should everyone just order emm?

i have levinson gear now, and it of course has been bested by
umteen transports and processors in the last 2-3 years. and now, without meitner, i may as well jump in a lake and swallow a snake. can the most rational fellow music lovers out there (no "asylum" cases please) explain how and why i/we should 1.go for any new major improvements NOW 2. wait for blue lasers(?) 3. buy more REDBOOK CD'S 4. clean off some of my old vinyl and relax to some leonard bernstein or some horowitz. 5. jump into the lake anyway having done all of the above. please advise. thanks so very much.
Yep, Jonathan is absolutely right. Don't hesitate. I have heard it with my own 2 ears.
i may as well jump in a lake and swallow a snake.
Do you trust your own ears?
I have a hard time believing anyone would be less than thrilled with Meitner Emm Labs gear. Of course it sounds amazing with SACD, but you know what?
The redbook playback is also outrageous. You won't believe it 'til you hear it.
Buy it for the redbook playback and take the SACD playback as a bonus.
my hearing is just okay, but right now my vpi aries and my cdp, while sounding different, both sound great. as far as emm goes, which sounds better on redbook- the meitner 6ch or 2ch dac?
what if emm labs comes out with a one-box cdp in a year or two? how is the build quality? what if you have service issues? what if emm labs disappears in a year or two?
what if someone mods a sony dvd player and it sounds astonishingly close to a meitner? j.atkinson of stereophile has heard a ton of systems, but still relaxes to his ml-30.6/31.5 cdp, which he cheerily admits is not the cat's meow anymore. oh, and i am certainly less than thrilled with buying "pre-production or 1st generation" audio.
but of course i still look forward to hearing the meitner gear and keeping an open mind.
Newbee are you?

"and of course it has been bested by umpteen....."

Far- far from reality.
Yes you should jump into the lake. But don't forget to tie the Levinson gear to your ankle.
French_fries: Service on the EMM Labs gear is done in the US. EMM Labs equipment has been around for quite sometime. This is actually going into the 5th generation of the technology and Ed Meitner is considered to be THE leader in the industry. The same question can be asked of any company in terms of future products. What I can tell you is there are absolutely no plans for a one box player. The build quality is excellent. All EMM Labs gear must answer to the rigorous demands of the pro industry which gets much more use out of equipment than we Audiophiles will ever utilize.
>>what if emm labs comes out with a one-box cdp in a year or two?<<

A one box cdp? Is the number of boxes an issue? Would you *prefer* a one box CDP and fear buyer's remorse if you bought separates? Me? Unless simply reducing the number of boxes to one somehow represented a step up in sound quality, which doesn't seem likely, I would still be quite satisfied with separates.

>>how is the build quality?<<


>>what if you have service issues?<<

Had a service issue -- service was thorough and prompt.

>>what if emm labs disappears in a year or two?<<

Emm Labs has been around for awhile and looks to be here to stay. But, I have Proceed Gear, which was made by Levinson -- Proceed is long gone. It happens. Unless you go with a behemoth like Sony, you should always factor in the risk that the company you buy from *could* someday fold up -- that's the risk at this end of the biz. You either take that risk to get great sound or you avoid it by buying from a behemoth.

>>what if someone mods a sony dvd player and it sounds astonishingly close to a meitner?<<

Many have tried and failed. Again, in this hobby, progress happens. Someday, something is going to best the Meitner gear, or at least someone will claim it does. That's life. There's nothing you can buy in audio that is guaranteed to stay on the top of the pile forever.

>>j.atkinson of stereophile has heard a ton of systems, but still relaxes to his ml-30.6/31.5 cdp, which he cheerily admits is not the cat's meow anymore.<<

Perfect example. Others have come along to best his ML gear, some of it for far less money, but he's still happy with his gear. That's a sane attitude in this hobby.

