PS Perfect Wave Trans/DAC versus Meridian 808.2

Has anyone been able to compare these two products or comment on either individually as a significant improvement over high quality red book equipment? I am intrigued by the apodosing filters ability to enhance Red Book sound by reducing pre-ringing. And these two products, as far as I know, are the only ones using these filters.
I have spent extensive time with both of them, and they are both great sounding products, but for that kind of investment, you really need to have a listen for yourself. I wouldn't get too focused on "filters". Some of the best DACs I've ever listened to (no matter what the price) did not use filters at all.
I agree with Ballan and will add that the Meridian never seems to sound like music, it always sounds digital.

Find a dealer that really knows system matching to help you, it saves a lot of headaches and money in the long run.
Thanks for your responses - they were helpful
That filter is pretty special, and the PW Dac is a great piece. Can't speak for the Meridian gear. PS Audio is getting ready to have a trade in program where you can get $1000 EACH off the DAC and the Transport. Check out the newsletter at the PS Audio site


Yes, that deal is what is tempting me to look into this - thanks for the tip.
Are you kidding me, no player is on the same planet as the Meridian!!!!!
Is that a good thing is the question! ;-)
i got my perfect wave pair using that same trade in plan last year. they did it during intro in july 09. great offer imho. gave them $300-$400 worth of old gear and got 2k off the pwd & pwt. if you're in the market for a new dac/'s something i'd seriously consider. outstanding digital front end without the outstanding price.

have never heard the 808.2. have read it's a great player.

which one sounds the best would depend on what they're hooked up to and what you're looking to hear.

I agree with Ballan, I'd be skeptical of this new fancy filter...

I use the PWT transport coupled to a Audio Note DAC - no filtering, no upsampling, no oversampling, no nothing but MUSIC...

Haven't heard the PWD but I can vouch that the PWT is an AMAZING transport

I have a PWD, it is an outstanding dac.. Waiting on the Bridge which from everything I've heard and read sounds identical to the PWT. Anyway I've owned Meridian gear in the past,nothing as nice as an 808.2.. and thought it was very good sounding digital, But, and a big but here, PWT/PWD combo list price $6000.00 (and could be as little as $4K if your have stuff to trade in with the upcoming PS Audio trade in deal) Meridian list price $16,000. Meridian $10 Grand better ahhh don't think so. Recent reviews of the Perfect wave combo had it being compared to $30K worth of Esoteric gear, reviews though on red book PW combo as good but different, on high rez stuff PW Combo better.Ten gee's buys a lot of other stuff.. Just one guys opinion :-)
I could not agree with you more. The value in the PS Audio PWT/PWT combo is simply off the charts IMHO.
A friend with the PWD(used to have the PWT)said the combination isn't as good as the 808.2. Another friend sez the Meridan is the best he's owned(full DCS stack, modified Wadia 861 and Spectral).

His 808.2 has passive internal tweaks that've raised the performance over stock units and have also been applied to his Meridian speakers.
With the new Bridge coming out is there really a need for the PWT any more other than to have somewhere to put in a CD to play simply for the sake of playing CD's? If you burn your whole collection to an NAS with EAC off of your computer drive does that not negate the need for a PWT?
Seriously thinking of going this route and I'm definitely not adverse to buying the combo but just don't seem to find what the need would be for the transport in my (questionably feeble) mind...
I went with just the DAC for the reasons you listed. Getting everything out of your computer bit perfect seems to be the trick. I'm still working on that. I like the sound of the J River player better than iTunes on my PC (running windows XP).
I've also gone that route. All my music is on a NAS, I've been using Sonos for a couple of years and can't remember the last time I played a physical disc!

As for the need for the PWT.. from all accounts the Bridge sounds pretty much exactly like the PWT, so it's certainly not something I'd have a need for. If I had extra $$ I might buy one so I'd have the PW Pair.. but I don't...
i think PSA is on to something with their soon/someday to be released "NAS for dummies" set up. a one box solution that does everything and is plug-n-play.

many of us out here understand computer based music is where digital is headed. the advantages are obvious. "we" want to go there as well but are scared off by all the tech stuff involved. no doubt many of you are laughing but it's a sad truth. the set-up is beyond what many of "us dummies" care to learn and/or do. please note i used the word "care". no doubt we could figure it out eventually....we just don't want to. lazy?, ignorant?, lacking initiative?? sure!. just keep in mind that there are many of "us" out here. it's about time a company decided to take our money =)

i'm waiting for the bridge as well but am even more excited about the all in one devise that's in the works. you guys can stop laughing any time now =)
I would think that there should be enough good info on the threads here and on the PSA site that should get you thru it wasy enough, but I agree that a plug and play NAS setup would be welcome AND likely purchased by a lot of people...
>>>these two products, as far as I know, are the only ones using these filters

Add Ayre to this list, they've been doing this filter type about as long a Meridian:

The "MP" filter can be found on their DAC, CDP, universal, and BDP units.
I have the Meridian 808.2 and can honestly say it can turn discs that were crap into new recordings. Discs that are already good even more real. I would put it up against anything.
Actually Levy03, the future will be in network-based audio as opposed to “computer audio.” PS Audio is really making strides in this direction. You won’t need a computer at all when you connect the Bridge to your network. This is a totally different animal than a CD player. The 808.2 may very well be among the best CD players on the market today, but once high end servers become more mainstream even the great CD players will seem obsolete.

If you think, “this is what they said about turntables,” then you’re making the wrong analogy. Analog is analog, digital is digital. Analog continues to progress via refinements in technology and will likely continue to do well for some time (indefinitely??); but digital is progressing as well, and the direction it is heading is network server based.

