Meridian 808v6 and MQA


After reading RH's glowing review of the Meridian 808v6 in the latest TAS issue, I just had to listen to it in my system. So I trundled down to my local dealer and brought one home. It is hard to resist what with all the buzz about MQA and more so if a dealer trusts you to let you bring a loaner home.

A few steps in this evaluation :-

1. Substituting  the Esoteric K-01 for the Meridian 808v6 - the Meridian beats out the K-01 in all sonic parameters for redbook cd's spinning in the cd-rom drive of the 808v6
2. USB input - the Meridian wins
3. Coax input - the Meridian wins
4. For the Meridian unit itself, the cd spinning in the cd-rom drive beats the coax and usb inputs for redbook files played via computer or via thumbdrive usb-spdif converter(Marantz NA8005); the coax input beats the usb input for both redbook and hi-res files
5. With and without preamp(Ayre K-5xeMP) - the Meridian with its internal preamp wins handily
6. Software -  Downloaded MQA files from the 2L website and all the MQA files are breathtakingly superior to the non-MQA versions. One MQA 96/24 file sounds better than the 192/24 non-MQA version.
7. Ethernet - have not tried this as my router is too far away from the rig; will not spend $$$ on 50 feet of audiophile ethernet cable.

Summary :-
Going direct to Bryston 28B SST2 monos and thence to VA The Music speakers, the sound of the 808v6 is staggeringly and spectacularly awesome! So, I have finally found a source that performs better without a preamp. Yay! With the Meridian, all redbook CD's will sound like hi-res. With MQA, you have to hear it for yourself to believe.

J. :):):):):):):)


 

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I have been hooked on Meridian since the 808.2.  Now using the 808.3.  It's not surprising that the latest version is even better.  I wish I had a dealer locally to try it as you have. 
I wish you had too before you decide to upgrade.
What the 808v6 does is make the gestalt sound solid - solid instrument placement and separation in a solid expansive soundstage, solid tone and timbre, timing and musicality, detail with warmth, and the list goes on.
This is one of the very few events in my audio life that I would describe as truly transformational.
  I listened to a demonstration of MQA at last years Axpona in Chicago and it was in a word, crap.  However, the demonstration was bizarre.  Meridian was using their best powered speakers in a small hotel room with all 8 of us listeners of jammed in like sardines in a few folding chairs.  The speakers were smashed into the corners of the room up against the walls.  I mean, you would think a company like Meridian knew a thing or two about speaker placement...Anyway, no one in the room could tell a difference between the MQA and any competing source.  If anything the MQA sounded marginally worse.
   I just bought a new DAC, the Mytek Manhatten, and it is putting my old Oppo 105, even when the latter spins SACDs, to shame.  That is enough revelations for me.  I do note with interest that Mytek offers it's lower priced DAC, the Brooklyn, with MQA, so I am hoping they give Manhatten owners MQA through a firmware upgrade.  Then I'll make a judgement.
Yes, its rather strange. It is the same thing in the local showroom which is huge and well-appointed but the sound of the 808v6 was merely so-so in the demo set-up. The moment the music started, I just got off the listening chair and requested for a home audition. I could not believe that it sounded the way it did, certainly not after RH gushed like a geyser to the stars about it.
It wasn’t until I brought it home that the 808v6 transformed into a thing of abject beauty and elegance.
About MBA, I would not think too much about it as the catalogue of titles is still extremely limited. After listening to redbook and non-MQA hi-res through the 808v6, it is simply the most undigital digital I have ever heard. The digital artifacts of yore are gone now, at least to my ears and in my system. As always, system synergy is paramount.
Over the past few days of home auditioning, I have found that the computer environment in the 808v6 does not seem to be stable. At times, it would sound glorious and at others, it would be just ho-hum. By switching it off and unplugging the power cord, the magic came back but after a while, that would fade again. Repeating this power cycling routine is akin to rebooting the computer every now and then and this just won't do.
It's a shame really but that's how it is. So, back it goes to the dealer. It may well just be an isolated problem with the demo unit.
Interesting.  Let's let this technology mature a bit.  In Digital it doesn't pay to be an early adopter.
Looks like it. Most dac's nowadays are computers in a box. Let them fix all the glitches of any new version or upgrade first. It will take some time as they wait for customer feedback but I certainly would not want to be the first few customers to provide feedback about problems and then wait while the in-house eggheads scratch their own heads ironing these out one by one.... 
I recall really liking the Classic Records 24/96 digital discs, which were a DVD-based format.  Incredible fidelity, but also with the relaxed quality that vinyl lovers look for.  A shame they didn't catch on.  They're still available from Acoustic Sounds and Elusive Disc and I recommend picking a few up if you have a player capable of high-fidelity DVD playback.  Other than that, there have been so many "breakthroughs" in digital that one would have to be wary.  HDCD, SACD, oversampling, various tricky filtering.  And now this.  
Thanks for the heads up but I am afraid I have sent back the 808v6 because of its unstable number crunching. Meridian used to be an ardent supporter of dvd-audio and that has indeed gone silent now.