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New MEIER AUDIO headphone amp "CORDA CLASSIC" - Page 11

post #151 of 458
Originally Posted by adrianpkms View Post

Thank you for your translation. I have tried google and it doesnt work very well.


More thanks from me to The Slow Down for the effort you put into translation.


I also found the Google effort incomprehensible.






post #152 of 458

I have the StageDac and the Concerto. I could eventually upgrade to the Classic. Another option is the Violectric V200 as I don't need the crossfeed on the amp (given that I have it on the DAC).


Which one would you take, not considering money :

A - Nothing. The Concerto is as good as any of the other two.

B - The Classic. Why?

C - The Violectric V200. Why?

D - None of the above. What, then?


I use this combo with a range of headphones from Grado RS1i to Beyer T1.


Thanks, Pedro

post #153 of 458

I have no experience with the Classic. But based on your two headphone choices, I know the V200 would suit them very well. The V200 is a very smooth, sub bass and upper mid extended, subtly musical sound. The two cans mentioned lean on the bright side and less on bass, so the V200 would be highly complimentary. It certainly is with my T1's anyway.


Not sure what kind of sound sig the Classic carried.

Originally Posted by PedroH View Post

I have the StageDac and the Concerto. I could eventually upgrade to the Classic. Another option is the Violectric V200 as I don't need the crossfeed on the amp (given that I have it on the DAC).


Which one would you take, not considering money :

A - Nothing. The Concerto is as good as any of the other two.

B - The Classic. Why?

C - The Violectric V200. Why?

D - None of the above. What, then?


I use this combo with a range of headphones from Grado RS1i to Beyer T1.


Thanks, Pedro


Edited by Naim.F.C - 2/8/12 at 9:33am
post #154 of 458
Originally Posted by PedroH View Post

I have the StageDac and the Concerto. I could eventually upgrade to the Classic. Another option is the Violectric V200 as I don't need the crossfeed on the amp (given that I have it on the DAC).


Which one would you take, not considering money :

A - Nothing. The Concerto is as good as any of the other two.

B - The Classic. Why?

C - The Violectric V200. Why?

D - None of the above. What, then?


I use this combo with a range of headphones from Grado RS1i to Beyer T1.


Thanks, Pedro

I have brout my Concerto to many meets through the years and I still havn't found a better amp for the T1. But for Grados there are better alternatives I think. I also hope someone will make a direct comparison between the Concerto and the Classic soon which can tell me if it is worth an upgrade. 



post #155 of 458

After one and a half year of Concerto, I upgraded to the Classic. and I'm not complaining. This is (only) my third headphone amplifier (the first being a Musical Fidelity X-Can v2), so don't expect a professional opinion. Jan warned me the differences in sound were subtle, but the additional functionailty was enough of a motivation for me.


The first listening, no crossfeed, for starters. I expected disappointment, because it elt like that the first time on the Concerto, and because it's in my nature, and because you people keep writing about amps having to burn in. But I liked it. I've been switching back and forth to the Concerto, and since that is not quite a swift switch and the difference is subtle, I have a hard time telling if it's in my ears or between them. It sounds a little more natural to me, a little more like it's meant to be.


But where there is no shred of doubt about the upgrade is the crossfeed. The Concerto crossfeed sacrifices the wideness of the soundstage. The Classic almost doesn't. Toggling between the straight and low crossfeed setting, it's very hard to hear the difference on normal recordings. With the high setting, it is pretty clear but still it doesn't sound like a sacrifice. There is an additional 3-fold crossfeed switch under the cover (which is secured by 7 screws in 2 sizes). It allows you to increase or decrease crossfeed from the default configuration. If increased, and with the external switch on the high position, there's a definite loss of detail, especially for the base instrument. The base compensation switch doesn't really help against that. But when you listen to extreme stereo, it's probably nice to have. Or at least nice to try. On the other side of the spectrum, with internally decreased crossfeed and toggling the external switch between no and low crossfeed, it's very hard indeed to hear the difference. With an extreme stereo signal, the annoyance is definitely broken, but you want more. So I think the internal switch is mainly good to let you realize that the default configuration is well chosen.


