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Meier Audio StageDAC - Page 5

post #61 of 633
Will it come in silver/brushed alu also?

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post #62 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Meier View Post
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.
I would have a quick question for Mr Meier. It seems that Wolfson recently released a successor to the Wolfson WM8741 DAC chip (itself supposed to be very "analog-like"), the WM8742. Are there any specific reasons for not using it in your StageDAC? E.g. costs or a need to re-design the StageDAC to accomodate the newer Wolfson DAC chip?

Thanks!

PS: I am confident your StageDAC will compare favorably against the competition and will be buying one of those at the end of the year in any case.
post #63 of 633
> And have you thought of launching a basic version of the CORDA SYMPHONY? without the DAC and crossfeed filter?

I’m thinking of it. But currently there is very little time.

> Did you revert back to the mechanical relay in the StageDAC?

No, the STAGEDAC does not use any mechanical relays, so there is no clicking at all! :-)

> did you address the signal locking problem that was prevalent in the Operas (where sometimes when you turn the amp on the DAC signal comes on locked and you had to turn it off and turn it back on again)?

Yes, the problem was connected to the S/PDIF receiver used in the OPERA. The new STAGEDAC uses a different model/brand.

> The front panel looks quite complicated to me.

How old are you??

> Can the two outputs be used simultaneously?

Yes, but it should be aware that both outputs do load the same output stage. For people who only needs the fixed outputs the preamplifier outputs can be deactivated internally which theoretically results in a slightly better sound.

> 'tonal balance' switch - what does that do??

The headphone amplifiers automatically slightly increase the bassfrequencies when the crossfeed is engaged. With the STAGEDAC people can do this by hand.

> Will it come in silver/brushed alu also?

Yes, it will! :-)

> It seems that Wolfson recently released a successor to the Wolfson WM8741 DAC chip (itself supposed to be very "analog-like"), the WM8742. Are there any specific reasons for not using it in your StageDAC?

These are exactly the same chip-designs. The WM8742 is made by those 8741 chips that after manufacturing do not pass the very strict testing criteria. The WM8742 thus is the better choice.

Unfortunately production of the STAGEDAC has been slightly delayed. There are some problems with the supply of the potentiometer that is used. If all goes well the converter will be available by the end of August of the beginning of September. Sorry!

Cheers

Jan
post #64 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Meier View Post
It seems that Wolfson recently released a successor to the Wolfson WM8741 DAC chip (itself supposed to be very "analog-like"), the WM8742. Are there any specific reasons for not using it in your StageDAC?

These are exactly the same chip-designs. The WM8742 is made by those 8741 chips that after manufacturing do not pass the very strict testing criteria. The WM8742 thus is the better choice.

Unfortunately production of the STAGEDAC has been slightly delayed. There are some problems with the supply of the potentiometer that is used. If all goes well the converter will be available by the end of August of the beginning of September. Sorry!

Cheers

Jan
Dear Jan,

Many thanks for these very helpful answers, especially on the Wolfson chips!

I am sure everyone will be able to cope with the slight delay - that way you can spend some more time on the StageDAC to make it over-perfect! An alternative would be to get rid of the volume potentiometer, which could have its advantages...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Meier View Post
The front panel looks quite complicated to me.

How old are you??
I juste laughed out loud at this one.
post #65 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Meier View Post
> The front panel looks quite complicated to me.

How old are you??
Actually your front panel *is* complicated it consists of a set of switches accompanied by several unexplained icons many of which can have no possible meaning without referring to a manual.

It is one of the most obscure interface designs of any (simple) instrument I have ever seen and I have worked with some pretty bad systems such as early versions of Microfocus Revolve and I do have some knowledege of human factors design (MSc and practical research), if you cannot design a clean usable intuitive interface at least keep your snide remarks to yourself.
post #66 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post
Actually your front panel *is* complicated it consists of a set of switches accompanied by several unexplained icons many of which can have no possible meaning without referring to a manual.

It is one of the most obscure interface designs of any (simple) instrument I have ever seen and I have worked with some pretty bad systems such as early versions of Microfocus Revolve and I do have some knowledege of human factors design (MSc and practical research), if you cannot design a clean usable intuitive interface at least keep your snide remarks to yourself.
I just don't get it.

It is more complicated than the standard 2 switch DAC (i.e. power and upsampling) but frankly, it is no rocket science either (well, maybe inside, but not outside)! By comparison, a Lavry DAC must have 5-6 switches and this one 1 or 2 more, most of which are in any case self explanatory. And both have crossfeed capabilities which obviously account for at least 3-4 switches.

I really would not mind having to go back once or twice to a manual to be able to benefit from what seems like a greatly customizable DAC! I can really understand Jan Meier's frustration here...
post #67 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by s_nyc View Post
I just don't get it.

It is more complicated than the standard 2 switch DAC (i.e. power and upsampling) but frankly, it is no rocket science either (well, maybe inside, but not outside)! By comparison, a Lavry DAC must have 5-6 switches and this one 1 or 2 more, most of which are in any case self explanatory. And both have crossfeed capabilities which obviously account for at least 3-4 switches.

I really would not mind having to go back once or twice to a manual to be able to benefit from what seems like a great customizale DAC! I can really understand Jan Meier's frustration here...
Without referring to the manual, what do each of the icons on the front panel mean ?

