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Meier Audio StageDAC - Page 13

post #181 of 633
Leonardo: Thanks for both parts of your review, it was totally perfect, now im gonna get one STAGEDAC for me ASAP. ^_^ Oh, and btw my first post here. Hello Head-Fiers!

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #182 of 633
As there are a lot of comments in this thread regarding the possitive effects of the Meier crossfeed circuit, users may wish to tryout a software emulator plugin for Foobar 2000 - Bauer Stereophonic-to-Binaural DSP. It has a J. Meier preset, supposedly configured to emulate the Meier crossfeed sound. Clearly no substitute for the real hardware version, but interesting to those who want a rough idea what it's all about
post #183 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emokid View Post
Leonardo: Thanks for both parts of your review, it was totally perfect, now im gonna get one STAGEDAC for me ASAP. ^_^ Oh, and btw my first post here. Hello Head-Fiers!
Welcome to the forum. There are far better reviewers than me so you will enjoy a lot if you dig into different threads.
post #184 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonardo_BVB View Post
STAGEDAC Review. Part II

After the first results with “Take five” I was a little bit baffled because the DAC seemed to sound better than my valves. How could that be possible? Well, I know different valves change the “body” of the music (really what they do is introducing harmonic distortions that gives a different “flavour”). To truly compare components, you have to match their output levels. I did not have a sound meter handy so what I did was connecting the buffer valves amplifier to the variable output of the DAC and I moved to the maximum, so it would have the same level than the fixed output (2.2 Vrms). That seemed to me a fairier comparison between the Stagedac own sound and the effect of the valves (at the end of the day, all I was doing was “filtering” the Stagedac own sound and comparing it with itself through the buffer/valves. The Icon audio BA2 has zero gain so nothing is added in terms of gain).
Well, the sound was now slightly more pleasing with valves, but not by a big margin (the sound was still fuller with the Stagedac own sound and I could clearly feel the bass better). I changed the Sylvania for a pair of 1943's Ken Rad black bottle and voilà! The bass came back (as I was expecting. I have included a picture). Even when I lost some clarity, it was, to my ears, a more pleasing and round sound now with valves. I did various test with Miles Davis to convince myself that I was not exercising auto-suggestion and I was happy it was not the case. The famous muted trumpet does not pierce your brain when you filter it through valves. Even in position 2:2 (the more vinyl like for the stagedac) the trumpet was still a little bit harsh when listening to 'Round midnight (not unpleasant, but less natural). Being honest, I could very happily live with it if I did not have the valves. By the way, this was with the Grado GS1000i, with the HD650 I was pretty much as happy with or without valves. That is how good I think this DAC sounds.

Anyway, now I was happy to start the other tests. I will try to be brief, so you get an idea. Needless to say that I carried on trying different combinations with all the other tunes. I have to say that the filters do not seem to have the same effect with different songs and headphones! Great, another difficulty added. In a nutshell, after a lot of tweaking, I still think that, in general terms, my first impressions were about right (give or take). I still think that positions 2:2 (x4 oversampling with 2nd filter) and 3:1 (third filter -top- with x8 oversampling) are the nicest sounding ones. I concluded that, if no valves were to be used, position 2:2 is the best (you can listen to trumpet with no fatigue). If valves were to be used, 3:1 is my favourite.
Very briefly:

Highs: listening to James Ehnes performance of Paganini's “Caprice No 24 in A minor” is a tour the force. The recording was recorded in 20 bits and he plays an Stradivarius, enough said. The piece is for virtuoso and it has devilish pizzicato. I used position 3:1 and the DAC captured not just the fast pace and piercing highs with control, but also the “woodiness” of the violin. Just fantastic. With position 2:2 you could listen to all 24 caprices with no fatigue, even with the Grados.

