Meridian is the acknowledged leader in high-performance Compact Disc playback, and has held that pre-eminent position since the release of the world’s first audiophile CD player, the MCD, in 1984. Since then, Meridian has introduced over two dozen CD player models, each one redefining the state of the Compact Disc art.
This steady process of improving CD performance has been recognized by more than 50 awards and has made Meridian absolutely synonymous with the very best in Compact Disc.
The 808 was introduced in 2004 to immediate acclaim. Meridian hailed it as the best CD player they had ever made. But, since then, developments in technology and innovations conceived in Meridian’s own R&D laboratories have made it possible to better even the best.
Now, Meridian introduces the lastest generation of the 808, a proud member of the 800 Reference Series, specifically developed to render the very best sound from Compact Disc and network audio. In addition, the 808 now decodes Meridian MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) sources, delivering studio quality sound.
Part of the Reference 800 Series, the 808v6 is the highest performance CD Player ever manufactured by Meridian. The latest edition of this ground-breaking product offers several significant improvements including the decoding and rendering of MQA sources to deliver studio quality reproduction – guaranteed – via both digital and analogue outputs.
At the heart of Meridian’s ultimate music system, 808 offers CD playback from an
internal ROM based drive which allows for data recovery and error correction many times better than that employed in standard CD systems, as well as external analogue and digital sources.
CD is still a significant music source, with an amazing depth of catalogue. All the more reason, then, to continue our quest to make Compact Disc sound the very best it can. 808 inherits Meridian’s tradition of over a quarter-century of award-winning players, yet sets a whole new benchmark.
Meridian: CD Innovator
Of all manufacturers, Meridian has the longest history of high-performance CD players. Meridian’s first CD player, MCD, was introduced over 30 years ago. MCD sounded radically better than anything else anything else At the same time, 808 provides a bridge to a server/cloud-based future. The 808 can replay music stored losslessly on a Meridian Sooloos Digital Media System – for example, your existing CD library, high-resolution sources and the latest MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) sources – at the highest possible quality, with control of the Play Queue from the MSR+ remote, plus streams and downloaded files. The 808 also offers additional inputs to make it truly the hub of the ultimate music system.
MQA is Meridian’s revolutionary audio processing system that captures the essence of a studio master with advanced sampling technology and encapsulates it into a lossless stream or file. On replay, the sound of the original studio master is reproduced – guaranteed.
MQA sources in the form of streams or files are handled differently depending on whether they are destined for analogue or digital outputs. Two stages must be carried out to enjoy an MQA source: decoding and rendering. In all cases, MQA sources are decoded in the 808. Then, in the case of Meridian DSP Loudspeakers connected via SpeakerLink, the signals are passed to the loudspeakers for rendering. When passed to the analogue outputs, the MQA source is rendered internally within the 808.
Thus the 808 is an exquisite CD and network player/pre-amplifier, embodying the very best of our art and technology. And the 808 is a ‘signature’ model – each one hand-signed by Meridian’s founders, Robert Stuart and Allen Boothroyd.
Meridian’s 808 is the latest in a series of optical disc players that use a new CD-ROM drive for reading. This drive allows multiple passes to be made, ensuring that the correct data are recovered from the disc and improving Compact Disc’s error-correction a hundredfold. It also allows complete buffering of the recovered data.
To ensure the lowest possible jitter, 808 incorporates an advanced clocking regime, and employs three buffers. By the time the data is passed to the DACs or the digital outputs, the jitter is incredibly low – in fact 808 has the lowest jitter we have ever measured on a CD player.
Above and beyond
The signal path includes proprietary error correction and concealment, and Meridian’s acclaimed ‘Resolution Enhancement’ DSP, in which the original 44.1kHz, 16-bit audio is upsampled to 176.4kHz, 24-bit in a 400MIPS processor operating with 48-bit internal precision. This upsampling allows conversion-related filtering to take place far above the limits of human hearing, so there are no artefacts added to the sound – you hear simply the pure music.
However, the 808 goes further still. High-resolution audio prefers sample rates and bit depths higher than the 44.1kHz 16-bit CD format, which is why we use resolution enhancement that includes upsampling and features special ‘apodising’ filters – filters that are minimum phase, with no ripple, causing no pre-echo: and thus offering perfect timing. These filters require significant DSP to deliver, using the power of the 808’s main processor. But the system is so effective that it can even correct certain errors made in the recording or mastering stage.
Finally, at the end of the audio chain, the 808v6 employs the latest multi-bit oversampled delta-sigma D/A converters, combined with a matching proprietary analogue output stage of the highest quality.
Innovation is the keynote
The 808v6 includes many other features, including twin RJ45-based SpeakerLink interfacing, allowing a direct “home run” single-cable link from the 808 to each of a pair of Meridian DSP speakers via convenient, easily installed unobtrusive cabling.