Meridian Announces Explorer2 USB DAC

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Meridian-Explorer2.jpgMeridian's new Explorer2 USB DAC, which carries a $299 price tag, features an asynchronous USB input that supports files up to 24/192 and upsamples all signals to 176.4/192. The Explorer2 has more powerful DSP capability than its predecessor, and it is compatible with Meridian's new Master Quality Authenticated files (described below). It's also a headphone amplifier.

From Meridian
Meridian Audio announces Explorer2, the portable, compact and rugged USB DAC capable of delivering best-in-class audio performance, including compatibility with MQA 'Master Quality Authenticated' lossless audio files.

Building on the original, award-winning Explorer - the Cambridgeshire-based company's debut portable DAC - the new model features significantly more powerful DSP capability than its pred`ecessor. It is this advanced Meridian-designed digital signal processing that enables Explorer2 to decode and render the MQA format, delivering authenticated master-quality replay.

Designed and hand made in the UK, Explorer2 employs audiophile-grade components throughout. The elegant all-metal enclosure houses a six-layer circuit board and the compact unit - it weighs just 50 g - upsamples all input signals to 176.4/192kHz and includes Meridian's proprietary apodising filter, which helps deliver a clearer, more transparent sound. The upsampling and apodising technologies are inherited from Meridian's award-winning Reference 800 Series, and they correct errors in the original digital recordings while helping improve the quality of standard recordings.

Explorer2 is simple to use and install. It connects to virtually any computer with a USB port - drivers are provided for Linux, Macintosh, and Windows operating systems - and a trio of LED indicators show the status of the unit, confirming the current sample rate.

Key Points for the Explorer2:

• MQA lossless audio certified
• Meridian quality from a pocket DAC
• Includes USB DAC and headphone amplifier
• Full range of Meridian Resolution Enhancement technologies
• Asynchronous USB Audio Class 2.0 compliant
• Plugs into any computer with a USB port
• Exceptionally high resolution (24-bit/192-kHz)
• Six-layer circuit board with audiophile-grade components throughout
• Advanced headphone control, ideal for sensitive headphones
• Makes any music file sound its best
• Compact, elegant and rugged metal enclosure
• Cable connection to avoid motherboard stress
• Hand made in the UK

Meridian Explorer2 DAC - Suggested US Retail Price: $299.00

Meridian also put out the following press release on its new Master Quality Authenticated technology:

Bob Stuart, founder of Meridian Audio, launched MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), a revolutionary British technology, which is poised to change the way people enjoy music all over the world. The launch, hosted in The Shard, was attended by key music industry executives, artists and commentators.

Developed by Meridian, MQA is a breakthrough technology to reverse the trend, in which sound quality has been continually sacrificed for convenience. Vital elements of our music have been thrown away to fit thousands of songs into a pocket or millions in a cloud. With MQA there is no sacrifice; it brings us right back to the enthralling sound of live music. MQA captures and preserves nuances and vital information that current music files obscure or discard, but in a file that is small and convenient to download or stream.

MQA allows listeners to experience every intricate detail the microphone heard, offering music fans the purest ever sound. And it's based firmly in science. For the first time in history, music fans will be able to hear at home what the artist created and approved in the recording studio, and MQA confirms its exact delivery.

Bob Stuart, the pioneer behind MQA technology said:  "Music lovers need no longer be shortchanged; finally we can all hear exactly what the musicians recorded. MQA gives a clear, accurate and authentic path from the recording studio all the way to any listening environment - at home, in the car or on the go. And we didn't sacrifice convenience." Stuart also advised that "the announcement of MQA is really about the future of recorded music. Music is important to us all. When the sound is authentic it is more involving, we understand it better and enjoy it longer. MQA is already receiving broad support from the music industry, artists, recording and mastering engineers and record labels."

MQA will be available early 2015.

Additional Resources
Meridian Special Edition Loudspeakers Now Available at HomeTheaterReview.com.
Meridian's New $2,000 Prime Headphone Amp at HomeTheaterReview.com.


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