes leading to a pretty impressive attack. Nevertheless, I doubt that this kind of sound is for everyone, especially when looking for something more cozy and relaxing.

But where there's less blending-together, I think that's where the term "silent" also applies pretty well. It is insofar a silent amp because firstly it doesn' make any noise (obvious one) but secondly because there's silence between notes where silence is supposed to be. And once we look at the fast falling and rising notes from a different angle, it's not difficult to see why magazine reviewers often associate "silence" with good dynamics. Just my take on it of course.

All things considered, I think there's nothing wrong if the rising notes would take it a bit easier and again, it's a preference thing IMO. As a trade-off to dry, I think the Aria can't be liquid at the same time. This is getting very difficult to describe, so I can only say that in spite of the sound coherency, it doesn't sound liquid in way that would melt you away when listening to it. I hope this description isn't too confusing but that as far as my words can carry me.


In closing, the Aria certainly is not a wonder amp to suit all tastes (standard caveat). No such thing as one-amp-fits-all. There's no mistaking that it's still a solid-state amp and it doesn't try to hide that fact. However, I think it combines a lot of virtues that make SS amps sound so good and accurate without having to resort to graininess or other unpleasant issues so commonly associated with SS gear.
post #95 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by saint.panda
OK, there's no way that was a balanced post so I'll try add a few more comments here.


The Aria is a fast amp and such, it's not a very romantic or euphonic amp. And in spite of the audiophile prejudice, I don't necessarily mean euphonic in a bad way. Personally, I couldn't care less if the sound is "true to the original" or not but fact is that it usually sounds better that way since as mentioned above, I believe that different music and different styles simply sound better when they sound differently as they're supposed to. However, if one likes the extra touch of tubes or other euphonic characteristic, I think that's just a different perspective and matter of preference. Further, a slight bias towards one direction doesn't make an amp automatically coloured or inaccurate. But even it does become "inaccurate" (by whatever standard that is to be defined), I still think that's ok. To use a headphone analogy: If Grados only sound good with rock and I only listen to rock, who cares? (Grado fans have to excuse this simplified example.)


Further, I still hold the contention that the Aria is not a bass-monger. Quality, especially bass texture and depth, is very high. The bass is snappy and detailed. Frankly, it has everything you could wish for in a quality bass, but it just lacks that extra tick of slam for me. Perhaps it's the Hd 650 but I somehow doubt it.


As any other amp, I think the Aria is not devoid of any specific traits either. In the case of the Aria, it would be a certain dryness it exhibits. Restated as a technical merit, it would probably pass under "focus" amongst other things. Whereas a mediocre amp blends several instruments together both in the plane parallel to the face and the perpendicular direction, the Aria separates instruments and voices very clearly with sharp boundaries, which also leads to a very holographic soundstage experience by the way (due to a lesser degree of mushing up the sound and hence better layering).

The edges are pretty hard and distinct, which is also where we transfer into another technical area of the Aria, which is its transient response. The notes fall hard and without a lot of cushioning. So we have both speed and weight to the notes leading to a pretty impressive attack. Nevertheless, I doubt that this kind of sound is for everyone, especially when looking for something more cozy and relaxing.

But where there's less blending-together, I think that's where the term "silent" also applies pretty well. It is insofar a silent amp because firstly it doesn' make any noise (obvious one) but secondly because there's silence between notes where silence is supposed to be. And once we look at the fast falling and rising notes from a different angle, it's not difficult to see why magazine reviewers often associate "silence" with good dynamics. Just my take on it of course.

All things considered, I think there's nothing wrong if the rising notes would take it a bit easier and again, it's a preference thing IMO. As a trade-off to dry, I think the Aria can't be liquid at the same time. This is getting very difficult to describe, so I can only say that in spite of the sound coherency, it doesn't sound liquid in way that would melt you away when listening to it. I hope this description isn't too confusing but that as far as my words can carry me.


