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Meridian


nomismo
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I really enjoyed my 508.20 CDP and analogue 541 pre-pro. I bought the CDP in preference to Karik/Numerik, Naim CD2 (I think - whatever the £1200 Naim CDP was approx 15 years ago) and whatever Micromega were doing at the time. As a front end to Rotel power amps and active Keilidhs it was a system I was happy with for a very long time.

Only when I experimented with streaming and found an SBT / Cyrus DAC-X with PSXR sounded better than the 508.20 and my LP12 did the Meridians move on to new owners.

As for sound comparisons Meridian I (at that time) thought were at the smooth end of things. Lots of detail but not the most dynamic. Naim the other end of the scale with in your face over the top shoutiness that was very fatiguing. Linn was nearer to Meridian, slightly more dynamic but lacking some detail and not imaging too well. This was all 15 years ago and I'm sure the comparison would be different today.

My view exactly, but I think the Meridian is now more 'dynamic' than it used to be. I compared a G08 CDP to my Karik/Numerik in a full Linn active system and the rest is history as they say.

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I dipped my toe in with a 562V, originally a kind of input switcher extender for the 568 (IIRC), but it works brilliantly as dac/pre, albeit limited to 24/48. I think, as other has said, that Meridian just gets on with job without any particular trait. The 562 is a great way in for someone who doesn't know where to start, as they can be had for about £250. I think that one is hard pressed to better that, even adding in the cost of a usb/spdif convertor, as preamp on a computer based audio system.

Since, I moved on to a G68 which at home sounds sublime, and I find it hard to imagine I can better that without moving to an 861.

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I've got:

- a F80 and after hearing mine my dad and brother bought one

- 808i.2 CD player in my main 2 channel system (details of system in the panel to the left)

- G98 DVD / CD player and G68 processor in my home cinema system

I've not tried lots of different items but their kit sounds good to my ears, is highly configurable (via a PC / laptop as well), is repaired on fair terms and costs (my DVD player lost all audio and they repaired it for a nominal labour charge despite it needing a fairly major part), and looks pretty good to my eye.

Simon

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and looks pretty good to my eye.

Simon

Have you double blind tested that ;)

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Presently planned in to add an ID40 card to my 861v4 in the next couple of weeks.

Already sounds phenomenal using just an SPDIF connection, so can hardly wait.

Think I should get around to running a bakeoff post that against some other serious streamers to see how it stacks up.

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK Meridian mavens, if I'm looking at older DSP speakers (e.g. the 5000s or the 3100 floorstanders) - would I just plug S/PDIF into the back of one of them, then connect that one to t'other with some kind of cable? What kind of cable?

And they're remote-controllable (on, off, volume) in their own right? But don't come with a remote as standard?

Sorry for the barrage of questions, but the whole Meridian thing is pretty alien to me, and I'm concerned about making unwarranted assumptions about how things work, which through bitter experience isn't always what I'd expect ...

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OK Meridian mavens, if I'm looking at older DSP speakers (e.g. the 5000s or the 3100 floorstanders) - would I just plug S/PDIF into the back of one of them, then connect that one to t'other with some kind of cable? What kind of cable?

And they're remote-controllable in their own right? But don't come with a remote as standard?

Sorry for the barrage of questions, but the whole Meridian thing is pretty alien to me, and I'm concerned about making unwarranted assumptions about how things work, which through bitter experience isn't always what I'd expect ...

I'm about to list my DSP5000s in the classifieds together with a pair of D1500 subs, so if you're looking, hang on a couple of days.

As to your question, the 'speakers are linked by a cable for the control signals and a second cable for the digital audio. One 'speaker is designated the Master, and that's the one that takes in the digital signals from the sources and then it sends out to the other 'speaker. The remote control is pointed at trhe master, and that selects inputs, adjusts volume and balance and selects tone/positioning adjustments. These selections are sent from the master to the slave over the control cable. Original Meridian cables had the signal and control cable side by side in one piece to make installation easier. Subwoofers just daisy-chain on to the main 'speakers.

S

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Thanks Serge.

I think I understand.

I had a look at a pair of 5200s today and they at least didn't blow my mind - S/PDIF into one of them. CAT 5 from the master to the slave. That's it.