Mids: I could have selected literally hundreds of well recorded songs for this test but I went for Cat Powers' “Metal heart” for two reasons: first because her voice is so velvety and deep that push you to pay attention to her every word. Second, it has a piano and that is one the most difficult instrument to capture well in a recording. On top of that, the song is great. I can say it was a thrilling experience with the Grados and great with the Hd650. When the piano intro at 0:18 seconds gives way to Cat's wonderful voice, you could almost hear the air going through her lips, very sensual. The decay in her voice is clearly audible. At 0:52 the bass and drums come in and you just have one of the best indie songs of the last five years. The song progresses and it reaches an incredible climax at about 3:00 minutes or so. When she sings “Metal heart you're not worth a thing ” you feel you want to to kiss her and get her forgiveness. Pure joy.

Lows: that one was a difficult choice. I though that maybe I should use metal or hard rock but it would mask nuances of bass. Bass & drum or disco kind of music would deliver masses of bass but with very little control. I went for Esperanza's “I know you know” because of the perfect recording of the double bass. In the first 5-6 seconds, Esperanza introduce her song playing her double bass and it sounded like a double bass. This may sound obvious but it is not. The tone was right, the vibration of the strings was right and then, when she started singing, you just fall in love with her. You forget the DAC and concentrate in the music, that simple. This tune sounded very good with the HD650 but first price went for the Denons D7000 because they went down all the way to the lowest frequencies. I recommend any of you to go to YouTube and see her. She is gorgeous, sings beautifully and plays the double bass with no nonsense. A true artist.

Dynamic range: No surprises here with “The planets”. It is a hybrid SACD so well recorded that it will sound great in any rig. It sounded very good but still, miles away from the real thing. I went to listen to the planets in 2000 played by the Hallé Orchestra in the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester and it was like discovering the piece again. They were also performing Pluto. It had had been commissioned to Colin Matthews to complete the suite (Pluto had not been discovered yet when Holst composed The planets). So I was in the first ever live performance of Pluto! That did not moved me so much, but their rendition of Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis made me cry, literally. Once again the DAC in position 3:1 delivered all the goods with no problem at all.

Well, that was it for the DAC. Very impressed. But, what about the crossfeed section?
I started testing the same CDs but the differences were not very significant and the changes so subtle that sometimes, I wondered if it made any difference at all. Especially, the delay switch, did not seem to change anything at all! I thought, well, let's see with “hard stereo” recordings. First, I gave way to Neil Young's fantastic “Old man” from his Greatest Hits (I think this song does not need presentation). Without crossfeed, the guitar is on your far right and the bass in your left. Not very good at all. I left the delay in the middle position and both, intensity and tonal balance in the minimum. I changed the switch from stereo to crossfeed and the “magic” started. A clear big difference. The guitar moved slightly to the centre of the stage, but the sound lost some “bite”. I changed the tonal balance to mid position. Better but not enough. I pushed it to maximum and it was quite good. The bass still felt a little bit toned down. It is not the case, but that is how it feels (Jan explains briefly the psycoacustics in the manual. This man is a treasure). The trade off is well worth, anyway. Next, I started playing with the crossfeed intensity switch and the sound was incredible with the maximum position. The stage was better defined, and you can hear Neil with his guitar almost the way he sounds live (well, he has lost some voice but the charisma is still there. If you do not believe you should have listen to him this year in Glastonbury Festival).
At this stage in the testing, I was delighted so I wanted to see what I could achieve with the delay control. Well, I could not hear any significant changes, none at all. I though that maybe it was not working! I went to the manual (as I said in my second post, I ended reading the whole thing!). It says you should try a mono recording, move the balance totally to either right or left channel and try then. I connected the USB, went to Winamp, moved the balance totally to the left and played a mono recording (The Blue Note Jazzmen, to be precise). Now I could see the difference but it was quite an strange effect. The delay suppose to mimic the angle of your speakers but it felt like it was moving the music upwards in diagonal, rather than horizontally. After playing for a while, my impression was that the middle position is probably the best.
Summarizing, the changes with crossfeed where dramatic in hard stereo, nothing subtle here: a very real change for better, far better in fact. I tried the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Wes Montgomery, Jethro Tull...
My favourite settings for the crossfeed are: max. for intensity and tonal balance and mid for delay. You can actually leave the crossfeed engaged all the time because it does not seem to affect well mixed CDs.
Do I think the Stagedac is worth the price? Hell I do. The DAC side of it is great and allows you to tailor the sound and the crossfeed section is just incredible. And I mean incredible.
If you have lots of CDs with soundstage too big and do not need another headamp I think this is a must.
Yours
anyone want to buy my v-dac?
post #185 of 633
Dear Headfellows,

I'm very happy with the fact that the (very few) first customers who now have received their STAGEDAC seem to respond very positively to its sonic possibilities. Admittedly I had some doubts, as this is my first stand-alone DAC and the competition in this field is very varied and strong.

