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Meridian Explorer² Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by click, Dec 22, 2014.
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  1. thyname
    I have a first generation Bluesound Pulse that does not have headphones output. 
     
    What it does have is two USB ports:
     

    USB

    1 x Type-A (Fat32 or NTSF formatted) port for connection to USB memory sticks and supported peripherals
    1 x Type-B (mini) for product servicing


    Would Meridian Explorer 2 work with it and my headphones?

     

    Also, if it does, would I be using Pulse's internal DAC, or Meridian's? They are both MQA capable.

     

    Thanks!

     
  2. Mojo777
    Cool it works - From Meridian site  "It glows blue to indicate that the Explorer2 is playing an MQA Studio file – one based on a new, exclusively sourced, artist/producer-approved studio master"
     
    IMG_0248.jpg
     
    IMG_0247.jpg
     
    No impressions as I got it working just a few minutes ago but wanted to show another example that Tidal is sending the MQA Studio file to the E2. 
     
  3. harpo1
    Nice DAC but the amp sucks but I knew this prior to purchasing it. Definitely can tell the difference when streaming master tracks from Tidal.
     
  4. Mojo777
    Agreed. Just plugged it into the HA-1 and immediately was like "whoa" that's better.
     
  5. salavat

    Here https://www.audiosanctuary.co.uk/meridian-explorer2-usb-dac.html
     
    Price is 107 UK pounds (w/o VAT) and shipping quotes are very reasonable. Also, them seems to be nice people too)))
     
  6. Dadracer
    I found this also so have run it through my ifi Audio iCAN SE and all is now much better and it can power my HD800s.
     
  7. Dadracer
    I found this also so have run it through my ifi Audio iCAN SE and all is now much better and it can power my HD800s.
     
     
    Was what I meant to say!!!
     
  8. harpo1
    Yeah I have the iCan SE plus I used my Cavalli Liquid Carbon and Littledot MKIV SE.  The Explorer 2 is great with all of them.
     
  9. netdog
    I have an Explorer. I don't use Tidal. My Explorer connects my Mac Mini iTunes server to my HiFi. LIbary mostly red label and up.

    Anyone who can compare the Explorer 1 to the Explorer2 for someone in my situation in terms of sound?

    I've also been considering a BirFrost or Modi2 Multibit. Thoughts between those and the Explorer2?
     
  10. GreenBow
     
    £102 for an ME2 is a bargain.
     
    I have the ME1 but I use my Chord Mojo now for music. I use my ME for PC gaming, and sometimes music. Mojo is a good step up from ME1, but £102 is still a bargain for ME2.
     
  11. WhiteKnite
    I got it for $144 after shipping from http://www.analogueseduction.net they also had it for €99 from some French site and they said they would ship it to Korea but never gave me a quote on the shipping and only accept wire transfer.
     
  12. fabu
    How do you like the Explorer for gaming, any issues?
     
    I've been looking for a smallish, usb-powered replacement to my failing udac2 and the Explorer 2 is fairly high up on my list at the moment, especially with the sales. Need it for general desktop PC use, as I spend a considerable amount of time daily in front of my computer, ranging from work to music and games.
     
  13. GreenBow
     
    ME for games works flawlessly, except there is the odd one second drop-out of sound now and again. That might not be the ME or it might be hardware synchronisation for some reason.
     
    I actually prefer the Chord Mojo for games for obvious reasons. However there is maybe a less obvious reason. The Mojo has a deeper soundstage so the sound envelops me more on desktop speakers.
     
    Buying an ME2 for £100 has two facets. One it's cheap so it's an easy choice, and better than the ME1 in some respects like sound. However in the end if you want top quality sound from you PC. You're going to end up with something like a Mojo at least. Therefor make your choice now and go for something better, and save the £100. Or buy the ME2 and be done.
     
    The issue with the Mojo is that it's not really advisable to have it plugged in all the time. Meaning as it runs on battery you only get a limited eight hours of audio from a charge. Whereas the ME is on if the PC is on. That's why I separate the ME for gaming and Mojo for music.  Has to be said though, the chord Mojo is mind-blowing for gaming with good desktop speakers.
     
    The last facet that comes into play for me, is that good sized desktop speakers have one weakness. I use the Q Acoustics BT3 and I love them. However you don't get full bass unless you roll back your chair. When up so close you lose some of the bass. Lean back maybe one foot and the music is full. Still very listenable up close though.
     
  14. tomsch
    I just picked up a Meridian E2 two days ago. I'm using Tidal with Masters enabled. At first I was not getting a blue light but figured out that it is mandatory to turn on "Use Exclusive Mode". Once I used the correct settings the blue light was on. First impressions are great! I went from a v1.2 AQ Dragonfly and the sound is definitely improved even on non-MQA files. Lower noise floor with a more relaxed and natural sound. So far so good!  
     
  15. Dadracer
    Well I’ve been trying out combinations of things in an effort to get an insight into the world of MQA and if it is worth it over red book when streaming form Tidal. I tried some of the new “Master” albums from Tidal which apparently even played back on my non MQA ifi Audio system of Mercury/iUSB/Gemini/iP2/iDSD/iCAN SE should sound better than CD. I am not sure that I could reliably tell the difference even with my revealing HD800s. All this from my ageing and noisy laptop as the Tidal app only works from a desktop at this time.
     
    So MQA stage 1. The Meridian Explorer2 arrived along with some adaptor plugs I had got to make it possible to shoehorn it into my ifi system. It is much smaller than I expected! Also I now realised I had no 6.3 to 3.5mm adapter…….so had to break out the Meze 99s which are great fun but not as resolving as the HD800s in fairness.
     
    Yeah the sound with the Explorer2 was good with the blue MQA light on so it was full MQA processing. It seemed better than the same tracks at CD quality but it wasn’t night and day different. So stage 2 and putting the E2 through the ifi iUSB/iP2……..mmm yeah think that helps, but still a bit less than an overwhelming win. Finally though the headphone adapter arrived and it’s time to fire up the HD800s.
     
    Stage 3 is a hit and a miss! The E2 cannot supply enough to drive the HD800s to a decent level! Obviously I hadn’t thought this through………….
     
    Hang on, what if I connect the E2 to the iCAN SE from its mini jack to the input phonos? Yes I have that cable for my active desktop speakers. Woo hoo!
     
    Stage 4 it now goes Mercury/iUSB/Gemini/iP2/Explorer 2/iCAN SE to HD800s. Keep fingers crossed, hit the play and holy **** it works.
     
    By the time that all got done I didn’t have so much time to compare and contrast but here are my initial feelings. The E2 definitely benefits from the iUSB/iP2 and indeed the iCAN SE and this does sound better with full MQA over CD quality on the same tracks from the same Tidal album. There is a better clarity to the individual voices and instruments and the space around them. I don’t hear additional bass or treble or a change in dynamics really but maybe I need more time of comparison. So in terms of overall sound quality it is third with ifi +E2 and Tidal red book, second with all ifi and Tidal red book and first by a nose ifi + E2 and Tidal MQA.
     
    I used a lot of Aretha’s album “ I never loved a man the way I loved you” as I have it on vinyl and CD on my main rig and the title track always gets the hairs on the back of my neck up (sorry too much information?). So here is the thing on Tidal Masters there are 2 versions of the album……one in Mono.
     
    It is the Mono album in full MQA which is the most emotionally charged………so hey it seems like the quality of the recording wins out over tech………..who knew?
     
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