Meridian Director DAC: Anyone here own one?
Oct 7, 2015 at 10:03 PM Post #196 of 219

masterfuu

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Hi guys. If I use optical on my director will it be recognized on my PC? Im having noise come from PC via usb cable to the director. Very upset since I can't figure out what to do. Seems like ground noise from graphic card. So I did lots of reading....Optical it is.
 
Oct 9, 2015 at 4:54 AM Post #197 of 219

sheldaze

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Hi guys. If I use optical on my director will it be recognized on my PC? Im having noise come from PC via usb cable to the director. Very upset since I can't figure out what to do. Seems like ground noise from graphic card. So I did lots of reading....Optical it is.

Because the Director is powered via USB, it is likely more susceptible to noise and other issues from your computer's USB output. There are solutions which attempt to bypass the noise in your computer and send a cleaner signal. There are also boxes which externally convert from USB to digital, which can then be passed into the digital input on the Director.
 
If your computer already has some other form of digital output, you can use that. And an optical solution will bypass any ground loop issues you may ben having. Make sure you also use the USB power brick that came with the Director and disconnect it from the USB connection on your computer. Otherwise you will still likely hear the same noise issues due to the USB power source from your computer.
 
Oct 9, 2015 at 10:25 AM Post #198 of 219

masterfuu

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  Because the Director is powered via USB, it is likely more susceptible to noise and other issues from your computer's USB output. There are solutions which attempt to bypass the noise in your computer and send a cleaner signal. There are also boxes which externally convert from USB to digital, which can then be passed into the digital input on the Director.
 
If your computer already has some other form of digital output, you can use that. And an optical solution will bypass any ground loop issues you may ben having. Make sure you also use the USB power brick that came with the Director and disconnect it from the USB connection on your computer. Otherwise you will still likely hear the same noise issues due to the USB power source from your computer.


Thanks sheldaze, it worked!
I used optical from my Asus Xonar STX sound card hooked up to optical of Direct DAC and used the included power supply. Few min of setting it up and works great. Zero noise from USB. Sound quality also excellent (can't tell audio difference between optical and USB)... but you know what they say.. silence is golden :)
 
Nov 26, 2015 at 4:52 AM Post #200 of 219

gab840

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  First I caution against drawing too much conclusion, putting too much faith in the opinion of another. We each have ears, and more importantly brains of a different upbringing and taste than any another person. I would tell you that the Gungnir Multibit is an improvement over the Director in every way. And at the same time, I would feel silly, judgmental, or conceited to say such a thing. So I think it simpler to take the long route, and explain to you why the Director made its way into my stereo system in the first place - that is how the Director sounds in relation to all the previous DAC options I have heard.
 
I had been listening satisfactorily to the Denon proprietary sound for many years. They call the proprietary processing AL24 (or more recently AL32). You can read about it here. For example, there are 8 processors in my Denon AVR-5803, for each of the 8-channels of home theater audio. However, when utilizing only 2-channels, one is left with 6 processors with nothing to do. Instead Denon applies a pseudo-science up-sampling algorithm to enhance the fidelity of the sound. They use 4-processors per channel of audio to handle the requirement of the algorithm. They think it is so fantastic that they do not allow you to turn it off. Except I accidentally stumbled upon a way to turn it off. I connected a Denon DVD source through the proprietary Denon digital connection into the Denon A/V receiver. The source acts in this mode only as a transport, and the receiver acts as a DAC. Both the source and receiver can apply AL24 processing, in stand alone. But when connected via the proprietary digital cable into a more capable AL24 processor, the source turns off its AL24 processing. If you connect the source via RCA cables into the receiver, you can thus bypass the AL24 processing and hear the native Denon DAC.
 
This bypass of the AL24 become my first DAC upgrade. My girlfriend, who has ears that apparently work much more quickly than mine, simply called the original sound (AL24) digital and the new sound (RCA) not as digital, and thus better. I still listen to AL24 on rare occasion, like when friends come over, so I can explain to them why I bought a DAC. There is a distinct "ringing" sound on top of the original music. It's like when you turn up the sharpness too high on a modern television, and you actually add noise to the signal. In comparison to the Meridian Director, there is definitely no ringing due to its up-sampling process. My girlfriend has heard the Denon up-sampling, a Sony PS3 that up-samples, and even an external box dedicated to up-sampling. She called them all digital, but neither she nor I can hear the up-sampling in the proprietary Meridian process. The Meridian adds nothing that my ears perceive as added noise - it just makes the sound easier, larger, more depth. Oh, and the Denon sound, without the AL24, was cold to my ears. It was an upgrade from AL24, but just nothing to write home about.
 