Just a few notes:

" it appears from what i am reading, that i need to understand more of the "basics" regarding how a dac works!"

Please note that the user-manual of the STAGEDAC can be downloaded from my website at www.meier-audio.com. It will explain the functionality and effects of the various filter settings as well of the crossfeed filter in a little bit more detail. It should help you to understand a little bit better.

I also would like to note, that the extended version of the natural crossfeed filter of the STAGEDAC is somewhat different from that of the other CORDA devices. Imaging is more stable and precise because of a wider effective frequency range.

As for the sonic descriptions and appreciations of the different DAC settings by Leonardo, they strong correlate with my own. It seems he hears very much like I do. Would be nice if he also would be able to test the loudspeaker crossfeed mode.

Happy listenings,

Jan
post #186 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Meier View Post
Dear Headfellows,

I'm very happy with the fact that the (very few) first customers who now have received their STAGEDAC seem to respond very positively to its sonic possibilities. Admittedly I had some doubts, as this is my first stand-alone DAC and the competition in this field is very varied and strong.

Just a few notes:

" it appears from what i am reading, that i need to understand more of the "basics" regarding how a dac works!"

Please note that the user-manual of the STAGEDAC can be downloaded from my website at www.meier-audio.com. It will explain the functionality and effects of the various filter settings as well of the crossfeed filter in a little bit more detail. It should help you to understand a little bit better.

I also would like to note, that the extended version of the natural crossfeed filter of the STAGEDAC is somewhat different from that of the other CORDA devices. Imaging is more stable and precise because of a wider effective frequency range.

As for the sonic descriptions and appreciations of the different DAC settings by Leonardo, they strong correlate with my own. It seems he hears very much like I do. Would be nice if he also would be able to test the loudspeaker crossfeed mode.

Happy listenings,

Jan
downloaded the manual, but couldn't open it, with word.
will try again tomorrow.
i assume a paper version comes with the stagedac?
post #187 of 633
Hey you never know....StageDac converts Yehova Witness....Thanks for the great review, especially second language...Wow
post #188 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonardo_BVB View Post
There are far better reviewers than me so you will enjoy a lot if you dig into different threads.
Great review Leonardo, hugely entertaining. But damn it I've been avoiding an upgrade
until now!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Meier View Post
Please note that the user-manual of the STAGEDAC can be downloaded from my website at www.meier-audio.com.
Hi Jan, I think you need to check the StageDAC manual.
The word document appears to be corrupted.

And congratulations on the launch of the StageDAC Jan!
Sounds like you could have a winner

It's hard to resist this...must be strong.....
need to stop looking at random possessions around the house
wondering how much I could Ebay them for...


Quote:
Originally Posted by oldson View Post
downloaded the manual, but couldn't open it, with word.
Me too.
post #189 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by tcp56 View Post
Hey you never know....StageDac converts Yehova Witness....Thanks for the great review, especially second language...Wow
post #190 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Meier View Post
Dear Headfellows,

I'm very happy with the fact that the (very few) first customers who now have received their STAGEDAC seem to respond very positively to its sonic possibilities. Admittedly I had some doubts, as this is my first stand-alone DAC and the competition in this field is very varied and strong.

Just a few notes:

" it appears from what i am reading, that i need to understand more of the "basics" regarding how a dac works!"

Please note that the user-manual of the STAGEDAC can be downloaded from my website at www.meier-audio.com. It will explain the functionality and effects of the various filter settings as well of the crossfeed filter in a little bit more detail. It should help you to understand a little bit better.

