Meitner MA3 Integrated D/A processor Specifications

Sidebar 1: Specifications

Description: Fully discrete single-bit 16×DSD upconverting integrated D/A processor with volume control and remote control. Roon Ready, with streaming from Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer, Spotify, and vTuner internet radio, and file playback from NAS, external drive, or USB stick using Roon or UPnP/DLNA. Inputs: AES3 (XLR), S/PDIF (RCA electrical and TosLink optical), USB, USB Media (2) Type A, a Network/ Ethernet interface (RJ45), and RS-232 for Remote and Service. USB Audio input supports up to DSD128 and DXD with full MQA decoding; other inputs support up to DSD64 and PCM to 24/192. Network input (RJ45) also supports full MQA decoding. Audio formats supported: AAC, AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, and MQA. Stereo analog outputs: Balanced (XLR) and Unbalanced (RCA). Output voltage, XLR: 4.36V (+15.0dBu); RCA: 2.19V (+9.0dBu). Output impedance: 300 ohms balanced (XLR) and 150 ohms unbalanced (RCA).
Dimensions: 17.13" (435mm) W × 3.62" (92mm) H × 15.7" (400mm) D. Weight: 16.2lb (7.3kg); remote 0.2lb (100gm).
Finish: Silver and Black.
Serial number of unit reviewed: 1660. Manufactured in Canada.
Price: $10,500. Approximate number of US dealers: 15. Warranty: 3 years.
Manufacturer/Distributor: Meitner Audio, 119–5065 13th St. S.E., Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2G5M8. Tel: (403) 225-4161. Web:

Meitner Audio
119–5065 13th St. S.E.
Calgary, Alberta
Canada T2G5M8
(403) 225-4161

Archimago's picture

Interesting results John and thanks for Footnote 2.

Curious if over the years you have an idea of how this IDAT filter routing works in the modern DACs. Given the age of the technology (since 1993), if it's similar in implementation, it likely isn't anything complex.

I wonder based on these measurements if all it is is a detection of when you're just sending the DAC a single sine tone like the 19kHz, 1kHz, and 50Hz 0dBFS measurements. It then implements a steep FIR in order to achieve that -120dB image suppression as shown in the 19kHz graph.

Anything else more complex like the 19+20kHz CCIF (Figure 12, which is still very much "continuous") will just be treated with what basically looks like a straight forward linear interpolation resampler.

Related to this is the question of the latency between switching filters. Most of the time it must be just using the linear interpolation. And on the occasional time when it detects a constant tone, it then switches to the steep FIR filter. I wonder how many cycles it takes to detect and switch!? Would be very interesting to know within a piece of music just how frequently this filter switching takes place (if even ever in real music!).

Soundguy123's picture

Good questions Archimago!

The fact that “complex” music (nothing complex about two test tones 1KHz apart) is processed with a very leaky filter is indeed concerning. Although the in band IMD isn’t at very worrying levels one can’t help but be concerned about such strong non-music related signals aliased ghost images passing through the D to A conversion stage.

The philosophy of IDAT seems odd - use of an IIR filter will add phase issues. As everyone should know, a linear phase FIR filter is the best and most accurate approach despite a small overall computational delay. A delay is only of concern in live music - so FIR filters dominate consumer playback. Today there are much easier mathematical ways to get round the brick wall filter in band issues (upsampling for example, can help push the filter further away from the in band signal producing excellent in band phase).

That said MQA deliberately messes up in band phase by adding group delay at higher frequencies and MQA claim this form of added distortion is somehow a more accurate conversion….

An intelligent discussion of simple first or second year university physics/engineering time series analysis is it seems no longer possible… even major audio chip designers like Sabre have implemented filter solutions that are intentionally distorting the conversion process….

Mathematical rigour seems to be in short supply these days…but no shortage of arm waving!

Of curiosity - could the rumoured interest by DJ’s in Meitners MA3 converter be simply related to live production - the DJ may prefer an IIR fast filter in order for adjustments to sound to be instant rather than appearing after a slight delay?

Indydan's picture

Would it be possible for JVS to write just one review in which he doesn't dry hump MQA? Geez....

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

for Jason to state his honest feelings about MQA without some people feeling the need to oppose his viewpoint?

ayang90's picture

Thanks for the review of the MA3. I am in the process of looking for a new Roon ready DAC and a quality MQA implementation is important to me. Definitely going to audition the Meitner MA3.

Lonestar166's picture

Thanks for the excellent review. Loved the footnotes about the Cadillac and the Rambler. I remember them both. My grandfather, a one-armed vet, had a green Rambler with a white roof.