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Meridian CD players opinions please.

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by simon1967, Dec 9, 2003.

  1. simon1967

    simon1967
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    Been looking at a dedicated CD player rather then my DVD player and was looking at the Arcam FMJ CD23 (ex-demo). Had a quick search through the forums and saw one thread preferring a Merdian to the FMJ-CD23 - citing that it was more musical etc, etc.

    Now having not got round to demoing any high end players and seeing a few for sale 2nd hand, I would like some opinions on the meridian range. In particular these 3 models:
    506.24
    508.20
    602/606

    I can't really follow the numbering system but I will look for some reviews later on this evening. Are there a lot of differences between the models i.e. age, quality etc because style wise, they all look similar.

    Are there any known problems with meridian players in general or should I be looking elsewhere at other brands. Will I notice a huge difference in sound quality from a £300 player or even my Sony 7700 DVD player? BTW, I am looking to spend between £500 - £700 and will be partnering it with a Denon AV1-SR amp and Monitor Audio Gold Ref 20 speakers.

    Thanks all

    simon
     
  2. GaryG

    GaryG
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    The 602 transport ranks amonst the best available, partnered with a good DAC it is awesome. The 200 transport is also very good. The matching 606 and 203/207 DACs have been superceded so if you can buy the transport alone, great, you can choose a more contemporary DAC, however, most people selling the transport will most likely be selling it as part of a package with the DAC. That will get you started but you will probably want to upgrade the DAC at some point.

    The 506.24 is very good as well, if you don't like having two boxes although you sacrifice some flexibility on upgrading just the DAC element and it wont match the two transports above in terms of absolute sound quality.

    Hopefully Ditton15 will chime in, he has experience of the Arcam vs Meridian (he has both the 200/203 and the 602/606 combo's lying around)and has a Denon processor I believe.
     
  3. ncpl

    ncpl
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    Simon,

    I have had a 206B for about 12 years now. It gets an occassional play in my dining room these days. Last year I lent it to my bro-in-law whilst his Arcam was being fixed. Given the age gap, you would have expected it to be the poor cousin in the great listening debate. However, after a couple of weeks, his ears had tuned into the fine detail that the player can find along with a real solid sound. I think it still really holds its own and is a steal at ~£200 2nd hand.

    I have never had the pleasure of using the 600's but I don't think you will any negative feedback on these.

    The 506 and 508's were always very highly regarded. As straight transports only, some felt they didn't exceed the 200 range that significantly. However, as full player, the .24 models i.e. the ones that had the 24bit resolution dacs really did great things with CD's

    The 507 is one to look out for 2nd hand. It's only a couple of years old and if your budget can stretch to it, it would be a hard player to beat.

    You might find it worthwhile to get a reference benchmark to help decide which way to go. A couple of weeks ago I demo'd the latest G07 player (replacing the 507). The result was mightily impressive although the signal was being fed to a pair of DSP7k's (~£17K so you jolly-well hope it sounded good). Assuming that you are using an analogue system, I would fully expect the result of the 507/G07 into a good amp/spkr combo to be very good. It would be interesting to then measure the other players up.

    Hope that helps understand the range. They're all pretty much bullet proof. Have fun finding one.

    PS...I am a confessed Meridian fan so bear that in mind ;)
     
  4. simon1967

    simon1967
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    Thanks for the replies. I did some searching on audio review.com and was a bit blown away by the reviews - hardly anybody had a bad word to say about these players.

    With that in mind, the player I was looking at was sold the same day so I guess they are pretty sought after. I think there is still a 602/606 combo going but I think I will keep a look out for one of the later models.

    Bearing in mind that I really don't have as much time as I would like to demo these players, I am really buying blind (or more accurately deaf) so really what should I expect from these 'high-end' players? Is it subtleties or chalk and cheese that we are talking about here. The Sony 7700 is supposed to be pretty good at CD replay but then again it was an £800 DVD player so I guess it shouldn't be compared to a £1200 CD player? I have set my mind on getting a stand alone player (if just so I can leave the DVD's in the player for laziness reasons) so should I expect huge sound differences?

    Thanks again for your input

    simon
     
  5. ditton15

    ditton15
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    dingaling ...

    my advice is not exactly independent as Gary prompted me along this path. However, as I've enjoyed the journey I dont hold it against him.

