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NEWS: Meridian Releases The Explorer Pocket-Sized USB DAC - Page 65

post #961 of 1069
Quote:
Originally Posted by L0SLobos View Post
 

I do, actually. I previously owned the Meridian Explorer after reading all the hype about it (ordered it on Amazon). Unfortunately I returned it after 25 days as it failed to live up to my expectations. The bass was muddy compared to the AQ Dragonfly, not as crisp or punchy. The level of detail and sonic imaging was very inferior to to the similarly priced Resonessence Labs Herus, which offers a much better dac, higher output int. amp and high resolution features. Perhaps if it was priced competitively at ~$200 it would be worth a buy since it does include support for 192khz over the Dragonfly's 96khz. However its pricing is much closer to the Herus and when compared side by side to the Herus it simply does not offer enough value to justify keeping it.

I feel exactly the opposite.  

 

I have both the Dragonfly and the Explorer, and the difference is very large:  the Explorer has a much more pleasant, musical sound.  The Dragonfly sounds good if you don't compare it to anything else :/  but compared to the Explorer, the sound is thin, splatty, and grating.  

 

IMO.

 

Only reason I haven't gotten rid of the Dragonfly is "who would buy it"?  I have it thrown into my laptop case as an emergency backup in case something happens to the Explorer.

post #962 of 1069
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhwalker View Post
 

I feel exactly the opposite.  

 

I have both the Dragonfly and the Explorer, and the difference is very large:  the Explorer has a much more pleasant, musical sound.  The Dragonfly sounds good if you don't compare it to anything else :/  but compared to the Explorer, the sound is thin, splatty, and grating.  

 

IMO.

 

Only reason I haven't gotten rid of the Dragonfly is "who would buy it"?  I have it thrown into my laptop case as an emergency backup in case something happens to the Explorer.

Did you bother reading my whole post carefully at all? I also compared it to the Resonessence Labs Herus whose price is much closer (the Meridian Explorer is twice the price of the Dragonfly, why the hell would you bother comparing them on equal standing) and the Herus is a much superior product. Oh and not to mention the output impedance on the Explorer is much too high to be used by sensitive iem's >40 ohms without extreme hissing and distortion. Meanwhile I can enjoy the Herus with any headphones with its whisper quiet 0.2 ohm impedance.

 

I have updated my sig with info from my profile page so people can see exactly what gear I am comparing to.


Edited by L0SLobos - 2/8/14 at 11:31am
post #963 of 1069
Quote:
Originally Posted by L0SLobos View Post
 

Did you bother reading my whole post carefully at all? I also compared it to the Resonessence Labs Herus whose price is much closer (the Meridian Explorer is twice the price of the Dragonfly, why the hell would you bother comparing them on equal standing) and the Herus is a much superior product. Oh and not to mention the output impedance on the Explorer is much too high to be used by sensitive iem's >40 ohms without extreme hissing and distortion. Meanwhile I can enjoy the Herus with any headphones with its whisper quiet 0.2 ohm impedance.

 

I have updated my sig with info from my profile page so people can see exactly what gear I am comparing to.

Of course I read your whole post - how else would I have commented on it?

 

I did not comment on the Herus at all, because I don't have one - duh.  I *did* comment on your comparison of the Explorer with the Dragonfly because I do have both, and my opinion is the opposite of yours.

 

And the originally high output impedance of the Explorer was modified many months ago - it is now 5 ohms.  Still high vs. the 0.7 of the Dragonfly and the 0.2 of the Herus, but 10x better than the original (ridiculously high) 48 ohms.

 

In any case, I'm sure the Herus is wonderful and I wish I had one.  Meanwhile, I enjoy the Explorer and much prefer it vs. the Dragonfly.

post #964 of 1069
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhwalker View Post
 

Of course I read your whole post - how else would I have commented on it?

 

I did not comment on the Herus at all, because I don't have one - duh.  I *did* comment on your comparison of the Explorer with the Dragonfly because I do have both, and my opinion is the opposite of yours.

