Meier Audio: The Daccord & Corda Classic

Disclaimer: We got the samples directly from Meier Audio in Germany and they will be returned immediately.

The Meier vs Headfonia (Hi)Story

A long time ago, somewhere in 2011, Mike reviewed the Meier Audio Concerto and Stagedac which could be considered as the predecessors to the Daccord and the Corda Classic from this review. At that time Mike wasn’t too fond of the Meier gear, but Meier Audio has advanced and so I am expecting these units to be more impressive, or at least more impressive to me. Over a year ago I contacted Jan and asked him for samples of his, I think, portable amplifiers. He honestly replied that because of that review he wasn’t inclined to send any samples. I replied I totally could understand his point of view and we left it at that.

Then last year when we went to the EU Canjam in Essen (Germany), Meier Audio was there as well but I didn’t find any time to visit their booth. A few weeks after Canjam I suddenly got an email from Mr. Meier and we ended up going for coffee a few weeks later. We talked for a couple of hours and in the end he proposed that I check out the Daccord and Corda Classic. I think he wanted to test me first. I took them home with me and, as our regular readers may have noticed, I have been using the gear on several occasions to review other units. Especially the Daccord DAC.

I should apologize to Mister Meier really, the review is finally online after all these months and I wish I could have published it sooner.

Corda Classic & Daccord: Parts & Looks

This is a double unit review so this part is going to be a bit longer than usual, especially because the technical features are the strong point of the Meier gear. So if you don’t care about this stuff skip to the next chapter for the sound comparisons and headphone matching.

Meier Audio is very occupied with the quality of the units. Yes they are made in Asia but they only use high quality big name components like Vishay and Nichicon FG and each unit is tested by Meier Audio in Germany before sending it out to the clients. The 28 x 17.5 x 6.7cm measuring units in sturdy anodized aluminum might look sober and not as sexy as some of other brands but that is because the insides matter more to the developer.

The 1.7kg Daccord is the DAC part of the combo. It has an integrated cross feed (more on that later) and two coaxial, one optical and a USB input. It also has a fixed level output and a variable output so you can use it with a pair of active speakers or a power amplifier. The USB receiver chip is the C-Media CM6631 (24/192kHz) and you will need to install a special driver for it to work correctly. The S/PDIF receiver is a Wolfson WM8804 that uses its own separate high-precision quartz-clock that reduces jitter more than the traditional receivers. The Daccord uses two Wolfson WM8741 D/A chips in dual mono mode for the conversion and AD797 opamps biased into “Class-A”.

All the technical details can be checked here. There is just too much to mention.

The 2.2 kg Corda Classic (CC) amplifier has the same style and dimensions as the Daccord and together they make a nice stack. The CC uses the concept of active balanced headphone ground (details and all the tech stuff here) which offers the most of the advantages of a true balanced headphone setup without the need of balanced connections. The volume control is very sophisticated and has over sixty .5dB steps. It is worth to read what Jan Meier wrote about it on his website, it’s quite interesting. The CC has an input selector (2 inputs), a gain switch (-2/+14dB) and of course the cross feed switches and a SE Neutrik headphone out on the front. Inside you will find AD797 opamps biased into “Class-A” and 7! Burr-Brown BUF634 buffer amps: 2 for the left, 2 for the right headphone output channel and 3 for the ground-channel.

Those interested in the hardcore tech stuff should really check out all the characteristics on Meier Audio’s website, I only covered the basics in this overview.

 

What’s all this Crossfeed talk?

The goal of the cross feed is to make your headphones sound or feel more natural and to “eliminate” the extreme left-right separation you can sometimes have in recordings.

The built-in crossfeed filter is a frequency-extended version of the natural crossfeed found in previous CORDA amplifiers and provides even better imaging. It also offers three intensity levels (Stereo, medium, high). To compensate for the psycho-acoustic bass-loss a separate switch allows you to slightly increase lower-frequencies.