    The 200/203 combo matched the Arcam CD72T I also bought s/h. The 602/606 was altogether better, which I also bought s/h, from a dealer who had it in part exchange. It had greater tempo and was more engaging, and was a class above. All have the possibility of upgrading the dac. My 'what if I do / what if I dont' was the AudioSynthesis Dax Decade, which is a dac + preamp that really make a difference. I was happily pairing it with the 200, and delighted with the improvement from the 606. I would have stuck with that but along came a modded 'Transcend' Sony which was made for the Dax Decade.

    So, yes, I have some 'upgrade surplus'. As Gary knows, the CD72T is with my daughter - and she's a happy bunny. The 200/203 and 602/606 are with a local dealer for him to make me an offer while I home demo some of his speakers. I've also seen the 602/606 going for £750 and £900, which is more than I paid, so I guess I'm in the market. Will contact that local dealer tomorrow (Saturday) to see what he thinks.

    The Meridian's are very well made and sound just great. The top end on both combos is very good, the 606 more than the 203. A more recent dac might reveal more, but it would have to be a really good, and therefore expensive dac. As I said, the 602 is a class above the 200.

    ** edit **
    the 200/203 and the 602/606 are much earlier models (10 year old?) than the 500s. I bought both on the Net, the 200/203 here on these Forums, both sellers were gents that I arranged to meet and have both demo for me, but there were no worries. I guess folk who bought these originally were serious and careful. Both transports have a 'transit' screw which you should obtain - either from the present owners or from the excellent Meridian folk - they sent me one gratis. Don't allow them to be sent in the post without one, though if you collect you could be careful in wrapping/carrying. Dont expect to get the transport on its own, you may have to pay for the dac as well - though the dac would make a good add-on to a dvd for cd play purposes. That's the onward sale route I was reckonning on.
     
  6. GaryG

    GaryG
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    The most noticeable difference will be a wider, more defined sound stage, and it will be a subtle, rather than a huge difference. Also you may want to consider the impact of the upgrade, typically when somebody upgrades a source it unbalances their system and other areas need to be upgraded to restore the balance. This is the drawback to upgrading, it's always a trade-off, you will never be able to replace one component with another component and improve all of it's weaknesses without introducing new weaknesses.

    Just a thought, it might be worthwhile giving Audio Synthesis a call and asking their advice on your upgrade, they may suggest something you hadn't considered like adding a DAC or modifying your player with something like this:
    http://www.audiosynthesis.co.uk/transcend_conversion.htm

    Ditton15
    I'd just like to point out that I've kept an eye open for a Transcend for ages and for a relative 'newcomer' to come along and buy one 'just like that' is pretty sickening! Not that I'm jealous in any way. :D Should you decide to upgrade to a dCS Verdi :eek: I would be more than happy to take your cast off Transcend!
     
  7. ditton15

    ditton15
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    Gary, I put my 'find' of the modded Transcend Sony down to luck. good judgement, good living and all round good character!!

    The person I bought it from had also had good luck as he had bought it very cheaply from a dealer who did not know what he had. And in truth, the real benefit of the Transcend is its pairing with the AS Dax Decade to deliver the Ncode low/no jitter, as URL above indicates.

    But hey, do enquire about the Dax Decade, or if you have the cash, the new Dax Discrete.

    My seller was replacing the modded Sony with a good Marantz DVDplayer that he was going to have modded according the URL you give above. That would mean one multi-function transport. I guess that's a path worth thinking about when/if I return to itchy upgraditis on the AV side.

    At present I have better than average dvdplayer and a Denon avamp. The 2802 does the job well, and has several fans here and on other av forums. Personally, that's where I am staying until I get that itch, and then it may be processor/poweramp time - though the Pioneer iLink dvd player/avamp combo seems another good option.

    That means you could simplify to

    Pioneerdvdplayer (xxxAVi-s)
    -> via i-LINK -> Pioneer (AXxxi) for AV and SACD/DVD-A multi channel sound.

    Pioneerdvdplayer (xxxAVi-s) modded as AS Transcend CD Transport
    -> via Ncode -> AS Dax Decade + stereo amp for HiFi, and maybe now also multi channel sound.

    just a thought.

