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Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier Review - Page 5

post #61 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by x838nwy View Post

I agree that implementation is more important than the actual parts (in most cases) and that individual components will cost waaaay less than a manufactured product. I also agree that r&d costs money.

But come on! This is Meridian we're talking about here! Surely their engineers didn't need THAT much r&d to make something like this. They're already doing the Director and Explorer neither of which is a world away from this limpness, plus they have oodles of experience in dsp and hifi in general - so I expect them to whip up something like this in a matter of weeks.

As for implementation, I don't see much here TO implement. It looks to these untrained eyes like a re-configured explorer, to be honest.

Finally, what's with the mini-usb input? Seriously, what's up with that on a desktop dac/amp? Appears they anticipated a much larger demand for their explorer than has realised and now just looking to get rid of parts they ordered...
They were nice enough to put the full size USB connector on the PSU, though biggrin.gif
post #62 of 287

I hate to say it, but this amp is reminiscent of the Grado headphone amp.  Looks like it is riding on the coat tails of the brand.

post #63 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigfatpaulie View Post
 

I hate to say it, but this amp is reminiscent of the Grado headphone amp.  Looks like it is riding on the coat tails of the brand.

Well...Grado's RA-1 is less than $400.  This is $2000 we are talking about.  I expect this amp to be very good given Meridian's knowledge of DSP & Digital despite using a so-so parts.  The price will be justified if they included a dedicate PSU at the asking price.  For 2K, Sennheiser HDVD-800 appears to be a much more attractive candidate.

post #64 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by x838nwy View Post

I agree that implementation is more important than the actual parts (in most cases) and that individual components will cost waaaay less than a manufactured product. I also agree that r&d costs money.



But come on! This is Meridian we're talking about here! Surely their engineers didn't need THAT much r&d to make something like this. They're already doing the Director and Explorer neither of which is a world away from this limpness, plus they have oodles of experience in dsp and hifi in general - so I expect them to whip up something like this in a matter of weeks.



As for implementation, I don't see much here TO implement. It looks to these untrained eyes like a re-configured explorer, to be honest.



Finally, what's with the mini-usb input? Seriously, what's up with that on a desktop dac/amp? Appears they anticipated a much larger demand for their explorer than has realised and now just looking to get rid of parts they ordered...

 



Is it manufactured in England?
post #65 of 287
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicoch46 View Post
 

Crazy cheaper stuff  sell at high price by marketing using is good name !!

 

This dac  use  the  Crystal/cirrus logic cs4353  cheaper  consumer chip dac , you can found on Samsung BD-C6900 blu ray and probabily in ps3 slim..
this chip  don' t have the connection for external digital filter ie no meridia proprietary sorftware for apodizing filter!! he use  apodizing in hardware by Crystal/cirrus logic

plus the head amp is an OPA  the only good ones is the usb ....

you can buy the cs4353 at digikey for 1,4 €=1$ .

At last with that price you can buy an unitiqute  that have power amp too

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicoch46 View Post
 

is just director plus 5€ reg psu + 5€ opamp + 15€ alps = $$$$$$$

 

ps I forget the magic asp...

 

When I see posts like this, it makes me wonder what the motive is because (a) there is no CS4353 in the Prime; and (b) because there's no CS4353 in the Prime, it is obviously not using any built-in function of that chip (as you have, again, wrongly asserted).

 

With respect to apodising, I asked Bob Stuart about this, as implemented in the Prime, and he said that they are not using the in-built minimum-phase function of any chip, and that apodising is a separate thing from minimum-phase. From our conversation, Bob Stuart said:
 

Quote:

That processing--apodising, upsampling, filtering, matched dither, etc., is Meridian custom DSP code running in the larger XMOS part, and is computationally intensive.

 

As in other Meridian products, little can be learned from the DAC chip itself; it lives in a matched ecosystem where the DSP is dominant.

 

Any experienced practitioner understands that products are systems and the way they are designed and configured is more important, in general, than any bias one might have about an individual part. Having said that, we chose every component carefully, but in combination. As with most of our products, the digital engineering, all-important PCB inner layers and DSP can't be seen, but the result can be heard.

 

I agree, because I have heard it, and the Prime is, to my ears, a very impressive component.

 

I love my Lavry Engineering DA11's, too (enough to have bought two of them), but I've been buying more and more 24/192 recordings, and the Lavry cannot play those files (it tops out at 24/96). The Lavry DA11 checks off even fewer buzzwords, but, to me, sounds better than many DACs that have come through here that checked them all off (and a lot of DACs come through here). At RMAF one year, I had the DA11 in the same rig with another DAC that checked of all the audiophile-expected checkmarks of the time; and far more people who directly compared them preferred the Lavry (with its switching power supply, adaptive USB, and no specific attempt at removing digital pre-ringing via minimum-phase filtering or any other means--gasp!).

