Author Topic: Acoustic Research AR M2  (Read 1013 times)

Offline Reshen

Acoustic Research AR M2
« on: May 23, 2020, 09:51:42 PM »
Hi Everyone,

I'm new to the forum and I thought I start posting with my impressions of the AR M2. I got this off a fellow forumite a few months ago and it's made the lockdown a tad bit more bearable!

There are a few good reviews of the device but not as many as for more popular devices. Firstly, I was a bit sceptical about a getting a DAP after owning a couple of LG phones with the ESS DAC chips. The LG's are remarkable for a phone, but the AR M2 is a bit of revelation. It has my favourite DAC implementation, being the Burr Brown Chip. I know that the chip alone is not the final word on the sound signature but of all the DAC's I've tried the BB's and Wolfson's are my favourite. With a well mastered hi -res music file the AR M2 really shines and it can easily drive my HD 6XX and LCD2F, really bringing out the two different characters of those headphones. I also have a HD58X which does not need much grunt, but it sounds great too. I have tried the ADL EH008 IEMís too and fortunately I did not find any low-level buzz or hissing from the amp. They sound superb with a very balanced sound.
The other great thing is that it can side load other android music apps like Tidal and Spotify. I donít think it can decode MQA but it still sounds brilliant. The AR Pro Player app is far better for accessing Tidal, but my word itís a terrible piece of software. I dare not search a track or itíí fall over. Does sound a bit better than the app though.

But sadly, as is the problem with these DAPs, is they never use a current version of Android as their basis. So, things are getting quite long in the tooth. For instance, the Tidal app refused to log in as of a few days ago. Tidal support just gives the generic support i.e. minimum requirement is Android 5.0. The AR M2 is built on 4.3. So, could very well be the app isnít supported anymore. Spotify still works. Any other AR M2 owners have a similar experience?
I have not heard any of the more recent DAPís form Fiio or AK or Cayin or Ö.  But if they can provide the same or better sound quality as the AR M2 then Iíll definitely look at a newer one in the future.

Keen to hear any opinions about the relevance of the AR M2 compared to the newer models.


Offline Momo

Re: Acoustic Research AR M2
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2020, 09:24:04 AM »
I think we are pretty much in the same boat in terms of the DAPS we use,i have an Astell & Kern AK70 and it does use android although it only works with Tidal and groover i think for streaming(.The sound quality is very good and the reason i hold on to this dap.The fiio's are very good as an all round dap as they support 3rd party applications and you can download almost any streaming service on them.

Offline ron g

Re: Acoustic Research AR M2
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2020, 10:19:09 AM »


m2 is a superb sounding dap, which can pretty much drive any set of headies, & is available for good pricing.
software has some issues, but worth living with for the sound i think.
loved mine - only parted with it after upgrading to way more expensive daps (hifiman r2r2000 & lotoo paw gold touch)
& you sit there in the rubble, till it starts to feel like home
mary gauthier

Offline Momo

Re: Acoustic Research AR M2
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2020, 10:23:11 AM »

m2 is a superb sounding dap, which can pretty much drive any set of headies, & is available for good pricing.
software has some issues, but worth living with for the sound i think.
loved mine - only parted with it after upgrading to way more expensive daps (hifiman r2r2000 & lotoo paw gold touch)

Which IEMS or Cans do you use with those DAPS?

Offline naughty

Re: Acoustic Research AR M2
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2020, 10:47:25 AM »
Which IEMS or Cans do you use with those DAPS?

Ron has a Campfire Audio Andromeda (probably has others too) - but i remember i was very fascinated with his R2R2000 and Andromeda combo if i'm ever visiting in his area someday im going to worry him for a demo  ;)

Offline Momo

Re: Acoustic Research AR M2
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2020, 11:14:27 AM »
Would love to hear Andromeda and i wish i could find a pair of CA jupiters

Offline ron g

Re: Acoustic Research AR M2
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2020, 12:12:04 PM »
Ron has a Campfire Audio Andromeda (probably has others too) - but i remember i was very fascinated with his R2R2000 and Andromeda combo if i'm ever visiting in his area someday im going to worry him for a demo  ;)

i was fortunate enough to wind up with 2 versions of andromeda - the original green version 1 & the stainless steel version 2. the version 1 is definitely my preferred set, & is pretty much the one i use permanently.

i also use a set of hifiman he560 headphones, which pair, in my opinion, really well with the lotoo touch.

i am not sure where you stay - but if you are anywhere near centurion or midrand (i am only in office occasionally - mostly working from home) - you are welcome to pop in for a visit when circumstances permit.

i really enjoy the dap / iem experience - particularly with teh type of singer / songwriter music i mainly listen to - it's like the artist is right inside your head, & consequently so intimate & personal.