Until they can figure out how to pull analog music from an LP other than a turntable, the turntable is the solution. This is not true with digital - "they” already have figured out how to convey digital music without the CD player. The CD itself is still relevant because they are still the primary source for obtaining digital music files. Let me tell you though, if you haven’t experienced hi-res playback (96k x 24 or higher), then you haven’t experienced the true potential of digital playback (CDs by design are limited to 16/44). Furthermore, DSD is still very promising for the future of network systems (and THAT will be very exciting).

Rufipennis - Thanks for the Ayre tip. Good to know of another option while waiting for the network server stuff to come on line.
you're right Ben, that's what i meant to say...."network based audio". this illustrates how little i know about the stuff. gimme a box that just does it! =)

agree 100% regarding a well done hi-res recording. have purchased a few Ref Recordings and managed to burn a few hi-res dvd's myself. 96/24 to 192/24 (some good 88/24 as well)'s a huge leap forward for digital imho. truly phenomenal.
Gammajo, the PS Audio Bridge, for the PWD will be available starting end of this month so it's pretty much here. Being able to have your entire music library in the palm of your hand is so much better than looking for a disc to play it's not even close. Once you've have a streaming media library you'll look at playing cd's as so limiting. BTW if you have the coin and really want to go the Meridian route, my advise would be to do it as a combo with a Sooloos music server, that would be the killer system again if you have the $$$$. That you give you the best of all worlds.
Thank you for the advice. I will be eager to hear the response to the Bridge. I confess that I do like cruising through discs for what I feel like playing better than toggling through my Ipod (lossless) but that will probably be shed in favor of high res.
I'm thinking about getting the combo- PWT, PWD.
I'm trying to understand the PWT better- Is it more like a hard drive than a CD player- does it have storage or is that what my PC is for?
What If I only have one home PC? I don't really have a network or any other pnp devices.

Has anyone done the trade-in program yet? One dealer says the trade is "upto $1000" depending on what you trade in, so you don't just get a grand by showing up with something bought at Costco for 59 bucks!! It would be interesting to hear what deals people get. I have some older gear, but would just keep it if the deal is only "pennies on the dollar"
Check with music direct. I believe you get $1000 off each for each transport and each DAC you trade in toward $1000 off each Dac and each Transport you buy.

The PWT is a CD player with memory, so it plays from the memory. It stores a couple minutes of CD quality music or several seconds of hi-rez audio before it outputs it. The PWT plays hi-rez disc as well as CD's. It does NOT play SACD's. I'm not sure if it will play DVD-A or not.

One computer is fine if you want to use it for a source. You can play anything from low rez to ultra hi rez using the computer. I play ripped DVD-A's this way. You can hook it up to the DAC via Coax, Toslink, or USB. When the Bridge is released you can hook it up wired or wirelessly through a router. This will be the best way.

This is a STELLAR combo IMO.
The trade in program gives you the original retail value of the DAC or CD player/transport that you trade in, up to a maximum value of $1,000 per piece, towards the retail price of the PWT or PWD. It therefore allows you to purchase each piece that lists for $3,000 for as low as $2,000 if your trade in had an original list price of $1,000 or more.

The PWT will play standard CDs as well as high resolution WAV files up to 24/192 that are burned to DVD-R discs, but it will not play standard DVD video or DVD-A discs.
The PW DAC is also a preamp. Has anyone used it this way?
I don't know how a previous poster could compare it to another brand that is just a DAC with no network ability or preamp functions.

PS Audio's literature says the PWT transport will play DVDs.
I have. It sounds great.

I think the DVD's the PWT will play are hi-rez one's made on a computer. It will NOT play regular DVD movies and I do not believe it will play DVD-A's. You can rip DVD-A to your computer and transfer that to a DVD disc and then play that using the PWT. Or just play the ripped DVD-A files from your computer through the PWD as I mentioned before.
Is this some kind of joke or what?

The Meridian OF corse!!!By a million miles!!
A Meridian rep was kind enough to bring over a 808.3 so that I could hear in my system today. Not much difference going into my preamp versus what I have, But going directly into my amp balanced, the three of us there were super impressed from the first few notes - what a great sounding unit which must have a wonderful preamp in it as well. Showed me that my current speakers, amps and room could give me much better sound with a reference grade source.
I had a Meridian 861 v 4.2; with a G-98 transport; going into their HD621 switcher; which had the apodizing filter..using Bryston 28sst's monoblocks and analog speakers...found the Meridian gear very digital sounding; and it limited sending full frequency range into my analog rig..the music never seemed to sing...lack of base; no sparkle on the treble..ok; but sounded very veiled and digital.
Sold that; and got the PS audio wave transport and dac, now running into VAC tubed preamp; and also my Qsonix music 205 server thru the dac via balanced PAD cable...sound stage opened up as if by magic; much fuller frequency response, sparkling cymbals and warmth in the voices; awesome base, and the music server thru the digital input of the PSaudio dac is much more enjoyable; and less 'digital than when I used the Meridian...for a fraction of the cost... I have the dac only set on filter 1; the apodizing filte; have not found need to experiment with the other ones..Ilike this...of course; I did not make the investment in the meridian 808.ii or iii; i think Meridian works great in an all Meridian rig, with their speakers, etc; but lacks some magic when used with conventional analog amps and speakers...
just my two cents from living with both types of gear for a while; glad I saved the money; and got better sound...but your ears/your system, your money...all good choices...good luck.
Yes I still want to audition the PS gear - who knows how good it gets unless you hear it?
How about Meridian 808.2 vs. Playback Design? Both have excellent reviews galore, and both seemed to sacrifice some of the frequency extremes for a natural, analog-like presentation. Is there anybody who compared the 2 players?