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Meier Audio Corda Soul - TOTL DAC/AMP/DSP

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by Toad_of_Toad_Hall, Oct 29, 2017.
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  1. Toad_of_Toad_Hall
    I can say from experience that Meier Audio offers some of the best value headphone amplifiers and DACs in the game. Think of them as something akin to a European version of Schiit. Enclosures are modest and marketing costs minimal. The attraction of these amps lies in their sound and design, not in frivolities. The attraction of the company lies in the integrity and product support offered by its founder, Jan Meier.

    When Jan announces a new product (which isn't all that often) I'm pretty quick to check it out. When Jan announces a product that is a "best-I-can-make DAC/headamp combo" it's an insta-headswivel.

    Meet the SOUL:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At this stage a few functional prototypes are up and running and can be auditioned at CanJam Berlin in November 2017.

    You can read all about it on the Meier Audio website, so there's little point in me doing a copy-and-paste job here.

    Can't wait to read your impressions!
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
    nick n and wonsj like this.
  2. Blueshound24
    It appears to be balanced out only?
     
  3. Toad_of_Toad_Hall
    Double post
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  4. Toad_of_Toad_Hall
    Looks like it. Although I'm not a "balanced" evangelist, I suspect that there are advantages in channel separation having an XLR connection. If you're not afraid of a bit of DIY, headphone cables can be cheaply converted to an XLR connection.

    I'd be interested to hear why Jan went down this path. Limited space in the chassis? Using it as a symbol of a TOTL amp? Output power?

    Looks like there's no analogue input, so it can't be used as a stand-alone amp. There is XLR output though, so I guess it could be used as DAC/DSP-only. Interestingly enough, it has digital output. DSP functionality of the device could be used and output to a different DAC.

    EDIT: Ahh. I was looking at the chassis drawing. Prototype seems to have an extra pair of XLRs at the back. Perhaps they're analogue inputs, which would allow you to use a separate DAC, passive/active pre, tube buffer or even phono-pre. This would make it an extremely versatile product, so I hope so. Prototype also appears to have a couple of fewer digital inputs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  5. Jan Meier Contributor
    Dear headfellows,

    " It appears to be balanced out only? "

    Yes, and the reason is very simple. Any high-end DAC-chip has balanced outputs and to produce a single ended output would require an extra amplification stage for de-symmetrisation. Thus balanced by nature is superior (one amplification stage only). Moreover, the extra costs and space required for a single ended output would be quite high as it would require it's own series of relais for control volume.

    " Looks like there's no analogue input "

    Although the prototypes do have analog inputs, these will be missing on the final product. The reason is simple. Crossfeed, tone-controls, notch-filter, de-emphasis, .... are all done in the digital domain and this functionality goes lost with an analog input, unless the analog signals are digitalized internally. The implementation of high-end AD-conversion is beyond the scope of this product though.

    Cheers

    Jan
     
  6. Sorrodje
    Interesting.

    @Jan Meier : any idea of price range ?
     
  7. Jan Meier Contributor
    Dear Sorrodje,

    " any idea of price range ?"

    I hope to keep prices as low as possible but a lot will depend on the manufacturer. More info hopefully next week.

    Cheers

    Jan
     
    grizzlybeast, Wilashort and Sorrodje like this.
  8. GU1DO
    What is the DAC ?
     
  9. RazorJack
    Same here! :)

    I'm interested in the tone control feature. Are we talking about a more comprehensive version of the "tonal balance" switch, previously found on the Corda STAGEDAC and Corda CLASSIC? The purpose of this feature was to correct for psychoacoustic loss of frequencies below 2 kHz when using crossfeed.

    The new Corda SOUL offers four controls to amplify or attenuate frequencies, kinda like an equalizer, but only up to 4.5 kHz. Is this supposed to be used for correcting the psychoacoustic loss that occurs with crossfeed, or is this some kind of an equalizer without the mid/high range?
     
  10. Richter Di
    Jan was so kind at his last visit to demonstrate the Soul to me and even leave it with me over a week to listen in. I used it with my HD 800 (Frend Mod) and my laptop as a source mainly. The Soul is incredible transparent and the notch filter makes a huge difference to tame ugly resonance frequencies. Also the little tweaking with the tone controls was also very helpful to increase the warmth of the HD 800.
    I also love the design. I reminds me of the old Braun stuff.
    So if you get a chance to listen to it in Berlin, use it. It is gonna be an incredible combination.
     
    Wilashort and henriks like this.
  11. Dogmatrix
    I have a space in my rack waiting for this

    Bravo Herr Meier
     
  12. Toad_of_Toad_Hall
    Have you heard it too, or are you taking a gamble based on a single posted impression?

    I guess we won't have to wait long to hear what others think of it. Hopefully the impressions will be rolling in thick and fast.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
  13. Dogmatrix
    Never heard it unfortunately . I live in the middle of nowhere in global terms so don't get the try before you buy option . However based on the history of Meier Audio ,the feature set of this unit and the fact that the headphones I will be using He500 and Hd800 are mentioned . Still a gamble but I think the odds are very good . Not that I would encourage gambling in general :slot_machine::cry:
     
  14. henriks
    price around 2000 euro
     
  15. Toad_of_Toad_Hall
    Source?
     
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