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Meier or Audio-GD?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Hey everybody, I'm back again with more questions! :P

I'm ready to buy my new amp and DAC, and I've narrowed it down to 2 choices, the Audio-GD C2 and DAC19 DSP1, or the Meier Audio Concerto and StageDAC. The Audio-GD combo is a bit cheaper which is nice, but to be honest I don't have a clue which of these would be better.

I'm going to be using my MD5000s and T1s with them (love, love, LOVE the T1s by the way!), so whichever I go with needs to be able to adequately power the T1s.

Now immediately the higher price tag of the Meier setup makes me think that it'd be better, but when you look at all the additional features (none of which I think I'd make use of), that could easily be where the additional price is coming from. Then when I think about how well Audio-GD gear performs for what it costs, I just get completely confused.

What do you guys think? Audio-GD combo for roughly $1000 or Meier for roughly $1300?
post #2 of 33
After all my research I went for the Audio-gd setup. The members who have purchased the Audio-gd units have said that it easily out preforms equipment twice its price. Opinions and comments are subjective, only your ears can tell you. If you can afford to, try and contact both manufacturers and ask them about their return policy, buy both and AB them yourself.
post #3 of 33
Always worth remembering that one is comparing apples and oranges when doing direct price comparisons between direct buy from China and buying from EU or US. At the moment (and it will not last as China's economy progresses) one should expect much better 'bang for buck' buying from a well regarded supplier in China.

The downside of course with buying from China is the risk in that one has little legal recourse in case of problems - however this can be reduced to next to nothing by dealing with those suppliers which have a good reputation (audio-gd and little-dot both fall into this category (and in my personal experience with them)).

Enjoy it while it lasts.
post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryJW View Post
Always worth remembering that one is comparing apples and oranges when doing direct price comparisons between direct buy from China and buying from EU or US. At the moment (and it will not last as China's economy progresses) one should expect much better 'bang for buck' buying from a well regarded supplier in China.

The downside of course with buying from China is the risk in that one has little legal recourse in case of problems - however this can be reduced to next to nothing by dealing with those suppliers which have a good reputation (audio-gd and little-dot both fall into this category (and in my personal experience with them)).

Enjoy it while it lasts.
Agreed. The components used in Audio-GD gear far exceed the price charged for them. Taking into consideration all of the different features from Crossfeed to digital volume control on the Meier, you'd almost definitely be getting as good if not better a product from AGD, even though it's cheaper.
post #5 of 33
I'd buy the concerto over the c2.

DAC i'd probably sway to the audio-gd.

I havent heard either.
post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryJW View Post
Always worth remembering that one is comparing apples and oranges when doing direct price comparisons between direct buy from China and buying from EU or US. At the moment (and it will not last as China's economy progresses) one should expect much better 'bang for buck' buying from a well regarded supplier in China.

.

The logic in this thread doesn't make sense. First of both the meier and the audio-gd are built in china and both can be bought direct from the seller without middle men. Both manufacturers spend very little money on marketing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Necrolic View Post
Agreed. The components used in Audio-GD gear far exceed the price charged for them. Taking into consideration all of the different features from Crossfeed to digital volume control on the Meier, you'd almost definitely be getting as good if not better a product from AGD, even though it's cheaper.
Furthermore Skylab states that the meier concerto sounds better then audio gd pheonix single ended. We can infer from that that it is likely it sounds better than the much less expsensive C2. Jan Meier's many many years of engineering expertise simply cannot be easily dismissed.

All those other controls on the meier stagedac means that you have some flexibilty to tailor the sound to better pair with your headphones/tastes. Personally, I have found this a really goods feature as I change 'fones and/or type of music.

Having bought both meier and audio-gd products in the past I can say good things about both. Both are obviously good value for the money. But the data being presented in this thread was so arbitrarily one-sided that a bit of balance was called for.
post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by shabta View Post
The logic in this thread doesn't make sense. First of both the meier and the audio-gd are built in china and both can be bought direct from the seller without middle men. Both manufacturers spend very little money on marketing.