My first real DAC was a Peachtree DAC-iTx. I got it because it had Coax, Toslink, and USB inputs, all at a reasonable price. It was a definite upgrade over the Denon, but it did not really do anything for me. Also by this time I was starting to experiment with the transportable USB DAC, such as the DragonFly. This was hardly an improvement over the DragonFly. And by the time I purchased the Schiit Fulla and Meridian Explorer, it was bested. Granted I still had a headphone amplifier that I hated (my only amplifier, so I still used it). But even in my main stereo system, the Peachtree wasn't anything special. Respective to the Director, it simply does not provide a lot of necessary detail of a high end DAC. It stayed around until it was replaced by my first Sabre DAC.
 
The Oppo BDP-105 seemed to be a dream come true. It had clarity of a kind I had never heard before. The dynamics were also good, almost too much so. Let's just cut to the chase - some Sabre implementations will jab you in the ear drums. This was a good DAC, until I tried to listen to it for any length of time. I just got fatigued too quickly. There is no fatigue from listening to the Director, and I think that is the signature quality of a good DAC.
 
Enter the last remaining DAC, and the only DAC I have not yet given back to the eBay gods. The Schiit Bifrost Uber is a good DAC. I personally would place it at the same level as the Meridian Director. They both do everything quite well. What the Director does particularly well is likely to be a weakness of the Bifrost. The opposite I feel holds true too. And as such, the Bifrost became my go-to for headphones and the Director became my go-to for speakers. The Bifrost is holding on only because it is my go-to for headphones (the Gungnir replaced the Director for speakers) and I'm holding out hope for an upgrade from Schiit later this year. But again, the USB DAC keep getting better year-by-year. I am hoping for good things from the CEntrance DACportHD, and have heard good things from the Apogee Groove and LH Labs GeekOut v2 (almost afraid to go back to the Bifrost after hearing the GeekOut). Back to the Director! The Bifrost is more forward. The Director is more reserved. The Bifrost has more of the surface detail. The Director has more of the spatial details. It's the space that won me over with regards to using it in my speaker setup. The height, width, and depth are just immense, and really fun for me a 2-speaker setup.
 
Now if you can imagine a DAC that does all these things, you've got it! The Gungnir Multibit sound seems to stop my beating heart sometimes. It has the ease of an up-sampler, but it doesn't up-sample so there's no "digital" sound or loss of any information. It has warmth. It has detail. It has the little gritty details. It has the big airy details. It has an immense soundstage. In fact, sounds are now appearing out of places (and in songs) where I did not know they existed. And there's a new darkness, when the music stops, that often stops me - hence the beating heart.
 
Still I warn you that the upgrade-itis can be a miserable thing. I just sold a DAC that I very much loved. And I've already heard the Yggdrasil (at the time my DAC was only 3 days new). Yes, the Yggdrasil is a better DAC than the Gungir Multibit. Try the Chord DAC, if you have the funds. But do use your own ears. The Director is a great DAC.

Thats Great detail Sheldaze.. but would like to know how is the soundstage - height/width/depth of Headphones with Director DAC as you have already praised that with speakers??
Also can you bit explain more w.r.t to bifrost & director "The Director is more reserved. The Bifrost has more of the surface detail. The Director has more of the spatial details"
 
Also does Gunginir has a bigger soundstage w.r.t Headphones compared to both Director/Bifrost??
 
Nov 26, 2015 at 10:40 AM Post #201 of 219

sheldaze

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  Thats Great detail Sheldaze.. but would like to know how is the soundstage - height/width/depth of Headphones with Director DAC as you have already praised that with speakers??
Also can you bit explain more w.r.t to bifrost & director "The Director is more reserved. The Bifrost has more of the surface detail. The Director has more of the spatial details"
 
Also does Gunginir has a bigger soundstage w.r.t Headphones compared to both Director/Bifrost??

biggrin.gif

 
I found later that my perception of soundstage was greatly dependent on amplifier to transducer - having a good pairing between the headphones and the headphone amplifier, to take advantage of all the DAC is capable. A HiFiMan HE-1000 on a Schiit Ragnarok is going to have much better chance to create the impression of soundstage versus a HE-400S on JDS Labs The Element (yes - one of the pairings I was using at the time). I simply never heard it with my headphones and one amplifier before I sold the Director. I can state though that the Director removes a lot of the digital glare common to most DACs, and this allows you to hear deeper into the music. This might be part of the perceived bigger soundstage.
 