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Thanks Serge.

I think I understand.

I had a look at a pair of 5200s today and they at least didn't blow my mind - S/PDIF into one of them. CAT 5 from the master to the slave. That's it.

The later 'speakers used a Cat5 to transport both signal and control down the same cable.

The 5200 are a restyle of the 5000s, as far as I can tell, performance is the same, but they look more stylish.

Either way, whether 5000 Mk1 (48 k sampling) Mk2 (96k sampling) or 5200, on CD based material, identical performance.

S

S

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I wouldn't describe the performance of 5200s as the same as 5000s to be honest. There's quite a difference even between the oldest 5200s. The newer 5200 Speakerlink can also benefit from the latest software with EBA (Enhanced Bass Alignment) which is another leap forward.

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I wouldn't describe the performance of 5200s as the same as 5000s to be honest. There's quite a difference even between the oldest 5200s. The newer 5200 Speakerlink can also benefit from the latest software with EBA (Enhanced Bass Alignment) which is another leap forward.

They have the same drivers, the same amplifiers and both offer alignment for free space, back to wall or corner location and both have a degree of EQ to adjust for taste, so any differences will be minor. The later units have 96khz sampling whilst the Mk1 5000s are limited to 48k, and the later ones do on one Cat 5 cable what the earlier ones had two wires for. The 5200 also look more modern, but sonically, on 16/44.1 material I really do question what great differences exist.

S

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I wouldn't describe the performance of 5200s as the same as 5000s to be honest. There's quite a difference even between the oldest 5200s. The newer 5200 Speakerlink can also benefit from the latest software with EBA (Enhanced Bass Alignment) which is another leap forward.

And of course the new models have different tweeters, those old tweeters IMHO always being a bit of a weakness. As to comparing the 5000s with 5200s the rounded casing should help with diffraction problems.

I haven't had a chance to hear the improvements claimed for EBA and whether it makes much of a practical difference. I assume it is a very different kettle of fish to the frequency response curve alteration adjustments to account for different room positioning?

As to just how much difference these improvements make is down to opinion, but there is no doubt in my mind of the big difference between models. Whilst the 5200 and 7200 may have a similar tonal quality (or lack of it) there is large difference in their ability to reproduce large scale orchestra music, albeit Meridian Room Correction may then be be desirable in smaller rooms.

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I recently heard both a pair of 5000s and a pair of 5200s (latest SE? version).

Overall, similar, apart from in the bass region, where the 5200s seemed to be voiced to produce substantially more bass. IMO, it was the area with the biggest difference.

Note my comment of "voiced". Whilst the 5200s did produce more bass, they sounded like they were working quite hard to do it, and really didn't have anything like the "effortless" production of lower bass that either the 7ks do, or my own speakers for that matter.

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I first heard Meridian when listening to a pair of Meridian speakers (M1's?) at a Hi-Fi show in the early 80's. I was knocked out by how dynamic these speakers were; how 'tight' and extended the bass was. Funnily enough at the very same show I also heard a pair of Quad Electrostatics and I was mesmerised by how clean and detailed they were; though lacking in low end. The possibility of having both qualities in one speaker that still haunts me...

Some years later I picked up a Meridian 207 CD player / pre-amp and a pair of Meridian M2's. Eventually they were relegated to the status of 'second system'. The 207 and M2 were a great combo that gave many years of pleasure only being retired last year.

In the intervening years; I acquired many bits of kit that came and went. Sadly Meridian was always out of my price range. My main speakers became a pair of Kef Reference 1's driven by a Musical Fidelity 300 NuVista pre/power amps. Lovely combination; very articulate though lacking the bass depth and quality that I remembered Meridian having.

Films are as important to me as movies. I had a Yamaha AVR doing decoding duties and powering the centre and rear channels; with the L&R output going into my MF pre-amp. Whilst playing movies; I became more aware of the lack of bass and thoughts of an upgrade started to set in.

Knowing how good Meridian processors are; I decided to add a (second hand) Meridian 565 for decoding duties; the Yamaha retained for amplification of the centre and rear speakers. The next change to happen was to add a Meridian DSP5000C (18bit) centre speaker. Wow! What an improvement this made to my enjoyment of movies.

