"High-end sonics? Heck, yeah. Tonally the Explorer supplies smooth touches of analog-like warmth and fluidity. Just as impressive was the lack of soundstage constriction. ...the Explorer conveyed the wide expanse of the orchestra with a rewarding sense of depth and air between the instruments, and an impressive ambient bloom that opened up the ceiling of the venue rather than holding it down. The music was spacious, detailed, and transparent, inviting comparisons to the more expensive DAC's I've been listening to as of late. Highly recommended."
— From Neil Gader's review in The Absolute Sound, July/August, 2013
Enjoy high-resolution audio
Along with all the sonic benefits the Explorer provides for your compressed and CD-quality music files, it also has another trick up its sleeve — it decodes high-resolution data streams of up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution, so you can enjoy better-than-CD audio quality. (Free USB driver download required for Windows® PCs.) If you download high-res music files from HDtracks and other audiophile sources, this DAC ensures that you'll hear them in all their glory.
The Explorer offers line-level, mini optical digital, and headphone outputs.
Connections and controls
The Explorer's mini Type B USB input and included adapter cable are ready to take on your computer's USB music sources. A 3.5mm hybrid jack provides line-level output that can feed an analog audio signal to a pair of powered speakers or your home hi-fi system using an optional stereo mini-to-mini cable or mini-to-RCA adapter, as well as S/PDIF mini optical output for connecting another processor or digital recorder.
A second minijack output is connected to the Explorer's built-in headphone amp. Its variable output is controlled via your computer screen, allowing you to adjust the volume of your headphones. And even though you access it digitally, Meridian actually gave the Explorer a high-resolution analog volume control to avoid the reduction in resolution and sound quality that plagues many digital volume controls.