However that doesn't mean I will leave the crossfeed switch on at all times. There is one recording that stood out for me with respect to crossfeed earlier: I Hear You Breathing In on Yola by Eleanor McEvoy. The Concerto crossfeed squeezes the piano and voice recording almost like a mono switch, if you don't mind my sense of exaggeration. It's not so bad on the Classic but unless it's on the lowest of the lowest setting, I'll still turn off crossfeed. Of course, that's why the external switch is there in the first place.


The device itself is an improvement too. No more light humming while turned on - it's dead silent. The blue LEDs seem less bright, and there are fewer of them. In particular the one ticking on and off as you adjust the volume I am happy to say is gone. On the Concerto I always adjusted volume so that this LED was off, which is not a problem with regards to finetuning volume because 64 levels of volume with an additional gain switch is just ridiculously precise, but now I realize it was annoying to have to do so. The clicking of the relays seems less too. The Classic volume knob operates just like an analog control. Also, the maximum volume is considerably higher. With the T1 the Concerto had plenty of gain for my taste, and with the DT880 it has just enough, but with the DT880 I did max it out on some careful recordings. The T1 on the Classic does not need the high gain switch, at least with a serious source. Even with the extra gain applied and the volume at maximum, no input signal means no output, no hiss, no hum.

post #156 of 458

@Zweistein thank you for the very useful review.


You write "It sounds a little more natural to me, a little more like it's meant to be.". Is there any more you can say about this. What kinds of music do you most easily notice (or think you notice) differences? For example, does there seem to be a consistent type of music where you notice this? Simple versus complex? Specific genres of music (classical, jazz, electric guitar  etc)? More in the bass? Mids? Highs? What about voice?


"In particular the [LED] ticking on and off as you adjust the volume I am happy to say is gone" normal_smile%20.gif Funnily, for me this is not so good. This LED is very helpful for me when (for example) comparing different DACs. I could use it to equalize SPL levels without having to re-measure every time!


Thank you again for some nice impressions - sorry for asking more questions!



post #157 of 458

Thanks for the impressions on the differences between the Concerto and the Classic. For me this means that I am not in a hurry to change my Concerto to any other amp.

post #158 of 458

For anyone interested, a few days ago I ordered a Classic from Jan. I expect to receive it in about two weeks. I look forward to comparing with my Concerto and other amps.


There will be a report.

post #159 of 458

AiDee... looking forward to read your report.

post #160 of 458


I wonder what it sounds like when you use the maximum setting of tonal balance on both devices (stagedac + classic).

post #161 of 458


I haven't come around to analyzing this. It's a really subtle difference I think I noticed, in the mids I guess, definitely not the bass. It may be like the difference between two Concertos, or it may not exist at all. Likewise sometimes I think I can blindly and clearly distinguish SACD from the CD layer, and at other times I just don't seem to hear the difference.


I can add one pointless imperfection on the Classic: crosstalk between the inputs. If the input you listen to is silent and you feed a normal music signal on the other input, turn on the gain boost and crank up the volume all the way, you can hear the other input, barely. Of course at that volume, a genuine signal arriving on the selected input would pop your ears.

post #162 of 458

@Zweistein - thanks! It'll be interesting to compare my observations.


Because of some of the tools I use in my work life - e.g. development of psychometric scales to standards of adequate reliability and validity - a natural approach for me is to identify "items" (music tracks in this case) which distinguish between different levels (high, low, neutral, can't tell or whatever) of what one is trying to measure. (The "right tracks" might vary with the equipment, something potentially interesting in itself). After that, I get down to serious listening.


Not to say this is the right approach of course wink_face.gif Especially when the whole point of this gear is to enjoy our music!


That's why I was interested whether you noticed a genre-dependence. Anyway, your T1 is certainly resolving enough to expose differnences. I will use mine too. At the bass end, it will be interesting to see if the LCD2 has anything additional to tell us!

post #163 of 458

Anyone else who has bought the Classic and would like to share their thoughts on it? rolleyes.gif

post #164 of 458

I have the Classic and HD800 for about a month now.

My impression:


A little background:

I recently decided to move from a speaker to headphone setup because I do not have the luxury of listening to my speakers at the desired volume any more (newborn).