Personally I can’t say I always used the crossfeed function and lower frequency boost, but with the right (or wrong?) music/recording it actually was a very nice something to have. The effect of the crossfeed isn’t huge; don’t expect a completely different sound from your headphones. It’s the subtle changes that make listening to your headphone more comfortable and “real”. The crossfeed effect also depends on the headphone used. I mean that the level of audibility is different from headphone to headphone. I found it to have the biggest effect on dynamic headphones and with the orthodynamic units the result was only minimal.

Sometimes when listening to my collection I couldn’t stand the crossfeed, and other times I didn’t have enough crossfeed. It’s a great thing you can tune it to your liking with the double switches for crossfeed and LF Boost. I have to say that when I wanted to use the crossfeed, the effect could have even been bigger for my personal taste. From what I understood from Dr. Meier this could be individually tuned a little bit to the preference of the buyer but in general his customers are happy with the available settings. You’ll find yourself playing with the switches with every new album you start listening to. The crossfeed is one of the unique selling points of the Meier gear.

4 pages of details on the Meier Crossfeed can be found here. These pages also contain examples of MP3 samples with and without crossfeed applied.

Go to the next page for the sound impressions

Meier Audio: The Daccord & Corda Classic
4.36 (87.27%) 11 votes

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. Coming from a musical family he's always been interested in good sound. Unlike his family members the only musical instruments he plays are amps and DACs. He loves playing with old tubes and discovering new products while staying faithful to the good old Sennheiser HD650.

52 Comments

  • Reply February 28, 2014

    Punit Shetty

    These are a great combination. very versatile, works with all the HP’s in my collection. HD 800, TH 900, T1, HE500. I actually prefer the HE 500 on this more than the Schiit Lyr. Did you try using it with the Low frequency boost switch on but crossfeed off with the HE500, this adds bit of weight ? I like how it gives you slight flexibility to add a mid bass boost when required, helps with the HD 800. I prefer tube amps (have BH Crack & Woo) but also listen on these when I want Pace & Detailed sound.

    • Reply February 28, 2014

      L.

      Hi, I tried all possible settings really. I just couldn’t get to like the Orthos as much as the dynamics.

      “Dynamics” is a tough one, seems everyone’s description of it is different.

      Pace and detailed sound: there you go. Exactly one of the reasons to have this gear

  • Reply March 3, 2014

    L.

    [rant]

    So little comments, I’m surprised not more people are interested in the Meier gear. Sure there’s a bunch of Meier owners on Headfi bashing me/us for not writing a more positive and more in detail review of the gear but I don’t think it is needed. Imo opinion, the review was correct and it made its point. For those wondering, Jan did read the review up in front, and agreed.

    It is so easy to criticize people while giving a positive comment seems very hard. Or maybe they can’t except any review that’s not stellar when they’re an owner. Or maybe the negative thinking surfers are more vocal? Anyway, I should stop reading head-fi,

    [rant]

    • Reply March 3, 2014

      George Lai

      Perhaps the reality is that the unique technological features of the product are a mite too complicated for the majority of the market? It certainly is for me as I don’t wish to chase audio nirvana to the Nth degree. For example the rave about the very expensive AK240 just leaves me cold. But we need products like that and the Meiers of the world so there will be an eventual trickle down to more mainstream products.

      • Reply March 3, 2014

        L.

        That’s true George. I’m somewhat frustrated cause people only tend to comment when something is bad or when they don’t like it.

        • Reply March 3, 2014

          George Lai

          I guess it’s human nature. It’s easier to criticize and harder to praise. Anyway keep them reviews coming.

          • Reply March 3, 2014

            dalethorn

            I remember clearly when my current audio adventure began in 2011 – so many people were raving about the Stepdance, then they seemed to fall off of the map.

    • Reply March 3, 2014

      Sasmit

      Hi Lieven,
      I was very surprised by the lack of comments too. I have to say that this review definitely piqued my interest in Meier. Very sensibly priced in a world where overpricing is becoming rampant. It was bit of of a downer hearing your comments about their synergy with orthos but i am sure that can vary from person to person(as punit mentions below).

