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meridian 506.24 and 561m

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by chrisgeary, Jan 19, 2004.

  1. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
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    i have the 506.24 cd player and love the sound. i have a 561m on demo for this week. im planning on deming it and an MC-1 to replace the Denon 3803.

    if i buy the 561, it effectively reduces my 506 to a transport - there is little point, in my mind, in using the analogue outputs anymore as they will have to be converted to digital and back to analogue unless I use direct mode which means i lose the use of my sub. so, are the 561m DACs good enough on their own? if so, is there any point in me keeping the 506 when I could use my DVD player as a transport?

    cheers

    Chris
     
  2. ditton15

    ditton15
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    (declaration of interest)

    You say that you like the Meridian 506. So, take care that you are not dissappointed for CD replay by

    a) your proposed dac

    b) your proposed transport

    If you are persuaded of (a) but comments come in about dvdplayers not being up to it, and I have come to the view that they are not, then I have a Meridian 602 CD transport that needs a good home.
     
  3. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
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    test
     
  4. ditton15

    ditton15
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    until anyone else comes in ...

    - I believe that your Meridian 506 is too good just to be a transport

    - I dont think (tho I've no listening proof) that its Dac would be bettered in the config you have in mind.

    - I dont think you would be satisfied with the dvd as transport. as a test, try the dvd player feeding into the 506 (if it has digital in!!).

    So, I would stick with the 506 for CD replay as option 1.

    However, if you feel obliged to dispose of it, you know where to turn for a first rate CD transport if/when you judge your dvdplayer not to be up to the task of being a first rate CD transport.

    ... now, would others like to come in ....
     
  5. ncpl

    ncpl
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    Indeed we would :smoke:

    Gary, I saw your post on Hikers today and would like to build on the expectation posted there by Richard.

    Normally, you would not expect to find a downgrade in music performance when you link a 5xx player via digi co-ax to a Meridian processor.
    Out of interest have you played your 506 into your Denon via digi co-ax also ? I presume you go analogue from 506 normally. If so, what did you find? You may be able to tell a little about the DAC's in both if you do an A?B across the two types of input.

    What are the relative ages of the 506 and 561? If they are close, it is likely that they share the same DAC's therefore it would be surprising, though not impossible, to find a wild difference.

    I agree that it makes no sense to run analogue from you 506 to the 561 to double the ADC/DAC cycle. Relegating the 506 to be "only a DAC".....this is just a psychological issue. I do exactly the same with a 598 and don't lose any sleep over it. Imagine if you bought an 800 player and only ever ran the digi outs......many people (with more money than I) do it so I really wouldn't give it a thought. The 506 as a transport with excellent jitter and stability performance will be a fine transport whatever you plug it into.

    If you want to use direct mode but have the sub as well, try the stereo preset. This will engage your sub via the 561 at whatever x-over you have set. I use it quite often on my 568.2 when I want that little extra umppfff.

    Also, try the trifield setting if you are 5.1. Browse the Hikers forum and you'll see plenty of very positive comment about that preset with 2-ch recordings.

    Make sure that you spend a bit of time calibrating the 561 (and MC1 when you try that). The sonic character of the 3803, 561 and MC1 will all be different. If you have spent a long time with the Denon, you will need to aclimatise to whatever you get next. Spend a bit of time adjusting bass, treble, delays, calib levels, centre depth etc etc. I wouldn't expect it to have everything right straight out of the box. I presume that you are generating a new config file anyway rather than using whatever was already loaded.

    Before committing to a purchase, I would check out the 568's which are now starting to emerge before the G-series hits the shops. It may be that the 561 eventually doesn't meet the grade with you. It is essentially the baby of the post-565 5xx range and most folk that went from 565 or 561 to 568 found the result far superior.

    Let me know if any of that doesn't make sense and what you think
     
  6. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
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    Nick: i only used analogue into the Denon. incidentally the Denon is not on power amp duties, it is processing only. I have two 505s driving the mains and the power amp section of a Yam A3090 driving the centre and rears.
    Ages, unknown as the 506 I bought used, and the 561 is also second-hand.
    Psychologically, i don't like the idea of AD/DA on the 506. It seems to me to make a mockery of the excellent work the 506 does in extracting and converting D to A in the first place.
    I've heard the 568 is a big step up, its also a big step up in price too, even on the used market.