My speaker setup was the popular Naim + Harbeth setup which most would agree that they have great synergy producing a natural and pacey sound.

I listen to 90% jazz and 10% classical.  Most of my collection is in vinyl and the rest in CD.

For details of my front end setup, please refer to my profile.


Choosing a headphone:

I auditioned the LCD2, T1 and HD800. 

Coming from a speaker setup, I was immediately drawn in by the soundstage of the HD800, simply amazing.

And the detail is just simply unheard off on a speaker setup, felt like I have missed out so much all this while.

It was a simple decision, already a big step up for me.


Choosing an amp:

I needed an amp with two analog input (CDP and TT).  This requirement really reduces the number of choices out there.

I narrowed it down and was considering between the WA6SE and Classic, roughly the $1,000 region.  

Both are not available for audition where I come from.  So, had to rely on reviews and take a leap of faith.

Finally, decided to go with the Classic because of crossfeed function and also, with vinyl, the tonal balance could come in handy as a bass boost though from my understanding, it is not intended for that use.



Dealing with Jan was extremely pleasant, my order (Classic + HD800) was shipped within a couple of hours from payment.

E-mails are replied within minutes. Jan is patient and detailed in his responses even when my enquiries were purely exploratory in the beginning.


Down to the sound:

Unfortunately, I have very little experience with headphone amp and since this is my first setup, I do not have any point of reference other than my brief audition with the Lyr.  My impression is that this amp is transparent and it does not add any color to the sound compared to the Lyr.  Unlike the naim amps which tend to accentuate the bass, there is none here, pretty balanced throughout.  



At first this crossfeed feature was really driving me nuts.  On/Off/Intensity?  But after listening to Round Midnight by Miles Davis on vinyl, Japan press... I almost went deaf without crossfeed. It was as if Miles was aiming his muted trumpet straight into my ears, one on each side!!!  I actually felt pain in my ears for the next two days listening to the first track once at moderate volume (9 o'clock).  Crossfeed added perceived distance, as if listening to speakers, and it sounds like how it was supposed to with Miles playing in front of me at a distance. There on, no argument, crossfeed is a MUST for me as it sounds more correct/ natural.  My observation was subsequently cemented by more subtle occasions where double bass sounds more coherent.

However, I was quite dissatisfied with the intensity, even at the low setting, soundstage was greatly narrowed.  Having said that you get greater depth and better centre focus, not my liking though.  Fortunately, there's more option with the Classic.  Opened up the amp, there are four settings, 1 to 4, the amp's default setting is 2 and 3.  I lowered it down to 1 and 2.  At 1, it was just about right, I get the width almost similar to when crossfeed is off, though centre of the soundstage is a little less dense than ideal.

For HD800 users, I would also like to mention that crossfeed helps significantly with fatigue.  You do lose some detail, which initially I was reluctant to give up, but it just sound so much more correct.


Tonal balance:

I didn't pay much attention to this feature at first.  Turning it on at the lower level, you lose some sense of airiness which again was exciting for me since I just gotten the HD800.  So I left it off most of the time. But after several long sessions, my ears got tired quicker from the hot treble, it is not aggressive nor sibilant but just very pronounced which is tiresome to listen to over long period.  Eventually, I had to turn down the volume to go on after an hour, 8 o'clock max.  At that level, the HD800 sounds thin and not involving.  That was when I decided to try out the tonal balance feature.  At the lower level, the issue on the treble is gone.  At the same time, you get better bass (upper, mid and lower).  Also, I was able turn to volume up such that the HD800 sounds fuller and listen at that level for hours.  In fact, this tone reminds me of my naim + Harbeth setup very much, couldn't be happier :).




Have not regretted since I moved to a headphone setup, definitely an upgrade at a lower price.

However, this is not possible without the Classic and the features on it.  Not sure if there's another amp like it, though I have my eyes on the Phonitor as my next upgrade.

But for now, those considering, this amp is definitely worth getting for its features.  Absolutely Brilliant!


*For HD800 users, very mixed opinions here, but if you feel like you could use a little more bass and smoother treble, I would say that the Classic would create great synergy with your HD800 when used with the crossfeed and tonal balance.


