explorer 300Explorer2 USB DAC

Meridian have been at the forefront of digital audio playback for some decades now. From offering the first ‘audiophile’ CD player to delivering the ultimate in multi-channel sound systems, they have been responsible for developing key technologies for industry and home use. Their new MQA technology accurately captures an artist’s performance and delivers it to your ears exactly as they intended you to hear it. Explorer2 is the first of many devices from Meridian and their partners to give you access to this next generation of digital audio.

While many digital audio devices are great for home and studio use, they weren’t designed for everyday use and portability. Now there’s no need to compromise quality to achieve that convenience. Explorer2 is the size of a USB stick, yet embodies the same style and performance as any other Meridian product.

Explorer on laptop 300The Explorer2 has been designed to deliver the audio quality customers would expect from a product carrying the Meridian brand. However Meridian set out to deliver this performance in a simple to use and affordable format that would bring their great sound to an even wider audience.

To use Explorer2, simply plug it in to your computer’s USB port and, if you’re on Windows, load a simple driver file. In seconds you’ll be enjoying phenomenal sound whether you’re playing online video, your ripped CDs or even playing high resolution audiophile music downloads.

Explorer2 also integrates a headphone amp making it the perfect companion to something like Sennheiser’s great Momentums.

Direct USB, S/PDIF & TosLink DAC

Direct forms the ideal add-on for network players and music servers with digital outputs, bringing Meridian performance and ultimate sound quality to an entirely new class of audio products and systems. These sound enhancing technologies are derived from the award-winning line of Reference 800 Series components, and significantly out-perform the DACs found in computers and most network players.

DirectorSonos400Featuring an all-metal elliptical case, Direct echoes design elements immediately identifying it as a Meridian product. Each side has molded end caps that provide connections as well as source choice and resolution.

Direct supports sample rates up to 24-bit, 192kHz and incorporates Meridian Resolution Enhancement technologies, including Meridian Upsampling and the Apodising filter, improving audio quality. The proprietary Apodising filter results in a purer sound, and can also clean up some recording faults, particularly in earlier digital recordings. Standard sample rate signals (16–24 bit, 44.1/48kHz) are automatically upsampled to 24- bit 88.2/96kHz. Separate precision reference oscillators are included for sample rates based on 44.1 kHz and on 48 kHz, minimizing jitter. The DAC itself offers extremely low modulation noise and distortion, and incorporates the highest quality components throughout, including audiophile grade capacitors, resistors and gold-plated phono sockets.

Prime Headphone Amplifier

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.

Prime-front400The 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.

Prime-rear400Three 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.