Furthermore Skylab states that the meier concerto sounds better then audio gd pheonix single ended. We can infer from that that it is likely it sounds better than the much less expsensive C2. Jan Meier's many many years of engineering expertise simply cannot be easily dismissed.

All those other controls on the meier stagedac means that you have some flexibilty to tailor the sound to better pair with your headphones/tastes. Personally, I have found this a really goods feature as I change 'fones and/or type of music.

Having bought both meier and audio-gd products in the past I can say good things about both. Both are obviously good value for the money. But the data being presented in this thread was so arbitrarily one-sided that a bit of balance was called for.
Meier is a European company is it not? Not Chinese.

Obviously a $700 SE amp is going to be superior to a $1200 balanced one, the Phoenix and Roc are known for being pretty weak in SE. In balanced mode, they are worth a heck of a lot more than they sell for, just like the C2 is for SE.

My point about all the other controls on Meier gear is that those controls cost a lot of money to add in when you factor in their circuitry, meaning they likely account for a portion of the price of the gear. The Audio-GD stuff is already underpriced, and if you take out the price of that stuff on the Meier gear they'd probably be closer to the AGD in price.

Either way you're going to get an absolutely fantastic setup. Maybe the Concerto and DAC19DSP, since the Concerto is VERY highly regarded, and the DAC19DSP is said to perform better than amps in the $1200 range.

Personally I'm kind of loyal to Kingwa, but I'm sure both of these setups are VERY close in performance, and either would be a good choice.

EDIT: Just curious Shabta but what Audio-GD gear have you had in the past? I'm wondering for comparison purposes, because if you've owned the DAC19 but moved on to the StageDAC that could be a factor.
post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Necrolic View Post
Meier is a European company is it not? Not Chinese.
Yes Meier is a European company manufacturing the stagedac and the concerto in china.

I don't see how you can make the claim that therefore audio-gd gear is better for the money based on country of manufacture.
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by shabta View Post
Yes Meier is a European company manufacturing the stagedac and the concerto in china.

I don't see how you can make the claim that therefore audio-gd gear is better for the money based on country of manufacture.
Because labor and parts in China are dirt cheap, and many people assume that due to this what comes out of there is going to be garbage, which isn't always the case. Meier being European can probably get away with charging more for his products (albeit I'm sure AGD could get away with charging more as well), whereas since Audio-GD is 100% Chinese they charge dirt cheap prices for fantastic gear.
post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Necrolic View Post
Because labor and parts in China are dirt cheap, and many people assume that due to this what comes out of there is going to be garbage, which isn't always the case. Meier being European can probably get away with charging more for his products (albeit I'm sure AGD could get away with charging more as well), whereas since Audio-GD is 100% Chinese they charge dirt cheap prices for fantastic gear.
This is not an especially convincing line of reasoning. You can also argue that Meier is having to compete with audio-gd and other chinese based companies for sales and therefore, as his cost structure is similiar, his prices can be competetive. I suspect that this argument is much closer to the truth.
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by shabta View Post
This is not an especially convincing line of reasoning. You can also argue that Meier is having to compete with audio-gd and other chinese based companies for sales and therefore, as his cost structure is similiar, his prices can be competetive. I suspect that this argument is much closer to the truth.
It's possible, but I'm 99% sure his products ship from Europe, not Asia (could be wrong), which, if you're right and he builds his in China, you have to also factor in the cost of shipping to get them from China to his own warehouse.

There are a bunch of variables that could and most likely do factor into the cost of the Meier products, and when you consider the priceerformance ratio of A-GD stuff they are likely closer than you would think.

Anyways there really is no way to settle this argument until somebody directly compares the two. :|
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Necrolic View Post
It's possible, but I'm 99% sure his products ship from Europe, not Asia (could be wrong), which, if you're right and he builds his in China, you have to also factor in the cost of shipping to get them from China to his own warehouse.

