February 11, 2013
| by Grant Clauser
Computers are great tools for storing, organizing, finding and distributing our music files, but they’re not always the best tools for listening. Still, lots of people are hooking up their laptops to their home audio systems. To get the most out of a setup like that, a high-quality DAC (digital-to-analog converter) is needed. Meridian just announced a new one, called the Explorer USB DAC.
The Explorer is an asynchronous 24bit/192kHz, class 2 DAC with high-quality filter capacitors, 6-layer printed circuit board, and a built-in headphone amp. It features low-jitter oscillators for 44k1 and 48k based sample rates. A 3.5mm output allows direct connection to a music system. An optical digital output provides full resolution for receivers or DACS (up to 96kHz). Indicator lights on the unit tell you what the incoming sample rate is.
Meridian says the Explorer shares the same DNA as the company’s 800 series Reference products. Each one is hand-built in their UK headquarters. It will be available through Meridian dealers for $299.
More info on Meridian products can be found here.
More about DACs here.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.