Meta42 vs. Grado RA-1 REVIEW
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KR...

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I am reviewing here JMT made META42 amp. This was made for Bootman. I will let JMT and Bootman list the parts used in making this amp. For the amp’s looks, I will direct you to the PICS that Bootman posted. The amp has a blue LED which looks really sweet when it’s on, I like much better than the standard red one. Other than that and the fancy headphone jack the amp looks very plain and understated, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your own personal taste. It should be noted that the batteries on the META do not last anywhere near as long as the batteries on the RA-1. The most important thing however is the sound, I will be comparing this to my own Grado RA-1 amp.

Directly comparing the two amps, the highs were more extended and detailed on the META then the RA-1. I really love the highs on the META, and I think that it is the true star of the show with this amp, I will go as far as to say that this amp has some of the best highs of ANY headphone amp that I have heard, and I have heard just about all of them. The highs on the RA-1 are however very sweet and natural and very non-fatiguing, but you give up something as a result. But, don’t miss understand, the META is not bright, it’s not splashy at all. The Bass of the META also seems to go much deeper than the RA-1, however the bass on the RA-1 is little faster, tighter, and more detailed then of the META. The bass on the META however is much more powerful, again this may or may not be a good thing depending on ones taste. The midrange on the META tend to be a bit on the warm side, while the midrange on the RA-1 sounds much more neutral. Overall, the RA-1 is more transparent and neutral then the META. The META however does extract more detail from your CDs than the RA-1, but it is colored, unlike the RA-1. Color doesn’t have to be a bad thing, as many people are disappointed if their amp doesn’t add to the sound, which is why many people may not like the RA-1 or the Blockhead, and love tube amps. So in the end, it’s up to your own personal taste to dictate which approach you prefer.

Equipment Used:

Headphones :

Grado HP-2
Sennheiser HD-600
AKG 501

Cables :

MIT MI-330 CVTerminator Series Two
Clou 212 Red Jaspis Headphone Cable

Amps :

Meta42
Grado RA-1

Source :

Cambridge DVD Player

 
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andrzejpw

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Whenever I see threads on teh meta42, I feel like a kid at christmas.


MMMMmMM. you said you liked the highs. Yummy.
 
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eric343

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I'm going to agree with you on the highs thing. When I came home from the WoH tour and listened to my rig, I realized that in the treble department, the META42 treated many amps, including some in the High End case, to a good old-fashioned smackdown.
 
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KurtW

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Just for reference, I see from the pictures that this particular META doesn't have the FET current sources. So for comparison purposes, this META will probably sound different than one that does.
 
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bootman

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Thanks KR for comparing my Meta with your RA-1.
Unlike a lot of DIY's who hate the RA-1 for whats inside, I am one who really liked the sound of it when I first heard KR's.
It is very hard to descibe something that is so neutral in character.

The amp really doesn't have a sound of its own so that in itself doesn't really appeal to most people.
(What?!? I spend $350 on an amp it it doesn't make the sound "better". The highs are not higher and the lows are not lower.)

The first thing that struck me about the amp was te bass extension. It almost sounded too good. I'm under the impression that to make good bass you will need a massive power supply.
(like in the Max and the like)
This amp really went down low and drove my MSIIs nicely.
I take a really long time to figure a component out.
(which is why I don't write a full length review of my equipment but I do give one line impressions here and there.)
KR really likes the highs and I can relate to what he is saying with the way the amp makes guitars stand out.
For example, I was listening to some Albert King and I was hearing all sorts of details coming out of his playing. It was very easy for me to close my eyes and visualize every pluck of the strings.
I purposely gave KR fresh batteries for the review and I'm wondering if the fresh batteries made for a big difference in the sound of the amp.
(I had just got this amp from JMT and it was on its first set of batteries, my guess would be that a dying pair of 9-volts would make the bass response suffer first)
 
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bootman

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Quote:

Originally posted by KurtW
Just for reference, I see from the pictures that this particular META doesn't have the FET current sources. So for comparison purposes, this META will probably sound different than one that does.


You are correct.
JMT ran into some problems with them and in the end decided to omit them and go with a different configuration.
 
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bootman

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Quote:

I will let JMT and Bootman list the parts used in making this amp.


I should have posted this sooner.


- AD823 op-amp
- Mini stepped attenuator
- Elna Cerafine PS caps
- Vishay resistors
- Neutrik 1/4" headphone jack
- Gold plated RCA inputs
- WIMA reservoir caps
 
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ninoe99

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What headphone was used in this review?
 
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joelongwood

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Thanks for the review, KR...........it's nice to know somebody else hears pretty much what I'm hearing regarding these two fine amps. To my ears, the META42 can be characterized as being more "dynamic" sounding than the RA-1, which is, as you say, a very neutral sounding piece of equipment.
 
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puppyslugg

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Quote:

So for comparison purposes, this META will probably sound different than one that does.


I think people need to keep in mind when reading META reviews, that there are many variables. Such as which opamp was used, how many buffers, type of ps, etc. So they will probably all sound a little different. It may be interesting to review a number different META's.
 
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post-159271
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KR...

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Humm.. that sure makes things confusing then, eh?

Well, if someone wants to make this one :

- AD823 op-amp
- Mini stepped attenuator
- Elna Cerafine PS caps
- Vishay resistors
- Neutrik 1/4" headphone jack
- Gold plated RCA inputs
- reservoir caps
 
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post-159275
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JMT

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Actually those WIMAs are reservoir caps.
 
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bootman

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Thanks, I edited my post.
 
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