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Review of Meier Audio Corda JAZZ with ƒƒ-technology upgrade

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by shoggy, Oct 3, 2011.
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  1. ammppp10
    anyway every cans run different with various dacs and specially amps, my beyer t5p 2 gen might be a good match to the jazz ff, i might give it a shot
  2. Toad_of_Toad_Hall
    My Jazz-ff arrived this morning. Some stream-of-consciousness ramblings:

    The sound is clear, clean and smooth. I was a little concerned that the treble on my ATH-W1000Z would be too aggressive, but this is not the case at all. Loving this combination of clear and smooth! Have I already said that? At this stage I can understand why Jan describes the ""ff" version of the Jazz as a SS amp for tube lovers. Can't really put my finger on "why" at this stage.

    Cross feed circuit is extremely beneficial on certain recordings. Not subtle at all. This is something I've missed since the Concerto was retired a few years ago. Especially helpful when playing back CD's and DSP isn't an option.

    Volume control is smoother than I remember the Concerto to have been. Clicks between steps come through the headphone, inaudible at low volumes but increasingly apparent the further clockwise you turn.

    Transformer hum and hiss are noticeable from about 2.00 o'clock on the pot with no music playing. As I listen to a lot of classical music (which includes moments of very quiet playing and even silence) this has been a problem for me in the past, especially with tube amps. The gain switch, however, makes this a moot point as I don't find myself needing to go past noon on the volume control. I imagine the extra filtering capacitors on the Classic would make all the difference. Anyway, no hum or hiss under normal listening conditions.

    Long story short, I'm enjoying listening to my music with no distractions and no tube-paranoia. Best $350 I've spent since buying my kids their pet cockatiels.

    I'm going to stop typing now so that I can enjoy some quality time with Karen and Richard Carpenter and then onward to The Neil Morse Band.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
    JimJames, trellus and Richter Di like this.
  3. MRC001
    On high gain, my Jazz is dead quiet at full volume here at work, but at home, it has a bit of low level noise/hum at volumes beyond 2:00 (which I never use, I rarely crank my LCD-2 past 10:00, and even that only for very low level recordings). Power supply filtering only eliminates noise from the power supply. Noise from other sources, for example picked up by the input cables, become "signal" that no amount of power filtering caps can eliminate. I suspect this is where the noise comes from and why it depends on the location. In short, noise might not be a power supply limitation. Try re-routing the amp or cables away from potential interference or noise sources.
  4. Toad_of_Toad_Hall
    Thanks for the pro-user tip, but I'm not going to bother messing around. I'm sick of messing around with stuff that doesn't matter. Would rather just listen to music. In practice the hum isn't an issue at all.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  5. nlse
    @Toad_of_Toad_Hall when you checked for an amp was this the one, because of the parts used and the expertise of Jan setting together the schematics? how good does it sound compared to all the gear you have used before and listened to?

    and all users
    is there a chance of getting disappointed in terms of enjoyment and sound, when pairing with higher quality of headphones further on, if you buy this model or without ~ff?

    is there any better amp according to sound, or could this be the one to buy if you want a good sound, to amp with and for future reliability: with and upgrade of dacs and cable for the pricerange?
    if they dont make it less expensive in all area of production and materials

    and how good does it really sound, with different cables and dacs used?
    are there any contender, are there any upgrades in materials, compared,

    or this is what you get right now for the money, to the price and sound?

    was thinking of pairing it with a higher paced music, will it suitable , or is specific, on buffers, and fast sounds on treble, or hanging on with the music?

    more going for the regular version, still ~ff may be better, still not sure to pay 100 euro more for it, for hope for a better pricing later in time, perhaps
  6. MRC001
    Those are subjective questions. Of course there's always a better sounding amp, just ask enough people, they'll tell you :wink: You can always find a piece of kit that takes the engineering (and price) to another level. Some people would be disappointed not owning that kit, no matter how good their own kit is, and whether or not they hear any difference. Other people will find something they like and stick with it for years.