Bifrost enunciated the gritty details, the pluck of a guitar, the sound of fingers rubbing against the grooves in the guitar strings, the small things, like placing a microscope on the music. On the Director, I heard more of the relative placement of the instruments, the location of the guitar soloist up front, the drummer slightly back to the left, etc. Whereas there was plenty of detail on the Bifrost, I felt it was a tad compressed relative to the Director. I felt there was more separation between the details on the Director. While each individual detail was not as crisp, the placement of the details and the room as a whole made more sense.
 
With the Gungnir Multibit, I felt it combined the best of both worlds. I had a solid sense of soundstage and separation between each musical sound, yet each sound had the gritty details. It's just the cost of the DAC that is prohibitive. You're definitely getting more, but the value is diminished.
 
Hope this helps. If not, feel free to PM me 
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Jan 26, 2016 at 10:39 PM Post #203 of 219

peterinvan

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Hi guys,

I am looking to buy a meridian director dac. I wanted to confirm if a mqa update is confirmed for the dac. I could not find any details on mqa support. Thanks

Harith


I have been following all forums and have not seen any mention of the Director being MQA capable. I am still patiently waiting for the Explorer 2 firmware upgrade.
 
Jan 27, 2016 at 8:12 AM Post #204 of 219

peterinvan

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The Director will be upgraded shortly to support MQA. If you're not in a hurry, sit tight for a while.


Hi
Could you tell us the source of this info on the Director being MQA capable?
 
Jan 28, 2016 at 3:45 PM Post #205 of 219

sheldaze

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I second the question.
 
What I have read pointed to Explorer2 and Prime getting the necessary updates for MQA. And I suspect that the Director was end-of-life in part to address the MQA issue with a newer release model. That is, unless they have abandoned the Director, I would expect a version 2 of the Director with MQA, around the time MQA becomes available for their other two products.
 
Jan 30, 2016 at 7:30 AM Post #206 of 219

teofilrocks

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With or without MQA, I'm still excited about getting the Director in. Picked up a like-new open box from a dealer for $275. That was a good enough deal to put me over the edge.
 
Feb 4, 2016 at 12:02 PM Post #207 of 219

mavericksane

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The Explorer2 MAQ firmware was released yesterday (with a Mac OSX updater option for the first time, thank goodness).  No sign of an update for the Director.  I would tend to agree that the first version is EOL and it is likely that a newer version (or new product) is in the works which will support MQA.
 
Feb 22, 2016 at 2:42 PM Post #208 of 219

schneller

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Correspondence with Meridian directly confirms that the Director will NOT receive MQA support. No new products were mentioned of course. Their Explorer2 and latest versions of their 808 and 818 DACs will receive MQA support.
 
Mar 4, 2016 at 12:53 PM Post #209 of 219

tdogzthmn

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I also picked up the Director at the discounted price on Amazon.

I'm sure MQA would be a nice addition but I feel for my simple needs the current iteration of the Director will be sufficient.

My digital source will be either my synology music server or Apple Music played from my Apple TV.

My hope is that the upsampling filter will enhance the Apple Music playback to a satisfactory level to where it is close to my high resolution files.

I look forward to hearing how it plays with my system.
 
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Mar 7, 2016 at 9:18 AM Post #210 of 219

tdogzthmn

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Got my Director in yesterday and have it hooked up to the optical output of my TV streaming from my The Apple TV.

Initial impressions are that the Medidiean does provide a step up from the DAC used in my NAD D3020 but it is a more subtle improvement that I had thought.

With speakers there was was an improvement butt he differences were more discernible over headphones which allowed me to confirm there was an improvement. I plan to let the unit get in more play time before a more serious audition.

Unfortunately I don't have a USB source available in my living room to test the director with higher resolution files. Overall I think Apple Music streaming sounds very enjoyable with plenty of detail and space when compared to their Vinyl counterparts.

I look forward to trying the Director on my tube gear to see if I can get an even more analog sound to the streaming from the Apple TV.
 
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