>>oh, and i am certainly less than thrilled with buying "pre-production or 1st generation" audio.<<

Is someone pressuring you to buy Meitner gear? If you want to wait until it goes through several production runs, that's your perogative -- BUT -- you can say that about just about anything in audio. If you're worried about these types of issues, you can alleviate them by buying from large established companies like Sony, but which of their CDP's would you buy? Their new flagship is the first incarnation of that particular model and you might want to read up on their service issues, but you can be sure they will be around. Frankly, it sounds like the price of the Meitner gear is freaking you out a little and this is causing you to want a lot of assurance for your money. My experience has been that when buying audio gear at this level, some risk is involved, but I took that risk when buying my Meitner gear and I would take it again in a heartbeat to get sound quality at this level. I'm confident Meitner
will be around, I'm impressed with their service -- best I've had -- and I'm not willing to wait to see if someone can top it, who knows how long that will take? How long will *that* company have been around? What assurance will I have that it will be around forever? How long will it stay on top of the pile? How many production runs should I wait? Etc. etc. etc. I'd rather be enjoying my Meitner gear in the present. The sound quality is amazing. I never thought I could be this happy with redbook CD's and the SACD playback is just a great bonus.
The DCC2 is pretty expensive, but if replacing a very good CDP, the cost is not so outrageous, but add the EMM Transport and we are talking a lot of $$$.
Anybody who has tried the modified Phillips compatible transport, please comment on
1) availability
2) comparitive sonic virtues
3) price difference
Ironically option 4 is your best bet in terms of bypassing the issue of technological obsolence.

While EMM enjoys a very good reputation, there are other options out there as well. My Audio Synthesis DAX Discrete, placed on a slightly tweaked Machina Dynamica Promethean Base, matches the resolution of my analog system, and provides nearly as much enjoyment.

FWIW, the DAX Discrete is more popular in Europe than here in the US.

Audio Synthesis Website
People regularly take a beating selling their often expensive CD players to go for the latest greatest thing. It's not called the "Bleeding Edge" for nothing.

Now, once they have done that, do you really think that we're going to hear an objective opinion from them about the quality of the player? Are they going to say, "I was an idiot to sell my old player for such a low price, then spend way more to get this new one, and it's just not that much better than the old one!!"

No, I don't think we're ever going to hear that. They rave about the new piece to justify their expenditure. It's only human.
Now, don't any of the rest of you rush into a buying decision like that. Just, well, go jump in the lake and cool off!! (and think about it ;-) Enjoy what you have and don't change it unless it's really worth it!
>>Are they going to say, "I was an idiot to sell my old player for such a low price, then spend way more to get this new one, and it's just not that much better than the old one!!"<<

Inside this piece of bad logic is a good point and that is that you should always take someone's opinion as a starting point in your research. Other than that, there is a flawed presumption that no one is ever happier with the new piece of equipment, they just lie about it, which probably does happen,
but if used as a *presumption* -- like most presumptions -- it leads to the notion that everyone who doesn't say what Golden Ears has predetermined is the right answer, is failing to tell you the truth. However, his argument is done in by the fact that all of us know that we *have* upgraded and *have* been legitimately happier with the new piece -- that's why the presumption is flawed. Unless you want to believe that everyone who has ever upgraded and failed to tell you they were foolish for doing so is a liar. Does that make any sense?

The simple fact is -- *EARLY ADOPTERS* of any technoology will always pay a premium to be first in line. Emm Labs gear *is* expensive, but you have to understand the price point in which they are competing. Emm Labs isn't alone at this price point. Linn, Burmeister, and several other digital solutions are available at that price point -- AND HIGHER.

At it's PRICE POINT, Emm Labs offers excellent value. Does it offer value compared to players that might get you 75% of the way there for less money?
I doubt Emm Labs owners are asking themselves that question.

If you don't want to be an early adopter, are willing stick with what you have, want to wait until the technology is available at a lower price -- no problem.
Soothing yourself with the notion that all those raving about the equipment are liars is understandable on a human level, but ain't going to wash on a logical one.

I still own my two former digital front ends, they are in other systems around the house -- I gave one of them, a Sony SCD XA777ES, to my brother for his birthday. To my ears, the redbook CD playback of the Emm Labs is superior -- to the SACD playback of the Sony player -- and I used to be thrilled with the SACD playback of the Sony. I cannot believe I have a player that makes redbook CD's sound this good.

Since I have around 1,500 CD's -- getting this much enjoyment out of them is worth the expenditure. Again -- the SACD playback is even better, but I take the SACD playback as a bonus.
Ironically enough, I know how to spell obsolescence. Just not in my last post however. :-)
I've got a question. How does one acheive SACD playback with the Meitner gear? What transport is currently available which will link to the Meitner DAC for SACD playback? Another question: If Meitner has no plans for a "one-box" player, which "one-box" player is the best for SACD?
No one has answered your blue laser question yet. I will try, but please read this with a grain of salt. A lot of salt.