    ** btw, the Arcam CD23 is a league above the CD72T, and I've not heard the CD23 - so no evidence to share on Arcam vs rest. In many respects I was happy with the CD72T knowing that I could upgrade the dac at a later stage - and that may well happen now that it is with my daughter - once we work out who is paying for (a) the CD72 and (b) any upgrades ... that's the problem when you manage to find something in common with offspring - you just pay double!!
     
  8. GaryG

    GaryG
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    Or the 'Black Gate' upgrade on the DAX!!!.:devil:
     
  9. ditton15

    ditton15
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    well no, not yet at least. Candidates for my well earned dosh are:

    1) replacement speakers, with complementary (as in help the sound, tho free would be nice) 2 x 5m speaker cable run

    2) additional source equipment:

    a) a tuner, for that free music. could be FM analogue but must consider DAB - would Dax Decade help out here: feed digital from digital radio into Dax?
    - what to buy?

    b) moderate collection of vinyl LPs to consider
    - buy a turntable (or re-furbish older Systemdek)?
    - use a friend's to play and record onto CD?

    c) moderate collection of cassettes, bought in pre-CD age when children threatened vinyl collection
    - just been trying out older Denon cassette player - nice to discover old friends on cassettes, and sound OK but definitely not first water! Plenty of suggestions for Santa bringing me equivalents on CD!

    d) internet downloads? not thought that one through yet ...

    so, unless bargain pops up, I'll leave the Black Gates closed for now ...
     
  10. GaryG

    GaryG
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    Download Kazaa from http://www.kazaa.com/us/index.htm and see if you can get a copy of your old vinyl and cassette music in mp3 format, alternatively see if you can do a deal with somebody who has a Linn Sondek that can 'digitise' it for you. For cable, Cable Talk Concert would be a good one to start with. Can't comment on the DAB/radio stuff, I've got a Hitachi 5500 tuner knocking about somewhere which was good in it's day but things have moved on since then. Get yourself an IPOD it's not the last word in quality but it's good enough, or the iRiver which can record as well as playback, my DAX has been relegated for use with watching DVD's since I bought a hard disk MP3 player.
     
  11. ditton15

    ditton15
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    " my DAX has been relegated for use with watching DVD's"

    what is the configuration? DVDs are 5.1, so how does the DAX fit in?

    thanks for the other suggestions. It was the 'friend's Linn LP 12 route' that I was thinking of. Would have to make special effort to clean up LPs for the ocassion though.
     
  12. GaryG

    GaryG
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    HTPC -> Processor -> A/D -> DAX -> Amps -> Speakers.

    Remember I only have monobloc power amplifiers, no means of routing the signal like on the 8000S.
     
  13. ditton15

    ditton15
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    So the trick is the A/D, which I do not have - the ADX option/setting I think. I take it this for the L/R speakers and that the Centre and surrounds are handled from the Processor?
     
  14. GaryG

    GaryG
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    Correct, although I use the A/D section of a Sony minidisk player rather than the the ADX, the ADX is 'OTT' for 5.1 use.
     
  15. IvorBigun

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    I,ve had a Meridian 200/203 for the past 15 years or so, and have never had any problems with it, and am still impressed with the sound and looks.
     
  16. witters

    witters
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    Simon,

    Don't know if you have seen it but there is a Meridian 508.24 going on Ebay at the moment. Take a look here

    At that price it's a good buy.
     
  17. GeorgeV

    GeorgeV
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    witters,
    I notice that you have a Meridian 507. What is your experience with it and have you compared it to the 508.24. I really would like your thoughts on it.
    I need some help pls.
    I have a Marantz 8300 which I am using for movies and Audio. I am quite happy with SACD and DVD Audio, but not so with two channel audio.
    I have contemplated the Meridian 500 transport into the Dacs on my Denon Av A1SR or the 507 CDP, there might also be a second hand 508.24 soon available. The 500 and 507 are the last of the stock and are reduced.
    Does anyone know if the transport mechanism on the 500 is different from the one on the 507 or the 508, if so which one is better?(the assumption is that the 507{being newer} is better but the higher no. of the 508 causes confusion). I suppose if the one on the 507 is better, I caould always use it as the transport. I really do need some help as the local guys from Meridian could not help me, and the units are 1500kms from me.
    Thanks George.
     