 

Similarly, I was at one function where someone brought a DAC he'd loaded with boutique parts (including some very expensive, very audiophile-approved capacitors), with a design to intended to check off all the buzzwords, only to see it unable to reliably lock onto USB--and sounding rather bad when it did.

 

I've heard components with super-impressive BOMs, boutique parts and all the right buzzwords that some audiophiles absolutely require to be checked, with discrete output stages and fancy-looking power supplies, yet with abysmal results. (Of course, I've also heard components with all these things, well designed, well put together, that sounded great.) I don't care whether it's chips or discrete, I want it to sound good. I don't care if its USB implementation is async or not, I just want it to sound good. I don't care what DAC chip is in it (for example, I have no fewer than four Sabre-based DAC products, and it perplexes me why so many people lump all Sabre-based DACs together, as if they all sound the same--they don't). I care about what happens in concert inside the box. I care about what's happening at the outputs, in terms of how it sounds to me. 

 

I'm not qualified to fully understand what's going on in the Meridian Prime's six-layer PCB, in their custom DSP, etc. But I have heard the Prime, and, to my ears, it's very good, as a DAC, or as a DAC/amp. I've also owned a couple of other Meridian components over the last many years, and, again, the Prime is very Meridian to me.

 

As a little aside, and getting back to the Lavry for a moment: one feature of the Lavry DA11 that I love, and have kept it around for? Its crossfeed. Since before I founded Head-Fi in 2001, I've been using crossfeed when I feel necessary (examples include some stereo Beatles with hard left-right panning that's just too unnatural to me through headphones; also, try listening to Blind Melon's "Change" through headphones). With Meridian's ASP crossfeed circuit, I'm thrilled to have another DAC whose sound I love and that has very well-implemented crossfeed, and covers me up to 24/192. Yes, the crossfeed is just one of many things Meridian seems to have gotten right in the Prime.

 

Find a Meridian dealer and listen to the Prime. Then lets' talk.

post #66 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by purk View Post
 

Well...Grado's RA-1 is less than $400.  This is $2000 we are talking about.  I expect this amp to be very good given Meridian's knowledge of DSP & Digital despite using a so-so parts.  The price will be justified if they included a dedicate PSU at the asking price.  For 2K, Sennheiser HDVD-800 appears to be a much more attractive candidate.

 

I agree.  I guess more my point was the the Grado amp is considered a poor value amp (ie, not a lot of amp for the money versus the competition).  I feel that this is similar in that sense.  It's too bad, I was really excited for this product.

post #67 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by jude View Post
 

 

When I see posts like this, it makes me wonder what the motive is because (a) there is no CS4353 in the Prime; and (b) because there's no CS4353 in the Prime, it is obviously not using any built-in function of that chip (as you have, again, wrongly asserted).

 

With respect to apodising, I asked Bob Stuart about this, as implemented in the Prime, and he said that they are not using the in-built minimum-phase function of any chip, and that apodising is a separate thing from minimum-phase. From our conversation, Bob Stuart said:
 

 

I agree, because I have heard it, and the Prime is, to my ears, a very impressive component.

 

I love my Lavry Engineering DA11's, too (enough to have bought two of them), but I've been buying more and more 24/192 recordings, and the Lavry cannot play those files (it tops out at 24/96). The Lavry DA11 checks off even fewer buzzwords, but, to me, sounds better than many DACs that have come through here that checked them all off (and a lot of DACs come through here). At RMAF one year, I had the DA11 in the same rig with another DAC that checked of all the audiophile-expected checkmarks of the time; and far more people who directly compared them preferred the Lavry (with its switching power supply, adaptive USB, and no specific attempt at removing digital pre-ringing via minimum-phase filtering or any other means--gasp!).

 

Similarly, I was at one function where someone brought a DAC he'd loaded with boutique parts (including some very expensive, very audiophile-approved capacitors), with a design to intended to check off all the buzzwords, only to see it unable to reliably lock onto USB--and sounding rather bad when it did.

 

I've heard components with super-impressive BOMs, boutique parts and all the right buzzwords that some audiophiles absolutely require to be checked, with discrete output stages and fancy-looking power supplies, yet with abysmal results. (Of course, I've also heard components with all these things, well designed, well put together, that sounded great.) I don't care whether it's chips or discrete, I want it to sound good. I don't care if its USB implementation is async or not, I just want it to sound good. I don't care what DAC chip is in it (for example, I have no fewer than four Sabre-based DAC products, and it perplexes me why so many people lump all Sabre-based DACs together, as if they all sound the same--they don't). I care about what happens in concert inside the box. I care about what's happening at the outputs, in terms of how it sounds to me. 

