Meridian 5xx vs newer lossless systems

I am still wavering between getting a new low end processor like the Emovita UMC-1 or picking up an older Meridian 500 series processor. I believe the Meridian would best the newer units in sound quality for music but what would be the difference in Meridian’s excellent AC-3 decoding verse the newer lossless formats, even from a low cost unit?

Which Meridian unit would be the best value at this time?
I am using 5xx series gear (562v, 518, 565) and haven't ever felt there was anything lacking in not having some of the newer formats. Be forewarned that the 5xx gear requires some patience to setup but it's worth the effort. When all levels and delay are done properly, the end result is a very natural and open sound. . . it doesn't sound like "special effect," but just right. As far as prices go, the 565 can be had below $1k, but be careful to make sure you get one with the latest software. This required the installation of a new processor chip.

The 568 has also come way down in price now that there's a fair amount of G-series product in the secondary market. With balanced outputs and the ability to do setup using Meridian's windows-based software, it's a more flexible and easy to install unit.

Thanks for the reply. I think I am going to go with either a 561 or 565. I'd love a 568.2 but the prices on these are still pretty high for such an old unit.

The setup doesn't bother me, similar to my VMPS speakers taking the time to set them up correctly is well worth the effort.

I've never owned the 561 but recall that there might have been some issues with that particular model. I'd opt for the 565, but be aware that it offers very limited audio switching and virtually no video. I use my 565 with a 562v2--this gives me tons of audio input switching and it converts everything to digital, so there's only one digital cable from it to the 565. I don't use any of the video switching, as my TV does all that via HDMI. If you're using component video, you could get a 562v3, which has some component video switching, but they're fairly uncommon.

One last thing. . .the original 568 is less expensive than the 568.2 as it does not have the MHR link. You would only get a benefit from the MHR link if you have a Meridian 598DP DVD player.

Hope this helps.
I don’t need much in the way of hookups and no need for video. I run a PS3 as a Blue Ray player/game console/ CD/music server and use the optical cable for that. The video goes directly to the TV via an HDMI cable. I have a second DVD player (for the wife’s use) but could hook up the audio through one of the analog inputs.

The 565’s are running around $550 (just missed one that sold for $350) and the original 568’s around $1,000. Still not sure which one to go for and the price difference is large enough to make me hesitate going for the 568, after all we are talking about a 6+ year old unit that can’t handle the new lossless formats.
Hey Brax:

For connection, you're covered. Optical for the Blu-Ray and if you have a digital coax from the DVD, you're covered there as well.

With that price difference, you're right that the 565 is an easy call. Assuming you don't find a lot of value in using a computer to setup the 568, and don't need balanced outputs, the difference isn't worthwhile IMHO.

FWIW, I think the 568 uses some FIFO digital buffering whereas the 565 did not, but I defy actual humans to truly notice the difference. At least not without a $50k pair of Meridian Digital speakers! As I said, I've lived with a 565 for years and really don't have any motivation to replace it, other than new gear "lust."

Well I just bought a 565 with the 7.1 upgrade, can't wait to try it out. Thanks for the advice.
Very cool! If you get stuck during setup, let me know and I'll try to help out. Feel free to email me at
First, I don’t know what everyone’s talking about, the setup on the 565 was a breeze. I just printed out the manual, READ it and had it programmed in about 15-20 minutes.
Second, the sound is fantastic. Granted, it replaced a Pioneer Elite receiver but the added processing control made a world of difference. My speakers have never sounded so good. The Trifield and Music DSP modes are so good, I never listen to straight two channel anymore. The detailed setup really fine tunes your system to get the best balance and sound. I never watched movies in THX because I didn’t like the sound until the 565. Bottom line is that the 565 is a great unit, even if it’s a little long in the tooth and can be had for a great price in today’s market.
Hey Brax--glad to hear you're happy with the 565. I think I might have been a little extra cautious on the setup warnings, because it's still a little more effort than what most people are used to. Measuring tweeter distances and doing the math to figure out delay times, etc. means there's some extracurricular labor involved.

I also have a full stack 565, 562v, 518 and a DSP 5000--all of which require programming and which must be done differently depending on the settings chosen for the other gear in the stack. Add in the fact that these products came to market at different times with different software versions and contradictory manuals, and I certainly got lost in the weeds. But I've never had any desire to switch as I don't think there's much more to be had from a sound quality point of view!
Hey Kjweisner,

I just picked up a 562V to go along with my 565. Do you have your gear connected with the Meridian Comms cables? If so, what are the advantages. I have a Haromny remote that can do the switching or is there something the comms hookup adds?
Hey Brax:

Sorry for the delayed response--have been working like a fiend lately and not enought time to check a'gon.

You should definitely be using the comms cable. . . the 565 and 562 will become basically one seamless unit with the comms connected. Essentially, the 562 is your pre with all your sources connected and then converted to a single digital output, which in turn is the entire audio link to the 565. By having the comms cable, your 565 essentially controls the 562. You pick a source on the 565 ("TV") and it tells the 562 which set of inputs to select, etc.

But my guess is that you've already figured this out and this is "old news". If not, and you want to reach me directly, please write to


I ended up making a comms cable (couldn't find one anywhere) and hooked the units together. They work great hooked together a real must do if you have these units. The Meridians sound great so I have decided not to upgrade to a HD pre/pro for the near future. I am keeping my eye open for a 568.2mm and if run across one at a good price I'll pick it up. Thanks for the reply.
Glad to hear that. I have a 562v/518/565 stack that are also comm linked to a DSP5000c and D1500 subs. The stack is in my media rack and the speakers are on another floor of the house. With everything connected, the center speaker is the receiver for the remote control signals and controls all the 5xx gear downstairs. I keep seeing the price of the 568s dropping, so I think you'll find a good deal soon.