I'm posting to this only because I don't want to look for this thread at a later date. I listened to the DCC2 late last week for about an hour. It was only a couple of days old and since it needs 400 or more hours for break in I'll give you my unbiased opinion later after a real A/B comparsion. My first reaction was that it is incredibly smooth. I tried very hard to do critical listening but found I was just carried away by the music. If that's any indication of what this piece will be like after break in it will be world class. Hopefully the owner, Vetterone, will provide you with his opinion when all is sorted out.
I'll continue to follow this thread and urge him to post his findings at the appropriate time. Maybe a couple of weeks from now? I'll also give you my personal observations then too.
I have about 200 hours on my DCC2, and while I haven't done an A-B with an external preamp, I really haven't felt any need to. As Lugnut mentioned above, the unit is incredibly SMOOTH and involving, but with none of the blurring of detail that those terms sometimes imply. I've had some fine preamps in my system--most recently the First Sound Presence Deluxe--but with the DCC2 I'm literally hearing things in recordings I haven't heard before. And the music is more enjoyable and listenable than it's ever been. I'm not sure how much of that is attributable to the preamp section, but I'm guessing a pretty decent chunk.
Is it a world class pre-amp???.....this I cannot tell you. I will say that I am fairly confident that it equals or betters anything I have used in the past. Take a look at my virtual system which lists just about all of the equipment I have owned. I have used the unit as a pre-amp a few times now, but honestly, not with equipment I am greatly familiar with. I warn you though that it is extremely neutral and reminds me of my placette audio pre-amps (passive and active). Unless you greatly prefer a big tubey sound, I don't think you can go wrong with using it as a pre-amp.
I would love to know why EMM Labs won't make a one-box cdp. Given their excellent dac technology, it would surely be superb, and perhaps even a bit cheaper than their current trans/dac 2-box approach that many of us (me included) can't currently afford- just a thought...
Just to add another datapoint to this thread, I am using an Accuphase DP75V as a transport into my DCC2 (via coax digital cable) and it is so astounding I am questioning the need for a Meitnerized transport with EMM Optilink Fiber. It is absorbing and un-abrasive and spacious, far less tizzy or boomy (thru Kharma 3.2s) than the Accuphase on its own. Even lousy old popular 1980's CDs have been magically transformed from unlistenable to relaxing and involving. I use the preamp outputs of the DCC2 into an Edge NL12 amp. If you have a DP75V, I would really consider this configuration. I'm just a user whose been searching for good sound for 20+ years. The only negative about the DCC2 is that I wish it had a few more volume steps like my former ML 32 preamp (~700 steps, vs. 100 for the DCC2), but this is a minor quibble. It also makes some unseemly noises thru the speakers if you press the wrong combination of buttons, but I've learned how to avoid this.
I guess these things may be corrected in a future version, but IMHO this is a breakthrough product.
Rgs92- I am curious why you wouldn't consider selling the Accuphase and get the CDSD, there would be a difference in price but the difference in performance would be HUGE. There's a level of transparency and detail you can not obtain with out using the Emm opti-link. The "trick" of this is that it converts everything to DSD in the DAC and that in itself makes for a VERY enjoyable experience. Even if your not interested in SACD its also nice to know its there if you want it- to my ears and other's who have listened to my system SACD is much better then redbook, which is fantastic in itself!
I've had the luxury of A/B'ing the Meitner linestage
vs. my Paramount.
I did these comparisons using the Corelli (McGegan, Harmonia Mundi, lp & cd), Track #2 Nojima Plays Liszt (Reference Recordings, lp), Karen and Todd (Vital Records, lp and cd), and Come Away With Me (Jones, Blue Note, lp & sacd). All vinyl were played through a VPI Extended Aries w/ 12.5 arm and Koetsu Rosewood Signature cart. The Electron Images MCP-1 was the phono stage (no step up transformer required). A Philips SACD 1000, fully modded by Alex Peychev of APL Hi-Fi, was used for all discs. DeHavilland Aries 845G monoblocks drove updated Coincident Millenniums (with Revelator tweeter, current carbon fiber mids, appropriate crossover mods, and TRS wiring).
The Meitner was perhaps just a bit wider in soundstaging. Both units presented a deep soundstage with the edge going to the Paramount. Imaging for both units was such that they were both consistent and focused, without instruments and voices wavering or shifting from one passage to the next. Consistently, however, the Paramount rendered better layering with better delineation of instruments and performers relative to one another. Also consistent was the Paramount's ability to convey a more palpable midrange with more body and weight when compared to the slightly thinner presentation of the Meitner. The first Sound unit seemed more tonally and timbrally correct with its ability to capture additional degrees of harmonic characteristics of instruments and voices that make for a more involving listening session. In some recordings the Paramount was also less forward in presentation.
