Meitner MA-3 vs Lampizator Baltic 4

Trying to decide between Meitner MA3 and Lampi Baltic 4.  Looking for smooth analog sound.  Bonus with the Meitner is the streaming capability which would potentially allow me to sell my Aurender N150 streamer.

Thoughts anyone?



The streamer in the MA3 is not endgame, and the Aurender N150 is likely better than it. That said, you will also have a hard time getting smooth analog sound from the Aurender N150. The N200 will sound more robust as a streamer with a bit more tonal density, lower noise floor, and larger soundstage. That said, the N20 is really where you can leave $20-30K vinyl front ends behind. I am an Aurender dealer and have compared these units.

As far as the DAC section goes, the MA3 is pretty good. It gets toward the analog sound and retains better control at the frequency extremes, at least when I demoed it against the Baltic 3. I wasn't aware there is now a Baltic 4. With the Baltic 3, I got very 'analog' sounding digital, but I couldn't live with the loss of control in the bass and the rounded highs which took away from the size of the soundstage and effects toward holography - and I was experimenting with excellent tube choices. I  ended up returning the Baltic after not having a great experience with it. Ultimately, I went with T+A. I loved it so much, I ended up becoming a dealer for them.

Can you briefly describe the difference between the Meitner and T&A?

I'm currently using a MA3 but have never heard the T&A.

There are significant changes between the Baltic 3 vs the Baltic 4 including trickle down new tech engine and different tubes.  It was on my short list until I snagged a fantastic sonic deal in the Linn DSM/2 with upgraded Organik DAC card - sonically completes with the best of the best so I'm done upgrading DACs.  I may try a tube DAC someday to try out that "holographic" sound many favor and to tube roll a bit, so Lampi is still a viable option.   



Below is a link to a thread on WhatsBestForum specific to the Baltic 4 , maybe you can glean what you want to know from it


Thanks for your comments.

One thing that I should have mentioned was that I am replacing an RME ADI-2 DAC FS and using an Audio Research I-50 Integrated amp with Wolf Von Langa SON speakers.  Looking to upgrade to bring the system up to the level of the WVLs.

I have heard very good things about the T + A 200.  My preconceptions about T + A is that they produce higher end ambient listening family room system.  I have listening to some of the equipment at AXPONA and was impressed, but this line looks like it is designed for your orthodontists office or home theater.  I have not heard the DAC 200 so I should probably put my preconceived notions aside.

So the on-board streamer of the Meitner would not sound as good as the Aurender N-150?  Would the lack of a separate streamer diminish the presentation to the point where I would need to get another streamer?  I have really not heard anyone mention anything about the streamer being not so great.  Would I be able to ditch the streamer?  Having to keep the streamer changes the value proposition.


My first choice was the Baltic 4 until I was presented with the opportunity for the Meitner, and now the T + A.  It is apparently a very considerable upgrade from the Baltic 3.

I just read the WBF on the Lampi Baltic 4. So far it’s got Ron Resnick, owner of WBF breaking in his unit, while basically another fanboy is gushing over the unit when it is placed in a fairly near-field setup with bookshelves right against the wall. While I have no doubt there will be some improvement, I doubt it is that significant. When I owned the Baltic 3, I could not tell the difference between it and a Modwright Transporter AT ALL. (Dan Wright modified the Logitech Transporter to add a linear power supply and tube-based analog output stage). Keep in mind that the Modwright Transporter hit the market in 2008. The reason I wanted to try the Baltic 3 wad because it used similar tube sets as the MW Transporter, which I already had on hand. While the Baltic 3 was good, it further reinforced the value of the MW Transporter, which could be had for less than $1K used these days. I did roll the tubes in the Baltic 3 with some of the best available: Sylvania VT-231, Tung Sol 68FG BGRP, Psvane T-II CV-181, EML 5U4G, Philips 5RYGYS, etc. At the end of the day, I still preferred my heavily modified PS Audio DirectStream DAC MK1. For me, it would require a significant improvement in the Baltic 4 to make it worth its price. Some people just go nuts about tube DACs, when at the end its a tradeoff with other things that you won’t get back... mainly speed and noise floor that leads to control and holography.

Regarding the MA3 - yes, I would definitely keep the Aurender. Look inside the MA3. For a full-sized chassis, this combines DAC, streamer and volume control all in one:


I don’t see much in the works of isolating the streamer from the analog stage at all, and keeping the digital signal noise free is incredibly important due to its delicacy. I actually don’t see a robust design for the analog stage at all.

The DAC 200 on the other hand has a much more robust power supply, more sophisticated circuitry, and requires external streamers:

T+A DAC 200/A 200 DAC/Preamp & Power Amp | Hi-Fi News

It has dedicated DACs for PCM and DSD, an incredible analog stage output, and great DAC filters to help shape the sound a bit further.

My suggestion? Go for the DAC 200. With the remaining funds, also trade in your N150 and upgrade to an N200. That will get you significantly farther than going for an MA3.

One needs to audition at home equipment of interest.  Everyone has an opinion and often not based on data.

One needs to audition at home equipment of interest.  Everyone has an opinion and often not based on data.

@delm, agreed!

Comparing internals is not the best way to compare components, at least when you factor in the magic (in my opinion) inside Meitner/EMM DACs is Ed Meitner's custom/proprietary tech; i.e., 16xDSD MDAC2 DAC and MDAT2 DSP.   

I replaced a similar priced R2R NOS DAC that was jammed full of components including 5 different and very robust power supplies, etc... and to my ears I much preferred the sound of the MA3.

The Computer Audiophile has reviewed both the MA3 and DAC 200 and liked both, without comparing them directly.

@blisshifi, I agree the MA3's internal streamer is not the greatest, I prefer the sound of the MA3 using its AES input with a Bricasti M5.

Baltic 4 owner here having upgraded from Baltic 3, big difference in resolution at the frequency extremes. Soundstage is wide and deep. Fed by a Lumin U1 (the big boy not the mini). Previously I owned a Terminator II DAC (fed by an Aurender N200) and am currently demoing an MSB Discrete DAC with dual power supplies and USB & streaming modules. The MSB is 4 times the price as configured but right now I am still preferring my Baltic 4. The MSB is more "audiophile" but just barely, the Baltic 4 is as analog with most music as my $15K analog TT/phono stage front end. Just my 2 cents.