& you sit there in the rubble, till it starts to feel like home
mary gauthier

Offline Momo

Re: Acoustic Research AR M2
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2020, 12:20:41 PM »
Could you briefly describe the sound signature of the Andromeda & difference between the green/silver

Offline naughty

Re: Acoustic Research AR M2
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2020, 01:55:43 PM »
i am not sure where you stay - but if you are anywhere near centurion or midrand (i am only in office occasionally - mostly working from home) - you are welcome to pop in for a visit when circumstances permit.

I am in Durban so its probably going to be while before i am ever that side probably only when its stage 0 ie no lockdown or travel restrictions ..... but i will check with you if are available if ever i am coming towards that side  :thumbs: ..... hopefully you still have all these wonderful goodies

Offline ron g

Re: Acoustic Research AR M2
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2020, 02:38:46 PM »
Could you briefly describe the sound signature of the Andromeda & difference between the green/silver

andromeda have incredible detail, separation & staging. never heard the equivalent anywhere else. particularly the instrument separation.

they do sound good on pretty any source, but obviously the better your source, the better they sound.

the green is more liner & balanced across the range. the silver have a slight midrange bump, which detracts.
(i suspect the midrange bump really is only noticeable because they are so detailed & revealing)

green is incredibly real. all the detail & texture is there, right across the spectrum. bass is solid & musical, mids have plenty of weight (the do piano music sooo well), & hf is incredibly detailed & textured.

(i hate trying to describe audio, i know that i am really crap & just go back to the same old tired cliches...)

& you sit there in the rubble, till it starts to feel like home
mary gauthier

Offline Momo

Re: Acoustic Research AR M2
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2020, 02:49:51 PM »
andromeda have incredible detail, separation & staging. never heard the equivalent anywhere else. particularly the instrument separation.

they do sound good on pretty any source, but obviously the better your source, the better they sound.

the green is more liner & balanced across the range. the silver have a slight midrange bump, which detracts.
(i suspect the midrange bump really is only noticeable because they are so detailed & revealing)

green is incredibly real. all the detail & texture is there, right across the spectrum. bass is solid & musical, mids have plenty of weight (the do piano music sooo well), & hf is incredibly detailed & textured.

(i hate trying to describe audio, i know that i am really crap & just go back to the same old tired cliches...)

Ja its not easy to really paint the picture ,but thanks for trying

Offline Reshen

Re: Acoustic Research AR M2
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2020, 10:38:30 AM »

m2 is a superb sounding dap, which can pretty much drive any set of headies, & is available for good pricing.
software has some issues, but worth living with for the sound i think.
loved mine - only parted with it after upgrading to way more expensive daps (hifiman r2r2000 & lotoo paw gold touch)

Hi Ron g,

Yeah I fully agree. The M2 is superb sounding.  The software is what it is. I even NWE t as far as contacting the UAPP developers and they unsurprisingly said the app is not longer supported. In any event with a good database of content it's still a great device.

Ron, how big is the delta between the Hifiman/Lotoo and M2? Are the amps as strong as the M2?

Cheers

Offline ron g

Re: Acoustic Research AR M2
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2020, 01:38:25 PM »

Ron, how big is the delta between the Hifiman/Lotoo and M2? Are the amps as strong as the M2?


there is a big difference between the m2 & the r2r2k / lotoo.

separation, imaging, detail, resolution of hf are all far smoother & more refined / detailed.
tone & timbre of instruments are far better - particularly on the lotoo. this is easiest heard on lower frequency acoustic instruments - piano & cello spring to mind.

when i had the m2, i could not possibly have imagined how it could be possible that the premium daps could be capable of sounding so much better, yet they do.

i am not sure how the output specs vary - but the r2r2k & lotoo both drive the he560s quite comfortably.

& you sit there in the rubble, till it starts to feel like home
mary gauthier

Offline Reshen

Re: Acoustic Research AR M2
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2020, 07:05:28 PM »
Well that's great. Nice to see there are still gains to be had.

Something to look forward to.