I also would like to note, that the extended version of the natural crossfeed filter of the STAGEDAC is somewhat different from that of the other CORDA devices. Imaging is more stable and precise because of a wider effective frequency range.

As for the sonic descriptions and appreciations of the different DAC settings by Leonardo, they strong correlate with my own. It seems he hears very much like I do. Would be nice if he also would be able to test the loudspeaker crossfeed mode.

Happy listenings,

Jan
Hi Jan, I'll try to test the STAGEDAC with my Hi-Hi next weekend.
I briefly tested when it came and the wide stereo position was having some effect but not very big. I suppose I need to try with big orchestral works!
Thanks for your hard work developing the product. You made me a happy man!
post #191 of 633
Dear Headfellows,

Problems with downloading the manual indeed seem to exist quite frequently. Seems to be a server problem of some kind. People interested should send me a mail and I will then send them the manual in return.

Cheers

Jan
post #192 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Meier View Post

Well, currently I’m working on a slim version of the STAGEDAC. I’m not sure yet whether it will be produced or not but this one could be interesting for you...

Cheers

Jan
is there any update on the status of the slim version?

based on initial listening impressions, i imagine this might appeal to those of us who are interested in the DAC section and crossfeed, but might not need the pre-amp function.
post #193 of 633

Ðàçíûå ïóòàíû.