There are a bunch of variables that could and most likely do factor into the cost of the Meier products, and when you consider the priceerformance ratio of A-GD stuff they are likely closer than you would think.

Anyways there really is no way to settle this argument until somebody directly compares the two. :|
The only thing I am arguing against is unfair reasoning.

Even if you account for shipping to europe that only adds 40 or 50 euro to the price (including the subsequent cost to ship again to the customer). Amp and Dac design isn't only about whose labor is cheap and who uses the best components. Engineering experience and expertise means that seeming disadvantages of cost can be overcome by cleverness in design.

Hopefully someone will take one for the team and buy both to compare, but I suspect these two are close enough that it will come down to personal preference.

But that is why I went stagedac: customizabilty. And contrary to speculation to the contrary there are potential implementation strategies that could make this at minor added cost. Of course we can't say for sure.
post #13 of 33
Meier prices include VAT and world wide shipping charge, Audio-gd prices don't include any (shipping from china isn't cheap +VAT +custom fees). If you live inside EU AmpCity - The UK's headphone amp specialists - Home page can give you an idea about the final price for audio-gd products. For fair price comparison you should add or remove additional costs for one of them.
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henerenry View Post
I'd buy the concerto over the c2.

DAC i'd probably sway to the audio-gd.

I havent heard either.
What a waste of a post.
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by shabta View Post
The only thing I am arguing against is unfair reasoning.

Even if you account for shipping to europe that only adds 40 or 50 euro to the price (including the subsequent cost to ship again to the customer). Amp and Dac design isn't only about whose labor is cheap and who uses the best components. Engineering experience and expertise means that seeming disadvantages of cost can be overcome by cleverness in design.

Hopefully someone will take one for the team and buy both to compare, but I suspect these two are close enough that it will come down to personal preference.

But that is why I went stagedac: customizabilty. And contrary to speculation to the contrary there are potential implementation strategies that could make this at minor added cost. Of course we can't say for sure.
Yeah I know what you mean about the cheap labor and best components, and I'm not saying the Audio-GD combination is necessarily better. Like you, I feel that these two are most likely extremely close in both sound quality and power, and for that reason I think the A-GD is probably better for the money.

By no means am I saying that the Meier combo is worse, it's just ~$200 more and there is likely very little difference in both sound and driving capability between the two, so I figure you may as well save the $200 and go for A-GD.

For the DAC I doubt there is much difference if any between the two when using the StageDAC in non-crossfeed mode (I don't like Crossfeed at all so that doesn't factor in for me). The DAC19DSP is extremely neutral but at the same time natural sounding and musical, which is exactly how the StageDAC has been described.

As for the amp, I couldn't say as the Concerto isn't out yet. The C2 when hooked up to the DAC19 through ACSS is basically completely transparent, meaning the fantastic DAC19 sound passes through it to the headphones. The Concerto is supposedly very neutral according to Skylab, so I suspect the two of these are very close as well, and the only differential maybe be the amount of power they have (which I suspect is very close anyways).

EDIT: So a quick e-mail to Kingwa got me an answer to this. He says that in his opinion the C2 is roughly equivalent to the SE output of the Phoenix, with a very slight edge to the Phoenix with higher impedance cans. Skylab stated that the Concerto sounded a little bit better than the Phoenix's SE output when he did the review, but not miles ahead. Now keep in mind that Skylab was not testing the Phoenix through ACSS, which does offer a much more neutral, natural sound, so that could put the C2 out in front when combined with the DAC19.

So it would seem that if you've got the extra $250, the Meier Audio setup will be slightly better than the Audio-GD setup (although with ACSS factored in that difference might disappear, there's no way to know for sure), but if you don't want to spend the extra money the two setups do sound quite close to each other, and either one is going to be a fantastic setup for the price. Looking at specs, the two amps have roughly the same power output to drive headphones, so either one should do very well with higher impedance cans as the T1 was working great for Skylab out of the Concerto.
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