Blue lasers will be used to improve DVD's, not necessarily CD or SACD. DVD's right now do not compare well to an HDTV digital TV satelite signal, not enough information. Anyone with an HDTV that watches live HDTV feeds (football)will tell you it's incredible. DVD is a bit behind. People will start to notice the difference, and DVD players will need to be improved. Thus blue lasers.

There may also be a use for blue lasers in vinyl playback. Those tiny grooves contain a lot of information, some of which a stylus can't pick up. In theory a laser can. I can't remember the name of the company that makes a laser record player, DLP?, but they are looking at blue lasers.

Having said that, the only way to get better digital audio, is to have more digits, more information. I believe 'Fourrier Analysis' describe every sound as being comprised of an infinite number of sine and cosine waves?. Therefore the more information obtained, the more realistic the sound. You will likely see 'hard disk' high end audio before you see widespread blue light CD / SACD.

I think.

Please be easy on me. I have no technical information to back up my story.
I am using the modified Phillips transport, but I believe Emm Labs has now released their own transport.
Does this thread signal the end (or near end) of Wadia and/or Levinson hysteria? No? Yes?

I eagerly await the upcoming threads describing the soon-to-be-available $12,000 Meitner mods by third parties—to “really” bring out all those extra ounces of resolution (you know, the ones that weren't captured by the recording engineers in the first place) and, less we forget, blacker-than-black hole backgrounds—with great anticipation.

[Come on, I am just razing you EM&M folks, but you do know—IT WILL come to pass, don't cha.]

I can't wait for the day we simply put on a neural cap and have the music fed hardwired style to our brains.


Honestly, let me try to describe my EMM experiment.

First my Philips was modified by EMM Labs in Calgary. I definitely liked the sound better than my 10 year old Nakamichi 7 Cd changer, obviously. But it still wasn't great.

I then saved my pennies and ordered the DAC 6e.

Wow!, now it was great.

But, I conducted an experiment. The DAC 6e fed one input of the Placette Passive, and the Philips into another. This is the same Philips I just said wasn't great. THE DAC6E WAS THE MASTER CLOCK IN BOTH INSTANCES. Switching between the two inputs the DAC 6e did win, but not by a huge margin. The sound of the Philips was now almost great. I could have lived with either setup. I think the point is the need for a master and slave clock setup. The elimination of clock jitter is in my eyes the most important thing. But once I knew the DAC 6e was better there was no need to go without.

We all want the best sound, Wadia is great as is Audio Aero, and no doubt some others. Wait and see what the future has in store. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Somebody already posted a review of a mod he had done on his Emm Labs gear with verbage just like you describe. Check the archives.
After reading this thread, all I get is "here comes the banwagon jump on"

I remember everyone jumping on the Sony SACD player banwagon and now a couple of years later they'll all be sad that they didn't wait for the EMM labs DAC. And a couple of years from now those who bought the EMM labs will regret not waiting for the... and so on and so on -- in the mean time I'll still be spinning vinyl while others spin their wheels.

The EMM is clearly superior, even given the need until recently of the crappy Phillip sacd player to run it. I must say, however, that there are clearly better unit now. I sold my DAC6 some time ago when I found several units at least the equal of the EMM and cheaper. No one is going to stay at the top of the pile for very long.
Please enlighten us as to what CD player(s) are now available that are "clearly better" than the EMM Labs before any more of us jump off the EMM Labs cliff.
Craig Zastera
Robm321, you make a good point about spinning vinyl. Advancement in the vinyl realm presumably is near its zenith. There is however a lot of titles available only in digital format and the digital technology has improved considerably. I suspect most of the folks here, including myself, that have been willing to pay $10K plus for a digital front end have wrestled with the issue prior to parting with their cash. To keep things in perspective, my Audio Synthesis setup cost roughly half of what my vinyl playback system cost and nearly matches the performance.
Craig, give the Exemplar/Denon 2900 a try.....It is a very nice unit that goes for just over 3K.
Robm321- The LP was once one of the "bandwagons" you refer to!! You are beginning to sound like a fanatical "78" disc spinner from the 40's. How could a slower rotating 33 1/3 disc possibly be superior sounding to the "78" ??

