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Meridian Introduces New More Affordable High End AV Line Print E-mail
Friday, 29 August 2003
Meridian Audio has just announced a new, more affordable line of AV components called the G Series.

“The G Series designs mark an important payoff on the promise of ‘digital theatre’ we’ve been working toward for nearly a decade,” says Meridian chairman and chief designer Bob Stuart.

Meridian’s newest range comprises three basic families of all-new designs: four variations of optical-disc CD and CD/DVD player/transport/controller—two with extended, preamp-like capabilities; four components including surround processor/tuner, preamps, and a two-channel receiver; and three power-amplifiers including stereo and multichannel models.

The distinctive look an feel of each G Series model begins with new industrial designs by Meridian co-founder Allen Boothroyd, featuring full-width, all-metal construction with Meridian’s traditional black-glass accents—and its level of finish quality. The finish, available in pearly silver or all-black, has an all-new user interface accessed by front panel or remote, rotary volume controls and key layouts. The new line also features easy conversion to EIA-standard rack-mounting via available kits, and RS-232 ports that may be used both for complete system-control integration and for communication with a dedicated, Meridian-written Windows application for setup, configuration, and customization. The G Series models can be precisely configured to meet the requirements of a specific system, while eliminating extraneous control and command “clutter.” Both Meridian communication ports, and industry-standard IR-control and trigger inputs/outputs are also provided throughout, for compatibility with both Meridian and third-party control systems.

G Series Disc Players
The four G Series optical-disc components include the G07 CD Player and G08 Upsampling CD Player, the G98 CD/DVD Audio transport, and the G91 DVD Audio Player/Controller, a fully integrated CD/DVD player with on-board stereo preamplifier-tuner.

All four employ CD/DVD-ROM drive mechanisms with custom, Meridian-written control, navigation, and error-correction software for speed and reliable disc-handling. Uniquely powerful re-clocking using FIFO RAM buffering completes the equation for full, permanent elimination of jitter as an audible factor. All four are compatible with all relevant mass-produced and recordable variants of CD and DVD/DVD-Audio formats, including, CD-R and hybrids.

The Meridian G07 and G08 are generally similar, with the latter adding balanced (XLR) analog outputs, among other refinements—and Meridian’s upsampling capability. In the G08, G91, and G98, upsampling of CD-standard PCM to 24-bit, 176.4/192 kHz data yields dramatic sonic improvements, applicable to the vast existing library of digital recordings. In the case of Dolby Digital/DTS multichannel material, the same benefits can be enjoyed from the G91 and G98 when reproduced via a compatible Meridian surround controller such as the G68. To this end the G91 and G98 include MHR Smart Link functionality, permitting encrypted digital interconnection of multichannel sources and Meridian surround controllers including the G68.

The configurable G91 DVD Audio Player Controller is an integrated system, comprising audio/video disc player, stereo digital preamplifier, and AM/FM RDS/RDBS tuner in a single component. The addition of a pair of Meridian Digital Loudspeakers or active speakers (or a G Series amplifier and passive speakers) completes an effective two-channel A/V setup. The G91 further functions as a multichannel home-theater centerpiece via its optional configurations with MHR Smart Link multichannel digital outputs to either the G68 Surround Controller or direct to a set of Meridian’s DSP Loudspeakers. The G91 includes multiple video inputs for system integration, and outputs include component video and HDMI with scalable video output. G91 also accepts both analog and digital inputs to accommodate outboard audio and A/V sources. DVI connection is available via an optional adapter. A European version is available with SCART output.

The G98 DVD Audio Transport includes similar video capabilities to the G91, and can be configured with either MHR Smart Link digital outputs for connection to a Meridian processor or DSP Loudspeakers, or with six-channel analog outputs for use in other systems. The refined on-board video processor accepts multiple video inputs, and can output formats up to 576p analog component and scalable HDMI (also DVI-capable) up to 1080i, so the G98 may in fact serve as the master video component of a system with video as well as audio.

The G68 Surround Controller is a modular, and upgradeable THX Ultra2 component serving as a digital-and-analog A/V surround preamp-processor with RDS/RDBS tuner. It provides a variety of multichannel inputs including two 6-channel digital inputs, thus accepting Meridian MHR Smart Link signals from compatible Meridian disc players. By upsampling these signals, the G68 offers an improvement in sound quality from movie and music multichannel recordings. Numerous stereo digital and analog inputs are also present for audio and A/V sources, and a balanced-out analog options are available. Flexible video configurations can include broadcast-grade switching incorporating multiple S- and component-video inputs and outputs.

The G68 goes much further, however. Its proprietary Meridian DSP room-correction system counteracts room resonances for real-world sound, reducing “muddiness” and improving stereo and surround imaging. Meridian’s unmatched DSP expertise is reflected in the G68’s DSP engine, a 5-processor layout capable of 750 MIPS of calculating power. This is used in the fullest range of stereo and surround processing yet created, including THX, Dolby Digital, and DTS modes, plus Ambisonics, MPEG, and Meridian’s Trifield family of music-surround environments.

The three units share common underpinnings: the G01 stereo RDS tuner/control unit, the G02 balanced/dual-mono control unit, and the G51 AM/FM RDS stereo receiver. (The last-named incorporates 2 x 100 watts power derived from the G56 power amplifier, below.) These analog designs offer sonic refinement and ergonomic ease.

There are three power amplifiers among Meridian’s new G Series, two stereo models and a five-channel design. All derive from the amplification technology of Meridian’s reference-standard DSP8000 Digital Loudspeakers.

The result is a family of amps offering clarity and integrity, and power that retain their full sonic potential with even the most difficult loudspeaker loads. The dual-mono G56 produces 100 watts per channel (8&Mac189;), while the G57 doubles this to 200 x 2 at 8&Mac189; and more than 650 x 2 at 4&Mac189;. Both two-channel models can be bridged to mono for higher single-channel output. The Meridian G55 duplicates the stereo amps’ features in a five-channel configuration delivering 100 watts each (8&Mac189;); again, the “outer” channel-pairs may be bridged to 300 watts each. All three G Series amps include a flexible trigger input that responds equally to DC or AC signals over a wide voltage range.

Each G Series component (except the power amplifiers) is supplied with the latest MSR+ System Remote. This backlit, ergonomic tabletop controller incorporates 51 keys grouped into intuitive sections; user-replaceable keycaps allow semi-permanent re-labeling to match a particular system’s actual components and sources. The MSR+ is a pre-programmed/learning remote with a vast internal library able to command an enormous array of equipment from numerous manufacturers.

All models will be available by October

Manufacturer’s suggested prices:
G07 24-bit CD Player $2875
G08 24-bit Upsampling CD Player $3995
G68 Surround Controller $6995 or $8995 (depending on configuration)
G01 Stereo Control Unit $2595
G02 Balanced Stereo Control Unit $2995
G51 Stereo Receiver $3595
G56 Stereo Power Amplifier $2695
G57 Stereo Power Amplifier $3595
G55 5-Channel Power Amplifier $4895
G91DH DVD Audio Player Controller Tuner $6995
G98 DVD Audio Transport $5995 or $6495 (depending on configuration)
Meridian Plus System Remote plus (MSR+) $149

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