PS: Lastly, I am new to this forum but I can tell that there are people going all out raving about certain headphone or amp which is really really not helping readers who are seeking objective feedback.

Please keep it real and above all, enjoy the music... Peace...

Edited by tropicana - 4/23/12 at 6:23am
post #165 of 458

^ some fine notes there tropicana.


I mentioned two months ago I had ordered Classic to compare with my Concerto, and that there would be a report. Unfortunately, this coincided with a continuous period of 7 day working weeks, likely to take up most of the year. Opportunities to compare have been limited.


The following is offered as a 'micro-review'.


Having used some of the test tracks from a DACs comparison I presented on head fi last year, I hear distinct differences. These are most apparent with moderately busy and complex - i.e. 'normal' - to very busy music. One track, a spare, simple grunge rock-pop ballad (deadpan female vocal, low-tuned bass guitar, drums predominantly) shows only subtle differences.


Other tracks I've tried so far range from Thomas Diethelm's busy, fairly multi-instrumental but mostly guitar-based brand of Euro-jazz; some Bach solo cello; some Beethoven solo piano; two tracks from Johnny Cash' American IV: The Man Comes Around; some Stacey Kent jazz vocal.


Degrees of difference vary across material. These are overall, preliminary and tentative observations:

  • Classic has slower decay than Concerto, allowing low to mid midrange instruments to "ring on" longer
  • A distinctly different tonal balance results. Classic is more mid-centric
  • Although both amps present the same quantity and quality of bass to my ears, this tonal balance difference makes the Concerto seem - logically enough - more bass-centric
  • A second result; harmonic information is more apparent with Classic - an important difference with many instruments (e.g. Cello, piano, voice)
  • Classic's sound-stage is 'holographic' with some material. This difference can be striking, with very full rendering of the sound-stage side-to-side
  • I suspect this is at least partly influenced by the different tonal balances. For example, Cash's track 'Give my love to Rose' was dominated on one side with Concerto, very full and balanced left-to-right with Classic. This may be because there's distinctly more bass information to one side
  • Retrieval of low level (softer) sounds - already good in the Concerto - is just as good or better with Classic
  • Highs sound a touch less 'bright' with Classic - not that Concerto has ever seemed strident or tizzy. This may be a side-effect of Classic's apparently fuller midrange


Outstanding qualities of the Concerto to me are quickness, clarity and transparency. Its speed may be partly a product of a slight mid-range dryness - i.e. fast decay and hence harmonics persist less. Terrific 'inter-note silence' results. In this respect, Classic could be described as a touch more "natural" with many instruments, with more 'flow' and 'connection' between notes.


When and if there is time to attempt a proper mini-review or review I will do so, probably by editing this post. That may be some six weeks or more away.


FWIW, Classic is a "significant upgrade" to my ears with very noticeable differences; differences I like.


However, this statement needs qualification. These impressions are based on limited material. How significant is significant? It probably depends on which material shows differences, and how much of this material is in your typical listening session?


If I do get time to expand this, I hope to offer some rough assessment of how much and what type of (my) material shows improvements that favor one or other amp.


A review which finds "huge differences between A and B!!" but in which these differences - had the reviewer bothered to think about the balance of material overall - can only be heard with say 1% of tracks is probably overstating things just a little! I hope to offer something a little more useful wink_face.gif


(Note: I only occasionally log in to head fi these days).

Fine print. The amps were calibrated to the same level (80dBA) using pink noise. Because of the chosen steps, I couldn't achieve this with the Classic in high gain mode. In low gain though I got a much closer match than I expected - 'exact' within the tolerance of my SPL meter - let's say about one dB.


DAC used was the Stagedac, no crossfeed, pulse 2 o/s 3, no bass contouring. Phones LCD2 r1. Source Mac Mini optical feed, both iTunes and Fidelia used at different times. Tracks all iTunes-plus or above (WAV, ALAC) and some casual listening to FLAC material.



Both amps were run 'straight' - no crossfeed or bass contouring. (Except, I listened briefly with the switches in different positions to check everything was wired properly! It was).

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