Meridian’s new Explorer² is the successor to the popular and widely acclaimed Explorer pocket USB DAC. Featuring a dramatically increased complement of DSP, Explorer² is able to incorporate the full suite of Meridian’s audio enhancement technologies to provide a more realistic, natural sound than ever before.
Explorer² replaces a computer’s audio outputs with a USB-powered DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) featuring over 30 years of Meridian’s digital expertise in high-quality audio circuitry. Explorer² includes digital clocking derived from Meridian’s award-winning Reference Series components, for precise timing of digital signals.
Meridian has paid as much attention to the analogue circuitry as the digital. Explorer² features a pure analog volume control with a powerful headphone amplifier and a line output. This provides sophisticated volume control with an extended range of 100dB – ideal for sensitive headphones. Whatever you listen to, Explorer² makes it sound its best.
Filters are critical in digital audio. Commonly they introduce distortion and harshness because of "pre-ringing". Early digital recordings suffer from harshness too, due to primitive filters. After painstaking research, Meridian developed a special filter that avoids pre-ringing, so it can be steeper, cleaning up the effects of early filters. The result: a better, cleaner sound from recordings old and new.
Here are a few snippets from our most recent reviews:
“Music is spacious, detailed and transparent enough to invite comparisons to more expensive DACs. High-res ‘to-go’ for less than the price of a decent set of headphones!”The Absolute Sound Magazine
“At the price, I have not heard a better portable DAC/headphone amplifier than the Meridian Explorer².” [Five Stars] HiFi Choice Magazine
“A very reasonable £199 price tag, cutting-edge performance and that enviable Meridian logo, it’s pretty hard not to recommend the Explorer 2.” [Five Stars] BBC Music Magazine
“For £199 it really is quite a bit of a bargain as it does give such a wonderful sound that hits far higher than its price tag suggests.”The Speaker Shack
“…with the Meridian Explorer² you can listen for hours and hours. Listening fatigue is just not a thing to worry about anymore. With the Explorer² music is just fab, together with the MQA codecs it´s way beyond belief.”Mono & Stereo Magazine
“The Meridian Explorer² comes highly recommended as a great value DAC.”Hi-Fi Plus Magazine
Subjective: Clean sounding DAC, very musical. Great soundstage and a detailed sound. Highs can sometimes be a little harsh (in my case, while combining it with a Beyerdynamic headphone), but that is probably more a personal thing. Good presentation of the lows and mids. With the fixed 2V line out it is a great match with the Arcam rHead. Pair it with a good headphone and you are in for a treat. I've tried many DACs over the past years and I wanted to try something else then the almost industry standard ESS Sabre DACs (some of them sound to cold/analytical?). While I'm fully aware a moderate or good DAC will sound almost the same as others (at a given price range), the Explorer2 sounds different (in a slight degree) than others. Audible? In a certain way, but likely not for everyone. But then again, this is completely subjective!Fact: Plug and Play under Windows 10 since update 1703 (Creator’s Update), as Windows now includes USB Audio Class 2.0 out of the box. No need for a driver, other then maybe for MQA support (not tested). Apart from the easy installation, it has a solid look and feel to it. To bad the included USB A to USB mini B cable is a bit short for common Desktop use, but those USB cables are widely available. Other then that, no other remarks.Conclusion: A worthy competitor to other well known USB DACs in this price range. Would I recommend this Meridian Explorer2 DAC to others? Yes!
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I didn't have great expectations from this little, low priced dac... but .. i was thrilled!First of all it works straight out of the box on my windows 10 pc with foobar with absolutely no problem (just installed the driver) - flawless operation.No comparison in sound with the onboard sound card or some alternatives pci(pci-e) sound cards.. it just destroys them in every aspect of sound quality!About sound quality... in a few words sound is smooth, full bodied in all frequencies, with very natural sounding instruments and voices! Never fatiguing! It has great rhythm and timing, imaging and attack when required.Not too analytical (not a bad thing for the price) but you don't feel you're missing something! It is free from the common "digital harshness" especially in the mid-highs! Almost analogue like sounding!I could write more, but you get the point...I can easily enjoy listening to this dac AFTER listening some vinyl to my Rega turntable!.. and this tells a lot...Go grab one - it is a steal at the price! (and not only...)My system:Yamaha A-S700 amp.Yamaha CD-S700win 10 pc with meridian explorer 2Rega Planar 3 turntablePro Ac Studio 100 speakersNot very
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Works great with IEMs and low-impendence headphones. A laptop and a explorer2 can be good enough to enjoy. The gentle highs and charming mids are perfect for PC.
Klein und leicht kommt er daher, der Meridian. Mächtig dagegen im Klang - ausgewogen, weiträumig, und je nach Musik Feingeist oder Kraftmeier. Ein Sonderangebot in jeder Hinsicht.
English translation from Google Translate:Small and light, therefore, he comes, the meridian. Powerful in the sound - balanced, wide-ranging, and depending on the music, the spirit or strength. A special offer in every respect.
I have been using a portable DAC from a well known nationwide chain. A decent improvement on my laptop's sound card. The Meridian Explorer2 moves my digital music much closer to what sounds like genuine hi fi. The sound stage is enlarged, the music naturalistic, clean, detailed and nuanced but not too analytical. It significantly improves every file type from mp3 to high res Flac files. Just occasionally, it might expose the limitations of mp3.If you run Windows, you will have to download a file from Meridian's web site. Their instructions are clear and concise and installation should not be a problem.I have downloaded half a dozen MQA files, hardly enough to make an informed judgement, but early impressions are extremely positive.Meridian's Explore2 looks good, sleek and well made. It produces wonderfully enjoyable music, with the potential of MQA to come. There may be better DACs if you have the money, but I am nothing but delighted with my Explorer2. It has transformed the pleasure I get from my digital files.
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