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NEWS: Meridian Releases The Explorer Pocket-Sized USB DAC - Page 56

post #826 of 1049
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobeau View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by marone View Post

How about we just listen and see which has better value for price?

If that were the only metric by which people made their decisions here, it would invalidate the purpose of oh, I dunno, maybe 99% of the discussion on this site?

I disagree. There is a large contingent of members here who have very limited means to acquire gear and value is something that many of them appreciate.

Many, I would estimate half, of those here seek best sound in conjunction with best value for price.
post #827 of 1049
Quote:
Originally Posted by marone View Post

I disagree. There is a large contingent of members here who have very limited means to acquire gear and value is something that many of them appreciate.

Many, I would estimate half, of those here seek best sound in conjunction with best value for price.

 

Fantastic, unless you have a ME and ELE (or other DAC in your hands to compare) and want to share your thoughts on that, then please go to the threads discussing those products.  The ELE DAC has gotten alot of love on this site, pretty much everyone is aware there are a plethora of options much cheaper than the ME that do 'similar' things.   Whether it's headphones, IEMS, DACS, amps, DAC/amps, cables, etc, etc, there are a great options out there for all budgets, and pointing out that going upmarket in gear provides diminishing returns is a surprise to no one.  


Edited by bobeau - 5/19/13 at 9:26am
post #828 of 1049

Hi all,

 

I've been looking around for a DAC replacement for my Xonar D1 sound card for my PC.  I actually like my D1 and I run it through a Matrix M-Stage amp so the high output impedance isn't an issue. Any ways, I came across the Meridian Explorer and was very impressed by the reviews.  I also saw that some people were having trouble connecting this to their iPad and I think it is because the DAC is capable of 24/384 Khz.  I read on a review for the Leckerton UHA_6s that iPad's can handle 16/48 Khz outputs and that is why the that DAC has supports a 16 bit DAC.

 

Here is that review.

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/leckerton-uha-6s-mkii-portable-headphone-amplifier-page-2

 

I'm not familiar with iPad support but it seems reasonable to say that the issue is with the output bit rate.  However, it might also be that higher bit rate DAC's just draw too much power.  

 

 

Has any one tried to rework this circuit a bit to accommodate a battery (not including a USB hub battery setup like posted a few pages back)?  This board is small enough that, if you wanted to use this as portable DAC for an iPad and PC, you could just get a slightly larger project box and wire in a battery with a charging port.  I've read some reviews that say that the Meridian Explorer benefits form cleaned power, and a battery would be a practical easy solution for this (and any USB DAC I guess).


Edited by keabler - 5/19/13 at 12:53pm
post #829 of 1049

Sorry, a noob question, does the new version drive full-sized cans better or worse than the old version? As in, if I'm only using full-sized cans with the Meridian Explorer, would it be better to keep the old version or get the new version? Thanks!

post #830 of 1049
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobeau View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by marone View Post

I disagree. There is a large contingent of members here who have very limited means to acquire gear and value is something that many of them appreciate.


Many, I would estimate half, of those here seek best sound in conjunction with best value for price.

Fantastic, unless you have a ME and ELE (or other DAC in your hands to compare) and want to share your thoughts on that, then please go to the threads discussing those products.  The ELE DAC has gotten alot of love on this site, pretty much everyone is aware there are a plethora of options much cheaper than the ME that do 'similar' things.   Whether it's headphones, IEMS, DACS, amps, DAC/amps, cables, etc, etc, there are a great options out there for all budgets, and pointing out that going upmarket in gear provides diminishing returns is a surprise to no one.  

Indeed I do and that is why I mentioned the cost disparity wrt products from within China and elsewhere. I have 5 of these low end DACs sitting next to me and more, and reviews, are on the way.
post #831 of 1049
Quote:
Originally Posted by lalala6 View Post

Sorry, a noob question, does the new version drive full-sized cans better or worse than the old version? As in, if I'm only using full-sized cans with the Meridian Explorer, would it be better to keep the old version or get the new version? Thanks!

Good question. I have a few amps that I feed with many of these lower end DAC's and so far the SS 3.5mm jack output from the DAC192 has best sound compared to adding an amplifier to the chain. It won't play as loudly and I do understand that many head-fi'ers like to listen at loud volume levels so that may be very important to you.