Óáåäèëàñü òóò ãàçåòó. Íó è êîíå÷íî ðàññêàç Âèäåëà íåäàâíî, äî ÷åãî æå ñåé÷àñ ìíîæåñòâî îáúÿâëåíèé ïðî ñåêñ ïðåäïî÷òåíèÿ! Ýòî ïîðàçèòåëüíî! Âåäü â íàøå âðåìÿ î÷åíü ñäåëàí äîñóãîâûé áèçíåñ è, àáñîëþòíî æå, òàì íèêîãäà íåëüçÿ áåç ïðîñòèòóòîê, ïóòàí. Òàêàÿ ïðîôåññèÿ ñóùåñòâóåò ñ î÷åíü äàæå ñòàðåéøèõ âåêîâ, è íà ñåãîäíÿøíèé äåíü îíà âåñüìà ïîïóëÿðíà. ×òî íè äåëàé, íî ïðîñòèòóòêè â Âèäíîì ÿâëÿþòñÿ íåñêðûâàåìîé ÷àñòè÷êîé îáùåñòâà è íàøå âðåìÿ äàæå ìóæ÷èíû è æåíùèíû áîëåå ÷åì äðóæåëþáíî îòíîñÿòñÿ ê òàêèì. Äà è ñàìè ïðîñòèòóòêè è èõ êîëè÷åñòâî ñòàíîâÿòñÿ áîëüøå. Ìíîãî äåâîê ïðîñÿòñÿ èìåííî â ñåêñ áèçíåñ. ×üå æå âëèÿåò íà èõ îïðåäåëåíèå? Çà÷åì îíè áåðóò âîò èìåííî ýòó ïîäðàáîòêó? Îòâåòû íà ýòîò âîïðîñ äåâî÷êè ïî âûçîâó äàþò ðàçíîîáðàçíûå, íî ìûñëü åñòü îäíà - ýòî áûñòðûå äåíüãè. Ýòî êîíå÷íî íåïëîõîé äåíåæíûé áèçíåñ, âîò ïîêà åùå íå çàêîííûé.
 òàêîé ðàáîòå áûëà äàæå ñâîÿ ëåñòíèöà êàðüåðíàÿ: áûëè óëè÷íûå äåâî÷êè, åñòü äåâêè, îòðàáàòûâàþùèå íà îáû÷íûõ êâàðòèðàõ, à åñòü è äåâ÷àòà. Âñòóïèòü â ýòîé ïðîôåññèè äîñòàòî÷íî íå ñëîæíî, íàäî òîëüêî õîðîøåå îáúÿâëåíèå è îòëè÷íîå îò äðóãèõ èìÿÿ, ÷òî åùå âàæíî î÷åíüü, ÷òîáû îáúÿâëåíèå áûëî â ìíîãèõ ðÿäàõ. Ñàìûå ëó÷øèå äåâóøêè ñîòðóäíè÷àþò ñ ñàóíêàìè, ïîòîìó ÷òî ìîðå ìóæèêîâ çîâóò äåâî÷åê èìåííî â ñàóíó.
À åñëè íà ñ÷åò èåðàðõèè. Âîò, ïðèìåð óëè÷íûå äåâî÷êè, ýòî òå, êîòîðûå ñòîÿò íà äîðîãå è ïðîäàþò ñåáÿ âîîáùå íåäîðîãî. Ñåãîäíÿ ñåêñ äåëàåòñÿ â àâòîìîáèëå ìóæ÷èíû, èëè æå ãäå òî íà ïðèðîäå, ìíîæåñòâî ó âîçÿò ïàðíè äîìîé. Òàêèå äåëàþò ñåáÿ îò 500 äî 1000 ðóáëåé çà ðàç. Ýòè âîí äåâà÷êè áûëè ðàñïðîñòðàíåíû ðàíüøå, íà ñåãîäíÿøíèé äåíü êëèåíòû õî÷àò êîíå÷íî õîðîøèé îòäûõ. Âîò, íàïðèìåð ïðîñòèòóòêè â ñàëîíàõ ñåé÷àñ î÷åíü äàæå ëó÷øèé âàðèàíòèê, áåðóò îíè ãäå òî 2600 çà ÷àñ, çàðïëàòà ó íèõ ïî ÷àñàì, äà è ìåñòî îòäûõà î÷åíü êîìôîðòíåå äîðîãè. Ìíîãî ïàðíåé îòäàþò ïðåäïî÷òåíèå èìåííî âîò ýòîò âèä îòäûõà. Ïîòîìó òàì áîëåå ñïîêîéíî è âîçìîæíî îòäûõàòü äóøîé è òåëîì. À ñàìûå ìîäåëüíûå äåâ÷àòà ýòî ìîäåëè. Ýòè äåâ÷àòà â îñíîâíîì æèâóò â èíòåðíåòå, íà òàêèõ âèðòóàëüíûõ ïîðòàëàõ êàê ãåé ôîðóì. Ëåäè äåëàþòñÿ òàì è íàõîäÿò ñåáå õîðîøèõ ìóæ÷èí. Ñòîèìîñòü òàêîé ïðîñòèòóòêè îò 500 äîëëàðîâ çà ÷àñèê, à íî÷ü ìîæåò äîõîäèòü è äî 1500 äîëëàðîâ, òàêèå âîò èíäèâèäóàëêè íå òîëüêî ïðîôåññèîíàëêè â ñåêñå, íî è ìîæóò îòðàáàòûâàòü êàê ýñêîðò áîãàòîãî äÿäåíüêè íà ðàçíûå ìåðîïðèÿòèÿ. Ýòè âîò äåâ÷àòà èíäèâèäóàëüíî ïðèãëàøàþòñÿ äåíåæíûìè ïàðíÿìè èëè áîãàòûìè ëþäüìè äëÿ ñóïåðñêîãî îòäûõà. Óéìà äåâóøåê äåëàþò ñåé÷àñ íàøè îáúÿâêè íà âåá ñàéòå äîñêà îáúÿâëåíèé, ýòî ñåãîäíÿ ñàìûé ïðîñòîéñàìûé îáû÷íûé ñïîñîá îòûñêàòü êëèåíòà. Âîò ê ïðèìåðó øëþõè Èâàíîâî ïðèõîäÿò ê îòëè÷íûì ìåòîäàì, äëÿ òîãî, ÷òîáû çàìàíèòü êëèåíòà, íî èì òåì áîëåå è óòðóæäàòüñÿ äîëãî íå ñòîèò, ïîòîìó ÷òî ïàðíè ñàìè îáðàùàþòñÿ ê íèì è î÷åíü äàæå ÷àñòî. À ïîäðàçäåëåíèå ïóòàí ýòî íàïðîñòî ïðàâèëî, êàæäûé îòäàåò ïðåäïî÷òåíèå òîé, êîòîðàÿ åãî óñòðàèâàåò. Íî ÷òî áû ìû íè øåïòàëè, ôàêò îñòàåòñÿ ñìûñëîì øëþõè ïîñòîÿííî áûëè âîñòðåáîâàíû è áóäóò ðàáîòàòü åùå äîëãî äîëãî.
post #194 of 633
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Meier View Post
Dear Headfellows,

