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  • The Meitner DA2 and TX2

    It hasn't been smooth sailing, that's for sure. I was actually very angry trying to figure out how to hook up my LED emitters to these units so I could run the remote since the units are in a cabinet. It turns out the sensors on the front panels of both the Transport and DAC are placed so high that you have to mount you LED emitters sideways for them to work. That only took 3 hours to figure out. Next, I was incredibly frustrated that I could never get the TX display to look as good as the DAC display. That's because the DAC display allows you to adjust both contrast and brightness, whereas the TX display only allows you to adjust brightness. A total goofball mistake from EMM, compounded that these are some of the worst displays I have ever seen (line streaks and uneven backgrounds). That's just the way it often is with Meitner. Sonics are their forte, not necessarily industrial design, so you really have to prepared to go through a little hell before you get to heaven. An iPod for $300 bucks runs rings around this gear in that regard, but this is the high end, so what do you expect when you pay for gear that costs as much as a car?

    However, after 3 days of break-in, the heavens did indeed open up on the Meitner units last night. Stunning does not do it justice. It was a new level of reference performance, at least for me. I only stayed up to 3 am. (Glad today was a holiday). It's one of those rare listening moments that you know you've never seen (heard) anything like this before. It's frankly what we live to hear when we undertake this hobby, but if we experience it 6 times in our life, we will be lucky. A definite "you will always know where you were" when you heard it experienced. Very exciting stuff.

    In a nutshell, these units provide a new level of resolution (aka articulation, aka definition in the classic ARC use of the term) over my XDS1v2. In particular, orchestral lines that I heard previously were just more for distinct and more easily sorted, particularly in the cellos and the bass. Female vocals and strings had added substantive changes as well. Dynamic improvements, both macro and micro were also enhanced substantially. I could go on but you get the point. 16X DSD means nothing to me. Knocking me out sonically regardless of source (Redbook CD, DSD, upsampled PCM, or hi res digital files) made me not give a rat's ass about the underlying technology. Frankly, I just didn't care.

    But accolades get weary and even superlatives get boring and lose their meaning after a while. Have I ever read a great review that didn't use such terminology over the past 30 year or so? C'mon, its all BS after a while. We expect technology to evolve, we expect things to get better sonically with new products (and we also expect prices to get lower as a result of trickle down to more affordable levels). So describing how a new piece of gear sounds better compared to it predecessor does indeed get old after a while. If it didn't, you'd be a fool to buy it!

    However, that it is better than its predecessor was not my "take away" thought as I was listening to this marvelous combination today and last night. Rather it was something much bigger, and for me, a new insight about reproduced music. When you have been serious about this hobby for a few decades, you realize the futility of trying to constantly get to new heights by incremental improvements. Sure, all the changes you have seen or heard or bought, or at least many of them, are really meaningful. But yet there is an annoying feeling that your efforts are like trying to get out of a room by moving half way towards to door each time. The incremental differences seem less each time. Yes, they are enjoyable but at some point in a audiophile's life, you realize you are never going to get to the point that it sounds like the Philadelphia Orchestra or the Count Basie Orchestra is in your room. (If you're smart, that occurs sooner rather than later!) And that's OK since that's both an unrealistic goal to begin with and secondly has little to do with enjoying reproduced music in your home. But the epiphany of the new Meitner gear was this. By analogy, I'll call it the reverse "Room" effect, named after the recent movie by that name. The telling scene was when Jacob Tremblay goes back to the room in which he was held in captivity with his mom for 5 years and asks "did room get smaller"? I don't know about you, but that resonated with me because I too, went back to some of the places I lived as a child and asked the very same question. The reverse "Room" effect that the Meitner had on me was undoing the notion that those steps of trying to get "halfway to the door" are in fact, not nearly as small as I thought previously. In fact it is the exact opposite. The "room" we are trying metaphorically to get out of is actually now bigger than I realized and the steps to get halfway out the door now seem larger than they did before. The Meitner has shown me that since so much more lies in those bits than I would have ever guessed, all bets are off on what the future will bring to music reproduced music in the home or elsewhere. When a piece of gear does that, it's not just a piece of audio gear anymore. It's a game changer.
    Last edited by marty; 02-16-2016, 08:09 PM.