      AS far as head-fi and other forums go, they are great as long as you can develop a thick skin and take the good with the bad. keep up the good work!

      • Reply March 3, 2014

        L.

        Hi Sasmit and thank you. I agree it is very personal. I am used to listening to a custom built 300B amp with my orthos and the Meier just doesn’t sound as good. I realize that is a wrong comparison to make, but I even find it better sounding on the CypherLabs Theorem in example, a portable solid state.

        For me it did great with all the dynamics.

        • Reply March 3, 2014

          Sasmit

          I had read about your custom 300B in your previous reviews but I did not realize that it was still your reference. Do you prefer to use a mix of headphones for your primary evaluation or do you stick to a personal favourite for your 300Bs?

          • Reply March 3, 2014

            L.

            Not sure I fully understand your question but when reviewing I try to mix up as much as gear as possible. For my personal listening, depending on my mood of course, I only use the 300B when I want to listen to the orthos. Or the Theorem when for some reason I can’t use a desktip dac.

            • Reply March 3, 2014

              Sasmit

              I thought you might have a personal favourite for the 300Bs. Many reviewers like to use a particular headphone with their reference amp to evaluate any DACs and get a grasp of the sound. I guess they use them for the highest transparency or to limit the number of variables in the signal chain. I was referring to whether you like to use something like this for evaluations.

              • Reply March 3, 2014

                L.

                To test dacs I use all kind of amps and headphones but they have to be combinations you know very well. With the 300b the heafphones always are the lcd2 and he500

                • Reply March 3, 2014

                  Sasmit

                  thanks for sharing. I hope to try a Meier amp sometime.

        • Reply March 3, 2014

          m m

          Hi Lieven, I also found strange that you didn’t like Meier combo with LCD2.
          I own Meier stack and also ALO Pan Am(which is according to headfonia excellent
          match for LCD2) and for me Meier stack is clear step up from the Pan Am…

          • Reply March 4, 2014

            Dave Ulrich

            Well, to each their own.

          • Reply March 4, 2014

            L.

            hi mm, I didn’t like the LCD on the Pan Am either, but Mike does like it.
            I have heard so many amps on which the LCD-2 sound better so I honestly can not say I like the Meier for the Audez’e. Lots of people never heard how an LCD-2 can sound on different amps, and yet they bash us for saying their amp isn’t the best match around (and I don’t mean you just to be clear).

            I’m sorry I don’t find it to be a good match but the most important thing is you find it a good match. Enjoy your setup 🙂

            • Reply March 4, 2014

              Dave Ulrich

              I feel the need to underline this. It is fun compare thoughts on different combinations of gear, but the bottom line is, if you like how it sounds, then enjoy it and don’t worry that people might disagree. They aren’t doing the listening.

              • Reply March 4, 2014

                L.

                I can be smart sometimes 😉

                • Reply March 4, 2014

                  Dave Ulrich

                  Hmmm, I;m not convinced.

    • Reply January 13, 2015

      Nickjan Glas

      hi,
      Concerning the Meijer gear, did you by chance listen to the smaller ones, like the quickstep and the pcstep. I m quite curious how they perform in comparison to others. (pcstep vs dragonfly or sorts) and quickstep to piccolo/fiio e12 for example. Only head-fi as source I find a little too limited.
      thanks

      • Reply January 13, 2015

        Headfonia_L.

        I have not no, sorry

        • Reply January 13, 2015

          Nickjan Glas

          no problem, maybe I ll just have to buy and try it then. I also read his announcement that he is working on a new portable DAC/AMP with rechargeable capacity and cross feed.

  • Reply March 3, 2014

    Dave Ulrich

    Terrific review! Well Done! Look like interesting pieces of gear. I will have to try them out if I get the chance.

    • Reply March 3, 2014

      L.

      Thanks Dave. Or are you just saying that because of my rant 😀

      • Reply March 3, 2014

        Dave Ulrich

        ehhh, bit of both 😉

  • Reply March 4, 2014

    Sasmit

    By the way does anyone have any detailed power output specs on the corda classic?

    • Reply March 5, 2014

      L.

