You make it look easy. Nice job. Thanks.
Anyone try this with the C&C BH? Or perhaps the c421?
I'm now curious to pick up an amp due to the noted high output impedance to see if that is a nice sonic upgrade.
The biggest issue is I've gone back and forth with my DragonFly using my 334s and specs be damned, I much prefer the ME. But I also feel like I'm leaving something big on the table. Just want to know what experiences people are having with other portable amps, esp. in the face of the O2's issue with the hot input (I've had an O2 in the past and loved it, but it's just too big anyway).
I agree with what you are hearing with DF and ME. my description here:
I agree with you that ME is 'aggressive' compared to DF. that was also my feeling when comparing Meridian 588 to Benchmark DAC1.
And Meridian is doing it right. Because truly reproducing what is printed on the cd CAN NOT reproduce the music. I have attended an interesting experiment of A/B testing between live music vs. reproduction: 1) playing live music for 2 mins, 2) at the same time recording it to DSD, then 3) replaying it right after. The recording and playback are using Sabre 32bit chips, great speakers (huge speakers, >>$10k), professional multi-mic setup.
The result is jaw dropping to me, the reproduction is so much inferior, lacking energy and impact. Technically I don't know why, Sabre and mics are doing the job right, what are the missing links?
I think Meridian is trying to draw us back to the live music performance by adding the energy. DF (ESS Sabre) is technically more advanced, ME is psychologically more advanced.
And it has a little bit British accent.
UK magazines like What's HiFi will definitely love ME. Different magazines in different countries have different taste.
Hi, I find it difficult to compare those but here is my impressions. To me all of them sounds good but in different ways. First I should say that I prefer almost cold (dry?)/neutral/very detailed/analyzing sound. I like the very slight warmness I get from my HD-600 when driven from my ODAC/O2, that's about it. Then again I can also like my warmer Mad Dog equally well. I also want a transparent/not to coloring sound that works well with many of my different headphones and IEM's - I listen to different ones in my collection almost every day, not attached to one that I listen to all the time.
So based on above information
1) ODAC/O2 - My main setup and preferred one. Some find it cold/sterile/overly detailed/aggressive/digital, but I happen to like this signature so it works best for me.
2) Dacport LX - I like it very much actually, but I sense I very slight softness to it, some may say better refined, but I like slightly more aggressiveness/detail.
3) Audioquest Dragonfly - Reminds me off my of ODAC/O2 in detail (both use ESS Sabre) but still I sense some softness to it, can't describe it but it reminds me a little of Dacport LX. I still like Dacport LX a little more, but not by much.
Then there is the Meridian Explorer. I haven't been listening to it that much as I have had a little trouble coupling it with my O2, but when using headphone out (100%) to the input of the O2 amp I got the following impression:
It sounded almost very different from the above. Very agressive in all regards. I haven't heard that much bass before. To some degree I find it is to much according to the balance that I'm used to (aggressive but not overly so). So in some regards if I had a better amp at hand it could have maybe easily won me over - it is something different that I'm not used to at the moment. It sounded a little like all parts of the sound - bass, mids, treble were boosted but equally well (very good blending) so no part of it stood out (then again this depends on how balanced sound signature the headphone you are using has but that was what I sensed imo). I can't place it anywhere from 1-4 because I have too little experience of it. All I know is it is different. It seems playing in another league - as some would say.
All I can say is that it is not a day and night change when comparing them to each other. All to me are good and well worth asking price. They all sound transparent and also I can't sense anything totally off balanced with any of them.
This is of course based on my preference. Some doesn't like sharper treble and would prefer the Dacport LX or Dragonfly. I guess if you really like playing loud and aggressive Meridian Explorer would be perfect.
Im no electrical engineer so all the talk about high impedance values etc dont mean that much to me but what I hear with my Meridian Explorer (output impedance circa 47 Ohm) vs my Headamp Pico Amp/DAC (Output Impedance <1 Ohm) with my Shure E530 earphones (36 Ohm Impedance) is an more impactful and detailed bass exhibiting more texture for want of a better word, coupled with generally higher levels of detail and improved (though not to my mind exaggerated) soundstaging.
Ive got a set of UM Miracle's inbound which are a 16 Ohm impedance IEM and look forward to trying them also.
I'm certainly not hearing any flabby, undefined or wallowy slow bass with me ME driven from my 13" retina MBP / Audivarna+ setup.
<scratching my head> My ME was delivered a couple days ago, but I got home a few hours ago from a trip. Plugged into the left USB port of my rMBP, and I changed no Audio Midi settings...all three lights are showing lit on my ME even though the music files I'm playing right now are only 16/44k... Wtf?
ETA: Ohhh...it's iTunes. When I enabled BitPerfect, output via the ME lights started working properly.
Anyone with both Meridian Explorer and Benchmark DAC1 can compare? (I know, vast difference in price), but it'll be nice to know how the explorer compares to a world class DAC.
There's quite a few people (including myself) who are commenting on the headphone out. As I've mentioned earlier, despite this pretty big issue I still feel it blows away my DF using my FitEar 334s... I wish it weren't the case as I prefer that form factor (plus I could more easily recoup my cost with the ME being the new hotness).
I unboxed my ME almost 24 hours ago, and I have to say, the first few songs I listened to, I wasn't impressed. I am interested in the ME only for portable use when I travel w/ my laptop. I really don't want anything else in the chain, so have zero care how it does as a DAC-only. My set-up: rMBP (iTunes playing ALAC via BitPerfect)>ME> Earsonics SM64 via hp out.
I listened to a few songs, thought the high & low ends were muddy/unclear So I removed my IEMs from my ears, left it playing for a few hours & walked away to do other things. When I put my IEMs back in, and I went back to the initial songs I was listening to, things were MUCH better. No more congestion... I know hp out has been confirmed to be high impedance, but I actually like how this very simple set-up sounds. It's a clear upgrade over the rMBP hp out. I'll be keeping mine even for the limited use I intend.
Just took the plunge and ordered a ME from Todd.
Should get here mid week.
I was wondering if the variable analog is indeed similar to the Dragonfly I already own. Both are 64 bit digitally controlled analog. I could use the fixed output into my Marantz 7 preamp, but I like to control volume remotely. I achieve this by connecting a griffin Powermate control (big knob) with an USB extension cable. This way, I have volume control at my listening chair. This is my main (non headphone rig).
I read Meridian's literature and they suggest using the fixed output in a main stereo system for maximum performance. Does this mean the variable analog is inferior in resolution?
EDIT: I have just contacted Meridian about this and hopefully they'll get back to me soon.
Sorry if I didn't go back the previous 30 pages looking for a link or recommendation, but I would like to replace the stock USB cable on the Explorer with something better that's not too expensive. Any ideas, links?
furutech, audioquest, wireworld...etc