 

And the originally high output impedance of the Explorer was modified many months ago - it is now 5 ohms.  Still high vs. the 0.7 of the Dragonfly and the 0.2 of the Herus, but 10x better than the original (ridiculously high) 48 ohms.

 

In any case, I'm sure the Herus is wonderful and I wish I had one.  Meanwhile, I enjoy the Explorer and much prefer it vs. the Dragonfly.

Point taken. Audio is subjective and the fact that you much prefer the Explorer to the Dragonfly is your freedom and right. However, I am merely stating that performance per dollar, the latter offers more than the former. In addition, to those people who are in the market for a portable usb DAC and are willing to pay 300 euros, I will point them towards the Herus instead of the Explorer as it offers so much more for the same price; the Herus effectively makes all other portable usb dac's obsolete with its plethora of high end features.

post #965 of 1069

jhwalker, you said that the meridian now supports 5 ohms?  I just bought my meridian explorer a little over 5 weeks ago from meridian-audio.  I think that they would send me the latest updated device.  I get hissing on my in-ear ear phones (ckm500 16 ohms) when plugged into my meridian.  :(

 

I dont hear the hissing on my headphones (ath-a900) which is rated at 40 ohms.

 

Could it be that they sent me an old hardware?  Anyone else experiencing hissing on in-ear ear phones?

post #966 of 1069
Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselTech View Post
 

jhwalker, you said that the meridian now supports 5 ohms?  I just bought my meridian explorer a little over 5 weeks ago from meridian-audio.  I think that they would send me the latest updated device.  I get hissing on my in-ear ear phones (ckm500 16 ohms) when plugged into my meridian.  :(

 

I dont hear the hissing on my headphones (ath-a900) which is rated at 40 ohms.

 

Could it be that they sent me an old hardware?  Anyone else experiencing hissing on in-ear ear phones?

I use the Explorer with Sennheiser HD650 (over-ear, 300 Ohm), Sennheiser PX 200-IIi (on-ear, 32 Ohm), B&W C5 (in-ear, 32 Ohm).

I am not experiencing any hissing whatsoever with these three headphones.

 

My suggestion is to write to Meridian immediately mentioning the serial number of your Explorer and complaining about the hissing. I have always read good things about the Meridian customer care, they should take proper care of you...

 

EDIT: I tried also with an older pair of in-ear Sennheiseir which should be 16 Ohm, again no major hissing. Obviously there is a background noise which is worst than the one on the C5, but I guess this is not due to impedance issues but only to the quality of the earphones.


Edited by doraymon - 2/9/14 at 10:15am
post #967 of 1069
Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselTech View Post
 

jhwalker, you said that the meridian now supports 5 ohms?  I just bought my meridian explorer a little over 5 weeks ago from meridian-audio.  I think that they would send me the latest updated device.  I get hissing on my in-ear ear phones (ckm500 16 ohms) when plugged into my meridian.  :(

 

I dont hear the hissing on my headphones (ath-a900) which is rated at 40 ohms.

 

Could it be that they sent me an old hardware?  Anyone else experiencing hissing on in-ear ear phones?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doraymon View Post
 

I use the Explorer with Sennheiser HD650 (over-ear, 300 Ohm), Sennheiser PX 200-IIi (on-ear, 32 Ohm), B&W C5 (in-ear, 32 Ohm).

I am not experiencing any hissing whatsoever with these three headphones.

 

My suggestion is to write to Meridian immediately mentioning the serial number of your Explorer and complaining about the hissing. I have always read good things about the Meridian customer care, they should take proper care of you...

 

EDIT: I tried also with an older pair of in-ear Sennheiseir which should be 16 Ohm, again no major hissing. Obviously there is a background noise which is worst than the one on the C5, but I guess this is not due to impedance issues but only to the quality of the earphones.

