Meridian Explorer DAC

The MERIDIAN EXPLORER is an external DAC aimed at delivering outstanding sonics from a desktop computer or a notebook. It works by using asynchronous USB clocks, which are of a higher quality than those built into most computers, resulting in less jitter. It is other critical attribute is that it may manage native hires audio files up to 24-bit/192kHz, which are beginning to become increasingly popular. Since most computer soundcards have to down-sample 192kHz to 48 kHz or 96kHz, this makes the Explorer a natural fit for delivering maximum sound enjoyment from hires files.

Sound quality

Utilizing an iMac with a group of Philips Fidelio L1 cans and starting with a 24/192 download of Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett's sumptuous version of I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life, the Explorer shows just how great computer-based audio can be. You believe that nothing is endangered as you're treated to your spine-tingling emotional roller coaster with each of the existence and energy of a live show. The maximum bandwidth and absence of compression brings out the very best of each element of the piece. It's not a sorrowful listen, that never becomes a strain or tiring, despite changes of pace and the truly amazing energy.

An Apple Lossless Audio Codec download of Emily Barker singing Nostalgia in hires 24/96 is raw and gritty, yet finely delivered as the low accordion introduction mixtures with the gently picked guitar notes. You transport to a sodden and bare tramline in Melbourne.

With 16-bit/44.1 stuff the Explorer is tight, balanced and polished. Miracles can't be performed by it, an MP3 of Motorcycle Emptiness (Manic Street Preachers) feels clipped and lacks detail, although Thom Yorke's haunting vocals are certainly optimised in an AAC rip. You'll be hard pressed to locate anything offering the exact same levels of functionality for the money.

Meridian Explorer DAC photo