  18. overkill

    overkill
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    Don't bother with the 500. It's that rare beast, a not so hot Meridian!!! Go with the 507!!
     
  19. witters

    witters
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    I used to have a 508.24 and to my mind the 507 sounds better. There is more detail and and more air to the presentation. I have no expereince of the 500 transport but, judging by user reviews I have seen, it's not too highly rated. My advice to anyone looking for a CD player at the moment is try bag a reduced 507!!
     
  20. GeorgeV

    GeorgeV
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    And the 508?
     
  21. GeorgeV

    GeorgeV
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    With regards the 500, could it be due to using it with poor dacs?
    I'm not an expert hence the 'novice questions". Any knowledge/experience with the proceed CDD transport and comparisons with the meridian?
     
  22. simon1967

    simon1967
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    Didn't see it but will keep an eye on that one. Saw a couple of 506.24's very recently on hifi for sale and narrowly missed out on both of them. One was for £500 and the other was for £550 ono. Have I missed out on soem bargain or is that the general going prices anyway?

    How does the 508.24 differ from the 506.24? What prices should I be looking to pay and for what models? What are the best ones to look out for and why? Not really looking to spend much more than £750 but hey, I am always open to suggestions if it is an absolute killer deal. Last thing, anyone seen any dealers with ex-demo or second hand models at reasonable prices. Always keen on a bargain.

    Thanks all

    simon
     
  23. GaryG

    GaryG
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    http://www.ex-dem.co.uk
     
  24. simon1967

    simon1967
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    Nothing within my budget in the ex-dem area so stumbled onto the DAC sticky. Didn't manage to understand all of it but the one thing that was perhaps relevant to me was the use of an AV amp with a good player. Is it a waste of money to get a high end player and use it with my Denon A1SR instead of a 'hi-fi' amp. As I understand it, the source should be kept analogue throughout its journey but what the AV amp will do is convert the meridian's good analogue signal, digitise it and then convert it back to analogue again which undoes all of the good work of the meridian. Am I missing something here or is it just in the set-up and how it is connected in the first place?

    Thanks again for any advice but am I spending my hard-earned in the wrong area? :confused:

    regards

    simon
     
  25. overkill

    overkill
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    Nope. It was tested using a variety of top quality DAC's.

    I don't know about the other's but i would recommend staying with a quality stereo kit rather than AV with a CD player in the range you're looking at. Unless you want to go for an esoteric AV setup - which cost mucho bucks!!!:D
     
  26. witters

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    I absolutely agree with overkill. I spent a lot of time & money trying to piece together an AV system which was as good on music. I never succeeded. I include the Denon A1 series in that. The only way, short of spending upwards of 10K, is to have a dedicated stereo amp driving your front channels via an AV receiver or processor.
     
  27. GeorgeV

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    Great that deletes the 500. I thought as much. But now you confuse me a wee further.
    How would you route your amp(stereo) through the AV processor? Do you not then still involve the ADC/ DAC in the receiver?
    I also did not explain fully. I am using the A1SR as a pre/processor only, and powering through a Proceed HPA3 power amp(front three) and a Rotel 991(surrounds).
    George.
     
  28. witters

    witters
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    Speaking personally I use the pre-outs on my receiver and route them through my stereo amp. Then when using the HT the two fronts are amplified by the stereo amp. When listening to CD the AV receiver is not in the loop at all.
     
  29. ncpl

    ncpl
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    George,
    It doesn't rule out the 500's at all provided your Av pro has >1 digi input. Simply take the digi co-ax from the 500 straight into the AV processor. Afterall this is actually in keeping with the general Meridian philosophy. I would expect you'd be using another digi input for your DVD digi feed. Your processor should be able handle a straight stereo PCM feed which would then only be DAC'd the once.

    The assumption also has to be that you're happy with the DACs in your AV gear.

    Hope that helps more than confuses
     
  30. GeorgeV

    GeorgeV
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    The question was with regards the actual transport itself. The AV pro has adequate dig. inputs and the burr brown dacs are quite good. With regards the 500 transport vs the transport on the 507, which is better. From some of the posts above it would appear the 500 did not aquit itself quite so admirably.
    So witters, do you connect the CD player directly into the stereo amp?(so you do not even have to have the AV processor on while listening to music) And are your front two speakers connected to your stereo amp/pre processor?
    George.
     

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