Meridian were keen for us to look at their new 808v5 CD player and preamplifier, in conjunction with DSP7200SE active loudspeakers. And what a process it turned out to be! In truth it is a complex system with a bewildering array of options; what we do not have space to explain is that both items can be set to work independently, although the
'speakers must have a digital input; there is no analogue alternative. The network setup option was interesting but offers little over and above what is available on the menus. A system of this cost and complexity is usually installed by Meridian engineers, so owners would never grapple with the many menus and settings we pored over, but to measure performance meaningfully all options had to be carefully set beforehand. The system spent a long time with us, being used in-house in a large 4800 cu. ft. room, and it acquitted itself well.
What Meridian offer here is an incredibly clean and concise sound, that is truly accurate measurement shows, but also one that is svelte and easy on the ear. Their new tweeter is a help here: it was delightfully neutral. And correction is applied to the bass section in order to cope with differing room conditions and extend bass downward for powerful subsonics; the DSP7200SEs had heft. In all this made for a sense of poise and ultimate accuracy. OK, the price made me sweat too, but you have to admire the knowledge and technology that has gone into this system.
I think it was coincidence that I also, this month, joined the world's press to hear Meridian founder, Bob Stuart, announce the launch of MQA digital signal processing. I hope we will be able to get a deeper technical insight soon, in order to better explain how it works. Digital moves ahead and Meridian are a part of this.
At the other end of the technology scale, where a piece of vinyl spins around and around, I was worried about changing the bearing in our Technics SL-1210 Mk2 Direct Drive turntable. But it turned out to be a surprisingly easy DIY job - and it was fascinating to get a closer look at Technics DD motor, with its sensors. This is the fun end of hi-fi for spanner men and seemingly more understandable than Meridian's 808v5, but that's only if you ignore 1970s servo-feedback theory and circuits within the Technics. Hi-Fi is never boring and commonly challenging!
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