META42: Impressions
Jul 7, 2002 at 4:58 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 35

joelongwood

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A small package arrived last week from JMT. Inside was a freshly-built META42 amp in a black Pactec case. The build is up to the very high JMT standards.......neat wiring, soldering, etc. It's powered by 2 nine volt batteries, which are still operating after about 10-12 hours.
How does it sound? Well, in direct comparison to any number of my other portable amps (Cmoy, CHA47, Total Airhead), this amp KICKS ASS! With any headphones I tried (Grado HP-1s, MS Pros, SR100s, AKG K340s, Etymotic ER4S) this amp simply sounds amazing. There is an ease to it that the other portables seem to lack........I never get the feeling that the amp is straining to deliver the goods. For lack of a better description, it provides more "oomph" than the others. Right now I'm listening to some Rod Stewart using the SR-100s and the volume is about 10 O'clock on its stepped- volume control ........not too low.....not too loud.......just right. With the AKG K340s at 400 ohms, the volume knob at 1 O'clock is sufficient. And there is plenty of reserve power. This is the first portable amp that I've heard that can drive the K340s adequately.
Bass is very well-controlled and the midrange is spectacular. My reference for midrange is the Stax SRM-001 portable system. Guitars and cymbals have a tremendously realistic "bite" to them on that system. The closest I've heard is the META42/HP-1 combination.........damned close, at that! And the high end with the META42/HP-1 is FAR superior to the Stax, which has a rather pronounced roll-off in the upper region.
With the Etys, the sound is fuller and richer using the META42, particularly in the lower midrange.
After having read all the postings about the META42, I was still skeptical of the claims being made. How could anything better that little Penguin CHA47? Well, now I'm a believer.
Thanks to all those Head-Fiers who came up with this new design. And thanks to JMT for once again building a product that has improved my enjoyment of music. Highly recommended.
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Jul 7, 2002 at 8:41 PM Post #2 of 35

Possum

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How about a comparison with your other amps, not only the portable ones? A few of the people who own or helped make the amp board say it sounds equal to/better than other amps in the mid to high hundreds price, and even in the thousands - though from what I've seen, only one of them actually owned a high-priced amp. Perhaps you can add your thoughts too.
 
Jul 7, 2002 at 9:04 PM Post #3 of 35

Vertigo-1

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Thanks for the impressions Joe. To put the META on the spot, how does it compare to the Sugden Headmaster?
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Jul 7, 2002 at 9:30 PM Post #4 of 35

RickG

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I have to echo many of the observations joelongwood made in regard to META42. JMT also built my unit and this amp is something special. I have the CMOY, Total AirHead, CHA47, Porta Corda, Baby Stax, and a HeadRoom Cosmic. As far as the smaller amps go, I’ve always preferred the little CHA47- more punch, better dynamics, and a crystalline top end that the TA and PC just can’t compete with.

The META42 that JMT sent me is in a class by itself. I’ve got the small ultra portable model in a translucent blue Serpac case. He used all premium components including a DIP socket which enables me to “plug and play” various op-amps.

JMT mounted a single white LED in the center of the unit which shines through the blue translucent case giving the amp a beautiful glow when it is switched on. The craftsmanship, fit, and finish is superb. This is by far the most gorgeous portable amp I own or have seen for that matter.

The sound? Let me just say that this little jewel makes mincemeat out of my other small portables. The first thing that hit me was the bass extension- very deep, but tight. Listening with my HD 600s, there was a controlled bottom end that just blew me away. The Senn’s didn’t exhibit the “flabby” bass that I usually hear with other amps.

The mids are as sweet and accurate as those rendered by my Stax 001's and the Cosmic (maybe even a little better) and the top end just soars. I think I read in one of Tangent’s post in the DIY forum that this is the nature of the AD op-amp as opposed to the Burr-Brown in the Cosmic. Whatever it is, I know it sounds simply amazing.

I’m still experimenting with various phones- my current choice is the Grado SR 325’s. I’ve always loved these phones but I have never heard them sound this good!

Bravo JMT…..
 
Jul 8, 2002 at 12:05 AM Post #7 of 35

joelongwood

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Quote:

Originally posted by Vertigo-1
Thanks for the impressions Joe. To put the META on the spot, how does it compare to the Sugden Headmaster?
very_evil_smiley.gif


I just did an A/B with the Headmaster and the META. Unfortunately, the test is not very good because I'm using different CDPs and interconnects. The META is hooked up to a Panasonic SW-SL870 PDCP with a Straightwire mini to mini, while the Headmaster is hooked up to an AMC CDP with some Straightwire Chorus ICs. Even so, the sound differences using the HP-1s are amazingly small. Both amps provide ample power, with excellent midrange, and smooth highs. The only difference that was apparent to my ears was in the area of recreating the ambience of the recording venue. The Headmaster was able to capture and convey a tad more of the studio where Rod Stewart recorded his "Unplugged" CD. I also listened to a Johnny Cash CD "Solitary Man," which has very sparse instrumentation, and where his voice is the focal point of the sound. His voice sounded remarkably similar when using both the META and the Headmaster. Both amps were utterly transparent. Considering the cost differential, that is no mean feat for the little META. Again, I'm just blown away by the sound of this thing.
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Jul 8, 2002 at 12:21 AM Post #9 of 35

joelongwood

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Quote:

Originally posted by Ken
Can I ask what configuration is your new Meta Amp?


Sorry, but other than the two 9V batteries, I have no idea what's in this thing. Hopefully JMT will wander by and answer your question.
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Quote:

I’m still experimenting with various phones- my current choice is the Grado SR 325’s. I’ve always loved these phones but I have never heard them sound this good!


Man, I just put on the 325s..........as usual, you're right on the money, Rick. Thanks.
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Jul 8, 2002 at 1:03 AM Post #10 of 35

RickG

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Quote:

Originally posted by joelongwood
Man, I just put on the 325s..........as usual, you're right on the money, Rick. Thanks.
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Cool, Bob....That's some awesome sound, huh? Glad you like it too....
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Jul 8, 2002 at 1:28 AM Post #12 of 35

Nezer

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Quote:

Originally posted by eric343
I'd be interested to know how JMT packed premium caps into a Serpac H-65 case... That would be a real feat!


Remember that machine from "Honey I Shrunk the Kids?"...
 
Jul 8, 2002 at 1:39 AM Post #13 of 35

RickG

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Quote:

Originally posted by eric343
I'd be interested to know how JMT packed premium caps into a Serpac H-65 case... That would be a real feat!


eric...Of course the Elna Cerafines would not fit in the Serpac case. I never said they would. I elected to do without the Cerafines in order to have a smaller amp....

I guess you're trying to thread crap.....Do it somewhere else...
 
Jul 8, 2002 at 2:06 AM Post #14 of 35

eric343

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No, wasn't trying to thread crap; I was genuinely interested. If JMT had done this, I'd say his skill had surpassed that of the famous Sijosae (a HeadWizer who builds *INCREDIBLE* amps)
I'd just misunderstood your wording of "all premium components", which for me means Cerafines...

Again, sorry to have come off wrong, I guess I'm jetlagged.
 

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