The Meitner seemed more bright overall. At times the DCC2 bordered on being extra sparkly, with more zip. The Meitner was, however, neither hashy nor grainy. Please note that earlier I mentioned bright rather than detailed. The First Sound was just about as detailed or resolving. However, it rendered a smoother, more liquid and more natural highs while not giving way when it comes to air and detail. I felt this is what gave the Paramount a more transparent characteristic. It gave a more pleasant smoothness to the sound giving it a more musical and natural quality to its presentation. I also felt that sibilance were more natural with the Paramount. Additionally, what is remarkable was that the Paramount accomplished this while being as dynamic as the DCC2.
Above I mentioned that the Paramount was nearly as resolving. It is in the area of bass articulation that the DCC2 won. Another shortcoming of the First Sound unit is apparent in the area of bass response. The Meitner's bass was noticeably more tight and controlled.
Mind you the above summary were not night and day differences, but merely differences that were notable enough for me to recall and record. These are both arguably "tier 1" and highly regarded units. I continue to be impressed by the Paramount. It is the best linestage pre that I've heard in my system to date. Emmanuel Go makes truly fantastic linestages (active and passive).
Did the Meitner DCC2 pass? without a doubt, YES! It
presents an excellent all in one alternative (digital
front end, with line stage capability for analog
source, dac with upsampling capability for other
transports, all this with remote control). If it is
in your price range, it must be auditioned. In an all solid state system, it should be carefully assessed.
Hooper... if you still have your First Sound Presence Deluxe, you may want to A/B it againt the DCC2. I will be interested in hearing you findings.
The Paramount, of course, inverts phase. The DCC2 does not. Since you mention nothing about this in your comparison, this begs the question: Did you compensate for the 180 degree phase difference between the two during your comparison?
Thanx for the feedback: look fwd to your conclusions, Lugnut. I am getting my CDSD-DCC2 in a couple of days now. Its been almost a 3 month wait: I live in HK and they had to adjust power supplies for non US customers apparently. Can't wait!
Do a member search for Vetterone and check out his system. He has a fresh post regarding what you want to know. We both have been too busy to get together since I first posted to this thread. I've been building him an equipment rack and hopefully it will be back from powder coating later this week so we can get together and set it up. I'll be able to hear how this unit sounds with some hours on it then. Congrats on getting this gear for yourself. You will not be disappointed! This is by far the finest digital I've every heard. It's a shame the preamp doesn't have a phono stage though.
Great point. Thanks for mentioning it. Yes absolute phase inversion was taken into account.
Both of you mention "Paramount". Do you both mean "Parasound"?
I've never heard of this brand "paramount" & am wondering if it is a new brand or a typo? Thanks!
Bombaywalla, I believe they are talking about the First Sound paramount. It is higher up the line from the First Sound presence deluxe.
Frankg - Thanks for clarifying the make and model of my linestage.
Hooper - If you have not yet done tube rolling with your First Sound Presence Deluxe linestage , it may be worth your while. The Russian 6h23 tube is an excellent 6922 alternative. Others have also been smitten by the sound of the Siemens 7308 gold pin tube.
Ultimately, it may turn out that all other tweeks/upgrades may not take your Presence Deluxe to the level of satisfaction that you get from the DCC2. As Frankg points out it is a lower-tier offering from First Sound.
I do know first hand that I and a couple others in our local audio society unanimously prefer my version (MkI upgraded to MkII) of the First Sound Paramount to the DCC2 linestage.
I have just heard from someone else who put a Hovland linestage in that it considerably opened up his system, that is, he bypassed the DCC2 preamp, and, much to his surprise, as he takes a somewhat skeptical view of the Hovland, though the improvement was noticeable.
I spent last evening listening to my friends system. The DCC2 is fully broken in. Prior to last night we had been in awe at how good the preamp portion is and busy with selecting the best interconnects and speaker cables. Last night we used his Supratek Syrah as the preamp and didn't do any critical listening. In fact the music we listened to ran the gammut from super high resolution SACD's to marginally recorded Redbook CD's from the 60's and 70's. Steve knows that I'm a huge Neil Young fan so he had purchased "On The Beach" for my benefit. We also listened to "Harvest Moom". You might get a kick out of knowing that we also listened to Iron Butterfly's "Innagoddadavida" and Booker T. And The MG's "Green Onions".
This system consists of The Meitner gear, The Supratek, two modified Berning ZH270's, Merlin VSM's with BAM with the latest upgrades. The best interconnects and speaker cables, to our ears were the Ridge Street Midnight SE II's. One thing to note is that optimal use of the Merlin's is placing the BAM between the source and the preamp which cannot be done with using the DCC2 as the preamp. Ridge street jumpers were also used for the first time ever in this system.
I have listened to this system many, many times and I consider myself to be as familiar with it's nuances as the owner. Last night was remarkable. I was totally blown away. The musicality, smoothness, body, texture, layering, detail and toe tappin' attributes were there better than I've ever heard before. Yes, this system is as sharp as a surgeons knife with it's ability to dissect every attribute of a recording and display it as under an audio microscope. On the audiophile SACD's the details were breathtaking. One particular cut featuring Keith Jarrett was particulary breathtaking. Everything was just so right. And, the live CD of Union Station was as emotional as it gets.