 

I'm not qualified to fully understand what's going on in the Meridian Prime's six-layer PCB, in their custom DSP, etc. But I have heard the Prime, and, to my ears, it's very good, as a DAC, or as a DAC/amp. I've also owned a couple of other Meridian components over the last many years, and, again, the Prime is very Meridian to me.

 

As a little aside, and getting back to the Lavry for a moment: one feature of the Lavry DA11 that I love, and have kept it around for? Its crossfeed. Since before I founded Head-Fi in 2001, I've been using crossfeed when I feel necessary (examples include some stereo Beatles with hard left-right panning that's just too unnatural to me through headphones; also, try listening to Blind Melon's "Change" through headphones). With Meridian's ASP crossfeed circuit, I'm thrilled to have another DAC whose sound I love and that has very well-implemented crossfeed, and covers me up to 24/192. Yes, the crossfeed is just one of many things Meridian seems to have gotten right in the Prime.

 

Find a Meridian dealer and listen to the Prime. Then lets' talk.

 

And that, folks, is what Engineering REALLY is.

post #68 of 287

HI

Quote from   http://www.ultrahighendreview.com/meridian-dac-and-headphone-amplifier-review/

"As with the Director, the meridian Prime can accept digital inputs up to 24-bit, 192kHz, and upsamples all 44.1kHz/48kHz signals to 88.2kHz/96kHz using Meridian’s proprietary apodising filter, bypassing the linear reconstruction filter on board the CM4353. The left side of the PCB is devoted to filtering and regulating the incoming DC power"

 

What dac is in there ? 

 

Remember the director use the cm4353 and don't have external connection for  digital filter ie no xmos with propritary sofware ! ie no proprietary Apodising .. the same for explorer no external connection Ti dac

 

Again what dac is in there ?

 

Ps we know that apo and minimun phase are not the same thanks


Edited by nicoch46 - 11/26/13 at 3:48pm
post #69 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicoch46 View Post
 

HI

Quote from   http://www.ultrahighendreview.com/meridian-dac-and-headphone-amplifier-review/

"As with the Director, the meridian Prime can accept digital inputs up to 24-bit, 192kHz, and upsamples all 44.1kHz/48kHz signals to 88.2kHz/96kHz using Meridian’s proprietary apodising filter, bypassing the linear reconstruction filter on board the CM4353. The left side of the PCB is devoted to filtering and regulating the incoming DC power"

 

What dac is in there ? 

 

Remember the director use the cm4353 and don't have external connection for  digital filter ie no xmos with propritary sofware !.. the same for explorer no external connection Ti dac

 

Again what dac is in there ?

 

Ps we know that apo and minimun phase are not the same thanks

 

I think Jude was implying that 99.9% of us Head Fi-ers really can't draw any meaningful conclusions when told what DAC is in the box.

As Mr. Stuart pointed out, implementation is everything.

 

You can use the world's greatest DAC chip and screw it all up with poor board layout, or poor power supply implementation, etc, etc, etc.


Edited by Chris J - 11/26/13 at 7:31pm
post #70 of 287

Jude, would it be possible to snap and post a couple of pics of the Prime's wall wart?  What are its approximate dimensions?

 

Thanks again. :smile: 

post #71 of 287

HI Jude I'm waiting to know from you what dac is in there........

 

thanks

post #72 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryB View Post

Jude, would it be possible to snap and post a couple of pics of the Prime's wall wart?  What are its approximate dimensions?
Thanks again.

That's a different question!biggrin.gif
Mind if I ask what's motivating that? redface.gif
post #73 of 287
Jude,

Did Bob Stuart say why no balanced output for the Prime? Just curious
Edited by dcginc - 11/28/13 at 8:13am
post #74 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post


That's a different question!biggrin.gif
Mind if I ask what's motivating that? redface.gif

 

Nothing sinister. ;)  Just curious if there would be any issues with siting... i.e. regarding its size or whether it's a plug on a brick or a cord on a brick.


Edited by GaryB - 11/28/13 at 8:36am
post #75 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryB View Post
 

 

Nothing sinister. ;)  Just curious if there would be any issues with siting... i.e. regarding its size or whether it's a plug on a brick or a cord on a brick.

 

Ah.....now I see.

Personally, I'm not crazy about wall warts.

In can be difficult to plug two into the wall, the top one may come loose over time.

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