Meitner IDAT D/A processor Review System

Sidebar 2: Review System

The IDAT was driven by the Theta Data II transport via its ST-type optical output, or a Museatex CD-D deck through a coaxial connection. The new Proceed PDT 3 transport also drove the IDAT via its ST-type optical output.

Loudspeakers were Hales System Two Signatures (with and without the Muse Model 18 subwoofer) driven by VTL 225W Deluxe monoblocks or a Mark Levinson No.23.5.

Loudspeaker cables were 3' runs of bi-wired AudioQuest Sterling and Midnight. Interconnects included Expressive Technologies IC-2, AudioQuest Diamond, and AudioQuest Lapis (balanced). The preamp was the Audio Research LS2 or its balanced brother, the LS2B ("Follow-Up" forthcoming).

The IDAT's balanced outputs also drove the No.23.5 directly through Electronic Visionary Systems Ultimate Balanced Attenuators. With this last arrangement, however, it was impossible to match levels with other balanced-output processors due to the IDAT's output level and the Attenuators' too-large step size. The IDAT also saw time with the Exposure XV integrated amplifier reviewed last month.—Robert Harley

Company Info
Museatex Audio Inc.
(Company no longer in existence)
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christopher3393's picture
$$$$$$$$$

Interesting news,,, for less than 1% of the world's population. Glitter people: talk amongst yourselves.

John Atkinson's picture
Re: $$$$$$$

Quote:
nteresting news,,, for less than 1% of the world's population.

Check the date of the review: March 1993. I  find it notable that, when it comes to measuerd DAC performance, what it took heroic engineering and a megabuck price tag to achieve 20 years ago can now be obtained for <$1k. See, for example, www.stereophile.com/content/musical-fidelity-m1-dac-measurements. But sound quality? Probably not.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

 

hollowman's picture
discordance betw. objective/subjective

I think it's important to realize that many of the MEASURED parameters/variables (i.e. OBJECTIVE phenomenon) used in audio measurements are less than 80 years old, and even fewer for digital audio science. I recall, several yrs after CD was consumerized (1982-3), "linearity", oversampling, and "jitter" were "discovered" -- and add to these, now we have pre-ringing, minimum phase and apodizing filters. And, of course, none of these predictably correlate with "good" sound. So what does? ... well, it may take another 20 years for clearer answers!

[ ----------------------- SIDEBAR: ------------------

Real science often involves slow, empirical processes and techniques. Acceptance of this is what I find lacking in the so-called "objective" community; IOW, the HydrogenAudio-type "objectivists" are impatient, and put all their immature eggs in the basket of academic or textbook science. But textbooks are moving targets, subject to perpetual revision, since MOST Natural phenomena are, at the fundamental level, uncharted/undiscovered gray areas. That is, until scientists focus in on bits and pieces of these areas and have them make some mathematical sense in a dynamic TOTALITY, and/or in multiple dimensions (like transducer waterfall plots). In essence, hard-core "objectivity" proponents are dimensionally or temporally trapped -- unable or unwilling to think proactively and outside the academic box (e.g., HydrogenAudio objectivists can't answer this simple question -- "why do so many educated & scientific-minded audiophiles, engineers, researchers, physicians, as well as musicians, composers and even the general public not put too much faith in blind/ABX testing, etc?" -- w/o resorting to an overly simplistic reply like  "it's due to their cognitive dissonance" or "it's a psycho-acoustic trick because ABX tests prove otherwise"). It's important to realize that blind/ABX tests are, ultimately,  subjective human choices. And this, IMO, rightly crushes much of what the objectivists propose & argue for/against.

--------------------------------------------------]

Anyway ... all that said (and back to the topic!). First, many feel that single-bit (of which Delta-Sigma DACs are a variety [Delta-Sigmas comprise the majority of DACs used today by major manufs like Wolfson, AD, TI, CS, etc] have been --until very recently--sonically inferior to older multibit DACs. Indeed, a few "high-end" D/A's and some DAPs (HiFi Man) use older DAC chips like Philips TDA1543, TDA1541 (and non-oversampling at that!). So it may be that, for mostly economic reasons, DACs took a few steps backward for a while (esp. in the early 90's Bitstream era), and only the latest generation Sigma-Deltas are coming back to speed [the reasons behind this are complex and interdependent, including: older multibits were massive power hogs (e.g. > 200mA current draw!!) and $$ to manuf; the 1-bits were/are cheaper and more pwr efficient -- yes, pwr hungriness = higher manuf. $$ as the PS components/heatsinks needed to support these chips add to the cost/complexity, esp. in portable and automotive use]. Another way to think about it: first, contemplate the $$, hot-running,  complex/"hybrid" technology of the Meitner IDAT -- it took all that $$, ANALLY tweaked/optimizing-every-stage, volume-and-mass BULK of the IDAT to achieve decent SQ in 1993: What many SOP-sized monolithic DACs do today at much-smaller physical and pwr-consumpstion scales... and prices, of course.

I think non-digital components in D/A processors have also made significant gains. One clear winner in analog evolution is the op-amp. I recently installed some of the latest Analog Devices OPAs into a portable iPod-like DAP diy project. And they clearly blew away much-more-$ OPAs of only a decade ago. Ergo ... if a late-model D/A (or other digital/computer-audio component) does sound better than antiques like the Meitner, the reason may not be entirely "digital" after all.

audiodoctornj's picture
What is old is new again!

As a new EMM Labs dealer, we displayed the first and only example of Ed's latest ideas in digital at the recent New York Audio show, the DAC 2X SE, which at $15,000.00 certaintly isn't inexpensive, howerver, Mr. Meiter again shows why he is a genius at digital design.

On Saturday we had the pleasure of being able to play this dac with HD tracks 24/192 masters via USB into the DAC 2X Se, and the sound was remarkable, it was like you had the actual musicians in the room!

To be honest I don't know if it was the DAC or the true 24/192 track or the combination but the sound was transcendental.

The DAC 2X SE is completely new and use improved versions of Ed's unique technologies, we had an indepth conversation with Meitner's head of sales who told  us that both the Meitner MA 1 Dac and the DAC 2X SE share none of the previous algorithms which Adreas Koch worked on five years ago, so hopefully consumers will get to understand that Meiter's current products are unique in their implimenation of Ed's original technologies which he has been refining for years, and Meitner is back at the forefront of digital design, yet again.

 

silvertone's picture
EMM Labs DAC2X

 

It would make a fascinating comparison to review the new DAC2X, being at the same price point from this product twenty years ago.

John, anyway you can get your hands on one of these units?

Warm regards.

Oscar

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