Meridian Audio might not be that known in the mainstream, but you could bet that audiophiles are very familiar with its high-end audio products. The company was there to provide a high-end equivalent of the CD format, so it’s serious about trying to provide the best auditory experience to consumers concerned with sound. Though Meridian has been lagging a bit in the world of portable audio, its Explorer Portable USB Headphone Amp is about to change its course.
Varying audio levels has always been a problem in the digital world. Whether it’s caused by natively low audio volume setting or a weak set of headphones, the main point is that you can’t hear or maybe blast the audio you want to whatever volume you wish. Meridian plans to correct that with its Audio Explorer USB headphone amplifier. The device is essentially a USB bus-powered digital-to-analog converter, or DAC, that amplifies the sound that comes through it. Encased in a BIC lighter-sized and -shaped casing, it’s small enough to be carried in your pocket, making it very portable. The device is equipped with a mini USB connector at one end and two mini-jack sockets at the other. Additionally, the USB headphone amp offers analog and mini Toslink connectivity.
Audio quality will be the least of your concerns with the Meridian Explorer. The device is designed to audiophile specifications. It uses an asynchronous USB input that’s backed by the in-demand XMOS L1 chip and a PCM 5102 DAC that enables the amplifier to run at 24-bit and 192kHz. If you’re not too concerned about the specifics, all it means is that you’ll be getting high definition sound all the time, in spite of the fact that the headphone amp is USB-powered (a notable feat in all honesty).
With the Meridian Explorer USB Headphone Amplifier, cranking up your favorite tunes or videos should be no problem. It makes a great backup device for any headphone you own. And though the price of the USB amp is at $299, you can be sure that it would be a product whose quality you can depend on for a lifetime.