Meridian Upgrades 800 DVD-A Player and 861 AV Preamp 
Home Theater News Audio Sources News
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Friday, 12 October 2001

Meridian will soon be offering significant performance enhancements to their industry leading 800 DVD player and 861 AV preamp in the form of both hardware and software improvements.

Meridian 800
Coming in November 2001, the Meridian 800 DVD player will now be a fully functional DVD-Audio and DVD-Video machine. What is even more breakthrough is the proprietary multi-channel digital connection between the 800 and 861 which is now possible thanks to this upgrade to the DVD player and the 861 preamp.

Other mods to the 800 include an improved video card featuring a higher bit rate. There is all new software used to access the DVD-Audio features of the 800 DVD machine. A new output card is available for both digital and analog 5.1 outputs from the 800. This output includes 192 kHz upconversion and DACs.

Exact prices are not yet available but the upgrades are expected to range between $2,000 and $3,000. In the case of a new player the pricing should be between $16,000 and $17,000 (depending on configuration).

Meridian 861
Meridian is living up their promises regarding their reference series products being significantly upgradeable. The newest improvements being made to the 861 preamp include 24 bit 96 kHz upconversion for all 8 channels as opposed to just 3 channels on the last version of the 861. The 861 will accept a multi-channel DIGITAL input – an industry first. The 861 can also now take high resolution 5.1 analog inputs from say another DVD-A player (AKA: not an 800) or an analog feed from an SACD player.

Another option for the 861 is 192 kHz cards for both balanced and analog outputs from the 861. The processor has been upgraded to a 150 MHz brain which is useful for current digital tasks and future multi-channel applications. The 861 has the ability to do not just bass management for DVD-A, but it can also now add delay effects for speaker systems. The new 861 software allows for the new 2+2+2 configurations used by labels like Chesky for their DVD-Audio and SACD multi-channel material.

Above the ability to finally enjoy DVD-Audio, the biggest improvement in the Meridian reference system is the ability to use the 861 to upconvert both DTS and Dolby Digital sources to 24 bit 96 kHz signals for all of the channels. This should make a significant improvement to movie sound as well as many multi-channel music discs than aren’t all the way up to the standards of true 24/96.

Like the Meridian 800, the 861 is priced dependant on the configuration. Depending on which upgrades you might want, the costs to upgrade would range from between $2,000 and $3,000. A new unit will also cost between $15,000 and $19,000 based on the goodies you order. For clients with Meridian’s two other AV preamps, the 568 and 561, there is good news. Meridian will be updating them with many of the features found in the 800 series later in 2002.

Contact Meridian at (404) 344-7111 for technical questions or more information about the upgrades.

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