new Meitner MA3 hit the rack today

Letting it warm up and run some playlists on repeat through it.  Gonna give it a few hundred hours of break-in before the first critical session.  Nice unit.  Roon 1.8 picked it up, but didn’t let me configure as an output since the certification is delayed by a few weeks.  Wasn’t really planning on switching the digital front end, as it’s more of a secondary source during the day, but I just couldn’t take the Aurender UI/UX anymore.  “A far more intuitive interface, Roon is” said Yoda.  The A10 sound was very livable long term but just got tired of that darn UI.  Roon could stream to it, but only over airplay, so what’s the point there.  Anyway, I’ll post up some thoughts when I get rolling with it for real.

Just a quick update on the DA2v2/NS1. Both hooked up via EMM Optilink. I did compare the Optilink vs the AES input and it’s quite shocking how much better the Optilink sounded. Just toggle the inputs on the remote. Took a long time for this combo to get stabilized and run in and sound its best. Now it has over 1000 hours and sounding really, really good. This combo has great magic to the sound. Has a certain air and depth missing in most digital and trust me it will rival most top shelf turntable systems. 

The DA2v2 and NS1 arrived today. It hit the rack and I’ve been listening to it for about an hour. It’s difficult to believe how easily it surpasses the MA3 in every respect stone cold out of the box. Will let it stabilize and report back with details. 

Please do!  Hope you got a good deal on it.  If i get the upgrade bug (objection, leading question) I may go down this road with the DA2, but so far, I'm pretty happy where I'm at.

The EMM DA2v2/NS1 is scheduled to arrive next week and I will let it settle for a few days before listening to it and post my impressions. 

@genesis168 wow sweet that you picked up an EMM Labs unit...let us know what you think about that piece and how it compares for the MA3 after getting some listening time :)

yeah, the EMM stuff definately punches above it's weight.  Sure, there's something out there for far more money for a bit more of this or that, but of all the equipment that comes and goes, so far this has been sitting there doing it's thing and it's fantastic.  Had it on earlier today playing the bill evans trio Sunday at the Village vanguard and just nailed it.  I compared it to the new OJC 180gm and also my 200gm out of the bill evans box set from AP, and while the AP version steals the show every time, through the, the piano sounds just about right for being a digital front end....

Prior to this I had a Ypsilon DAC1000. The ypsilon has a bit of an edge over the MA3 sonically. I sold it to a friend who wanted it and used the MA3 in the interim until I could figure which road I want to go. It definitely performed way better than expected. Good enough for me to place an order for the EMM Labs DA2v2/NS1 which will hopefully be arriving soon.  

hey @genesis168 what DAC did you use prior?  I'm curious to hear.  I also have the MA3 and love it :)

Just received my MA3 and streaming through its built in streamer. All I can say is wow! What an amazing sounding piece. Makes me wonder what the DA2v2/NS1 would sound compared to it. 

Hey! I got the most inexpensive one they sell, the pearl. .75 meters. I think it was around $50. The one I replaced was like a 6’ super basic one with plastic ends. I’ve only had the unit for 3 days now but it’s been on ever since I got it. You know maybe you’re right, it could have been a burn in thing. I did let it sit on for over probably 20 hours before I listened to it again, which is when I put that cable in. That’s a great point. When I read about burn in on a electronic piece like this dac, which really doesn’t have much inside it as far as parts/pieces, I feel like it’s just people adjusting to its sound over time. That stuff didn’t make much sense to me but maybe it’s real after all! But since I let it sit for awhile and replaced this cable at the same time, now I’m not sure which it was. Maybe it was both things.. I say give it a shot! I got my cable off Amazon, so it can be returned. Try it out and send it back if doesn’t work out, but let me know how it goes! I’m using its internal steamer. There’s a new app out called J Play which so far seems to be really nice. It cost me $50 but I think it should be much better than M connect. I think J Play is just a much more dressed up version of M connect, but so far it’s worked very well and looks really good on my iPad. Another thought.. The reason I bought the cable was because in the user manual it was talking about using an appropriate shielded USB cable, then said something along the lines if using Ethernet use an “appropriate” cable as if they were saying themselves not to use a generic plastic end cat5 cable. That’s what made me try it out. 

