To Doug Schneider,

I own a Meitner Audio MA-1 [digital-to-analog converter], which I have so far enjoyed. I’ve done the first software update of the MDAT, but am now considering the new, larger, and more expensive Meitner upgrade option, which is about $2k.

In your experience or the experience of your staff, is that a worthwhile change or for that expense should I really be looking at some of the newer DACs on the market?

Ray Farris

I checked with the people at EMM Labs (the parent company behind the Meitner Audio brand) and the upgrade you’re likely talking about involves both hardware and software -- it’s what they’re calling their V2 upgrade. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how much of a difference it makes to what you have, because I’ve never experienced the update with that DAC. The only thing I can tell you is that I’ve just finished reviewing their flagship DAC, the EMM Labs DA2, and thought it was fabulous (though you’ll have to wait until July 1 to get the full details, because that’s when the review will be published). From what I know, the new V2 upgrades for your DAC and the EMM Labs DAC2X were based on the work that went into the DA2 -- so I bet if you do the upgrade, it will sound good.

Should you take the plunge? My only piece of advice is to decide how much you like the MA-1 right now and make your decision based on that. I know you said you’ve enjoyed it so far, but that doesn’t tell me how enthralled you really are with it. To me, if you really like what you’re hearing and are eager to hear if the upgrade can improve it further, then I have no doubt that spending the money is a good way to go since Meitner-designed DACs are always competitive with the best ones out there. But if you’re not that hot on it and you’re itching to try something new, then it might be better to look at a different brand. That’s all I can say -- now it’s time for you to decide. . . . Doug Schneider