Computer audio sources via USB sound their best with Meridian Resolution Enhancement Technologies like Apodising and Upsampling. Analogue inputs suit phones, tablets and hi-fi components alike. Dual 1/4in sockets for separately-wired and conventional headphones. 3.5mm headphone socket suits in-ears. Preamp out for connection to an analogue hi-fi or active speakers.
At Meridian, the look and feel of a product is as important as what’s inside. Co-founder Allen Boothroyd created a unique new enclosure, but echoing previous iconic Meridian designs like the G Series and even Meridian’s original 100 Series.
Meridian’s Analogue Spatial Processing (ASP) transforms headphone listening, creating a natural, expansive soundstage that’s outside your head – more like listening to loudspeakers.
We’ve always believed that when you hear more, you feel more. We believe that performance speaks for itself.
You simply have to listen.
Recently, the headphone market has greatly increased in popularity, and for many it is the primary way to experience music. This choice is based not only on performance, but also feel, comfort, and style. It is with this in mind we introduce Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier.
With a new chassis design instantly identifiable as Meridian DNA, Meridian Prime delivers lifelike performance from any headphone and is designed to appeal to audio enthusiasts who seek the highest possible performance from conventional analogue audio sources.
Meridian Prime provides three inputs, one dedicated and optimised to USB sources for computer audio, discrete pure analogue inputs on RCA for traditional sources, and a 3.5mm connection for portable devices such as a smart phone or tablet.
ASP, or Analogue Spatial Processing, is an option for “outside the head” listening through headphones.
6-layer PC board for maximum signal isolation and enhanced performance
Analogue Spatial Processing offers dual-mode loudspeaker-like listening on headphones – with bypass
Audio components mounted near rear- panel sockets for ultra-short signal path
Analogue logic switching
USB 2.0 asynchronous playback at up to 192kHz/24-bit with upsampling and resolution enhancement
Externally-powered USB input: disconnecting deactivates all digital electronics
Dual 1/4in stereo headphone sockets with separate-wire grounding (may be used with separately-wired headphones) plus 3.5mm stereo jack
High-quality gold-plated sockets
Headphone-only mode powers down preamp output
Relay muting on power-up and power- down for thump-free operation.
Meridian Prime will appeal to even to most demanding users with its range of input connectivity, performance, unique features, and build quality.
Three front-panel headphone sockets are provided, optimised for purpose. One is a 3.5mm stereo socket for the connection of earbuds and similar devices, which presents an output impedance of 2Ω to suit these devices. The other two sockets offer an exceptionally low impedance (around 3mΩ) and are standard 1/4in stereo (tip-ring-sleeve) types, carrying both channels. They can be used to connect two pairs of headphones, or to attach a single pair of headphones wired with separate cords for left and right drivers, thus offering the opportunity to reduce headphone crosstalk.
In addition to simply replaying stereo audio at the highest possible quality via headphones, the outputs also include two “Analogue Spatial Processing” modes, i and ii, which replace the typical “in the head” experience of headphone listening with a smooth, natural feeling of spatiality that is much more like listening on a pair of loudspeakers in front of the listener.
The USB conversion system is powered from the interface, meaning that when it is disconnected, all digital circuitry in the unit is deactivated. The fully asynchronous USB 2.0 interface supports signals at up to 192kHz/24-bit sampling and includes Meridian resolution enhancement techniques such as oversampling and Meridian’s unique Apodising filter.
Filters are critical in digital audio. Commonly they introduce distortion and harshness because of "pre-ringing". Early digital recordings suffer from harshness too, due to primitive filters. After painstaking research, Meridian developed a special filter that avoids pre-ringing, so it can be steeper, cleaning up the effects of early filters. The result: a better, cleaner sound from recordings old and new.
Despite its diminutive size, Meridian Prime echoes the design elements of any other Meridian product, including a double skinned, bead blasted metal chassis found on Meridian’s full size components. This ensures that noise is kept away from critical audio components for lifelike details that are critical for headphone listening.
The Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier can be powered by the wall- mounted supply provided, or by the similarly sized, and styled, Meridian Prime Power Supply for even higher audio quality. The use of an external power supply means that AC noise is kept well away from the pure analogue stages of the Headphone Amplifier.
Virtually all the active audio components are at the rear of the unit, as close to the connectors as possible to minimise the audio path length, and are essentially remote-controlled from the front panel. This is even true of the volume potentiometer, a high-quality Alps-type mounted near the rear of the unit, which controls the level of all outputs. A special flexible shaft coupling is employed to avoid microphony, resulting from operation of the volume knob.
An analogue output is also provided so the product can be connected to an active loudspeaker, or conventional amplifier and loudspeaker system for a high-performance simple system.
A 6-layer circuit board provides ground-planes and maximises signal isolation.
The product is DC-coupled, for outstanding low frequency control and overall audio reproduction, and absolute phase is maintained throughout.
1x stereo line input (2x gold-plated RCA phonos)
1x stereo line input (3.5mm jack socket)
1x USB input (mini-B USB connector)
1x stereo line output (2x gold-plated RCA phonos)
2x 1/4in TRS A-type jack sockets (tip=left)
1x 3.5mm stereo jack socket (tip=left)
Relay-controlled power up/down muting on all outputs
<192kHz/24-bit sampling Meridian Resolution Enhancement technologies including upsampling and Apodising
Interface-powered: disconnecting USB powers-down all digital subsystems
ANALOGUE SPACIAL PROCESSING
Audio processing circuits provide “outside the head” headphone listening resembling listening on loudspeakers
Two different modes plus bypass
Short audio path
Alps analogue volume potentiometer with flexible shaft coupling from the front panel controls all outputs
Input selector button: push to select between line level, 3.5mm jack and USB
Analogue Signal Processing selector: i, ii or Bypass
1x, 2x, 4x digital sample rate indicators
A/B/Bypass Analogue Signal Processing indicators
RCA/mini-jack/USB input selector indicators
Power button illuminates blue in standby, white with all outputs active, green when preamp output disabled (hold button down to toggle)
Plug-in PSU provided; may also be powered by Prime Power Supply for superior performance
Silver metal finish uniform with G Series
Width: 160mm (6.3in); Depth: 150mm (5.9in) plus connectors; Height: 50mm (2.0in)
0.9 kg ( 2.0 lbs)
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