First, glad you stepped back and started thinking about what could be wrong and hope you didn’t spend a fortune on an Ethernet cable.  Funny thing is in my system I have a 10’ Ethernet cable I that came with some god knows what device from years back and never really thought about an Ethernet cable. I’m in the camp you were, I mean, it’s a network cable who cares!!!  I may need to now try this out myself.  What audio quest cable and length did you go with and did you get a deal on it?  I’m not gonna run out and go get a Nordost Odin 2 thing, but may toss a few pence and something better than scrap cable to see if there’s any change.  Also, how long have you had the unit on?  break-in is a thing but happened quicker than a CD player or preamp/amp.  Also, are you using Roon with the device?

So I just got a Meitner MA3 the other day. Been wanting this thing for a long time and it just ticked a lot of boxes for me. I had this whole post on here, which I pretty much immediately deleted, about how disappointed I was in it. I wanted to love it so bad cause I had waited for so long and I was upgrading from a blusound node! I was thinking it was going to be this massive upgrade. I feel my system should have been resolving enough, so i thought. But it was only marginally better than my node. So here I was thinking about what type of crack you guys were smoking to hear this level of audio quality you were describing. I know diminishing returns is real but from a less than 1k dac/steamer to a 10k one I had assumed it was going to blow me away and it just didn’t. I had hyped myself up so much. So, as I said I had this whole post, since deleted, asking you guys if I’m crazy.. Anyways over the next night I just ordered an audio quest Ethernet cable as I just had a piece of crap generic Ethernet cable plugged into it. Well, once I hooked that thing up, holy ****!! I was never one to believe in the cable thing, especially Ethernet. Audiophiles talk about “liquid” sound and that is something I’ve been searching for. Well now I think I know what they mean.. I had to the right gear but it was Ethernet cable holding me back?!?!? Crazy! 

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I had DAC2X + NS1 and now have a MA3.  Since the DAC2X was designed there are years of development in the MA3.  MA3 sounds better.  For a while I used the NS1 with the MA3 and could not hear an advantage to the streamer in the MA3.

well, it'll sound different, but not necessarily better, or worse than what you have now in the context of your system. you could always just buy it, and if you want to keep the MA3, take a $1k loss on it and flip it on Audiogon here,  but then you'll know.   I just got a long demo on a Linn Selekt DSM with the Organik DAC architecture, minimal build, no bells and whistles, and's pretty sweet.  If you are looking to change up, might wanna take a hard look at that if you have a dealer in your area, plus that thing is upgradable forever just about.  Kinda like my old workhorse Theta Digital Casablanca.



I currently own MA3, but there is a clearance sale at the dealer Dac2X V2 +NS1 at an excellent price. Do you guys think I should keep MA3 and goes with Dac2X V2+ NS1, or will MA3 outperform them? AFAIK Dac2X V2 is DSD512 and 8xDSD compared to MA3 DSD1024 16 x DSD. Has anyone ever compared them side by side? Thank you. 

I've owned both the M3 and MA3.    I sold the M3 after a few months but still own the MA3.     Personally I find the MA3 another level up on the M3, it is also a lot more expensive too and I've experienced that the differences between DACs relative to cost isn't always worth it, at least to me and my ears.

I liked the M3 but found it too similar sounding to the RME ADI2 FS DAC I also owned at the time to justify its price, relatively speaking.   I will say its ability to drive an amp direct is the best I've tried at home (I've not tried the digital volume control yet on the MA3 but I will be surprised if it beats the Bricasti).

I replaced the M3 with a Mojo Audio R2R NOS DAC (and Bricasti M5) and thought it was a big improvement for the sound I was looking for, and now I've replaced the Mojo with the MA3 and think that offers another big improvement.   Unfortunately I find the M5 with AES sounds slightly better to me than with the built in streamer in the MA3 which is unfortunate since I was hoping to apply the M5 sale onto the cost of the MA3. 

