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Old 29th November 2005, 01:34 PM   #1
stevers is offline stevers  France
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Default DAC for Meridian 598DP

Can anyone help with what is needed to convert the digital output from a Meridian 598DP CD/DVD player into analogue for a normal pre-amp?
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Old 29th November 2005, 08:30 PM   #2
Cobra2 is online now Cobra2  Norway
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Default digital output ...

into stereo; there are the world full of DAC-choices, if you want to DIY one, use the search-function!
Or tell more about your preferences...

Arne K
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Old 30th November 2005, 09:52 AM   #3
stevers is offline stevers  France
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The thing is I have the chance to buy a 598DP at a sensible price but, unless I'm completely wrong (not unknown), the only way I can use it without connecting to an expensive Meridian digital amp is to set the Aux O/P to give a SPDIF output at 40 whatever KHz. and connect a 'standard' SPDIF DAC.
In this case (again I assume without knowing) I am using the player as a simple disk transport and might as well get inside my existing Technics player and take the digital SPDIF stream to a nice DAC - I could build the TentLab one for example.
Is this correct or is it possible to access the 'posh' features of the Meridian ?
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Old 30th November 2005, 11:09 AM   #4
Cobra2 is online now Cobra2  Norway
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Default I do not know the Meridian...

...but there are several DAC's that accept 96kHz, or higher...

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Old 30th November 2005, 08:03 PM   #5
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Well, either each Meridian 598 is built to order including the output circuitry (which I doubt due to the labour involved), or they just plug in the appropriate connectors and wire them to the appropriate point on the PCB in order to create a 598DP/D/DS/A/AP/AS - which would be cheaper. There is a chance the output whether digital or analog is on a daughterboard fed by a ribbon cable which would leave you needing your DIY custom MHR-to-6-way-analog DAC.

Before embarking on a project to see how to take the MHR output and feed it into a 6 channel custom DAC, why don't you open up the player and see if it is just a case of replacing the output connectors and hooking up wires to some place on the board??? While it may sound stupid, many people are told they must send back a player to the manufacturer for a voltage change (when emigrating) when usually it means using a different fuse on a different line in the PCB and usually this fuse is already in the player.

On the Arcam I am "playing" with at the moment there is no externally visible fuse, but there is one inside and a spare. Imagine if that went and like a typical consumer I sent it back to the factory to be "repaired" and all they do is change the fuse, put in another spare and charge me 50 for labour, just because I wouldn't lift the lid. If your Meridian is second-hand and outside of warranty, open it up and see what you can find. Maybe you could post some pics for the really adept on this website (not me) to look at.

From reading the datasheet fro the 598, I would be concerned at the bit about MHR output sayiing it:
Quote:
uses proprietary encryption and signalling technology and is the first digital connection to be officially sanctioned by the music industry for DVD-Audio content
... as this sounds like the encryption is related to DVD-Audio in general and may be severely interlinked. Meridian are best placed to do some funky things with it given that the DVD-A encoding method is their own MLP (Meridian Lossless Packaging). You would need to be sure you can get an unencrypted digital feed off the player's PCB somewhere and hook those up to the outputs - then you can build your 6-channel DAC!!!!

Sounds like a BIG project to me. However, the idea of a dedicated 6 channel DAC for upgrading DVD-A/V players sounds a winner to me - I cannot see why there aren't any on the market (that I know of).

InfiniteGain
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Old 1st December 2005, 09:02 AM   #6
stevers is offline stevers  France
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Thanks for the helpful feedback. Of course it was positive otherwise your gain would be reduced from infinity.
The problem is the player is in Uncle Sam's bosom at the moment and Meridian, although responding promptly to emails, respond with precious little info.
I too was put off by the proprietary encryption thing. I just want stereo, only being able to afford or house two Quad FREDs (and they're bust at the moment but that's another story) so my feelings are, probably, to go for a cheapo player, put an expensive clock into it and try to get to the output stream before it gets spudified. I'd have to buy/make DACs anyway and I can do all of this for less than the 2.5K$$ the Meridian would cost.
Any comments or suggestions (particularly re DACs) would be appreciated.
Anyone managed to get the parts and build the TentLab DAC ?
I used to build amps for Arthur Radford when I was a student but not sure my palsied old hands would cope with smc's.
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Old 1st December 2005, 10:37 AM   #7
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Yes, you would probably be better served by doing one big project to create a top class player yourself. Meridian are a top player in digital replay and have always put lots of proprietary elements in their players and more of those proprietary elements are turning up on PROMS and FPGAs.

It is entirely possible that the inerds of a 598DP could be a little too proprietary to be recognizable without a schematic - which you will not get while it's still selling in retailers.

That should not disuade you. There is a thread about the TENTLabs with very positive feedback. There is nothing wrong with simplicity and elegance of design - in fact it normally makes for more reliable and better sounding products.

A good transport mechanism, exceptional power regulation for the various stages, clocks and digital display, together with a top notch clock like the TENTLabs and good quality DACs and output stages that you take the time to tune-well will probably give you stereo as good as the Meridian is with analog outputs. As a DIYer you are likely to use better sounding (due to better THD or SNR or wider bandwidth etc) components that manufacturers will not touch because it is not cost effective for them on a grand scale.

As a result, it is possible that many of the top notch DIYers have custom players that will better nearly every commercial design. You may like to know that the best rated player on www.audioreview.com when considering both rating and number of reviews is the Audio Aero Capitole. This latest incarnation is really something and a large part of it was based on custom development with Anagram Technology upsampling, DACs and filters. When this player was released a DIYer could not obtain the technology. Now Anagram Technology have a website where you can purchase the very same technology. In theory, it is possible for a top-notch DIYer to build their own Analog Aero Capitole clone using the devices at
www.anagramtech.com

InfiniteGain
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