Hissing while using the Explorer with headphones with less than 40 ohm impedance is to be expected with the very high 5 ohm output impedance of the Explorer. Generally a safe rule to be certain is to multiply the output impedance of the integrated amp by a factor of 8 (5 ohm*8=40 ohms) for the headphones. Considering that the Explorer is a solid state portable usb dac, it is quite unacceptable that it can't be used with common low impedance iem's and headphones.

post #968 of 1069
Quote:
Originally Posted by L0SLobos View Post
 

 

 

Hissing while using the Explorer with headphones with less than 40 ohm impedance is to be expected with the very high 5 ohm output impedance of the Explorer. Generally a safe rule to be certain is to multiply the output impedance of the integrated amp by a factor of 8 (5 ohm*8=40 ohms) for the headphones. Considering that the Explorer is a solid state portable usb dac, it is quite unacceptable that it can't be used with common low impedance iem's and headphones.

I guess I'm lucky - the IEMs I'm using (vSonic GR07) have a very high impedance for IEMs (~50 ohms), and thus no hiss for me.

 

I'd certainly be concerned if I heard hissing from my $300 portable DAC :/

 

Now you've gotten me more interested in the Herus ;)

post #969 of 1069
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhwalker View Post
 

I guess I'm lucky - the IEMs I'm using (vSonic GR07) have a very high impedance for IEMs (~50 ohms), and thus no hiss for me.

 

I'd certainly be concerned if I heard hissing from my $300 portable DAC :/

 

Now you've gotten me more interested in the Herus ;)

Yep, the hissing was one of the reasons why I decided to return the Explorer. All of my headphones except for the AKG K712 have low impedances (around 30~ish ohms), so basically they were unusable with the Explorer. So I got the Herus instead since I could use it with anything.

post #970 of 1069
Quote:
Originally Posted by L0SLobos View Post

Yep, the hissing was one of the reasons why I decided to return the Explorer. All of my headphones except for the AKG K712 have low impedances (around 30~ish ohms), so basically they were unusable with the Explorer. So I got the Herus instead since I could use it with anything.
Again, with two different 32 Ohm headphones I have no hissing.
I know the golden rule of 1:8 for the amp:headphones, but in my experience the reality is much more complicated and you never know until you try.
Having said that, you were not happy with your explorer and you returned it, I am very happy with mine and unless I hear anything so much better at a decent price, I will keep it.
By the way here in Germany getting a Herus will cost around 360-380 Eur, vs the 300 of the Explorer.mad.gif
post #971 of 1069
Quote:
Originally Posted by doraymon View Post


Again, with two different 32 Ohm headphones I have no hissing.
I know the golden rule of 1:8 for the amp:headphones, but in my experience the reality is much more complicated and you never know until you try.
Having said that, you were not happy with your explorer and you returned it, I am very happy with mine and unless I hear anything so much better at a decent price, I will keep it.
By the way here in Germany getting a Herus will cost around 360-380 Eur, vs the 300 of the Explorer.mad.gif

I tried the explorer with the b&o h6, my favorite and most used headphones that I own and could not stand the hissing and the bass was boomy (not controlled) and all over the place; indeed I found that straight out from my ipod nano 7g it sounded much better than with the explorer. It is unfortunate that in Europe the Herus will be that expensive due to import prices as you will never have the opportunity to listen to a superior dac, but here in Vancouver for me it is easy to buy because Resonessence Labs is based here.

 

Also the Resonessence Labs Concero HP is a huge step up from the Herus; it is the best headphone dac that I have had the pleasure of hearing. Unfortunately I could not afford to keep it and sold it to a friend locally:(.


Edited by L0SLobos - 2/9/14 at 3:08pm
post #972 of 1069

For me, the explorer is hands down better than the dragonfly. it made me sad that I owned the dragonfly for over a year before finally getting the explorer.