I will say bang for buck the little RME is the best sounding DAC I've owned and I sometimes think what I could do with that difference in price if I swap the MA3 for the RME...   It's a crazy hobby for sometimes such small differences compared to price.

Thanks Ross

I listened to the MA3 at a dealer with the flagship B&W 804? The Mac 600 w amps. 
Sounded good and the idea of attaching  a portable SSD was pretty cool. 
I do like my current setup. Between the Melco’s filtering and the EtherRegen the system  really sounds good. 

How does the attached files sound thru the MA3?  I could get rid of a box with my Bricasti M3 and Melco Na combo. 

I spent a week with the MA3 but ended up buying the Bricasti M3. I felt it sounded better and more natural. Make sure you get a long demo of the MA3 before thinking of replacing your Bricasti.


How does the attached files sound thru the MA3?  I could get rid of a box with my Bricasti M3 and Melco Na combo. 

Thanks @73cuttysupreme for your thoughts on the MA3...your comments carry a lot of weight given you've been using it for so long.  The DCS comparison is pretty eye opening!  

i spent some time with a buddy's DCS in the rack for a few months while he was out of country on job assignment.  I'll take the MA3, thanks!  and then go spend the 40k i saved on LPs.  The DCS is so nice, but the MA3 is about 95% of the way there for 1/8th the cost.  Head to head, unless you have a pair of XVXs and it's all VAC statement and Valhalla cabling, you're gonna be hard pressed to tell the difference.  Seriously.

Still in the rack, never been powered off, has performed flawlessly.  It just gets out of the way.  No issues with any Roon compatibility issues, even with all the the various updates, and now Roon 2.0 or whatever incremental build it is on.  Hi res streaming from Qobuz beats the snot out of Tidal.  Some of the MQA titles are great, but Qobuz is the defacto source provider.  This thing really excels at classical and Jazz.  Been going through the Naive label's Vivaldi project and I'll tell ya it sounds about as good as one can expect at double the price point.  No digital etch, great tone color, decay is 'just right'.  Just get one and don't look back.  If you are a snowflake and decide it's not for you, you can flip it in a single day on 2nd hand market for almost what you paid for it.


hey @73cuttysupreme, any further thoughts on your Meitner unit? I've been considering this one so any insight from your 6+ months of experience with it would be appreciated

If you re-read his post, I believe he was comparing the Roon interface with the Aurender captive interface. I agree with you that mconnect is hardly the benchmark for a user interface. Roon is pretty terrific and its implentation with the MA3 seamless.

“it replaced my Aurender a10 which had an UX i would recommend for enemies.  it's the worst. ”

That’s a bit of exaggeration. IME, mConnect is probably one of the worst UX out there! 

not sure if you are bitrate or resolution capped using apple music over network.  it used to be streaming using airplay was basically 320kbps max

anyway, check it out, takes all of 3 minutes to set it up and start playing through your MA3.  i went to the MA3 not only cause it was a superior DAC, but due to the software interface offered through roon.  it replaced my Aurender a10 which had an UX i would recommend for enemies.  it's the worst.  good sound, but interacting with the aurender just took what joy i had using the A10.  with MA3, great hardware, great software, and I'm not looking to change anything until i get Wadax money.

mConnect is free and uses any NAS or streaming subscription you have.  Roon though is top flight, and really great for meta data and music exploration.  it's 20/month or something, a pittance really for what it brings to the table.  


Roon guys iirc are originally the Meridian Sooloos software guys, and implemented a similar system decoupled from Meridian's hardware.  It's like Apple OS without the Apple hardware tax.  They have a 30 day trial.  you can run the roon core on your mac, it's lightweight.  it then pumps a stream losslessly to the MA3 which is roon ready.

How would I stream the music I have saved on my computer...former ITunes, now it's called Music....?

