Meridian has been announcing all sorts of new products lately including a new G-Series AV preamp. They already have an affordable USB DAC reviewed here and now they are coming to market with an audiophile grade $2,000 amp designed for those who can afford the luxury of Meridian's 5-figure components but want to enjoy them without waking the wife.
Meridian Audio has announced the introduction of the Prime Headphone Amplifier, a reference-quality analogue headphone amplifier for almost all types of headphones, which replays audio from both analogue and USB-based sources. Built into an elegant and compact new Allen Boothroyd-designed metal case, the Prime Headphone Amplifier also provides a preamplifier output to drive an external audio system or analogue active loudspeakers.
The unique new enclosure design echoes previous iconic Meridian designs such as the G Series and even Meridian's original 100 Series. Its new, compact shape includes several special features and details. The metal enclosure is a dual-skinned design of interlocking extrusions, making the circuitry far less susceptible to interference. There are no screws - the box is opened by a hidden magnetic release mechanism. Even the curve on the volume knob was carefully chosen, recalling the compact M80 music system and a special flexible coupling links the knob to the shaft of the volume potentiometer towards the rear of the box, minimising microphony - mechanically-induced noise.
The Prime Headphone Amplifier can be powered by the wall-mounted supply provided or, for even higher audio quality, by the optional partnering Meridian Prime Power Supply, available early December. The use of this external power supply means that AC noise is kept well away from the pure analogue stages of the Headphone Amplifier.
Meridian's Prime Headphone Amplifier, features unique Analogue Spatial Processing (ASP) technology to deliver more immersive, authentic sound to any headphones. Meridian's advanced ASP transforms headphone listening, providing a more natural spatial soundstage that's more like listening on loudspeakers.
Whether the listener chooses to listen on headphones because using loudspeakers is impossible, or simply because they prefer it, Meridian's new Prime Headphone Amplifier represents headphone listening done right. In addition to an extremely high quality analogue path that is essentially remote-controlled from the front-panel for the shortest possible signal path and the ability to use almost any kind of headphones including separately wired types, the Prime Headphone Amplifier transform headphone listening from sometimes sounding "in your head" - into an experience much more like listening on loudspeakers
• All metal extruded chassis
• 24bit/192kHz native conversion capability
• Separate low-jitter crystal oscillators for 44k1 and 48k based sample rates (not a jittery synthesized clocks)
• Asynchronous data transfer
• Audiophile music grade power supplies and filter capacitors
• 6 layer PC board
• Direct-coupled outputs
• Short signal path
• Pure analogue throughput for analogue source
• Analogue signal processing for optimized headphone listening: 3 options: Off, out-of-head, out-of-head with bass boost
• Headphone capable output of 2.8vrms
• Mechanical switches for source selection and analogue headphone processing mode.