Review: Meridian 506.20 CD Player

Category: Digital

I listen to mostly jazz and rock/pop recordings with just a hint of classical mixed in. I had been using a mid eighties Denon cd player and had no real complaints but since I had updated all my other equipment I thought I would see what a new player could do for me.

I started with a Roksan Kandy and heard no difference at all. In fact I was surprised at how flimsy the drawer mechanism was.

So I decided it was time to go around to some audio stores and listen. Some players I was able to take home, the only true way to make a comparison, and was actually ashtonished at how much I had to spend in order to make a real improvement over what I was hearing. Therefore I needed
to go the used audio route as I did with my speakers and integated amplifier and I am very happy with the results.

The Meridian 506.20, found for $550 plus shipping, helped in my soundstage with the magnepans, which is what I enjoy most in critical listening, while I was not enthused about the styling that certainly is not the reason to purchase a product. The tracking on this unit was unbelievable, especially on my first few attempts at cd-r's. I am glad I kept these cds around because they made great test discs.

This piece has now been in my system for 6 weeks and I am listening to recordings over again like I have each time I have upgraded my system. Besides the sound and tracking I love the solid build, and the drawer reminded me of my first cd player and NAD with the same type of drawer where the laser unit comes out with the drawer. It reminds me of the first VCR's which had a top loading mechanism but was quickly replaced with the flimsy but popular front loading drawer. Most manufacturers of cd players use a front loading, inferior drawer where the disc is always toching some part of the drawer. I do not paricularly like the large remote though I understand why Meridian does this. But I do wish there was a drawer button on the remote instead of having to touch the unit all the time.

Of course if money was no object I would have researched more expensive units but thats not the reason to purchase something. One needs to find the right piece of equipment for them at the right price. Hell if price were not an object I surely would not be driving a FORD(Fixed Or Repaired Daily).

Associated gear
magnepan mg12
musical fidelity A3
straightwire quartet w/ spades
monster cable interconnects

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Nice review.

This will make your day - press "function" and "stop" simultaneously on your remote and the player's drawer will open / close.

Enjoy your player.

I think it's entirely possible to have a musically satisfying momemts with your present price point setup. I read that our ear gets used to a sound, so even if we were to upgrade, we simply get used to it, and leaves wanting more.
One suggestion is to goto radioshack and buy catalog 5 type e wires ($20/100ft) to combine it with the monsters. You will notice a clearity improvement that is musically involving and satisfying.
I drive an old Japanese car myself - never had much trouble with it, although lady friends don't dig it. I am all for saving money on cars, 'cause my mechanic friends never buy new cars - they think it's waste of money. They buy $1000 cars to fix it up.
Anyway, you will like the catalog 5e wire addition, and don't worry about umtin thousand $ gears out there, and just enjoy the music. You have pretty good stuff already.
I used to own this unit and I have regretted trading it away! I really have not heard a bad Meridian product. They seem to do everything quite right. The 506 has a nice open airy sound with plenty of detail. A little light on the bass department but that can be overlooked given the all around great sound that it produces. It is especially great sounding for jazz and vocals. Diana Krall steps out in your living room to give you a private performance. Her voice is detailed to the point where you become emotionally evolved, which is what music is supposed to do, right? I have owned several Meridians and have traded them off due to the audiophile greed I have had over the years. If opportunity avials itself, do yourself a favor and give the 506 a listen and it will make a believer out of you.