At lower listening levels the output from the DAC can be superior to the amp added to the chain. But if you want more slam, bass and louder volume levels an amplifier is probably a good idea.
post #832 of 1049
Quote:
Originally Posted by marone View Post


Good question. I have a few amps that I feed with many of these lower end DAC's and so far the SS 3.5mm jack output from the DAC192 has best sound compared to adding an amplifier to the chain. It won't play as loudly and I do understand that many head-fi'ers like to listen at loud volume levels so that may be very important to you.

At lower listening levels the output from the DAC can be superior to the amp added to the chain. But if you want more slam, bass and louder volume levels an amplifier is probably a good idea.

Not sure if I follow. To clarify I'm asking about the first version of the Meridian Explorer vs the newer version with lower output impedance, whether it's worth keeping the old one if I only use its built-in amp to drive full-sized headphones.

 

Thanks for the bit of info though. I have a FiiO E12 that I can use with the Explorer and it certainly makes the sound louder with more bass slam.

post #833 of 1049

I've had both the original and revised version (which I currently have for sale) of the Meridian Explorer.  In terms of output, both can drive full sized phones w/o a problem.  Full sized phones I've used with both versions are the: HE-400, Fischer Audio FA-002w "High Edition," and Sennheiser HD800.  The latter two phones are relatively sensitive but have high impedance (190 & 300 ohms, respectively).  When the ME's headphone output is at 60%-70%, it drives all these phones to my hearing limit/threshold.

 

In terms of power output, I can't seem to detect a difference between the original and revised versions.  The revised version does seem to have noticeably lower output impedance on the headphone output.  The original version made my sensitive custom IEM ((22 ohm) sound pretty funky.  This makes sense since the output impedance of the original ME was measured (by Purrin) at nearly 50 ohms.  This would affect driver damping and impedance matching pretty significantly with sensitive phones.  Using my custom IEM, I also compared the revised ME's headphone output vs its line out (connected to the Objective2).  I heard no discerable difference in terms transparency.. the revised ME's headphone output seemed to possess a low enough OI so as to not audibly impact damping with my custom IEM.

post #834 of 1049
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlySweep View Post

I've had both the original and revised version (which I currently have for sale) of the Meridian Explorer.  In terms of output, both can drive full sized phones w/o a problem.  Full sized phones I've used with both versions are the: HE-400, Fischer Audio FA-002w "High Edition," and Sennheiser HD800.  The latter two phones are relatively sensitive but have high impedance (190 & 300 ohms, respectively).  When the ME's headphone output is at 60%-70%, it drives all these phones to my hearing limit/threshold.

 

In terms of power output, I can't seem to detect a difference between the original and revised versions.  The revised version does seem to have noticeably lower output impedance on the headphone output.  The original version made my sensitive custom IEM ((22 ohm) sound pretty funky.  This makes sense since the output impedance of the original ME was measured (by Purrin) at nearly 50 ohms.  This would affect driver damping and impedance matching pretty significantly with sensitive phones.  Using my custom IEM, I also compared the revised ME's headphone output vs its line out (connected to the Objective2).  I heard no discerable difference in terms transparency.. the revised ME's headphone output seemed to possess a low enough OI so as to not audibly impact damping with my custom IEM.

Thanks for the info, really helped! I'm gonna get the revised version for IEM compatibility, since it seems the lower IO won't affect my full-sized headphones at all.

post #835 of 1049
Quote:
Originally Posted by marone View Post


Indeed I do and that is why I mentioned the cost disparity wrt products from within China and elsewhere. I have 5 of these low end DACs sitting next to me and more, and reviews, are on the way.

I'm looking forward to your comparisons!

post #836 of 1049
Quote:
Originally Posted by marone View Post
 I have 5 of these low end DACs sitting next to me and more, and reviews, are on the way.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marone View Post

Good question. I have a few amps that I feed with many of these lower end DAC's...

 

Alright, color me confused.  Do you actually have a Meridian Explorer or not?   And if so it is the original or revised (lower impedance unit)?


Edited by bobeau - 5/20/13 at 8:02am
post #837 of 1049
Quote:
Originally Posted by lalala6 View Post

Thanks for the info, really helped! I'm gonna get the revised version for IEM compatibility, since it seems the lower IO won't affect my full-sized headphones at all.

