The Emm Labs 'Meitner' DCC2 Signature and CDSD Signature

DCC2 Signature and CDSD signature and remote on kitchen countertop
The updated Meitner DAC and transport arrived today.

For those of you unfamiliar with the digital equipment from Emm Labs, these are the widely acknowledged current state-of-the-art in CD and SACD players. They are so well-respected among the cognesceti that you can read many places about this component and that component, at every price point imaginable, which are defintiely better than the Meitner. Not because they are better, but because they all wish they were better. It has become ‘The One to Beat’.

Our previous pair, with the gloss finish and the transport with the fancy metal drawer, are headed out the door, so we won’t be able to compare the pre-signature and signature versions side by side… you know, play a CD track on one then the same track on the other – but those types of shootouts don’t tell the whole story anyway.

Besides, the Meitner takes a good month to break-in. A good lonnnnng month.

And this includes playing lots of ordinary everyday redbook CDs and not just SACDs.


To break-in the upconversion hardware and who knows what else that is unique to the redbook playback hardware. Otherwise redbook CDs sound harsh and bright just like….like the player hadn’t been broken in yet….This is why some people on the net talk about ordinary CDs not sounding as good as SACDs. On our older Meitner it was very hard to tell the difference between redbook and SACDs – usually we had to look at the box or the front of the transport to see which it was. SACDs have a little more detail and resolution, a little more separation. In fact, it is my experience that redbook CDs sound less harsh and less digital when compared to SACD.

DCC2 Signature and remote on kitchen countertop
This also includes using the analog output stage during the entire break-in process.


Because the Meitner output stage is amazingly pure – but it doesn’t sound amazingly pure until it is broken in. I often feel that people who prefer to use a preamplifier with the Meitner (or Prestige for that matter) either have not broken in the output stage or are looking for a little tube warmth in their overall system configuration – which is fine, but does not have anything to do with the Meitner per se, but the system temperature as a whole.

Of course, before any break in happens we need to plug the things in and find somewhere to put them (or the other way around…). Hopefully we will get that going tonight…

Then we can talk about first impressions – but that is all they will be until we get some solid playing time on these puppies…

There are some pictures, of course, in the meantime 🙂

Emm Labs CDSD Signature CD / SACD Transport

Emm Labs DCC2 Signature DAC