  • #2
    Congrats on the new gear Marty!!! Sure it's still going to get better.

    No one will ever question Ed's credentials. He was one of the first in the SACD arena working directly with Sony at the time.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

    Comment


    • #3
      About two weeks ago, I received a shipment from EMM Labs containing the DA2/TX2. Although the DA2 had received about 100 hours of breakin at the factory, I decided to let the unit "cook" for another 72 hours before doing any listening. Initially, I thought that any differences between it and my Esoteric P-02/D-02 would be minor and more likely than not would involve voicing rather than any substantive gains. Given that I had the units in for a review, I was not looking forward to a lengthy period of switching between the two digital front ends (Esoteric vs. EMM) to tease out the differences. As it soon became apparent, there was no need for lengthy comparative listening sessions. The Esoteric gear has always for me set the standard with respect to resolution, macro dynamics and bass slam. That is no longer even remotely true. The DA2/TX2 provide a level of resolution far in excess of any digital product which I have heard in my home. The surprising thing is not so much that they accomplish this but that they do so while retaining the liquidity and natural tonal balance which is their hallmark. Bass is comparable to that of the Esoteric gear; however, suddenly there is air and space around bass instruments. Imaging is holographic and the stage is as wide as I have heard it in my system. Again, macro dynamics are on par with or better than the Esoteric; however,micro dynamics are far superior. While I may have more to say in the future, it is hard to conceive how these units could be bettered.
      Last edited by fcrowder; 04-19-2016, 04:26 PM.
      Rockport Sirius turntable, Lyra Atlas SL cartridge, Audio Note M9 SE Phono stage, Audio Note M10 (Signature) linestage, EMM Labs TX2/DA2 digital, Audio Note Balanced Kegon amps, EMM Labs MTRX amps, Acapella Triolons, Jorma Prime and Odin 2 cables, Stage 3 Kraken power cords, HB Marble Powerslave, Finite Elemente Pagode Reference stands and Cerabases, Halcyonics active isolation bases, HRS Equipment stand, Stillpoints Ultra 6 footers, Furitech cable isolators and plugs, Loricraft and Audiodesk vinyl cleaners, Yamaha CT7000 Tuner.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by fcrowder View Post
        About two weeks ago, I received a shipment from EMM Labs containing the DA2/TX2. Although the DA2 had received about 100 hours of breakin at the factory, I decided to let the unit "cook" for another 72 hours before doing any listening. Initially, I thought that any differences between it and my Esoteric P-02/D-02 would be minor and more likely than not would involve voicing rather than any substantive gains. Given that I had the units in for a review, I was not looking forward to a lengthy period of switching between the two digital front ends (Esoteric vs. EMM) to tease out the differences. As it soon became apparent, there was no need for lengthy comparative listening sessions. The Esoteric gear has always for me set the standard with respect to resolution, macro dynamics and bass slam. That is no longer even remotely true. The DA2/TX2 provide a level of resolution far in excess of any digital product which I have heard in my home. The surprising thing is not so much that they accomplish this but that they do so while retaining the liquidity and natural tonal balance which is their hallmark. Bass is comparable to that of the Esoteric gear; however, suddenly there is air and space around bass instruments. Imaging is holographic and the stage is as wide as I have heard it in my system. Again, macro dynamics are on par with or better than the Esoteric; however,micro dynamics are far superior. While I may have more to say in the future, it is hard to conceive how these units could be bettered.

        I heard the new Meitner DA2/TX2, albeit it a completely unfamiliar system at Axpona (Merrill Audio room) and left impressed. His new products didn't sound as thin as some of Ed's earlier digital designs. Of course, could have just been the rest of the system being a little darker.
        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
        -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
        -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