    Ditton: I am inclined to agree.. the 506 IS too good to just be a transport. But if its part of a complete meridian system, then perhaps it will still have an important role to play..

    The noise floor of the 561 is rather high - more so than my 3803 oddly, not so as you would notice at the listening position though.

    I think my testing is being marred by my dissatisfaction with my front 3 speakers. I upgraded a few months ago from some B&W DM620s to Dynaudio Audience 122s. The difference is staggering. Imaging, soundstage, control - everything is so much better.. except.. this rather annoying band of frequencies between 3 and 6kHz. With some wideband pink noise over the course of 100 hours, I have managed to burn them in and smooth them out, but not enough. I still end up turning down the volume on nearly everything I listen to.

    I'm wondering whether to try and pick up some DSP5000s on the used market and go totally digital, or just stick with the 3803 which seems to be doing a reasonable job of processing and giving me a true analogue bypass and just change my Dynaudios for something else.

    Perhaps I also shouldn't be demo'ing kit until I am happy with the rest of the audio chain!
     
  7. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
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    i made some interesting discoveries last night. i compared the processing of the 561, the 3803 and my old yam a3090. the yam was also driving the centre and rear speakers in all cases.

    we used the 1 Giant Leap DVD (happened to be listening to it anyway and the audio is very nicely recorded).

    first off was the meridian 561. vocals were extremely well presented, clear and articulate. the 5.1 audio mix was lively and vivid. unfortunately (and this may be due to an ongoing problem with my dynaudio 122s), it ultimately sounded rather harsh and we had to keep the volume down.

    i then changed to my 3803. immediately we noticed that the vocals had become suppressed. clarity was lost but so was the harshness - almost completely. but the sound was flat and uninvolving.

    then i re-commissioned my old A3090. it confirmed my suspicions about the 3803's processing being poor and compressed. the DVD was lively again, dynamics restored and vocals much clearer. although it was not quite as well presented as the 561, it was certainly the best of the three (i am convinced my front 3 dynaudios are harsh sounding now).

    so i don't know what to do now. my dynaudios have had 100 hours of burn in with wideband pink noise and although that helped, they still 'ring' at times which makes for uncomfortable listening. the 561 seems to accentuate that problem although it is also present with the yam and the denon to a lesser extent. i'm going to try putting in my old B&W DM620s tonight, which do not have the ringing problem (although they can't image to save their lives) and see how the three processors sound with "known-good" speakers.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Chris
     
  8. gizlaroc

    gizlaroc
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    What Power amp are you using ??

    I went from a denon 3802 to a A1-SE (nice jump) and then from that to a Lexicon DC-1 V.4 again a big jump.

    At first I used a Rotel and the lexicon was very harsh compared to the A1-se, then I started to play around with Parasound Power amps and this was a stunning improvement, I ended up replaceing the rotel with a Parasound 855-hca which is actually lower spec but it went louder and the differences were more noticable when I was getting nearer to 0db, the Rotel sounded shrill at anything above -7db where as the Parasound was still singing at 0db.

    I then wanted to upgrade and had a MC-1 and a 568.2 on loan for a week, it took me about 2 hours to decide on the Meridian.
    I have now added a 2205 Parasound which has taken it into a different league again, probably a bigger improvement than changing the DC-1 to the 568.2.
     
  9. gizlaroc

    gizlaroc
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    Just seen you are using the 3090 for power amp duties, no offence but knock this on the head mate, dont critisise the set up for being harsh until you have an amp to do this kit justice. I would see if you can demo a decent power amp before you decide anything, we tried my 568.2 on a friends Denon A1 the other day and it was terrible.
     
  10. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
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    im using the 3090 for centre and rear power duties only. I have 2 Meridian 505s driving L & R. It still sounds harsh in stereo only mode. I think its down to my speakers (and possibly speaker cable). If I put my old B&W DM620s back in as the mains (which I will do tonight properly - I did this once before with the 3803), the harshness disappears.
     

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