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Head-Fi Buying Guide (Portable Amps, DACs, & DAPs)
Last edited: 7/30/14
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NEWS: Meridian Releases The Explorer Pocket-Sized USB DAC - Page 8
Gear mentioned in this thread:
First impressions are excellents. I'm using with my Hifiman HE-400,hd650 and Phonak Pfe 022.
Incredible detailed sound! Next week I will publish a full review on my Blog. Old&NewSound.blogspot
Looking forward to reading your review.
An early report - MacBookPro - iTunes only - Senn Momentum - about 20 hours of burn in. (music - all sorts, Ingrid Fliter to Sleigh Bells with all sorts of in between)
Of course its a nice DAC/AMP.... Differences with the DragonFly so far : more "hifi" with much better "air" and soundstage, neutral, with no "bloom". I really like what I am hearing. This amp actually makes the emphasized bass of the Momentum show up. I will switch to my AT ESW phones for another listen. Currently I will probably leave the Momentum with the DragonFly, that was a pretty balanced setup.
Wow, different phones, different sound. My AT ESW10JPN continue to be my favorite portable headphones. The bass is a good bit better with the Explorer than the DragonFly with these phones. The major WOW is the midrange with this DAC/AMP and the AT phones. My jazz is back. Instruments are sharper, and the nice treble is not sibilant at all. This will be my main travel set now.
I still need to do some trials with my IEMS, and some trials with BitPerfect+iTunes, and some of the other players.
That's what M is all about, sweet neutrality. You actually hear the music, not the gear.
Just got mine a few minutes ago (a day early--what more could you ask for?). Took about 5 minutes to unpack (a lot of protective plastic on the end caps and around the aluminum body), then installed the drivers, which I had downloaded earlier in the week. Did all the optional settings "for best sound quality" as recommended in the setup guide. Piece of cake (on Windows 7 PC). I'm currently using MediaMonkey (about 27,000 files, primarily .wav, with optimized metadata--long project). I was concerned with the volume level needed to drive my ALO-mod'd AKG K701's, but not to worry. Comfortable volume level is at about 3.5 on the slider scale. Improved bass over my MusicStreamer II right out of the box. Listening to the HD Tracks download of Chick Corea/Gary Burton's "Hot House", a 24/96 file. I can even hear the low-level mechanical squeaks on Burton's vibes! As an earlier poster noted, "you hear the music". Not having to spring for a separate amp (or haul my Woo WA6 from home) means more $$ for music! I am very pleased; $300 well spent!
Can you confirm that it does work with the iPad/CCK with a powered hub?
A very quick first impression. MacBook Pro running Fidelia>Explorer>Toxic Cables silver widow 3.5 jack to twin RCA > Icon Audio HP8 Mk2> HD800
Set up a simple plug and play, no problems at all. I just had to adjust the Fidelia setting to the correct output - Meridian Explorer rather than built in and I got music straight away.
Sound initially clean, very detailed, slightly lean, top end a tad over emphasized and bright, sound stage a little compressed. I left it to run for a couple of hours.
Now I still notice the detail first but the overall balance is much more satisfactory, even after just a couple of hours, with the bottom end filled out more and the upper range toned down closer to what I'd expect to hear. Very dynamic and transparent presentation with a well defined, wide-ish sound stage and plenty of air around the instruments. Vivid and neutral are the words that comes to mind, there's nothing veiled or laid back at all about what I'm hearing, but all seems to be well controlled right across the sound spectrum. It's a bold presentation of the music - exciting - with very good dynamics and a very real sense of the instruments being played and, more importantly the way they're being played.
With more subtle, gentle music things are still good - very euphonic. Human voices are nicely presented. Very impressive with electronic music too. The combination with my tube amp seems very promising indeed. I can't imagine anyone being disappointed with what I'm hearing at the moment and, who know, it may well get better....
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