Meridian has long sat atop the digital food chain in the world of audiophile and home theater gear, for very good reason. Being one of the first companies to make an audiophile CD player and offering a true upgrade path for many of their other components, Meridian has earned a loyal following. The G98 is the little brother to the reference-grade Meridian 800 disc player. It comes in two distinct models. The DH model is transport-only, designed to mate with either of Meridian's AV preamps via a proprietary digital connection, while the H model offers conventional 5.1 channel analog outputs. Priced at $6,000, depending on the model, this piece is designed to perform in high-end systems and, in the right system, it will reward you in spades.
Offering every format except SACD and the new high-resolution movie discs (Blu-ray and the now defunct HD DVD), the G98 is a solid performer across the board. Meridian utilizes an 8x DVD-ROM drive in its players to minimize errors by over-reading the disc when necessary. The video is spectacular and offers 1080p output via HDMI and 1080i via component video. The AH model offers exceptional analog outputs, thanks to Meridian's 30 years of experience, making some of the finest DACs in the world, while the DH allows you to utilize the DACs in your Meridian processor, and not just the newest models - any Meridian AV preamp, regardless of age, can accept the MHR link.
The sound and video from these players is topnotch. Thanks to the 8x DVD-ROM drive, digital read errors are almost totally eliminated, making for a very clean and open sound with plenty of weight and separation to the music and movies they portray. The massive build quality is on par with what you'd expect in this price range and should last you a lifetime; the piece is software upgradeable as new features arise.
Read about the high points and the low points of the Meridian G98 on Page 2.High Points
• Two different models allow use in either an
all-Meridian system or with any commercially available AV preamp, while
the solid build quality ensures the unit will last for years to come.
• Meridian's use of an 8x DVD-ROM drive virtually eliminates disc read errors, further enhancing the sonics of the player.
Full 1080p video output via HDMI allows connection to the newest
displays, with maximum video performance from your DVD collection.
• Updateable by firmware upgrades, the Meridian G98 has maintained much of its relevance in an ever-changing market.
Meridian doesn't support SACD. So much for the whole "universal"
transport idea. We understand the politics behind the move but what
customer likes to be told "no"?
• This player offers no support for
Blu-ray to date, leaving you needing to pop for another $500 and the
complexity of needing another component in your rig, because there is
no way you will want to live without Blu-ray at this stage of the game.
you have a Meridian AV preamp or not, the G98 is one of the finest CD,
DVD and DVD-Audio players made. The solidly-built case and sleek
appearance make it at home in almost any décor, while the wonderful
sonics, flexible connection options and ability to add features as they
come out through firmware updates make this a player designed to last
and remain relevant in this ever-changing market. Sure, it isn't cheap,
but the player isn't absurdly expensive, either. As the saying goes,
you get what you pay for and, with the Meridian G98, this cliché is