The lack of bass from Kef's now seemed to be the weak point of my system. An opportunity to buy a pair of Meridian DSP5000's (24/96) presented itself. Having heard these speakers quite a few years earlier and being impressed with them; I took the plunge and bought them.

Well; the bass did improve. There was more depth to the low end; though it still wasn't exceptionally deep in absolute terms. However the rest of the sound seemed really flat and lifeless in comparison the my Kef's. Movies work well enough; but for music it verged on the unlistenable. I was really disappointed; it certainly wasn't how I remembered the DSP5000's sounding.

Asking about and chatting to other Meridian owners; I was told that my elderly 565 processor was the culprit and I really needed to upgrade to something more suitable for my DSP5000's. Out went the 565 and in came a Meridian 568.2mm processor. Well the sound quality certainly improved; with more detail at the top end. However in comparison to my Kef Ref 1 it still seemed lacking; particularly the treble and the mid range not sounding as articulate.

An unfortunate side effect of the arrival of the 568.2mm was an occasional 'crackle'. Researching this a bit further; I came to conclusion that this was because I was using both an 18bit centre speaker and 24/96 mains in the same system. So out went the 18 bit centre to be replaced with a 24/96 DSP5000C. The crackle was gone.

My next addition was a Meridian HD621 to enable lossless sound tracks to be played via my 568.2mm processor. This resulted in a small but noticeable upgrade to move reproduction.

However; despite lacking the bass depth of my Meridian DSP5000's; I still preferred music via my Kef's and MF amps. As you've probably guessed; I effectively have two systems in parallel in my room; one for movies and one for music.

I have wondered whether my speakers may be faulty; perhaps in need of tweeter replacement. Then; I had a visit from a chap who owned a pair of DSP5K's who assured me that the speakers sounded as they should. I have a friend who has a pair of Meridian M60's; which are pretty much non DSP versions of the 5K's and their sonic signature is pretty much the same as my speakers. Now I was starting to think that my Meridian speakers are not faulty; but just lacking compared to my Kef's.

I had an opportunity to listen (with my own music) to some DSP7000's. Really nice sounding speakers in terms of scale and bass depth. But at the top end; seeming a little congested to my Kef's.

Hearing about Meridian new SE speakers; with their Beryillium tweeters and EBA; made me curious as to how they sounded even if they are currently unaffordable for me.

An opportunity came along that allowed me to listen to the new DSP5200/7200/8000 SE's; again with my own music. Now these are really great speakers; there is no denying this. Particularly remarkable is the improvement in performance with EBA enabled; it transforms the standard Meridian speaker into something leagues ahead of what it was.

Once again; playing my music on these great speakers with the Beryillium tweeters; I expected it to knock my elderly Kef's into a cocked hat. And indeed in terms of scale depth and slam; they do. Listening carefully to the top end and mid range; I felt there wasn't much difference in detail retrieval between the SE's and my Kef's; tonal quality was slightly better on the SE's. But in terms of 'spaciousness' and imaging I felt that my Kef's were still better than the Meridian's by some margin.

I have an old MF X24K dac that I hadn't used for a few years. Dusting it off; I put that inbetween my Squeezebox Touch and my MF amps. That has elevated the performace via my Kef's considerably; there really is now quite a gulf in the performance between my Ref 1's and DSP5K's; with the Kef's (with the exception of the bass) being better than the Meridian's by quite a way.

I have had quite a few people listen to my set up now; some into Hi-Fi and some not. Some Meridian owners and some not. Without exception; everyone prefers music via the Kef's.

For Meridian speaker owners, wondering if they should upgrade to SE's or not, the answer is a resounding yes if they can afford to do it.

Luckily (!) I'm too poor to consider 'upgrading' to Meridian SE's; so I won't have to agonise about changing my speakers.

As silly as it may sound; I'll continue with two systems in my room. One for movies and one for music.

And I'll continue to dream about finding a speaker that has the detail and imaging of my Kef's and the slam of the Meridian's that I can afford...

Sorry; my post has turned into a bit of a ramble!

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  • Cambs12 changed the title to Meridian

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