 

Of course, like I said "for me"

 

:)

post #973 of 1069
Quote:
Originally Posted by L0SLobos View Post
 

Point taken. Audio is subjective and the fact that you much prefer the Explorer to the Dragonfly is your freedom and right. However, I am merely stating that performance per dollar, the latter offers more than the former. In addition, to those people who are in the market for a portable usb DAC and are willing to pay 300 euros, I will point them towards the Herus instead of the Explorer as it offers so much more for the same price; the Herus effectively makes all other portable usb dac's obsolete with its plethora of high end features.

 

While perception of sound, and taste regarding sound may both be subjective, the AB I did between a Meridian Explorer with ALAC files and the same CD through a 10 year-old 3D Labs cd player produced markedly differently sounds, I mean really surprisingly so, and I don't think anyone would have preferred the Meridian.  In fact, the cd player won by a country mile, and bear in mind that the DAC in it was 10 years old!

post #974 of 1069
Quote:
Originally Posted by netdog View Post
 

 

While perception of sound, and taste regarding sound may both be subjective, the AB I did between a Meridian Explorer with ALAC files and the same CD through a 10 year-old 3D Labs cd player produced markedly differently sounds, I mean really surprisingly so, and I don't think anyone would have preferred the Meridian.  In fact, the cd player won by a country mile, and bear in mind that the DAC in it was 10 years old!

Guys, I really have no interest in defending the Explorer at all costs, but the AB test you are mentioning is a very subjective test. 

I take the point that you preferred the old CD vs the Explorer, which is a respectable opinion.

post #975 of 1069
Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselTech View Post
 

jhwalker, you said that the meridian now supports 5 ohms?  I just bought my meridian explorer a little over 5 weeks ago from meridian-audio.  I think that they would send me the latest updated device.  I get hissing on my in-ear ear phones (ckm500 16 ohms) when plugged into my meridian.  :(

 

I dont hear the hissing on my headphones (ath-a900) which is rated at 40 ohms.

 

Could it be that they sent me an old hardware?  Anyone else experiencing hissing on in-ear ear phones?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doraymon View Post
 

I use the Explorer with Sennheiser HD650 (over-ear, 300 Ohm), Sennheiser PX 200-IIi (on-ear, 32 Ohm), B&W C5 (in-ear, 32 Ohm).

I am not experiencing any hissing whatsoever with these three headphones.

 

My suggestion is to write to Meridian immediately mentioning the serial number of your Explorer and complaining about the hissing. I have always read good things about the Meridian customer care, they should take proper care of you...

 

EDIT: I tried also with an older pair of in-ear Sennheiseir which should be 16 Ohm, again no major hissing. Obviously there is a background noise which is worst than the one on the C5, but I guess this is not due to impedance issues but only to the quality of the earphones.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by L0SLobos View Post
 

 

 

Hissing while using the Explorer with headphones with less than 40 ohm impedance is to be expected with the very high 5 ohm output impedance of the Explorer. Generally a safe rule to be certain is to multiply the output impedance of the integrated amp by a factor of 8 (5 ohm*8=40 ohms) for the headphones. Considering that the Explorer is a solid state portable usb dac, it is quite unacceptable that it can't be used with common low impedance iem's and headphones.

 

I just need to mention that hissing and output impedance have no bearing on each other.  Hissing only has to do with sensitivity of the headphone and the noisiness of the particular amp.  With some of my headphones I can hear hissing on amps whether 0.1ohm or 10 ohm output impedance.  With other headphones, it doesn't hiss with any of my amps.  Then there are headphones that hiss louder on my 0.1ohm amp than the meridian explorer with 5 ohm output impedance.  Basically output impedance of the amp and the impedance of the headphone mismatch don't produce hiss.  The problem with this mismatch is with modified frequency response behavior and poor driver damping, both which don't relate to hiss levels.

 

Now I am very sensitive to and annoyed with hiss, but the explorer isn't that bad in this regard.  It's usable with nearly all my headphones nearly devoid of any hiss (except with the shure se530), which I can't say is true with most other devices.  If anyone is getting major hiss out of it with not super sensitive IEMs, it may be defective.  It should be one of the quieter devices out there from my experience.

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