Problems with downloading the manual indeed seem to exist quite frequently. Seems to be a server problem of some kind. People interested should send me a mail and I will then send them the manual in return.

Cheers

Jan
If you put the manuals on the server in pdf format instead of as Word documents, you shouldn't have any more problems.
post #195 of 633
Thread Starter 
For easy reference in the thread:

Quote:
Filter setting one, 8-fold oversampling
This is the "classic" interpretation of a DAC. The pulse response is a sin(x)/x function and the frequency response is (practically) a straight line.

Filter setting two, 8-fold oversampling
During the oversampling process the highest frequencies are lowered in order to slightly reduce the pre- and post-ringing. Compared to the classic approach the sound is a little bit less edgy, but it should be noted that sonic differences are very small and hardly audible.

Filter setting three, 8-fold oversampling
Again, during the oversampling process the upper frequencies are lowered. However, in addition these high frequencies are also slightly shifted in time. Thus the components of the pre-ringing signal are no longer in front of the large signal pulse but now appear after this pulse, where they are masked by its larger signal. The resulting sound has a more analog quality than the classic approach.
Quote:
Filter setting one, 4-fold oversampling
In this mode, the upper frequencies, and thereby the pre- and post-ringing, are strongly lowered. Using 44 kHz data (CD-replay) the frequency range reaches to 14 kHz only (-3dB). The pre- and post-ringing have decreased, but be noted that they now have lower intrinsic frequencies and may still be audible.

Filter setting two, 4-fold oversampling
Again, during the oversampling process frequencies above 14 kHz are strongly reduced. However, in addition the high frequencies are shifted in time as to remove any pre-ringing. Technically spoken this filter setting resembles vinyl-playback most closely. Vinyl records are limited to a frequency range of 14kHz .. 16 kHz and show no pre-ringing because of the time shifts introduced by the analog filtering.

Filter setting three, 4-fold oversampling
The pulse response of this setting is very similar to that of filter setting two in combination with 8-fold oversampling. Upper frequencies are lowered in order to slightly reduce the pre- and post-ringing.
Quote:
Filter setting one, 2-fold oversampling
In its shape the pulse response at this setting is a rounded approximation of the original pulse without any major pre- and postringing. However, to obtain this result a price is paid in the reproduction of signals that have frequencies above 14 kHz. The additional figure shows the reproduction of both a 12 kHz and a 20 kHz sinus signal. Whereas the 12 kHz still has a steady amplitude, the amplitude of the 20 kHz strongly wobbles. Moreover, frequency analysis of the resulting signal shows that additional signal components are created beyond the theoretical upper limit of 22 kHz (aliasing). Because the adverse effects are found in the high-frequency band, appreciation of this mode will strongly depend on personal hearing. Trying is the only way to know.

Filter setting two, 2-fold oversampling
This filter setting is very similar to that of the setting discussed above. The amplitude of high frequency signals is not steady and additional signal components are created above the limit of 22 kHz. The main difference is that the little pre-ringing that was left is now removed by additional time delays in the high-frequency domain.

Filter setting three, 2-fold oversampling
This filter settings is very special in that the pulse response is much smaller/shorter than it is in the other filter settings. It is a kind of response that is similar to that of so-called non-oversampling DAC-devices. The pulse response is almost free of any pre- and post-ringing but the price that is paid is a large one. Strong side-band effects create strong components beyond the upper limit of 22 kHz as can be clearly shown in the response of a 12 kHz sinus signal. As always appreciation of this mode will strongly depend on personal hearing.
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