Upstream Bottlenecks, Experience, Opinions, Meitner Dac

Are there considerations regarding upstream components that may cause a bottleneck with the DA3? It has a streamer and reclocks. Yesterdays discussion on architecture was very helpful but are there other details, components that may need consideration fully realize the DA3 potential? PC to this DAC, Switch(s), ie Edison with built in LPS, LPS’s for Router, Modem, Additional clocking, Last leg Ethernet cable(8?), grounded? Lan filters. If all the upstream components could have impact, would the switch be the place to start? BTW, I have yet to purchase a new server, FWIW, now using highly modded Mac mini hard wired LPS. Thank you all, DaveH

128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xbigwave1

It is important to understand the streaming capabilities and source input differences specific to the MA3. The internal streaming circuitry is the same as EMM LAB’s $5k NS1 stand-alone streamer. I would think (hope?) that means the MA3’s streaming performance is more on par with $5k+ external streamers vs lesser internal streamers inside most competing streaming DACs. Point being that It may take a significant investment in an external streamer/cabling/filters/reclockers/switches to better its internal streamer’s sonic performance.

Second is that the MA3 only supports PCM up to 24/192 and base-rate DSD (DSD64) via SPDIF (coax), AES/EBU, and optical while its USB and LAN inputs support PCM up to DXD frequencies (352.8/384kHz) and twice the basic DSD rate (DSD128) via DoP. Plus, only its USB and network inputs recognize and decode MQA.

Seems to me that Meitner designed the MA3 to perform best with its internal streamer and USB input (although the latter requires an external streamer or conversion unit thus making its internal streamer superfluous and lowering the MA3’s value quotient vs non-streaming DACs). 

All that being said, I am of course curious to read feedback from anyone actually using an external streaming solution and/or the latest SOTA LAN filters/switches reclockers (ENO for example) with the MA3 after giving its internal streamer “au naturale” a thorough audition.

The MA3 to my ears sounds better through its internal streamer/renderer than it does being streamed/rendered TO via usb from a good streamer/renderer. Same ethernet chain.

I'm not saying mac mini is at top of servers list, but OP already has one, only needs OS update to get it back to operable state.


Also, I suspect many have underestimated optimized and modded mini as server only. Certainly as a renderer it is sadly out of date, but as server only and modded to optimal state it is quite good. Compared to many other servers, $5k and below, I don't see liabilities, with the right hardware mini is actually superior to this crowd, biggest liability is Mac OS, even with app wipe, still more processes running than needed, even with this I'm only running at 3-5% processor ability, nearly 50% of that used for Roon. While I can't state a  comp with other servers in present system, I am getting amazing sound quality from my present streaming setup.  I do plan on comparing to extreme high end server soon, this atx motherboard server built to Taiko Extreme level of quality, best of best everything going into this diy build, including choke based power supply.


Based on you guys, I'd stick with Meitner as streamer, so only question is server vs straight out of router. I'd get lps for router in either case.



As for switches, I have extremely unique streaming setup. Modem and router  both set up close to my system, Modem>lps router(via AQ Vodka)>mini(via Vodka)>FMC(via Vodka, soon to be OpticalModule instead of generic FMC)>OpticalRendu>dac(via AQ Diamond usb). The switch I tried was RenoLabs Ultimate, OXCO clock and lps built in, this went between router and mini, diminished sound quality, less spaciousness, excessively etched images, smaller sound stage. I surmise this due to mis-matched clocks or excessive clocking. Ed Meitner states clocks should only be installed at closest point to circuit their clocking, this may be evidence of that. I also recently tried FMC (both powered by lps) and all ethernet AQ Vodka in same position as switch,  while better than switch, still no cigar, again less spacious vs router only, pretty equivalent on sound stage, imaging front. Next try will be Network Acoustics Muon filter in same position. In my setup, router direct to server best, on paper this should not be case, router vs switch or FMC noisier.


Also points to possibility Meitner MA3 may perform best direct connection to router, especially if powered by lps. I think OP should try this configuration first, then compare to other setups.

Thanks all for your well received comments and helpful insight. Therefore, would the implied generalizations run along the lines that the MA3 is effectively used as a streaming Dac with direct Ethernet input, usb for ripped files, and a dedicated server of one’s financial capability? PC’s, Isolation support, and clean electric understood.