You can do much better than Meridian for a lot less money. My good friend has a complete Meridian system. It just may be the biggest waste of money in audio. I would definitely go with something else.
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I just re read my first post. I should have been more clear. For me to just say its a waste of money doesn't really help anyone if I don't say why. I'll use my friends system as an example. Its used for mostly theatre and some audio. He has a full Meridian 800 system and 8000 speakers for the 3 front and a pair of 7000 speakers for surrounds. (All this squeezed into a 650 sq ft NYC midtown apartment. He's the talk of building with this system.)
Here's why I think its a waste. You start off with a $20000 CD/DVD player that's used as a transport. When I say a transport, were not talking about a Teac unit like my Wadia has, but a CD Rom drive. From there, it goes to a $20000 processor. I'm not a theatre expert, but since the signal doesn't get converted to analog in the processor, it looks to me like its used more like a switching device than a processor. (Both the source and the processor does have DA converters, they just don't get used as part of a full Meridian system.). From the processor the digital signal is sent to each of the 5 active speakers for conversion and amplification. The front speakers go for 55k, half that for the center and the rears are around 30k. Again, I'm not an engineer, but the last place I would want a DAC is inside of a big active speaker.
That's why I say its a huge waste. You pay for all that stuff and you don't use it. I don't see why Meridian doesn't make a transport version of the DVD player and an option to get the speakers without the DAC's. Or maybe keep the DAC's in the speakers and make a less expensive switcher/processor. Not only that, you may think you can at least get away cheap on cables. Thats not the case. There's a price to be paid for putting DACs inside active speakers. $10000 to be exact. One $2000 Shunyata PC for each of the 5 speakers. You really have to get them because they do make a huge difference. To finish up you need 2 more PC's for the components, digital IC's and some good line conditioners.
Meridian is a brand who does things differently. It is like expensive B&O. I played with Meridian 800 for 11 years. My colleague had a Wadia 860. The 800 was superior. The reason why they use a simple cd rom drive is because the jitter is very low. At the end it ia about the dynamics, resolution, individual focus and sound. We did a shoutout with the Meridian 808 cd player and Esoteric X-01. The meridian was better in drive, focus and also in sound. At the end it is about the quality it gives. People who like design and do not want to be audiophiles are the people who buy it most of the time. Still some products they make are still exeptional good. I would not recommand there speakers.
Yes, Meridian is different and, although not germane to this
thread, some of us use Meridian electronics with more
conventional amps and speakers and, consequently, do make use
the processor's DACs. That said, I hope to get a pair of the
DSP7200.2s soon for review, I am particularly interested in
their new bass alignment filters which impressed me at the
Meridian makes excellent systems. They take a fully integrated approach which for most audiophiles doesn't work. Expensive and not particularly a good value, but capable of outstanding sound. If you're not an audiophile and you wanted top tier sound I'm not sure you can do better than a full Meridian system.
Many Meridian systems sounds very balanced. I really liked the control in the low freq. of the DSP8000 a few times. But these days I can go a lot further in sound cause of the knowledge I have. I can get a level in 3d image with blacks and extreme touchable instruments and voices like in real with my own set. This level I never heard by any Meridian system, not even close. But for people with less knowledge it is easier to get a balanced sound. What are the limitations of there speakers? The low units they use have not the best respons. The tweeters are also not state of the art. I talked about this a few times to people of Meridian. They are aware of it, but they do there things there way. This makes Meridian unique and different in the world of audio.