In stock and shipping!
Firmware updates for Explorer² and Prime Headphone Amplifier can be
accessed directly by customers from the support section of the main website:
Ultra High End Audio:
AND the NEW Meridian Explorer2 supports MQA!
True Meridian quality from a pocket Digital to Analogue Converter
Includes USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier
Meridian MQA Decoding and Rendering with LEDs to indicate authenticated master-quality replay
Full range of Meridian Resolution Enhancement technologies for ultimate performance: Apodising filter, 4x upsampling to 176.4/192kHz, Noise Shaping
Asynchronous USB Audio Class Compliant 2.0 HS 480Mb/s for best-in-class performance
Bus-powered; plugs into any computer with a USB port
Exceptionally high resolution (24-bit/192kHz)
6-layer circuit board with audiophile-grade components throughout
Auto-sensing headphone and 192kHz-derived fixed analogue outputs
Advanced headphone volume control: 0 to –100dB, ideal for sensitive headphones.
Ultimate playback performance limited only by the source material – makes any file sound its best
Compact, elegant and rugged metal enclosure
Cable connection to avoid motherboard stress
Hand made in the UK
Meridian’s Explorer2 is a portable, compact and rugged USB DAC designed to deliver best-in-class audio performance. Developed from the highly successful and acclaimed Explorer, Explorer2 features a significantly more powerful DSP capability than its predecessor, allowing the full range of Meridian enhancement technologies to be included, along with decoding and rendering for the MQA ‘Master Quality Authenticated’ process.
Like its predecessor, Explorer2 includes premium audiophile-grade components throughout, a 6-layer circuit board, an elegant all-metal enclosure, Explorer2 delivers an exceptional Meridian audio experience from virtually any computer.
Explorer2 embodies Meridian DNA throughout. The design features a sophisticated 6-layer circuit board, and audiophile-grade components are utilised throughout, including resistors, sockets and music grade electrolytics; and polypropylene filter capacitors. The use of direct-coupled outputs further maximises audio quality.
Explorer2 was designed, and is built, in the UK, in exactly the same way and with the same attention to detail and quality throughout, as any other Meridian product.
Meridian Resolution Enhancement
Explorer2 includes significantly more DSP power than its predecessor, allowing the full suite of Meridian audio enhancement technologies to be included, which was not previously possible. Thus the Explorer2 upsamples all input signal to 176.4/192kHz (4x standard sample rates) – 4x streams are played at full resolution with no downsampling – and includes Meridian’s proprietary Apodising filter, which minimises pre-ringing for a clearer, more transparent sound, while at the same time removing digital filter artefacts from earlier digital recordings so that they can actually sound better than they did in the studio.
The Explorer2 also features Meridian’s approach to noise-shaping, which moves noise out of the audio band, increasing the audible signal to noise ratio.
Explorer2 features full audio performance at sample rates up to 192kHz, 24-bit resolution. Explorer2 is completely asynchronous, using precision on-board low-jitter crystal oscillators for the base sample rates, developed from those used in Meridian’s premium home entertainment systems.
These oscillators provide the master clocking for the entire playback system, and eliminate all USB interface jitter. ‘Isochronous’ transfer ensures maximum bandwidth and low latency, the latter being significant when playing videos on the computer, for which audio and video must be in sync.
The DAC design also offers extremely low modulation noise and distortion for the ultimate in audio performance. The interface is USB Audio Class Compliant 2.0 HS, supporting data rates up to 480Mb/s.
Dual auto-sensing outputs
Two outputs are provided. A 3.5mm headphone socket delivers up to 130mW of high-quality audio – capable of driving plenty of level for even low-efficiency headphones.
The volume is controlled from the host computer, and is an advanced design with an extended range of 0 to –100dB. This level of variability suits all kinds of headphones including the most sensitive types.
A second 3.5mm socket provides a fixed-level analogue (2v RMS) output for connection to an external audio system, connected directly to the DAC for bit-precise performance. This output delivers a fixed, full-level signal with no volume control – essential for an audio system, where you need to ensure maximum signal to noise ratio and maximum use of digital resolution right through to the audio system’s own volume control, which controls the level for all sources in the system.
Explorer2 automatically senses which output is in use and deactivates the heaphone amplifier when the line output is connected, reducing noise.
A Higher Class of DAC
Explorer2 is a USB Class 2 device that works with the newer (2009) USB2 specification. This supports a transmission speed of 480Mb/s – 40 times faster than Class 1 – allowing Explorer2 to play 192kHz audio streams, and be tolerant of where it is connected, removing the need for direct or solitary connection to the PC.
Whether playing back an mp3 or a high-resolution lossless file, Explorer2 will make any content sound its best, delivering a level of audio quality essentially limited only by the source material.
Three indicators show the status of the Explorer2. The LED furthest from the headphone socket illuminates white to indicate that the unit is operating (and playing PCM at 1x standard sample rates – 44.1/48kHz). The middle LED (2x standard rate) indicates 88.2/96kHz operation and the third LED 176.4/192kHz operation (4x).
Meridian Quality Authenticated (MQA)
Explorer2 includes a powerful decoder and audio renderer for Meridian’s exclusive ‘Master Quality Authenticated’ system, which verifies that MQA lossless audio files and streams sound exactly like the source. The 1x LED glows green to indicate that the unit is decoding and playing an MQA stream or file, and that the sound is identical to that of the source material. It glows blue to indicate that the Explorer2 is playing an MQA Studio file – ie one based on an exclusively sourced, artist/producer-approved studio master – with exactly the sound the production team intended.
Explorer2 connects to the computer via USB mini B connector and a cable – it does not plug directly into the PC like many other products. The use of a cable (included) instead of plugging direct into the PC minimises the risk of damaging the PC motherboard if the product is accidentally knocked or the headphone cord is pulled.
Explorer2 connects to virtually any computer with a USB port. Drivers are provided for Windows; Macintosh and Linux operating systems allow simple plug-in and play operation. On the Macintosh, the Audio MIDI Setup utility is used to set the output sample rate; on Windows, the Sound control panel is used. Explorer2 requires Macintosh OS X 10.6.4 (Snow Leopard) or later, Linux kernel 2.6.37 or later, or Windows XP SP3, Windows 7 SP1, or Windows 8 or later.
Despite its powerful output and performance capability, Explorer2 is entirely USB bus powered. It is supplied in elegant presentation packaging and includes a short USB cable (longer cables may also be used) and a soft carrying pouch.
• USB mini type B.
• 3.5mm analogue line out, fixed 2v RMS.
• 3.5mm headphone jack with variable-level output, impedance 0.47Ω.
• Extruded Aluminium shell with moulded plastic endcaps and rubber
• USB, nominal 5V at <500mA.
• Dual Tile XMOS DSP with 16 cores and 1000 MIPSImplementation
• USB audio class compliant 2.0 HS 480Mb/s bandwidth.
• Asynchronous: device is the clock source for high quality.
• Firmware upgrade via USB.
• Windows drivers provided, no drivers required for Macintosh OS X
• Analogue volume control for headphone output, controlled from
PC, control law modified to match connected OS.
• Macintosh OS X 10.6.4 (Snow Leopard) or later
• Windows XP SP3, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8 or later
• Linux kernel 2.6.37 or later and ALSA version 1.0.32 or greater
102 x 32 x 18mm (4.0 x 1.25 x 0.7in).