I own a Meridian 508.20 and have decided not to upgrade. The upgrade cost is around $700 plus shipping ,etc. While the 508.24 maybe a little better, I am very happy with my 508.20 and am saving $700.
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I own the 508.24 and had it into a Audio Research LS16 preamp into a Plinius SA100 MKIII running Dynaudio Contour 3.3 speakers. It sounded great. I chose the 508.24 over the Audio Research CD-2 and the Mark Levinson 39. The 508.24 is very detailed with lots of air around each instrument. I've upgraded the preamp to a Audio Research Reference 2 and the amp to a Plinius SA250 MKIV, but, I'm keeping the 508.24. I use Shunyata's Viper v.2 Power Snakes for my cords. I haven't heard the 508.20, but at the time I was looking for a cd player, other audiophiles suggested that the 508.24 was significantly better. Is there anyway you can demo a 508.24 and make the comparison for yourself?
Power cord suggestion is Stealth M-21. I have the 506.24 & am running all Stealth IC's & PC's except for one modified LAT. During my IC & PC upgrade path the Meridian just kept giving me more detail, less brightness, more air, etc., so I can only conclude that the information is available at the source & you just have to get it to you speakers.
Meridian upgraded my 508.20 to 508.24 status for free after experiencing problems with the transport. The upgrade Meridian offers includes an updated transport mechanism as well as the 24 bit dacs. To my ears the .24 represents a nice step up in performance. It is more dynamic, the presentation is more balanced relative to bass/mids/highs, mids are more open with less congestion, and there is a much better sense of pace. I still have mine, and like Rosstaman, have continued to upgrade around it. I also use a Shunyata Viper V2 on my 508.24. It sweetens the highs, increases dynamics, and sculpts a three dimensional soundstage against a black background.
If you are itching to upgrade, I would. I own a 508.24 and it is quite an excellent player. I have made several high priced upgrades downstream from it (speakers, amp, preamp, cables--come to think of it the whole system) and the sound just keeps getting better and better with no sign of slowing down.
>I've owned the 508.24. It is a great CD player. However, it has been discontinued from Meridian's lineup. If you plan to keep the unit forever then do the upgrade. If you plan on selling at some point in time you will not recoup the upgrade cost. Also, when looking for 508.24's for sale, the ones that have been upgraded are much harder to sell. People want the original not the upgraded model.
I have owned both the 508-20 and the 508-24. The 508-24(not an upgraded 508-20) sounds a little better. I can't say it is actually more open but it seems to come from a quieter background. I think the dynamics might be just a hair better overall. As for the transports, they sure seem to be alike but I've never looked inside. They function exactly the same(takes a few seconds to initialize). Is it worth a $700 upgrade? Good question. If you're looking for the best in absolute terms---yes it is. Can you be extremely pleased with the 508-20---darn straight. I've noticed the prices on Audiogon for the 508-20 have gone up a touch. They use to be in the $1000-$1100 range. Now it looks like $1200-$1400.
Might sell yours and catch a mint 508-24 for about $1800. Just a thought.