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Meridian Explorer USB DAC Preview

Meridian Explorer USB DAC

Meridian Explorer USB DAC


  • Product Name: Explorer USB DAC
  • Manufacturer: Meridian
  • Review Date: February 11, 2013 23:00
  • MSRP: $299
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • 24bit/192kHz native conversion capability
  • Separate low-jitter crystal oscillators for 44k1 and 48k based sample rates
  • Asynchronous data transfer
  • 6 layer PCB
  • USB 2 mini B socket – Plug and Play with MAC (Windows driver available)
  • Direct-coupled output
  • Variable line out – Full Analogue Volume Control for headphones or powered loudspeakers
  • Headphone amp
  • Fixed line out – 3.5mm connects directly to audio system
  • Optical digital output – full resolution for receivers or DACS (up to 96kHz)
  • Elegant metal case – durable and increases audio performance
  • Lights to indicate incoming sample rate
  • Soft convenient USB cable provided for ease of placement to protect computer mother board from mechanical stress
  • Hand assembled at Meridian’s UK headquarters

I'm always on the lookout for a good quality and feature-rich USB DAC. It's an important device if you plan to use external speakers for your laptop of desktop computer. It's a total bonus if the DAC includes a nice headphone amp and the ability to handle both outputs as needed. Today, Meridian released its Explorer USB DAC. It's basically a pocket-sized high-resolution USB DAC that the company built to deliver the best possible audio from a PC. Since this USB DAC has analogue outputs for both headphones and stereo analogue audio, the Explorer can be used in a variety of applications from private headphone listening to full system playback.

Explorer essentially replaces a computer’s internal sound card with a USB-powered DAC. The system uses Meridian's resolution enhancement technologies and makes any audio file, from MP3 to high resolution, sound its very best.

The Explorer is fully compatible with either Mac, Linux or Windows computers. It's a fully asynchronous, USB audio class 2 DAC and uses premium parts such as high quality filter capacitors, 6-layer pc board, and an elegant all metal enclosure. The Explorer is also hand assembled at Meridian’s Cambridge factory, and the company touts that it's engineered from the same DNA as Meridian’s 800 series Reference products.

The Meridian Explorer USB DAC will sell for around $299.

I've got it on my short list for reviews.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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