        Comment


        • #5
          I definitely would not describe the sound as thin, probably closer to neutral.
          Rockport Sirius turntable, Lyra Atlas SL cartridge, Audio Note M9 SE Phono stage, Audio Note M10 (Signature) linestage, EMM Labs TX2/DA2 digital, Audio Note Balanced Kegon amps, EMM Labs MTRX amps, Acapella Triolons, Jorma Prime and Odin 2 cables, Stage 3 Kraken power cords, HB Marble Powerslave, Finite Elemente Pagode Reference stands and Cerabases, Halcyonics active isolation bases, HRS Equipment stand, Stillpoints Ultra 6 footers, Furitech cable isolators and plugs, Loricraft and Audiodesk vinyl cleaners, Yamaha CT7000 Tuner.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
            His new products didn't sound as thin as some of Ed's earlier digital designs.
            Curious as to how much earlier? The Meitner dac or the emm labs DAC 2X, or before that?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Andy View Post

              Curious as to how much earlier? The Meitner dac or the emm labs DAC 2X, or before that?

              Up to the one I heard at the show?
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
              -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post


                Up to the one I heard at the show?
                yeah, the way i interpreted the comment was: you heard the EMM Labs DA2 and it was not as thin as earlier digital designs.
                I was wondering which earlier products that was in reference to.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by fcrowder View Post
                  About two weeks ago, I received a shipment from EMM Labs containing the DA2/TX2. Although the DA2 had received about 100 hours of breakin at the factory, I decided to let the unit "cook" for another 72 hours before doing any listening. Initially, I thought that any differences between it and my Esoteric P-02/D-02 would be minor and more likely than not would involve voicing rather than any substantive gains. Given that I had the units in for a review, I was not looking forward to a lengthy period of switching between the two digital front ends (Esoteric vs. EMM) to tease out the differences. As it soon became apparent, there was no need for lengthy comparative listening sessions. The Esoteric gear has always for me set the standard with respect to resolution, macro dynamics and bass slam. That is no longer even remotely true. The DA2/TX2 provide a level of resolution far in excess of any digital product which I have heard in my home. The surprising thing is not so much that they accomplish this but that they do so while retaining the liquidity and natural tonal balance which is their hallmark. Bass is comparable to that of the Esoteric gear; however, suddenly there is air and space around bass instruments. Imaging is holographic and the stage is as wide as I have heard it in my system. Again, macro dynamics are on par with or better than the Esoteric; however,micro dynamics are far superior. While I may have more to say in the future, it is hard to conceive how these units could be bettered.

                  +1. No question, Ed's latest gear is pretty darned good.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I should note that the TX2/DA2 are significantly more sensitive to vibration than the much heavier Esoteric pieces. While both benefit from isolation (in this case a combination of Finite Elemente Cerabases and Halcyonics active isolation bases), the EMM Labs gear benefits the most significantly. Likewise, the power cord which you use will have an impact, athough in this instance, EMM's power supply seems less sensitive hn that of the Esoteric. Don't misunderstand what I am saying as the TX2/DA2 straight from the box with the supplied feet and Kimber power cord are superb, but they get even better with some care to the details.
                    Rockport Sirius turntable, Lyra Atlas SL cartridge, Audio Note M9 SE Phono stage, Audio Note M10 (Signature) linestage, EMM Labs TX2/DA2 digital, Audio Note Balanced Kegon amps, EMM Labs MTRX amps, Acapella Triolons, Jorma Prime and Odin 2 cables, Stage 3 Kraken power cords, HB Marble Powerslave, Finite Elemente Pagode Reference stands and Cerabases, Halcyonics active isolation bases, HRS Equipment stand, Stillpoints Ultra 6 footers, Furitech cable isolators and plugs, Loricraft and Audiodesk vinyl cleaners, Yamaha CT7000 Tuner.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by fcrowder View Post
                      I should note that the TX2/DA2 are significantly more sensitive to vibration than the much heavier Esoteric pieces. While both benefit from isolation (in this case a combination of Finite Elemente Cerabases and Halcyonics active isolation bases), the EMM Labs gear benefits the most significantly. Likewise, the power cord which you use will have an impact, athough in this instance, EMM's power supply seems less sensitive hn that of the Esoteric. Don't misunderstand what I am saying as the TX2/DA2 straight from the box with the supplied feet and Kimber power cord are superb, but they get even better with some care to the details.
                      I find that digital gear is more sensitive to the effects of AC power cords than almost any other component.
                      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                      ________________________________________

                      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                      -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                      Comment

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