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Meridian Explorer² Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by click, Dec 22, 2014.
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  1. iamoneagain
    Someone from Tidal confirmed this is just a glitch, not a rollout at this point.  Didn't have a clear timeline.  Sounded like since they had to turn it on for CES, it got out to a few users as well.  Seems like wanted to wait for rollout once a bigger selection of music is available.  I could see how it would be frustrating having your MQA dac ready and Tidal saying it's ready and never finding any MQA music to play.  Some would be lucky to find the 2L stuff just from googling.
     
  2. dakanao
    I can get the Explorer 2 for 150 euro's, I wonder how it compared to the HRT Microstreamer, Geek Out 450 and Dragonfly 1.2 soundwise?
     
    Also, does it boost the bass? I hate boosted bass, no matter how tight it is, so that's an important thing for me.
     
  3. theveterans
     
    I have the Explorer 1 and nope it doesn't boost the bass since I hear more bass in my desktop Schiit DAC. I use the explorer 1 as a DAC with Schiit Asgard 2 as the dac. Since Explorer 2 has the same DAC and Analog stage as the 1 (save for the apodizing filter), I bet it would sound the same in the bass quantity.
     
  4. dakanao
    And how is the clarity of the Explorer? Like, is it smooth or very clear while still being smooth?
     
  5. theveterans
    To me, clarity is very clean (no noise detected) and the music detailed yet non-fatiguing. It does not enhance the loudness of the highs, rather it presents it slightly to the back of the mids without the harshness to it. It focuses more on the mids as they are more upfront, but not "shouty". It does have a midrange coloration that makes it sound full and engaging compared to my desktop DAC so you won't get bored with the sound signature (maybe it's just the midrage is more forward than my desktop DAC which is laid-back sounding).
     
  6. iamoneagain
    I just picked up a demo unit and still playing around with it.  Got the MQA update and tried all the test files from 2L.  They all sound amazing. Sucks that I lost my Master Setting on Tidal since all the 2L albums where available in MQA and would have had a much larger library to listen to.  Hopefully Tidal rolls it out soon.
     
    Then I tried playing Tidal tracks thru Roon directly to the Explorer2 and wasn't as impressed.  Luckily I have HQPlayer and the sound greatly improved.  Was able to feed it upsampled tracks with better filters and noise shaper than the built in one.  
     
    I didn't know this thing was going to be so small and that the headphone jack was a mini so I can't tried with my regular headphones yet.  I ended up using my iem UE10s and sounds really good.  No hiss or complete black background.  I'm hoping this thing has enough power for my full size headphones but they're only 48 ohm, so good chance they'll work.  Otherwise I might be returning for a ifi dsd micro.
     
  7. huberd
    I have a Gungnir and the Meridian Explorer 2 sounds smoother to my friend and I both. The Gungnir cost more and has more hardware packed inside but the truth is in the hearing. We also compared the Explorer 2 to the Explorer1 and it was difficult to tell which one was better for most songs. The Explore 2 sounds smoother with certain music only. The equipment that we used was an Asgard 2 Amplifier and JRiver on Windows 2008 and high resolution tracks including Chesky Records 24 bit 192K. Wireworld USB cables, IFI USB power supply and Audioquest Columbia RCA cables and Sennheiser HD-700 headphones.  Yes also tested with the HD-650 which my friend owns. 
     
    yangian likes this.
  8. iamoneagain
    Yeah it seems like the Explorer2 might be a good deal for the money.  I really only got it because my old headphone amp/dac has a lot of hiss and needs to be repaired. This was supposed to be an inexpensive way to hold me over until I had enough money to get old one repaired. Not really a replacement, otherwise I might have tried the ifi micro DSD right from the start.
     
    I also wanted to check out MQA and figured it would sound better than just upsampling my music.   I still had Tida's Master setting when I bought it, so I would have had a lot to play with.   I have a standard to mini headphone adapter coming today, so I'll see how my L3000 sound on it.  If doesn't have enough power, going to send it back.  
     
    Not really enjoying my ue10 on it that much but could just be the headphones.  They're an older highend iem and not really a fan for home use.  I've also tried my Grado SR60 with it and sounds pretty good.  This is the lower model, so I can't really compare how it's going to sound to my highend L3000.  Really want to hear how those sound on this amp compared to my old one.
     
    But also wondering if anyone has compared this to the ifi DSD micro.  I can go back and reread the thread.  Other than no MQA, on paper looks like it should be much better with battery amp and much higher sampling rates.  It's also more money.  But specs and money don't always mean better sound.
     
  9. iamoneagain
    Wow, the Explorer2 sounds quite nice with my AT L3000.  Lots of power.  I have a 60 day return policy but so far so good.  I don't plan use any other headphones, so don't need a more powerful amp.  I still just need to get used to the computer controlled volume is all.   But like there are no batteries to charge or worry about.  It's always on.
     
  10. iamoneagain
    Well after a few days I compared back to my DHA3000 and that amp sounds so much better.  The explorer can be very loud but don't think it has enough power in the end.  It's not that it isn't dynamic but somehow is not as full as more powerful amp.  Maybe it's good for 32 ohm headphones and as DAC.
     
    So going to return it and give the ifi micro dsd to try.  Really looking for a temp amp until I get my old headphone amp fixed but Explorer2 is not going to cut it.  I also didn't like the computer volume control.  Rather have fixed volume and just reach over and use amp volume.
     
    MQA is a cool feature but think get more out of upsampling to HQPlayer.  Maybe once Tidal's complete library is converted will it make more sense.
     
  11. sheldaze
    I get what you're saying, but a 32ohm Grado will have vastly different characteristics versus a 32ohm HiFiMan HE-1000.
     
    And I'll also tell you that the Grado sounds SO GOOD from the Explorer2 [​IMG]
    I was using a 325is to listen to the goodness of MQA last week.
    The sound was so good!
     
  12. iamoneagain

    Yeah, I have the Grado SR60 and it sounded better with the Explorer2 than my DHA3000 but I never use the Grados and that model doesn't really need an amp.  
     
    And yeah, I guess ohms don't make all the difference.  My headphones are only 48 ohms but still needs more power for the deep bass and bigger sound and smoothness. 
     
  13. sheldaze
    I'll throw another 32ohm(ish) headphone into the mix, which I tried because it is supposedly easy to drive.
     
    I personally found the sound to be abysmal through my Audeze EL-8C headphones. And I'm throwing it out there because this was completely unexpected. By the specifications, these require less voltage and less current to drive than the Grado headphones. So I don't know what it is?
     
  14. lakej
    I use the explorer 2 with my Grado PS500. Do you think I could get a more dynamic sound if I get an external amp. Like one of the lower-mid end shiit?
     
  15. yage
    I've found that adding an external amp to the Explorer2's DAC output results in a more fleshed-out midrange and solid bass.
     
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