This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Here's Affordable Digital Audio: Meridian Explorer

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's now obvious that digital audio is the future of music reproduction. Luckily, there are new and reasonably exciting ways to enjoy these higher-quality audio formats without having to take out a second mortgage.

The key to enjoying this new technology is getting ahold of what is known as an external DAC (digital-to-analog converter). These devices plug into an USB port to replace the super-cheap integrated circuit inside your computer. A DAC connects your computer to a hi-fi/powered desktop speakers/home theater systems allowing digital music files to be heard in full fidelity.

To date, we've told you about two inexpensive products from Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat's company, the terrific second-generation Audioquest DragonFly with a new, low price and the nifty Audioengine D3 DAC in the aluminum thumb-drive-sized case.

At the top end of our list is the Meridian Explorer. It's at the top end of our short list because it costs $299 and is the most technologically advanced product in our group. On the other hand, the Explorer is also the most inexpensive product in the Meridian Audio's line of super-high-end audio gear.

In real life, the Explorer is more compact than it looks in the photo. It's beautiful to look at and even more important for an audio device - it's also lovely to listen to or through.

The Explorer is different from the other DACs in this survey in a number of important ways. The Explorer can handle high quality digital audio files as large as 24/192. The other DACs we told you about top out at 24/96. Higher-resolution files have the potential of sounding better on higher quality listening equipment. Remember: A higher resolution indicates a larger file and the more space they take-up on your hard drive. But, they do sound better.

Because it's capable of processing super high-resolution music files you need to download and install a special driver for Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) Windows PCs. Apple (AAPL - Get Report) computers can handle digital music files larger than 24/96 without needing to install extra software.

The Explorer is also one of the only low-priced, high-end DACs which is software upgradeable. That means you can download special files on your computer so that you can instantly upgrade the DAC as well as add new features. It comes with its own USB patch cord to connect your computer to the micro-USB port on the DAC.

After living with the device for a few months I can happily report that the Meridian's Explorer sounds fantastic. And, because it can handle higher resolution music files it has the ability to outshine all the others in our survey.

You can plug a set of headphones directly into the Explorer's mini output jack and have a complete, super-sounding, high-end, digital playback system. Or, get a high-quality connecting cord and hook your computer/Explorer combo into your stereo/home theater system and let everyone reap the benefits.

Bottom line? The Meridian Explorer DAC is highly recommended.

Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

To submit a news tip, send an email to

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.74 0.00%
MSFT $49.87 0.00%
FB $117.58 0.00%
GOOG $693.01 0.00%
TSLA $240.76 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs