Volume control Meridian Explorer 2

Just got the Explorer 2. I have been using headphones at first and the volume control worked fine in Roon.

Then I switched to active speakers using the line out of the Explorer 2. If I use WASAPI in Roon audio setings and “use device controls” I can’t control the volume in Roon or Windows system. Is this normal?

When I use “DSP Volume” in the Roon audio menu I get control over volume in Roon. But it started out at max volume (0dB) even though I did not tick off “Set max device volume at playback start”. After I adjusted the volume down it seems to remember the volume setting but can I trust it to not flip back and give me a heart attack (again:)?

I don’t have a pre amp between the Explorer 2 and the active speakers but can of course control volume on the back of the speakers. That would however requirer leaving the couch and that just seems plain wrong.

My guess (having just started using an Explorer 2 but otherwise knowing little about it) is that the line out is fixed. So you would probably have to use DSP volume, or just use the headphone out?

Not sure about the volume jump.

The line out is Fixed and it warns about it. That’s why you have the little plug to stop you plugging phones in the Line Out. You need a preamp, that’s what they are for.

Thanks. Makes sense. I’ve just been spoiled by having a preamp in my other DAC.

Wouldn’t the headphone out work? I would have thought doing that all within the device would be better/simpler/cheaper than adding a potentially SQ degrading preamp.

I’ve tested Explorer 2 with (a) Mac Mini (b) Raspberry Pi 2. As long as ‘DSP Volume’ is selected in settings then Roon controls volume of both headphone and line out. Only issue with using DSP to control volume is that MQA files are not decoded by the DAC (they just play at 48 / 24 I think) - the lights on the Explorer change (Blue + 2 white at 0db, just one white at anything less than 0db).

I think you’re right. Using the headphone out to get get “safe” volume control is the best SQ option. I’m not going to ad another box just for volume control since the Explorer 2 for me is just a cheap way to test out MQA.

BTW on headpones (Grado SR 80, haven’t got an minijack adapter for my Sennheiser 650), I thought MQA sounded really good. But there was no a/b comparison and certainly no blind test. Just hopefully optimistic.

I’m using SR80s too. And lower end Sennheissers.

The best I can say is through those MQA sounds ‘fine’. I can’t detect any deterioration or improvement over CD to be honest. Whatever it is about MQA that’s bringing tears to people’s eyes - I must be immune to it. Or need better headphones, ears, etc, etc, yadda, yadda…

Very happy with the Explorer though for the price.

Have you listened to MQA for a period of time? You will notice a lack of fatigue first. Going back to CD then may reveal more of the benefits. Jumping back and forth doesn’t help much, your brain needs time to adapt.

I listen for fine details that the Temporal Blur can obscure. Look for fine detail in Tambourines or brushes on cymbals. The Monkeys, Last Train to Clarksville is a good example.
I also find the best effect on my main system, the sense of space around instruments and the front to back depth is just so much more natural.
This may be content dependant too. You may find it easier to discern on something like The Doors ‘Riders of the Storm’ than a very ‘Hot’ modern recording. MQA can’t save that.
Just thoughts, glad you like the Explorer2 it’s a miracle for the money. Chris

No, I’ve only had the Explorer a few days and at work… :wink:

But I’ve read a whole load about it, including Bob Stewart’s Q&A’s where he disagreed that the benefit of room correction would outweigh MQA benefits. Applying Room Correction gave a huge and obvious improvement in sound in my setup - the most improvement I’ve ever experienced and far more than buying new electronics. Based on my headphone listening I’ve absolutely no doubt that MQA benefits will be subtle at best compared to RC on my hifi.

My DAC isn’t MQA and I was hoping they’d add it, but based on what I’ve heard so far it’s certainly not something I’m going to worry about now. There’s so little material too that it’s just not important. Not in my listening environment anyway.

What details this ‘temporal blur’ is allegedly masking in all non-MQA formats is something I’ll listen for over time, and wait to see some measurements of as people dissect it over the coming months/years.

Anyway, this is OT and more for the MQA topic. The Explorer has given me a nice little headphone DAC for work. If it wasn’t on sale and didn’t have MQA I probably wouldn’t have bought it, but the combination made it a great purchase.

Well you have a MQA DAC now. I used the Analog of the Explorer2 into myG61R and just listened in Trifield as normal with RC on.
I know technically this is not full fat MQA anymore as the G61 re digitises things but the G 61R was designed to do this well by Meridian. I think off it as having a studio quality analog source.
There is plenty of MQA on Tidal now to have a very long enjoyable listening session by mainstream artists as well as the more obscure ‘Audiphile’ Recordings.
It’s early days for MQA but if this points at what is down the road, then I am impressed.