The question is not about how good the DAC is but Mr Meier made a rather childish rebuke to a potential customer, never a good idea, rather than addressing the criticism about the panel design, a criticism I feel is actually justified.

Say I was selling a calculator that used reverse polish notation (this really did happen back in the 1970s) and you criticised the interface and I called you stupid for not understanding reverse polish would you not feel the rebuke was unwarranted ?
post #68 of 633
There is a price to be paid for flexibility. The StageDAC appears to offer an very high level of flexibility. But it does mean it will have some complexity. For me, it is the flexibility that has me considering purchase of the StageDAC. The world hardly needs another DAC which has no real "features".

At least at first, I could not use an HP 12C calculator without the manual. But after reading it, it does an awful lot more than the calculators that anyone can use without a manual.
post #69 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post
Without referring to the manual, what do each of the icons on the front panel mean ?

The question is not about how good the DAC is but Mr Meier made a rather childish rebuke to a potential customer, never a good idea, rather than addressing the criticism about the panel design, a criticism I feel is actually justified.

Say I was selling a calculator that used reverse polish notation (this really did happen back in the 1970s) and you criticised the interface and I called you stupid for not understanding reverse polish would you not feel the rebuke was unwarranted ?
I actually like the example! That said, I do not buy the argument.

I just wanted to mean that very often the more customizable a device is, the less practical it becomes. And I would think that most potential buyers will be ready to trade some practicalities for added functions, even if it means to go and have a look to a manual during the first two hours of use (which is really not the end of the world).

To me, whoever is passionnate enough with hi-fi to buy a $700 DAC should not really bother with the fact that a given icon on the face plate of the DAC should be clearer (which in the case of the StageDAC is even debatable - which one do you not understand?) I could understand the criticism if you were speaking of an Apple product though...
post #70 of 633
Thread Starter 
No manual is required. Just put on some music, plug in the headphones, try out the switches and leave them where it sounds good. As Lil' Knight clearly stated, it just looks complicated.
post #71 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
There is a price to be paid for flexibility. The StageDAC appears to offer an very high level of flexibility. But it does mean it will have some complexity. For me, it is the flexibility that has me considering purchase of the StageDAC. The world hardly needs another DAC which has no real "features".

At least at first, I could not use an HP 12C calculator without the manual. But after reading it, it does an awful lot more than the calculators that anyone can use without a manual.
You are not getting my point. Why does the interface have to be populated with obscure icons when simple text labels would explain the function easily i.e (low medium and high) , (on /off) , (mono stereo, crossfeed), (coax optical usb) (2X 4X 8X) and so on, also Tonal balance looks a lot like a bass boost switch to me why not just say so ?

There is no excuse in this day and age for obscure design.

I sit here looking at my 1970s Nikko amp it has just as many switches as the Meier DAC yet all are meaningfully labelled (volume, bass, treble, balance, loudness, mono/stereo, and four push button selectors each labelled, the position of each switch and its effect is obvious.

My automobile has bloody loads of switches and dials yet any one on this forum (who can drive a manual transmission car, legally) could drive it without referring to the manual...
post #72 of 633
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post
You are not getting my point. Why does the interface have to be populated with obscure icons when simple text labels would explain the function easily i.e (low medium and high) , (on /off) , (mono stereo, crossfeed), (coax optical usb) (2X 4X 8X) and so on, also Tonal balance looks a lot like a bass boost switch to me why not just say so ?

There is no excuse in this day and age for obscure design.

I sit here looking at my 1970s Nikko amp it has just as many switches as the Meier DAC yet all are meaningfully labelled (volume, bass, treble, balance, loudness, mono/stereo, and four push button selectors each labelled, the position of each switch and its effect is obvious.

My automobile has bloody loads of switches and dials yet any one on this forum (who can drive a manual transmission car, legally) could drive it without referring to the manual...
A picture is worth a thousand words.
post #73 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by s_nyc View Post
I could understand the criticism if you were speaking of an Apple product though...
Please do not get me started on Apple products the only computer manufacturer where you cannot eject a floppy if the power goes out

Bizarrely I quite like my "won it in a raffle" iPod but the interface and the serial number etched into the metal in a typeface so small I had to take a digital photo of it and blow it up to read it I do not think too much of..

As for your point, I have to disagree. You can make something with a lot of functionality that is still easy to use, it is all about making the function obvious, an object "affords" an operation, buttons suggest that you press them and icons such as a house icon suggest "home", notwithstanding some cultural differences of course.

Anyway I think I have derailed this thread enough, for that at least I apologise.
post #74 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post
You are not getting my point. Why does the interface have to be populated with obscure icons when simple text labels would explain the function easily i.e (low medium and high) , (on /off) , (mono stereo, crossfeed), (coax optical usb) (2X 4X 8X) and so on, also Tonal balance looks a lot like a bass boost switch to me why not just say so ?
Just one more point - Meier sells worldwide - pictures really can be more valuable than English, to many of his clients
post #75 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by koto-in View Post
A picture is worth a thousand words.
I used to work with a product called Microfocus Revolve back in 97/98 on a Y2K project, this product used the floppy disk icon on three different screens, on each screen the icon had a different meaning.
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