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Meier Audio StageDAC

post #1 of 633
Thread Starter 
New offering from Dr. Meier with selectable DAC and crossfeed options - must be Wolfson inside...

meier audio

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post #2 of 633
Wow and i just purchased a new dac.... looks like it could be good
post #3 of 633
Since there is no screen, I imagine that big knob on the right is not a selector switch but a volume control (as also evidenced by the upwards scaling triangle). Point being that this is not just a DAC but a preamp, too.

I'm sure it will be a good DAC. How good, we will have to wait and see. And how much?
post #4 of 633
Not much info, besides what you can read out from the drawing, but I am sure it will be nice.
July/August is just a few months ahead..
post #5 of 633
now THIS i'm interested in.. I love his crossfeed in the 3move
post #6 of 633
Looks interesting given the strength of CORDA SYMPHONY's DAC.
post #7 of 633
A fairy passed by and told me that it will be smaller than Symphony/Opera, it will use two WM8741 (dual mono design) it will have unbalanced outputs only and it will come with a very fancy crossfeed filter
Fairy didn't know about the Price
post #8 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarKu View Post
A fairy passed by and told me that it will be smaller than Symphony/Opera, it will use two WM8741 (dual mono design) it will have unbalanced outputs only and it will come with a very fancy crossfeed filter
Fairy didn't know about the Price
I LIKE IT!
post #9 of 633
WM8741 Spec:

High Performance Stereo DAC



FEATURES
Advanced Ultra High Performance Multi-bit Sigma-Delta Architecture
- 128dB SNR (‘A’-weighted mono @ 48kHz)
- 125dB SNR (‘A’-weighted stereo @ 48kHz)
- 123dB SNR (non-weighted stereo @ 48kHz)
- -100dB THD @ 48kHz
- Differential analogue voltage outputs
- High tolerance to clock jitter
PCM Mode
- Sampling frequency: 32kHz to 192kHz
- Input data word length support: 16 to 32-bit
- Supports all standard audio interface formats
- Selectable advanced digital filter responses
- Includes linear/minimum phase and range of tailored characteristics
- Enables low pre-ringing, minimal latency
- Optional interface to industry standard external filters
- Digital volume control in 0.125dB steps with soft ramp and soft mute
- Anti-clipping mode to prevent distortion even with input signals recorded up to 0dB
- Selectable de-emphasis support
- Zero Flag output
post #10 of 633
If this DAC has 24/96 USB input it may be perfect!
post #11 of 633
Time to upgrade my DAC again.
post #12 of 633
it's 95% that i will have it
post #13 of 633
Dear Headfellows,

One of the members guided me to this thread and asked me to add some comments. So here I am.

Intention of the STAGEDAC is to provide an extremely high quality DAC for a price that is as low as possible. Therefore it will not have XLR outputs which would have added considerably to the technical complexity of the device (due to the presence of the crossfeed filter) but that are normally used by very few people only. Also this device will have a relatively simple enclosure. Sure, it will be very sturdy but there are no design gimmicks that would not add anything to the sound but that would add considerably to the price. Be aware that the enclosure is by far the most expensive part of any amp or dac.

The true qualities of the STAGEDAC are found at the inside. At the heart there are two Wolfson WM8741 DAC-chips in dual-mono mode. These are the top-of-the-range of this renowned manufacturer and provide an extremely clean and resolving sound. Moreover, they allow the user to vary oversampling rate and filter response and thus provides 9 different sonic settings (including classic filtering, low pre- and postringing, no pre-ringing, quasi non-oversampling, ....). People thus can customize sound to their own personal taste.

The DAC will have an optical and two coaxial inputs accepting upto 24-bit, 192 kHz as well as one USB input accepting upto 16-bit, 48kHz.

The receiver chip inside is the newest Wolfson WM8804. This one not only is very immune to interferences on the input signal but also offers an extremely high level of jitter reduction. All input signals are effectively re-clocked using an on-board crystal clock.

There are two pairs of outputs. One is fixed and the other one is variable and can be controlled by the rotary dial at the right front-side.

The powersupply uses two separate toroidal transformers and has completely independent powerlines for the analog output stages, the analog stages of the DAC-chip as well as for the digital part of the electronics.

The most unique part of the DAC however is the crossfeed filter built-in. The technical realisation of this filter is much more sophisticated then the filter that is used in my headphone amplifiers. The latter only uses a relatively simple passive RC-network to do the job. However, with the STAGEDAC active delay lines are implemented. The main advantage is, that the frequency range over which the signals are crossed can be strongly extended. With the RC-network solution there is a strong relation between the delay time (around 300 microseconds) and the frequency range (upto 600 Hz). With the STAGEDAC the frequency range is extended to around 2 kHz. Since the human ear is directional sensitive for frequencies upto 1.5 .. 2 kHz the active solution implemented in the STAGEDAC results in a much improved imaging when compared to the passive solution. It should be noted that, in contrast to other more conventional active solutions, the crossfeed in the STAGEDAC does not suffer from any Comb-effects and that mono-signals are not altered in any way. The filter does “recognize” the positions of the sonic sources and “adjusts” delay time and the intensity of the crossfeed signals accordingly.

The effect of the crossfeed filter can also be reversed. Signals from one channel are now transferred to the other channel but with their phase reversed. This widens the soundstage considerably and is a great feature when listening to loudspeakers. With normal stereo imaging instruments and singers that are mixed into one of the channels only do tend to “stick” to this specific loudspeaker and have no body/width. There is no sonic space beyond the limits of the loudspeakers. Using the crossfeed filter removes some these restrictions and the instruments and singers now become air and body. The effect is especially usefull when listening to e.g. large orchestral recordings and adds strongly to the “life-feeling”.

Delay time and intensity of the crossfeed filter each can be varied in three steps. Thus people can adjust to their personal taste.

People may wonder that the DAC has no headphone output. The reason is simple. The sonic qualities of this DAC are of such a level that only an amp like the SYMPHONY really does true justice to is capabilities. However, to implement such a headphone output into the STAGEDAC would increase costs considerably and many users will already have a high-quality headamp or will use the device with their speaker-setup only

I’m sure people would like to know some prices. Unfortunately I have not been able to calculate all costs yet but I do expect something of around EUR 500,- or USD 700,- for people living outside the European Union. Unfortunately people from inside the EU also have to pay 19% VAT so their price will be around EUR 600,-. Considering the technical and sonic merits I personally feel that those prices are very competitive.

Cheers

Jan
post #14 of 633
That's slightly higher than I was hoping for, but it does sound good. Decisions decisions.
post #15 of 633
Jan, it will be great to have access to your 'crossfeed' (specially this one, newer and so tweaky) when using any amplifier (I must say the most missed feature when I sold my Opera was this one).
Congratulations.
But... I feel somewhat unimpressed, to say the least, by the USB input. I assume you choose the easy path (sorry) with some 270x chip, but every day there is more people looking to use the computer for access 'HD' tracks, so a 24/96 USB input is mandatory. I know I can have USB->SPDIF 24/96 for not much (say, Prodigy Cube) but... well.
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