    I've listened to a lot of gear over the decades and there is a point of diminishing returns. In my view, the Jazz (with or without the FF) is well beyond the knee of that curve. We audiophiles (myself included) tend to spend too much time splitting hairs over differences so subtle they barely exist, not enough time listening to the MUSIC. When upgrade fever strikes tempting me to violate the 1st rule of engineering (if it ain't broke don't fix it) and replace high quality gear that works perfectly well and I have enjoyed for years, I remind myself of this, put away the wallet, get out some music and just LISTEN.
  7. Toad_of_Toad_Hall
    Hi there!

    1. Why did I choose to buy the Jazz-ff? I wanted a good value solid-state amplifier with a very low noise floor that resolved well but wasn't harsh. Having owned one of Jan Meier's amps in the past (Corda Concerto, precursor of the Corda Classic) I suspected that this product would meet all those criteria. It does.

    2. How good does the Jazz-ff sound compared to all the gear I have used before and listened to? To answer this question is beyond the scope of a single reasonably-sized post. The short answer is that it is better than some and not as good as others. However, it's in a sweet spot when it comes to value. You'd have to spend much more than $350 to get something that's significantly better.

    If your budget is limited (and depending on the headphones you use) it would be worth considering the Meier Audio Corda Rock. At the moment it's $195 and sits on Inner Fidelity's "Wall of Fame". The Jazz will offer you greater flexibility in the future, though. Its output power, low output impedance and gain switch mean that it should play happily with almost any non-electrostatic headphones you can buy.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
    Wilashort, jaco61 and trellus like this.
  8. nlse
  9. MRC001
    I will add to Toad's comments that I find the Jazz to be an audible step up in sound quality from the Rock, and from the JDS Element.
    jaco61 and trellus like this.
  10. nlse
    @MRC001 i have listened quite some time on the JDS Element to me its sounds very thin and very unusable to entertain, and actually quite underpowered in that sense
    with a top of piercing listening to music, that may have those elements, and with headphone on monitor

    what improvements do you feel are the better? are there many going to Jazz? :)
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  11. MRC001
    Well I think the JDS Element is a good amp: powerful, clean, neutral, especially for the price. It's well engineered and built. But I agree with you that in comparison to the Jazz, the Element sounds thin. I don't know why; both have plenty of power and excellent measurements, it's just my own subjective observation made under careful listening conditions with high quality sources and headphones. The Jazz has a richness to the bass and a sweetness to the mids and treble that the Element lacks. I would say the Element is "good" while the Jazz is "great". The Jazz is not a euphonic amp. It's still clean and neutral, just more refined.
    jaco61 likes this.
  12. MRC001
    PS regarding value for the Jazz, it's unbeatable. Find any amp with the same quality of components (both internal & external), and a stepped attenuator volume at this price. You won't find it at twice this price. Features like the active-ground (semi-balanced) output, image circuit and FF noise-shaped feedback are just icing.
    Wilashort, jaco61 and rasmushorn like this.
  13. VRacer-111
    Personally, the Gustard H10 is a much better amp value for me at less than $300. Has high quality internals and the sound comes across with more detail, better dynamics, equal clarity (stock), much better bass impact and extension, and 10X the power output. I do really like the crossfeed of the JAZZ-ff, but really needed a warm leaning amp that was also very detailed and clear - the H10 is such an amp. And being able to swap out opamps really appealed to me - absolutely love it running the Burson V6 opamps which even further enhance clarity, detail, bass...etc. Once I picked up the Gustard H10 I just had no desire to go back to the JAZZ-ff.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  14. Toad_of_Toad_Hall
    You raise a valid point here. If you've owned audio gear for a while and have good ears you will have some idea of which direction you want to tilt the sound. This is based partly on your preferences and partly on the sound signature of other gear in your chain (headphones, speakers, DAC etc.). The Jazz is neutral, the Gustard H10 sounds like it could be warm (I've never heard it). Choose your own adventure!
  15. MRC001
    That H10 looks like a nice amp, but the volume is not a stepped attenuator. Surely everyone knows his own amp is a great value, or he wouldn't have bought it! My "value" comment is about engineering features, not about preferences. Stepped attenuators are expensive and I've never seen an amp with one for twice the price of the Jazz.

    That doesn't mean any amp with a stepped attenuator is great, or that it makes a difference in audio quality. It is just a very nice engineering feature that is rare to find even in amps costing several times what the Jazz does. It shows Jan Meier's attention to detail and scupulous engineering design.
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