Holiday Gift Guide: Editors’ Wish List
Slide 5 of 15

Meridian Audio Explorer USB DAC

My CD player seems kinda lonely in the stereo system these days, and if digital-to-analog converters (DACs) continue to deliver high performance at increasingly low prices … well, the dust will pile high. Just look at an option like Meridian’s Explorer USB DAC, a small, cylindrical device that delivers great-sounding music and all you have to do is connect the USB end to your computer and the analog side to your A/V receiver (or preamp/processor or headphones). The highly affordable Explorer benefits from the British company’s long-standing love of delivering digital audio through speakers and components that typically carry five-figure price tag. So embrace trickle-down technology, because you’ll immediately notice the impact the Explorer has even when you’re sending compressed MP3 files through its circuitry; bump up to some high-resolution 24-bit music (it supports files up to 24-bit/192kHz) and your ears will really be thanking you. Crisp, clean, dynamic sound … and you don’t need to clear out a whole shelf for this little component.—Arlen Schweiger


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Holiday Gift Guide: Editors’ Wish List