Meridian is known to many as the first maker of a true audiophile CD player, and now they have branched out into the high-end receiver market with an all-in-one solution to home theater: just add speakers and display and you are ready to go. The G95 Surround Receiver is a truly unique piece, offering a slot-loading DVD-ROM drive capable of playing CDs, MP3 CDs, Video CDs and DVD-Video discs. Included in the box are a full-function Meridian preamp, as well as five 100-watts-per-channel digital amplifiers to power your choice of passive speakers and a line level subwoofer output for your powered subwoofer, for a full 5.1 system from a single box. Should you have other devices you want to run through the system, don't worry. The G95 comes with two coaxial and two optical digital inputs, as well as three stereo analog inputs. A high quality AM/FM tuner is also built in. The G95 comes in black or silver and retails for $8,500.
The G95 offers two composite, three S-Video and one component input, with composite, S-Video, component and HDMI video outs that are all always active, so it will suit any display, or more than one at a time. It is packed with powerful video features, including a Meridian Faroudja DCDi scaler and processor for upsampling sources up to 1080p and transcoding all analog inputs between each other and HDMI, allowing a single video connection to your display.
This is an amazing piece of audio gear. First off, Meridian has employed everything they've learned over the years to make this an amazing-sounding piece, especially when considering it's a single box. Second, it has 5.1 analog outputs, so should you move out of your small condo one day and need more power, no problem. Just add some amps and you are still in the game. To top it off, the unit is built like a tank and weighs over 30 pounds. Clearly, Meridian built this to last for years to come.
Read about the high points and low points of the G95 on Page 2.
• Meridian is known for making some of the finest
digital gear in the world, and the sound of this piece proves why.
Whether you are listening to movies in 5.1, or CDs in stereo, or the
famed Meridian Trifield setting, you will get some of the finest sound
• The five powerful digital amplifiers run cool, so the
unit won't overheat, even when played at high volumes for long periods
of time, allowing the G95 to be placed in tight spots with limited
ventilation without causing problems.
• Meridian solves many
problems associated with complicated home theaters by putting
everything but the speakers into one box. If this unit is on, it
should work. No other troubleshooting should ever be necessary.
This is absolutely the coolest and likely the best home theater system
for rooms where space is severely limited, such as in the urban condos
and apartments increasing in number and decreasing in size daily.
• Despite its tiny size, the G95 allows for growth by adding outboard amplifiers should you need more power.
Meridian utilizes an 8x DVD-ROM drive to ensure the best reading of CDs
and DVDs. If there is a question, the drive can over-read the disc
many times to make sure the data is accurately reproduced.
The G95 doesn't play DVD-Audio, SACD or Blu-ray discs. While the first
two are insignificant, Blu-ray is an issue. Adding a Blu-ray player
requires an external HDMI switcher or multiple HDMI runs to your
• The G95 doesn't decode any of the new uncompressed
audio codecs found on Blu-ray and HD DVD, such as Dolby TrueHD and/or
DTS Master Audio.
When space is an issue,
but you simply can't and won't compromise on sound, the G95 is what you
need. Offering all the electronics for a 5.1 sound system in a single
box, Meridian has brought forth a simple unit with amazing sonics and
flexibility to expand as your needs may grow. The absence of Blu-ray
support and multi-channel audio may keep some from buying this piece,
but as space becomes tighter and tighter, I can see more companies
making pieces like this. A single-box system like this and of this
caliber can be the difference between no home theater and a fabulous
one in a small space.