Particulary interesting to me was how this system responded to those earlier low res recordings that I love for the music content. Wonderful is about the only adjective I can come up with. Often times a really revealing system makes such music unlistenable. Not with the Meitner gear. This aspect has proven to this "strictly analog based" guy that the digital realm has arrived. I am impressed. Really, it's embarassing to try and come up with words that tell the magnitude of how impressed I am. This is ground breaking performance if you are willing to pay the price.
I anxiously await the turntable portion of this system to be up and running. I've felt strongly that some vinyl source material is so superior to the digital offerings of the same that the sun, moon and stars will align when the needle hits the groove in this system. After last night I now have doubts that this is the case. For my friends sake I hope that his Teres is up to the challenge since so much music is available on vinyl that will never be offered in any digital format. In that regard alone, the world awaits him.
Folks, these opinions are from a guy that never embraced any digital format. Yes, I've owned a couple of CD players and enjoyed the convenience. A few of the CD's I owned sounded pretty good. In the end though, I parted with my last CDP and sold off my modest selection of media. While never being anti-digital, I have always been a firm believer in the superiority of analog reproduction based on my listening experiences. At this time I'm tempted to say that these two very different medias are equal but will save that bold statement for a time it is proven to me. I cannot give a higher compliment to the Meitner gear than that. It is just sooooo good it's spooky.
Last night may have been the most fun I've ever had listening to music. I'm so very glad for you guys that can afford this type of purchase.
Lugnut, Thanks for sharing your experience with the Emm gear. I was wondering if your friend is using the Philips 1000 or the new EMM transport. Also what other cables did you try? I was thinking that if He's using the Philips with the silver cables that it might have been on the bright side as compared to some good copper cables.
He is using the modified Philips 1000 but has the new Meitner transport coming soon. I'm certain that Steve wouldn't mind you contacting him directly about exactly which other cables and interconnects we tried. I'd hate to mis-speak about such in this thread. His Audiogon username is Vetterone. You may wish to check out his virtual system too as the room is really something. Regarding the silver cables, I have been very surprised at the lack of any audible edge when using the Ridge Street's. The low end has much more body than with anything else I've listened to. The highs just go on and on without any glare. Even my midfi solid state system responded well to the silvers.
I don't want to speak for Steve but I believe even the Merlins are supposed to sound best with copper but in our auditioning that wasn't the case at all.
We didn't speak much last night because, mainly I guess, I was speechless. Steve had remarked that the harmonica on one of Neil Young's songs from "On The Beach" was a little harsh. I know this material very, very well and assured him that the same edge was apparent with my analog source. I'm sure that the occassional note like that is a studio phenomenon recorded to the media and honestly transferred through the components.
Don't take my comment about my midfi system too much to heart and assume I'm not qualified to make these types of judgments. I consider my system to be very good, just not in the same league with Steve's. I've been in this hobby for over 35 years and use live music as my benchmark for evaluation.
I'm of the understanding that the new transport will probably kick the performance up a notch. Plus, knowing Steve as I do he will likely try other cables and interconnects in an attempt to make the most out of this spectacular system. If the Ridge Street cables are bettered I will post the results, for what that may be worth. It's just my opinion and others may not agree. At this point the differences are very subtle but still very audible. For sure, if a generic CD from a long time ago can sound so good to me then bright isn't happening, IMNSHO.
Again, I'm very glad for all you owners of the EMM labs gear. It's a home run. I can only hope that there is a trickle down effect some day for those of us on a lesser budget. I'm missing out on a lot of newer music by only spinning vinyl.
Hi Frank, I'm the guy that is the lucky owner of the system Lugnut is describing in his post. I have tried so many cables I own a cable burner,lol. Transparent and Harmonic Tech speaker cables were the last two SC's to be used. Both, of course are copper. IMHO, there is No brightness in my system, even with the MSEs, now that the Merlin MXs have their 200 hours of burn in time. I believe I get most of whatever the recording has to offer. If the recording is not spot on...we hear the results. If the recording studio has a problem, we will hear that too. But when the musicians get it right and the engineer(s) don't compress the hell out of the dynamics,well, who needs drugs to get high? I would not have it any other way. Most aspects of the music improve when the MSE cables are inserted into my system. It is very easy to hear the change. It was almost as big as putting the Supratek back into the system instead of using the dcc2's preamp. The Meitner gear delivers so much information that the cables have become even more important than ever. We will be doing a comparison of the dac 6e vs the dcc2 using the Supratek soon. I also have a short list of cables I want to audition. Can't wait!
"Enjoy every sandwich" Warren Zevon
Steve, I have the Merlin VSM-MMs; what other ancilliary gear (amps/pre digital/vinyl) are you currently using or used before the Meitner? The merlins are incredible. How is the soundstage w/ the meitner. I know the resolution is incredible; I've heard it said by a few that the meitner is somewhat dry/lean in the midbass sounding. Just wondering your thoughts, as I've never heard it. I'm eagerly awaiting your dac6 v. dac 2 reviews.