Sometimes bandwagons transport us to a better place, sometimes not. But to summarily dismiss all bandwagon rides is truly closed-minded and ignorant. Don't knock it till you've tried it..
Bob, trusting your comments, I went in search of the Denon 2900 on line. Are you sure the price you posted is correct?

Denon's home site shows this at only $1000 unless I looked up the wrong model.
Albert, That is the price for the stock unit. The additional is for john to do the modifications.
Thanks Brooks, now it make sense.

From the reviews I'm finding on line, the unit looks to be a great buy, even in stock form.

Wonder how it compares to my Sony DVP-S9000es?
>>they'll all be sad that they didn't wait for the EMM labs DAC<<

This is pretty wild speculation. It posits a mythical sony SACD player buyer who, if he/she just didn't spend the money on that Sony player, would be buying the Emm Labs gear, but somehow cannot upgrade because the Sony purchase doomed him/her to this sad dead end on the digital evolutionary ladder. And, not just *some* of them, but *ALL* will be sad that they didn't wait. It also posits an audio universerse where upgrading is an odd occurence. An alternate universe, no doubt. My guess would be that some of those Sony SACD buyers are still happily spinning their silver discs, others have been through several players since then, along with different speakers, amplifiers, pre-amps, and cables, and plenty of them are now happily upgrading to Emm Labs gear and spreading the word. I don't know -- just makes more sense than the other scenario, which goes to show there are many ways to spin one's wheels.

Albert, John Tucker of Exemplar does a nice modification and sells complete Denon units for just over 3K......It doesn't seem to have the lack of "life" in the upper midrange of the EMM Labs or Lindemann and will decode any format.....Norm has been using one of these for a while and I am familiar with the unit as Meine, who lives a couple miles from me, has one as well......Don't trust my comments as I'm using a digital system that is so old it is about to turn to dust, but get out and hear some of the hot rod units and compare them. The Exemplar/Denon is the best I have heard that is currently available.....
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I'm actually 34 years old, so if vinyl had a banwagon I wasn't even a sperm cell at the time. I like it because its the most realistic reproduction of music that I've heard. I've always noticed a digital edge on CD and SACD. I have a CD player as well because of the fact that software if most available in that format and I enjoy listening to it. I go with the best sound. So if EMM betters an equally priced TT set up I'm all for it.

I'm hearing from this thread that EMM is pretty much the best sounding CD DAC trasport and best SACD player out there which pretty much beats or matches any other format is that correct?

It's just that every year a bunch of hype surrounds a product and when the dust settles -- and it's just another quality product, but not something that changes the universe. That is usually what banwagon refers to. Please enlighten me.
I am sorry I have been inattentive to this thread. I suspect given the reviews that the Reimyo cd player at $14k playing only cds outperforms the Exemplar/Denon 2900. I also have been very impressed with the TEAC UX1 with the atomic clock. This combo costs $28k. I know of no other digital players that even come close to the new Siltech wired Exemplar at $4000.
Tbg: There was a shootout done with the Siltech Exemplar and the EMM Labs. Most people that attended do not share your opinion. They found it very nice sounding, but highly colored.
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Tvad: The Exemplar is a good modified player. It has a long way to go. For many systems, or for people that enjoy that type of colored or syrupy sound, it is a very good tone control. Very warm and not like real music.

For resolution, soundstaging, naturalness and neutrality, nothing I have heard is in the league of the EMM Labs. There are still some very good players out there that are quite enjoyable, including the Siltech Exemplar, but they do not do what the EMM Labs gear can.
I have not heard the Emm and in all honesty, I am not sure I want to. I like what I have and my Dentist says I have ground my teeth down so much that it is going to cost mor than $6,000.00 to fix it all.
Jtinn, are you familiar with the Audio Synthesis DAX Discrete Variable? It excels at all the qualities you mention regarding the Meitner unit; plus it offers the added benefit of an exceptional digital volume control.
Tbg: That is not fair. I am very objective and thought I answered in an extremely objective manner.

Norm, your biases in terms of listneing are very different than most of the people I run across. Most people I speak with do not like horns and SET's for long term listening. They like it initially for the beauty, but tire very quickly of the highly colored sound. You seem to really enjoy that kind of sound. Understand, there is nothing wrong with that. It is just your preference.

