well, "WhatHiFi" says that the HRT is better.
what do you guys think ?
I'm interested in this question as well. They're both async USB with headphone out and line out. The Meridian handles 24/192 with their driver while the HRT is plug and play but only 24/96. According to HRT the Microstreamer has no caps on the headphone out and has a nice low 0.5ohm output impedance. From the pictures of the Explorer it looks to have output caps and I have no idea regarding the output impedance. I guess it's too early for comparative reviews?
I am leaning towards the HRT as it is supposed to work with my Android phone. I am hoping I can stream my flac files from my music server and have a small nice quality portable setup without the laptop. Power requirements over USB is much higher for the Explorer so I am guessing it won't work for my phone.
Meridian because, it's better, play HR so future proof, plus it has the meridian signature sound which anyone on the planet loves as soon as they hear it, and also because it is a more established brand which you can trust they know what they're doing.
I'd love to read a comparison from someone who had both of these. At the moment information on the HRT is hard to come by. The Meridan thread is very active and populated by people who love the product. I read similar hype for the Dragonfly but it didn't play well with either of my computers so I returned mine.
What headphones are you using? If they are sensitive (16-50 ohms, IEMs etc), I think you should forget about the Meridian completely. Due to the high output impedance it simply isn´t suited for most portable headphones. The HRT product seems more balanced as in both DAC and amp sections are good, while the Explorer seems to be primarily a DAC with a poor headphone amp section bolted on.
Actually the Meridian is designed very well, for a dac.
The problem is the headphone high impedance amp. That part, not so much.
Let´s not forget the new output impedance is still 5, which is not good for IEM users although it´s not a complete disaster (for IEM users) like previously. The usual 16 ohm BA drivers with a wildly swinging impedance curve will still cause issues, but for higher impedance dynamics it´s better now. Both are now interesting products, but my vote for IEM usage still easily goes to HRT as long as one is careful with the volume control. The Explorer indeed has some very interesting technology in the DAC section that the HRT lacks though.
Hey, as long as you're willing to keep the discussion rational and balanced .....
OP, hopefully you've been around fanboys long enough to totally ignore such one-sided 'recommendations'. The mere inference that HRT dont know what they are doing is laughable. I'd like to hear them both - that's the only way to know which one is right for you.