The new Sennheiser HDVD800 and HDV600 (http://www.head-fi.org/t/605444/sennheiser-hdvd800-headphone-amplifier/615) have and output impedance of 43ohms, which is close to that of the first version Explorer. As you can be sure they design their amp to match their headphones, you can guess which version is better.

My first version ME drive my HD650 with exquisite sound. YMMV. Or you can buy an 0 ohm output impedance amp because someone says is better for you.

post #838 of 1049
Quote:
Originally Posted by telecaster View Post

The new Sennheiser HDVD800 and HDV600 (http://www.head-fi.org/t/605444/sennheiser-hdvd800-headphone-amplifier/615) have and output impedance of 43ohms, which is close to that of the first version Explorer. As you can be sure they design their amp to match their headphones, you can guess which version is better.

My first version ME drive my HD650 with exquisite sound. YMMV. Or you can buy an 0 ohm output impedance amp because someone says is better for you.

Interesting, I was under the impression that Sennheiser designs their headphones for 0 output impedance.

 

In my limited amount of direct comparisons, I have tend to agree that low output impedance improves sound.  


Edited by keabler - 5/20/13 at 2:31pm
post #839 of 1049
Quote:
Originally Posted by keabler View Post

I'm not familiar with iPad support but it seems reasonable to say that the issue is with the output bit rate.  However, it might also be that higher bit rate DAC's just draw too much power.  

 

 

Has any one tried to rework this circuit a bit to accommodate a battery (not including a USB hub battery setup like posted a few pages back)?  This board is small enough that, if you wanted to use this as portable DAC for an iPad and PC, you could just get a slightly larger project box and wire in a battery with a charging port.  I've read some reviews that say that the Meridian Explorer benefits form cleaned power, and a battery would be a practical easy solution for this (and any USB DAC I guess).

 

Definitely an interesting idea... it should actually be quite easy to pair the Explorers logic board with a battery, but in the end you'll also want some charging circuitry to avoid changing batteries (or pulling them out to load them elsewhere). And rated at 5V/500mA (which it might not use all the time though) it does seem to draw quite a bit of power, so rechargeable cells are a must IMO.

 

The bit rate itself should not have a major impact on current requirements, but I guess its impossible to construct a DAC that can live with the minuscule amount of current the iPad is willing to provide. Solutions like the Leckerton also carry their own batteries... The UHA6S-II simply uses a different USB receiver to avoid connection problems (that in case of the Explorer can be avoided by careful selection of a hub it seems).

post #840 of 1049
Quote:
Originally Posted by plakat View Post

 

Definitely an interesting idea... it should actually be quite easy to pair the Explorers logic board with a battery, but in the end you'll also want some charging circuitry to avoid changing batteries (or pulling them out to load them elsewhere). And rated at 5V/500mA (which it might not use all the time though) it does seem to draw quite a bit of power, so rechargeable cells are a must IMO.

 

The bit rate itself should not have a major impact on current requirements, but I guess its impossible to construct a DAC that can live with the minuscule amount of current the iPad is willing to provide. Solutions like the Leckerton also carry their own batteries... The UHA6S-II simply uses a different USB receiver to avoid connection problems (that in case of the Explorer can be avoided by careful selection of a hub it seems).

I've used USB charging boards from ebay to charge rechargeable lithium batteries in other applications.  A 5V battery might be hard to come by though.  I was thinking of using a couple 3.7V batteries with a resistor to bring the voltage down.  If I did this circuit I would probably rig the battery/USB with a switch so that the amp could be charging on USB power or running off of the battery.  

Charging board (smaller than a dime).
http://www.ebay.com/itm/281091405549?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649
 

and 2 of these batteries.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/110767910198?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2648

T
he DAC is supposed to run at <500mA so that battery combo would last a bit more than 7 hours.  That is less than ideal but the Meridian Explorer sounds like a fantastic $300 DAC portable or not, and I would love to have desktop sound on the go without buying the ibasso dx100. 

 

I assume that one reason this DAC sounds so good over portable battery powered DAC's is because it is not restricted to their low power requirements  which is one reason I'm so intrigued by this idea.


Edited by keabler - 5/21/13 at 5:29am
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