Tucker does very nice work and I enjoy the sound of his gear, albeit, it is not what I look for in my perception of accurate reproduction.

Unclejeff: I too grind my teeth very badly. I have a dentist appointment and am getting fitted for a night guard. My understanding is that continued grinding could possibly damage the occular nerve.

Wellfred: While I am not a fan of digital volume controls and can only equate the loss of "bits" or information (resolution) to prior experiences with digital volume controlled players, I do not have any real personal experience with the DAX in my system. Am I mistaken, or does the Audio Synthesis convert SACD back to PCM?

The EMM Labs converts all PCM recordings to 5.6 mHz (twice DSD) and the DCC 2 has an analog volume (remote) control as well as multiple analog inputs. At first take, it appears fairly expensive, but when you factor in the built in 2 channel (Switchman) preamp, some find it quite a bargain.

If you would like to do a comparison, let me know, I might have someone in your area who would be interested in participating.
If the people who own the equipment in question are not to be believed because they will defend their purchase, this means we can trust neither the owners of Emm Labs nor the owners of the modified Denon player. If people fail to tell you when they make unfortunate purchases, this could also include people who purchased a modified DVD player for their digital front end or traded in their Emm Labs gear for said gear. I think we need to be careful where we shoot -- the bounce-back will getcha every time. So, if no one can be trusted what does that mean? It means we all have to do our own listening and choose the products that sound best to us. One person's syrup may not work for everyone and what looks like a risk to some will look like a safe bet to others. What looks like a trend could be a trend, but it could also be a bunch of people expressing joy and spreading good news. And, speaking of trends, I have noticed another trend. Take a low-end piece of gear, like a DVD player or home theater receiver, swap out a few parts and claim it beats gear costing 10 to 20 times as much. Speaking of risk, what do you think you can get for a used Denon DVD player with $3,000 worth of mods? How many production runs have there been? Who is going to fix your modded Denon if it breaks after a year or two? See, everything is relative. But, my experience has been that I would rather have the money back that I spent on the lower cost players I bought one the way to the Emm Labs gear.
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Jtinn, I am not positive, but I believe that SACD's are converted to PCM. I presume that the DAX Discrete volume control succeeds so magnificently because of the massive oversampling.

I am pretty illiterate with regards to the technology so I will quote from the Audio Synthesis website directly.

"Oversampling for simplicity
In all of our audio designs we have always prioritised the simplicity of the analogue domain. Our world famous PASSION series of L-pad Vishay Bulk-Foil attenuators illustrate the importance of minimising analogue complexity to achieve essential levels of realism - otherwise lost forever by passage through the usual myriad of analogue components.

Here in DAX Discrete we have chosen to spend considerably more design effort in the digital domain including automatically oversampling the highest resolution 24 bit input data, up, to over 700kHz, in order to eliminate any active analogue electronics in the audio path. This achievement carries an expensive digital overhead - but the gains in emotional involvement are entirely priceless."

All I can say is that it works very well. In order for me to listen late into the evening I am forced to listen at very low volumes. I do not notice any loss of resolution when listening at these low volumes. I would love to compare the two units directly sometime. I will contact you privately within the next couple of months to see what can be arranged. Thanks for the offer.

Here is the link to the complete Audio Synthesis description for their product. It's pretty interesting reading.

Audio Synthesis DAX Discrete
Tvad, you know that I sold my DAC6, so you know my bias. Jonathan is correct that I use horns and SET, but wrong in his characterization of all horns. I do not lack high end or bottom end extension with my Murata super tweeters and substantial subwoofers. One of the elements that I value is sound stage realism and precision. A key element in my system in this regard is the H-Cat P12 line stage, which in my opinion as well as many others, is in another league than other line stage in terms of imaging.

If you want to set the benchmark of a 100 for the EMM for sound stage width and depth through the H-Cat in my system, I would have to say that the Exemplar is at least 150. Furthermore it has greater temperal accuracy and greater dynamics. It is greater realism of being present at the recording session that most caused me to praise the Exemplar. It was the Allen Wright units achievement of similar results to the EMM as well as the greater cost of the EMM that caused me to sell the EMM.

At its root you need to listen for your self to both these and the Reimyo and TEAC UX-1. I suspect you will agree with me as to which to buy.