Thanks to each of you for the feedback on the internal streamer and thanks to my buds @david_ten and  ​​​​@wig for the warm welcome back. 

Truly great to hear that the internal streamer is so good and really stoked that it is on par with the NS1.

Can’t wait to get the new system set up and hear this bad boy. Hoping to make that happen in two weeks, the critical path being delivery of the Nenuphars which have to ship by truck freight.

I use the internal streamer in the MA3.  I had an NS1 connected via Toslink, glass cable, to the MA3 and could not determine a difference.

Qobuz, no Tidal. Meitner added MQA as a safety/marketing thing. Rumor has it that he is "dubious" regarding the positive effects of MQA.

Agreed above.  I run roon, and it is perfect in every way.  Use both Tidal and Qobuz, but TBH, while MQA is kinda neat and can have a small measurable difference, still prefer the higher bitrate flat files from qobuz, plus the Tidal API times out from time to time.


What streaming platforms are you guys running?

It sounds better to my ears through its internal streamer vs spdif/aes/usb. With that said, its likely all the cable/device variables have been removed from the chain. Enjoy, its a great dac, especially since you were luck to shag one preowned.

@dlcockrum   Welcome back!  : )

I expect most are, if using the internal streamer:


I am wondering if anyone is using the MA3’s internal network streamer directly via Ethernet from your router/switch

@ghasley Thanks for the reply. The rca outputs of the DAC are connected to my TV to serve as an output load for now.

I appreciate your guidance on the internal streamer. I am surprised that the half dozen or so reviews I could find on the MA3 never discussed listening impressions through the internal streamer and I can’t really find anything useful on the web re: listening impressions for the EMMlabs NS1 streamer (similar to the internal streamer in the MA3) either. This feature is, to me, a big selling point for the MA3, providing that it sounds comparable to a good external streaming device.


In my systems, the MA3’s internal streamer sounds best. Sold my FTA usb cable. Also, I dont know how much is audio nervosa vs real science but Ive been told not to run gear without it plugged into its appropriate load, ie plugged in via interconnects to a pre or amp.

Great thread.

Just picked up a lightly used MA3 on Audiomart. Arrived today but I am still waiting on my new integrated and speakers so all I can do for now is put some “settling  hours” on it and watch it stream.

I am wondering if anyone is using the MA3’s internal network streamer directly via Ethernet from your router/switch, and if so, your opinion on the sound quality and also vs using an external server/renderer/streamer via USB into the MA3?

I have a black one and I have a silver one...they are both quite attractive.

Listing gone...I'd feel worse if it was a black unit...the silver doesn't look good.

No affiliation, but FYI that there's a listing here for a used Meitner MA3. They don't come up often.

@chesebert I assume the MA3 compares favorably but there is quite a price gap as the EMM is 3X the price. Chris over at Audiophilestyle did a direct comparison as the EMM is his reference dac.



To echo your original post, the MA3 is simply an amazing accomplishment. Many have been in the hobby for years…always chasing the next upgrade. For alot of years with digital, the last upgrade was good enough until such time as the next performance benchmark is introduced. The MA3, however, to my ears has introduced a benchmark performance level at a price that is simply unbelieveable. Demo’d Bartok, previously owned Chord Dave, Lampi Golden Atlantic, Nagra Classic Dac, Aqua, etc, etc. I have recently purchased a second MA3 and I also currently own a Totaldac d1 tube streamer. For those considering driving an amp direct, the MA3 is up to the task although I havepreamps in the chain.


Seek it out, go listen and decide for yourself…the MA3 is way too good to be priced at $9,500 retail and my guess is that it won’t be for long.

Agreed.  I’d be hard pressed to find something more engaging for less than twice that price.  Maybe the Nagra Tube DAC, at 4x the price including PSU, but then you need a streaming box too.    I’ve had mine for what, 10 months now, been flawless, hasn’t even been powered off, it’s been converting bites every day.  I’m sure you’ll end up holding onto it for a longer period of time if you end up writing a check for it.  No plans to look elsewhere anytime soon.