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post #601 of 999

Keep in mind that it's not unusual for manufacturers to have little to no correspondence with end-users. They rely on dealers for that. This is the traditional way of doing business. Direct-to-consumer outfits are a newer thing, and by definition have more direct correspondence with consumers, because they don't have dealers, and some are specialist boutiques with very direct exchanges with consumers. I suspect the latter model is proportionally more common in head fi, and head fiers are acclimated to that, but it's not the only legitimate way to do business.

 

Meridian could have handled this situation better and avoided the whole thing with more awareness and due diligence up front, but it hardly amounts to gross negligence and fraud that Meridian employees aren't responding to customer e-mails and posting on enthusiast forums. That said, I'm as interested as the next early Explorer adopter to see where this goes and take steps accordingly, so it's good that we're all keeping the pressure on, as it seems to be getting favorable results. I actually had a conversation with my dealer about this early on, which ultimately ensured my satisfaction at that stage, even though the situation has continued to evolve since then, which is really all you can ask. Again, I'm looking forward to seeing this through, too, but quite enjoying the product in the meantime. 

post #602 of 999

True, but they do have a customer support form on their main website and a number to contact for support.

post #603 of 999

I have to say I´m quite a bit puzzled how much goodwill Meridian seems to get just because of their name. If there´s a contact form on your site then I feel it´s reasonable to expect a reply at least in a week or so. Otherwise they should put a notice on their site that as a small outfit and cannot reply to general inquiries. Oh and I have actually had a Meridian dealer send my questions over too, no reply either.

 

Output impedance has nothing to do with subjective feelings - a high output impedance will seriously affect frequency response on the vast majority of portable headphones. On the other hand the Explorer was originally designed (or their engineers are incompetent, which I doubt) for larger high impedance headphones so the transparent approach would have been to clearly state that on their site from the very beginning. But what information currently is there? Close to nothing. Sorry, but I think Meridian simply didn´t do their homework properly and handled the mess in a very poor way. If their name wasn´t Meridian they´d be grilled on this even more. As for the positive reviews, I think it just shows how unprofessional and "commercial" most professional audio reviews are. Meridian declined to state any meaningful specs from the very start in vast contrast to companies like Centrance and HRT. Even most "boutique" audiophile companies offer more specifications on their products! I´m sorry, but to me that tells a lot about a company and it´s not positive. 

 

If the revised Explorer has for example an output impedance of ~0.5 to 2, all early buyers did in fact get a clearly inferior product that has limited optimal headphone compatibility compared to the newer version. Bringing down output impedance from ~40 to something around 1 is not just a small change, it has a huge effect on the frequency response on the vast majority of portable headphones out there. I hope I don´t sound too negative though, for the record I´m still interested in the Explorer and will probably buy the revised version if it has an output impedance of less than 2, preferably 1 as I use IEMs.x

 

Edit: The only other explanation I can think of for the high output impedance IF they meant the product for general portable headphone use is that they wanted to intentionally design a very colored/far from accurate product that turns most headphones out there into mid-oriented ones with less bass and treble. That´s entirely possible of course, but I doubt it.


Edited by vrln - 3/15/13 at 1:02pm
post #604 of 999

I think you're overreacting.  

 

It's an excellent product with a design flaw that they've corrected straight away. 

post #605 of 999

vrln, aside from perhaps a delusional fanboy or two on this thread, I don't think anyone is letting Meridian off the hook for releasing a portable DAC/amp with unspecified yet exceptionally high output impedance that most likely adversely affects performance of portable headphones. Speaking for myself, I'm not so much bestowing goodwill towards Meridian than trying to put some of the issues here in a bigger perspective.

 

But since you mention goodwill, I think it's also fair to acknowledge that this issue remains unresolved, by that I mean it is still evolving, and that Meridian still has a chance to make good on it. Surely this is neither the first nor last time that a company enters a new subsegment inelegantly. I'm certainly interested in pursuing any "compensation" I'm entitled to, even though I'm not severely impacted by the problem. 

 

Fair enough that putting a contact form on a web site carries with it a pretense of getting a response, and that it's annoying not to get one. But that is unfortunately the case most of the time with most web response forms, which is why I never use them. Actually, I did use the one at EmotivaPro, suspecting that as a direct-to-consumer audio specialist that encouraged the correspondence, it would be worthwhile. Sure enough, I received no response. Please assume that the inquiry was professional, with merit, real name, clear contact info, good diction, etc. (which is another issue, not all the customer inquiries merit a response, although I'm sure yours to Meridian did, and I mean that without a hint of sarcasm). Even so, those unanswered inquiries are not necessarily without impact; clearly we're getting the sense that Meridian is doing something, even if that does not include answering the inquiries, yet the inquiries undoubtedly influenced Meridian, so they were not a waste of our time.

