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Meridian Explorer² Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by click, Dec 22, 2014.
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  1. peterinvan
    I reallly enjoy the Explorer2 headphone amp with my Oppo PM -3 cans. Drives them well even to high volumes.

    I am on vacation, listening mostly to acoustic albums on Tidal... Jazz, Chamber music etc.

    iPad...CCK...5v powered hub...Explorer2...PM-3s

    Even get great results straight out of the IPad.
  2. iamoneagain
    The weird thing is it seemed like it had enough power for my L3000 (48 ohm) until I switched back to my old headphone/amp that was designed for it.  There's a lushness and realism to the bass that wasn't there on the Explorer.  I guess it's the extra headroom they talk about.  I have the ifi micro idsd arriving tomorrow, so I'll be able to see the difference.  I won't be able to make direct comparison with Explorer2 since it's ready to ship off.  
    My goal was just to have a nice amp to listen for a few months or more until I'm ready to ship my old amp off to manufacture and see if they can fix it.  I also have feeling the repairs and shipment would take some time and don't want to be without music.
    I liked what I heard with the MQA tracks and really wish I still had access to Tidal Master setting so I could listen to full albums.  Didn't think worth $24 for an album at 2L when I know when Tidal MQA goes live, all those albums are available in MQA at no extra cost.  I'm sure there will be plenty of other dacs offering MQA but nice that there is the Explorer2 for those on a budget.
  3. iamoneagain
    Have the ifi micro idsd all setup and have to say it is way better than the Explorer2.  There is no comparison. I'll leave it at that since this is an Explorer2 thread.
  4. sheldaze
    I still think it is helpful to note.
    I personally found it universally an upgrade when going from USB-powered DAC/AMPs to wall or battery powered. I noticed a similar upgrade when listening to the Grace Design m9XX and Chord Mojo. And it wasn't just versus the Explorer2. It was also versus the HRT microStreamer, LH Labs Geek Out V2, and things I still own such as CEntrance DACport HD, and Apogee Groove. Having a stable, dedicated power source, even in the case of m9XX fed high current input via a USB cable, still makes a tremendous difference in sound quality. And I would hope that people intending to use a computer-port USB-powered amplifier understand the compromise they are making for the convenience of a single cable.
  5. peterinvan

    My desktop rig includes the iFi iUSB power supply before the Explorer2. Makes a noticable improvement in the bass clarity, speed, and overall instrument seperation. I can't say that adding the Jitterbug in the loop makes a noticable difference.
  6. sheldaze
    I quite agree!
    Similar to you, if I plan to use the Explorer2 for serious listening, I have a Schiit Wyrd between my computer and the Explorer2. It makes a tremendous difference - no fault for Meridian to make a product to specification. It is the computer manufacturers who cheat on the spec [​IMG] 
  7. GreenBow

    Please can you explin how you get the iFi iUSB power supply into the loop between source and ME2. I have been advised of using a power supply like this but can't work out where it goes.
  8. peterinvan

    iMac >> short USB cable >> iUSB power supply >> Explorer2 >> tube amplifier >> speakers

    You could experiment with a cheap 5v powered USB hub to see if makes any difference. Another test is to try all the different USB sockets on your computer.

    Your profile does not show what equipment you are using, so I can't say what could help in your case.
  9. GreenBow
    Thank you.
    When I was advised of using another PSU for the (original) Explorer it was suggested using a hub. However when I put the Explorer on a hub, (a USB 1 type,) I get no signal from it. The Explorer lights flash and then go off.
    I think the Explorer needs USB 2. Quote from What Hi-Fi review, "
    Furthermore, the Explorer employs USB audio class 2.0, which allows full native playback of high-resolution 192kHz sample rates."
    Read more at http://www.whathifi.com/meridian/explorer-dac/review#LBoBkz3Fvy2ZY0xX.99
    It's a shame because if the Explorer can be improved I think it has a lot to offer. I like the Explorer sound a lot. Also, when I was recently using the JRiver trial and employing bitperfect data, the Explorer improved too. The whole soundstage was more defined, and on some recordings excellent.
    Recently I bought the Chord Mojo before discovering this improvement with bitperfect. Basically because the Mojo seemed too good to miss, and the way to improve sound quality. However I am wondering about what can be got from the Explorer now this has come up. I found the Explorer to have some qualities that I like a lot. If detail can be improved, and the improvement from bitperfect, it could be a very exceptional DAC.
    Yeh sorry there isn't a signature for me because I don't have lots of kit unlike some Head-Fi-ers.
    Just two DACs, a PC, Grado SR225e headphones, and some Q Acoustics BT3 (with excellent cables).
    (I tried the ME on a cable which allowed power from two USB ports, but experienced no sound upgrade.)
  10. peterinvan

    I used the original Explorer for two years before upgrading to the Explorer2.

    The improvement in sound quality, bass extension and clarity is quite significant.
  11. yangian
    Did you try line out to another amplifier? Is difference still big? 
  12. iamoneagain
    Well I heard that it was best to add a usb power supply for the Explorer2 but saw many that were over $200.  So at the price it puts over the price of the ifi micro idsd and then don't get any of the super higher res playback.  Unfortunately my brand new imac doesn't have enough power to get beyond DSD64 but still an improvement over highest PCM setting.
    What made me doubt the Explorer2 was there was classic songs I'd use, like Radiohead's Kid A that didn't seem as involving as I remember it.  Didn't feel like it was surrounding me and drawing me in.  I think switch back to my old amp and didn't want to stop listening.  That's how I feel about the ifi.  It draws me into the music.  The bass is hard hitting, there is space around everything, and a lushness that was all missing from the Explorer2 with my headphone.
    So I think if the Explorer2 sounds good with your headphone, it's a nice setup.  Plus with Tidal MQA being released soon, that's an added bonus.   I find the MQA test tracks I have from 2L sound even better with ifi upsampled to DSD64.  As said, believe it's the amp and not the MQA decoding that's the issue.
  13. peterinvan
    RE: Explorer2 line out

    My Explorer2 serves primarily as my DAC to my tube amp, and Mission tower speakers. On this rig the Explorer2 provided better bass clarity, midrange, and imaging than the original Explorer. I have used the anology of applying a bit of sharpening in Photoshop.

    I already owned the iUSB power supply, so no incremental cost for me.
  14. yangian
    Oh, that would be great, and that's justify the price difference. Make sense. :)
  15. Decommo
    Hi. I just joined this thread and I have ME and I love it so far. Is there any way that I can use it as external dac for my mobile phone by any chance? Thank you. :)
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