For the past 25-years, Meridian has been making some of the world's finest audiophile CD players, and since the introduction of the first 808 Signature Reference CD Player in 2004, Bob Stuart and Allen Boothroyd, the company's founders, have hand-signed each one as testament to their pride in the company's ongoing achievements in the field of CD audio reproduction.
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The third generation of 808 - the 808.3 Signature Reference CD Player - offers CD playback from a specially built custom CD-ROM based drive, which allows for data recovery and error correction many times better than that employed in standard CD systems. It also offers triple FIFO buffering and, like the 808.2 before it, 808.3 employs Meridian's proprietary DSP based 'apodising' up-sampling system.
All 808.3s benefit from an array of audio inputs - analogue, digital, and a new balanced digital audio SpeakerLink input - as well as a sophisticated volume control. These inputs allow the connection of additional audio sources, which can be selected and processed using the same powerful audio enhancing DSP as the internal CD source. This integrated pre-amplifier functionality means that systems built around 808.3 are simpler and easier to use than traditional hi-fi systems with separate pre-amplifiers.
Updates to 808.3's analogue input card provide superior analogue to digital conversion compared to previous models of 808i/808.2i. This improvement in conversion technology enables superior audio performance for all analogue connected sources making 808.3 a better, more valuable pre-amplifier.
In addition to its standard audio inputs, the 808.3 Signature Reference CD Player features an ID40 Sooloos Card allowing it to be directly connected to the same network as a Meridian Sooloos Digital Media System. When connected the 808.3 is seen as a zone within the system and it renders audio streamed across the network. The same connection allows infra-red control of the Sooloos' current Play Queue from the supplied MSR+ remote control handset or product front panel, while 808.3's DSP based audio enhancement tools and triple FIFO buffering system process audio streamed over the Sooloos network, making 808.3 the highest performance network playback device.
At the output, Meridian's SpeakerLink connection system delivers the highest quality digital signals to Meridian's DSP Loudspeakers on discrete, low-cost cables with simple connectors. The 808.3 Signature Reference CD Player has new twin SpeakerLink outputs which mean left and right DSP Loudspeakers can both be connected directly to the 808.3, further simplifying wiring structure and making cables even easier to hide.
The 808.3 Signature Reference CD Player will be offered in three standard 800 Series colors; Graphite, Silver and Black as well as the full range of Meridian Select color options.
The Meridian 808.3 Signature Reference CD Player is expected to be available in February at a suggested retail price of $19,995 (including the ID40 Card).