In closing, the Aria certainly is not a wonder amp to suit all tastes (standard caveat). No such thing as one-amp-fits-all. There's no mistaking that it's still a solid-state amp and it doesn't try to hide that fact. However, I think it combines a lot of virtues that make SS amps sound so good and accurate without having to resort to graininess or other unpleasant issues so commonly associated with SS gear.
I am not familiar with the prototype thing, but is prototype hand-soldered by Jan himself and real amps are made by Shanling? Someone stated that the components are also made in China. I was a little concerned if the real amp will sound different from the prototype... I like Chinese products. No bias, just wonder if they will sound differently.
post #96 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by diablo9
I am not familiar with the prototype thing, but is prototype hand-soldered by Jan himself and real amps are made by Shanling? Someone stated that the components are also made in China. I was a little concerned if the real amp will sound different from the prototype... I like Chinese products. No bias, just wonder if they will sound differently.
Yes, the prototype is made by Jan. And according to him the serial Aria sounds virtually the same. I don't know if the parts therein are of Chinese origin, but I doubt this applies to all of them, more likely most of them are the same as in the prototype, at least the ones relevant for the sonic chracteristic.

post #97 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaZZ
Yes, the prototype is made by Jan. And according to him the serial Aria sounds virtually the same. I don't know if the parts therein are of Chinese origin, but I doubt this applies to all of them, more likely most of them are the same as in the prototype, at least the ones relevant for the sonic chracteristic.

that's great news. I don't worry about if the amp is assembled by German or Chinese because that virtually doesn't make any difference as the circuit boards are the same. But using components that are different from the prototype is concerning me. If they sonically are the same, I should feel a lot more confident.
post #98 of 235
But you must know that prototype and serial model look quite different!

The little black box at the left on top of the HA-2 is the Aria prototype.



post #99 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaZZ
But you must know that prototype and serial model look quite different!

The little black box at the left on top of the HA-2 is the Aria prototype.



that's a typical Corda look!
as long as they sound the same, I prefer the Shanling look!
post #100 of 235
Sorry if it is mentioned earlier in the thread, but..

What sort of DAC sits in the Aria and how does it compare to say, a Creative Audigy 2 zs? I'm starting to take an interest in the Aria now.
post #101 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by diablo9
that's great news. I don't worry about if the amp is assembled by German or Chinese because that virtually doesn't make any difference as the circuit boards are the same. But using components that are different from the prototype is concerning me. If they sonically are the same, I should feel a lot more confident.
From page 2:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Meier
Amp section is the same as on the prototype. There only has a crossfeed filter added. Powersupply is a little bit better so I don't expect sound quality to be worse than the prototype.

Cheers

Jan
post #102 of 235

Definitely going to get this one

This is great news. I bought the Porta Corda III USB for work to use as a soundcard and headphone amp. And I love it! Even when my Philips SBC-HP1000 phones fell on the floor and broke and I had to use my old JVC crap phones it made them sound decent. Great dynamics from such a small amp and only powered by USB.

I didn't notice much difference when using porta corda with my friends iPod mini and Sennheiser PX200 phones though.

But this Aria will work great at home as I only listen to computer sounds with phones and it's a real headphone amp I can plug into my CD player too. Should beat the Arcam A32 integrated amp in sound quality I hope... It has a USB-RCA switch in the frontpanel, right?
post #103 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzard
It has a USB-RCA switch in the frontpanel, right?
Yes on the right side.
post #104 of 235
I wonder why there's no "medium" crossfeed setting, only "low". I use the medium level crossfeed on my HA-1 MkII quite often with certain types of music.
post #105 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by nothingface
I wonder why there's no "medium" crossfeed setting, only "low". I use the medium level crossfeed on my HA-1 MkII quite often with certain types of music.
I didn't notice this first but yes indeed the web pages says that there's only stereo and low. I usually used low-setting with my HA-1 MkII. Medium was a bit too much crossfeed for me and stereo is no crossfeed at all so low was ideal for me.

At least the crossfeed switch on the front panel looks identical with HA-1 MkII. It's just upside down. But there's no logo for medium-setting.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Meier-Audio CORDA Aria