      Site says:

      Output impedance < 0,1 ohm

      Maximum output 15V / 500 mA.

      I can ask Meier if you want?

      • Reply March 5, 2014

        Sasmit

        I would appreciate it if you could do that, particularly power output, THD and SNR. The more I look up their corda classic the more impressed I am. Fancy volume control + gain switch + crossfeed + great power supply.
        I have never heard one, but the attention to detail and the huge number of features for 600$ is definitely value for money. Thanks for your time

        • Reply March 10, 2014

          L.

          Crap, I completely forgot about this. appologies

          • Reply March 12, 2014

            Sasmit

            yup…no worries

  • […] website: Meier Audio Here are some very detailed reviews about this excellent headphone amp: Meier Audio Daccord & Corda Classic Review “REVIEW: Meier Audio Corda Classic solid state headphone amp” – Skylab’s Review of Meier […]

  • Reply July 22, 2014

    likearake

    Hi Lieven
    Can you provide any more thoughts on the Daccord vs the V800? I notice you classify them as “device[s] like the V800 and this unit”, but are they very similar?
    I own the V800 but am looking for another so I can keep one in my speaker setup and one in my headphone setup. The v800 of course is incredible but if the Daccord is very similar sounding maybe it is worth trying something a bit different… Although the price of the Daccord is appealing!
    So I suppose, if not the Daccord, do you also have any other recommendations of Dacs of the same standard?
    Long question I know… sorry!

    • Reply July 22, 2014

      L.

      I haven’t had those units for quite some time now. No I would not say they are similar, the V800 is more musical and the Daccord is more analytic. IF you’re looking for a DAC I would at the moment propose you to have a look at the Resonessence Labs units. I absolutely love their DAC sound. We’ve done some on here as well.

  • Reply September 24, 2014

    Nickjan Glas

    Hello again, I saw your comparison to the v200, saying (if I read and understood correctly) that the V200 is a little warmer and more musical. Did you by any chance listen to either of these two with the B&O H6. I liked the neutral sound of the meijer with the H6, but I now found a 2nd hand v200 for 450 euro. And I like a more bodied musical sound with a wider soundstage also.
    So the main question is, what do you find better for classical/orchestral, based on liking both sound signatures. A 2nd hand v200 for 450 or a corda classic for 595?
    thanks

    • Reply September 24, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      Tough one man. The H6 is a nice headphone but it isn’t high Fi and it doesn’t scale up like the classics such as the HD650.

      For classic I would recommend the H6 with pretty much any amp. The Meier is great for classical but imho, the V200 is better with a whole lot more headphones and musical styles. Both very good units.

      The Daccord you can always get, the dac is great for both amps. Tell Jan I sent you 😉

      • Reply September 24, 2014

        Nickjan Glas

        I love asking the hard questions, means I am getting on the right track. you mentioned: ‘imho’ is that an abreviation? My budget only allows an amp at the moment, so if it is not going to be the corda classic, can’t help you there;)

        and then on a little sidetrack…
        I do plan to get a more high end headphone in the future. the hd650 appealed to me, but for the moment I ll stick to the H6 with the best sound for me personally (not the best quality perse but characteristics). (Except for the audeze that is). I know maybe a peculiar statement, with all those great headphones out there.

        • Reply September 24, 2014

          Headfonia_L.

          IMHO = In My Humble Opinion

          No problem man. I do suggest you think it over before you buy. What direction do you want to go, what kind of sound do you want? In example I would prefer the HD650 with the V200 but that’s me. Don’t just buy anything, try making it a long term investment

          • Reply September 24, 2014

            Nickjan Glas

            exactly what I ll be going for;) For now I have my meridian explorer for pc use on the move. the amp will be for more semi-permanent use with turntables, cd players and eventually pc and dac (ME at first).
            I ll be studying and eventually auditioning for a while, since I ll be abroad for some time and hope to settle on something early next year.
            In the meantime, I ll just keep reading all the exciting new reviews and a lookout for the new units coming out, like the v281 you mentioned and the new Marantz HP DAC1.

