|Meridian G68 Digital Surround Controller|
|Home Theater Preamplifiers AV Preamps|
|Written by Bryan Southard|
|Sunday, 01 May 2005|
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The G68 is a powerful digital surround controller and the set-up can be a challenge for the do-it-yourselfer. As suggested earlier, I had the luxury of having Meridian do the set-up at my home. When you purchase from your local retailer, they will undoubtedly come to your home to set you up. However, the fact remains that changes to the set-up are not child’s play. It requires knowledge and an aptitude for high-tech manuals. Some will relish the flexibility, yet others will likely find frustration. As stated earlier, it is most advisable to have a Meridian dealer complete your set-up.
The G68 comes in several different configurations, based on your input and output needs. I applaud Meridian for providing this flexibility, yet on the other hand, many could someday find that their needs have changed and may require modification or replacement. With the proper choice, this set-up is so good that you might never make a change, thus negating the relevance of this concern.
I have had the distinct privilege over the years of auditioning some of the best gear the world has to offer. Over time, my interests in AV have evolved from more traditional two-channel playback to full multi-channel playback for both music and home theater. There was a time where I kept two completely different systems, one for music and another for movies, to avoid polluting my cherished music playback. Thanks to a short list of companies like Meridian, I can now enjoy one multi-channel set-up that’s worthy to reproduce all formats at the highest level. I can have one central system that reaches complete audio/video nirvana from a single chair.
As mentioned earlier, I have been referencing the Meridian 568/598 for a few years now and, other than a few nuances, it is fantastic. The Meridian G68/G98 combination has completely eclipsed the performance of the 5 Series with far better sound, more connectivity, a better physical look and video that is the best this industry has to offer, bar none. From DVD-A to SACD and movies, as well as CD and LP playback, the G68 remains detailed and open, articulate yet liquid and effortless in every aspect.
At its price, the Meridian G68 is one of the finest AV preamps money can buy – and money can buy you a preamp costing upwards of $20,000 or even $30,000 at the ultra-high price points in the home theater industry today. For music, this combo performs with effortless perfection and handles movies with equal grace. Regarding video quality, I can’t say enough. If you have a local retailer and can afford this level of performance, don’t miss the opportunity to audition the pair. An AVR Top 100 Award for the G68 and G98 are no-brainers, if I have any say (and I do). The question is, when considering dollar for dollar value, are they better than the $50,000 Meridian 800-861 combination that AVR’s publisher uses as his reference? I am sure we will be arguing about this towards the end of 2005 as we pick the best products of the year.