 

And I do observe that head fi enthusiasts are rather spoiled with exceptionally forthcoming correspondence with guys like Jason Stoddard that in the grand scheme of things are the exception rather than the rule. And I've seen more than one Head-Fi'er not-so-subtly brag about chatting with the designer of the $1,500 tube amp they bought as if they've gained entree to an exclusive club. So, yeah, a little context. Although, owners of Meridian's flagship gear are quite likely even more insufferable, I'll grant you that, and perhaps Meridian itself has a cultural arrogance in keeping with that, and perhaps that's what's driving your disillusionment here. I'm not one of the guys that feels like he's getting a piece of erstwhile exclusive kit for $300, I just bought the best $300 DAC I could find, which I might still argue is this one, headphone output Z and whatever Meridian's infamous reputation be damned.

 

Audio reviews are bigger issue for sure, but I think it's a stretch to condemn them categorically based on Explorer getting some positive reviews. We have posts on this already, but you could just as easily argue that the reviews reflect that the output impedance ultimately does not have a huge impact on the array of applications for which Explorer is suitable (used with line out, high-Z phones, etc.), which is not an argument I'll make here, but for putting the merit of professional audio reviews of Explorer in to some context. 

 

And there are many audio products that do not come with a full complement of specs. Seems like most of them I want to buy have at least one critically obvious spec missing or incongruously reported. Sure, it's annoying, and should be better. But a lot of these issues aren't particularly unique to Meridian or this situation. 

post #606 of 999

Point taken. We´ll see, time will tell. So far I´m not impressed, but I fully agree that this is far from a done deal - they still have the opportunity to fix things. That said, even if the headphone amp section stays as is I think the Explorer is still overall a nice product as a standalone DAC. Even if you discard the amp part entirely there aren´t many 300 dollar DACs running on the XMOS usb chip for example on the market, plus Meridian obviously has a lot of interesting proprietary DAC tech like their own oversampling algorithms etc.

 

Plus besides those running high impedance headphones won´t have a problem with wild frequency response swings anyway. Some of the professional reviews (like on computer audiophile) have clearly used those for testing the amp part and that so fully explains why they didn´t notice anything wrong. I´d guess the majority of reviews have done something similar, but personally I´m a bit of an audio objectivist so I feel professional reviews should almost always take into account objective measurements and test the product with as varied gear as possible.

post #607 of 999
Quote:
Originally Posted by vrln View Post

Point taken. We´ll see, time will tell. So far I´m not impressed, but I fully agree that this is far from a done deal - they still have the opportunity to fix things. That said, even if the headphone amp section stays as is I think the Explorer is still overall a nice product as a standalone DAC. Even if you discard the amp part entirely there aren´t many 300 dollar DACs running on the XMOS usb chip for example on the market, plus Meridian obviously has a lot of interesting proprietary DAC tech like their own oversampling algorithms etc.

 

Plus besides those running high impedance headphones won´t have a problem with wild frequency response swings anyway. Some of the professional reviews (like on computer audiophile) have clearly used those for testing the amp part and that so fully explains why they didn´t notice anything wrong. I´d guess the majority of reviews have done something similar, but personally I´m a bit of an audio objectivist so I feel professional reviews should almost always take into account objective measurements and test the product with as varied gear as possible.

 

This is almost exactly how I feel too. I think they've mismanaged their communication on this -- there should have been some sort of public statement by now. Talking to influential industry insiders and replying to some inquiries but not others is not a middle ground... it's almost worse than saying nothing at all because it leaves customers feeling like some people are getting information that they're not.

 

That said, it sounds really sweet as a DAC and it deserves wider exposure for that.

post #608 of 999

I listened to my ME connected to my main audio rig (conventional stereo with speakers), and it sounds superb, no doubt about it. Very musical and engaging.

However, I was surprised to learn the headphone jack has left and right inverted. I double checked all connections on my rig to make sure and the inversion was happening at the ME.  No big deal for hi-fi use but perhaps not so good for headphone listening for obvious reasons...
 


Edited by crooner - 3/15/13 at 7:58pm
post #609 of 999

Left and right inverted? Pretty weird, mine is not inverted. Must be software. Appart from the one or two bashers, the explorer is a great product that should be enjoyed as it should be.


Edited by telecaster - 3/16/13 at 11:10am
post #610 of 999

Maybe it's the Audioquest cable that's got the color coding wrong. I do recall running the Chesky Stereo Image test on the Dragonfly with the same Audioquest Golden Gate interconnects and the left and right channels reproduced correctly.

 

Anywho...The Dragonfly has been sold and I will use the ME as my sole DAC.
 

post #611 of 999

Hi can anyone please recommend a USB cable upgrade for this thanks.

post #612 of 999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fickle-Friend View Post

Hi can anyone please recommend a USB cable upgrade for this thanks.

I would recommend the Wireworld Ultraviolet. It's pretty cheap and it provides some pretty good improvements.

post #613 of 999
The ultraviolet is definitely a nice cable.
post #614 of 999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poimandres View Post

The ultraviolet is definitely a nice cable.

 

How about compared to something like the Audioquest Forest or Cinnamon?

post #615 of 999

I don't have those cables.  I do have the dragontail and I don't really care for it.

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