          • Reply October 27, 2014

            Nickjan Glas

            hey Lieven,
            following your reviews and recommendations I have spend some time listening, auditioninng, reading and reading. Finally I came to a decision and I ordered the corda classic. many hours of listening and enjoyment ahead. next phase….higher end headphone to match and maybe a DAC in a way while longer.

            • Reply October 27, 2014

              Headfonia_L.

              Congrats, I’m sure you’ll like it. Keep us posted

              • Reply November 4, 2014

                Nickjan Glas

                just installed it, with the MF V90 LPS, Meridian explorer and some nice LP’s and high res downloads; very impressed already and isn’t even burned in yet. tomorrow on to SACD and more listening…..

                • Reply November 5, 2014

                  Headfonia_L.

                  Congrats! Hasn’t the headphone upgraditis kicked in yet? 🙂

                  • Reply November 5, 2014

                    Nickjan Glas

                    It certainly has, (even tried a 1000 euro offer on an used Audeze XC (declined)), but I have a very effective anti-dote at the moment; fully spent budget 😉 on amp, phono amp, cables, portable amp etc. I have ideas enough. preferably start off with a low to mid impedance open headphone. Hifiman he560 or stg like that. It ll ply be a higher budget headphone than I have now, since I found most equally priced headphones I listened to, less to my taste than the H6; exception being the hd650, which is equally to my taste but different. For now I really enjoy the greatly improved sound on the H6 and the corda really bringing out the B&O sound in it. For the rest, I ll have to start saving again.

  • Reply April 2, 2015

    atoniolin

    Dear L, hi again! I asked you on the A20 page and then came across the Meier DACCORD & CLASSIC combo. Again, I am trying to drive the Beyerdynamic T1’s nicely. Would you say the CLASSIC would go well with the T1’s compared to the A20, V200, etc?

    P.S. I prefer SS amps for the fear of maintenance of tubes at this stage. maybe when i get a job and am confident of easily getting tubes, I will take the next step-up. Thanks!

  • Reply February 8, 2016

    animalparty

    My unit has died twice within the span of a year and a half. First the power supply died, then I got it repaired and sent back to me, and within 6 months it’s died again (this time something else, the lights are on but there’s no sound…) Piece of garbage, stay away from this product.

    • Reply February 8, 2016

      dalethorn

      I had a problem like that with my first headphone amp, the $400 portable from HeadRoom circa late 1990’s. It died a week after the year warranty, and they wanted $100 to fix it. So I tossed it. It’s hard to know what the actual reliability of an item’s going to be until you google for reviews and read all of them. Even then you have to read very deeply because there are false reports (positive and negative) mixed in with the real reviews. Not here fortunately, but on certain large merchandise sites it’s pretty common. One example is where I read reviews of the v-moda M100, and certain users were getting one defective unit after another – incredibly bad luck. Myself, I bought 4 sets over a few months time, from different vendors, all new items at the regular price, all perfect. So I learned how to interpret reviews better, and know who were buying grey-market, buying used and refurbs, etc. I remember Meier having a pretty good reputation on head-fi. Maybe survey some of their users and see what they say.

    • Reply February 8, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      I am sure Jan will get it fixed, he’s a nice guy. don’t give up yet

      • Reply February 10, 2016

        animalparty

        @headfonia_lieven:disqus Yep, I’m in contact with Jan. Will see what happens. Thanks.

  • Reply March 12, 2016

    Son Manh

    Hi, thank you for the review at first. I would like to ask if this Corda Classic has a warm kind of sound or not. Because i need something a little bit warm to pair with my Grado PS1000 for jazz and classical. Thank you very much.

    • Reply March 12, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      Reread the review please. It should be clear the classic is NOT warm 😉

  • Reply November 19, 2016

    N N

    I have the DACCORD without the Classich with a HD 650 and it really sounds nice, very clean, bass is good, soundstage medium but nice. It’s just not very musical but rather sometimes clinical (especially when I tried with the old HD 580). As the review says: it does nothing wrong.

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