“At Meridian, we’ve been designing and creating state-of-the-art audio and video home entertainment systems for over 35 years. The driving force behind our pursuit of perfection has always been the desire to lose as little of the original source material as possible – a passion for audio and video reproduction so pure, you’ll find yourself at the heart of every performance.”
“The underlying design philosophy for our systems is to combine the ground-breaking functional performance of all the components with a striking visual appeal; aesthetics that make a bold design statement, but one that’s always in harmony with the surroundings – whether that means elegant, curved loudspeaker cabinets, available in 270 colours thanks to the Meridian Select programme; or in-wall loudspeakers where all the ingenuity is there - but you can hear it rather than see it. Our striking and innovative home entertainment systems can be incorporated seamlessly with all your design aspirations, to create an all-encompassing experience of pure quality in both form and function.”
In 1977 we embarked upon a mission. Our goal was simple: to put the listener at the heart of every recorded performance. Since then we’ve been continually pushing the boundaries of sound. Redefining the possible at every step of the way.
Almost forty years later and our journey continues. Read on to discover more about us and our award-winning audio systems. But remember, when it comes to sound this incredible, you really have to hear it to believe it.
The Unique Shape of Meridian.
Highly complex and almost inﬁnitely ﬂexible, the human ear can detect everything from the low notes of a 64ft organ pipe to the high pitches of melodious birdsong. But there are some inherent differences in the way the ear picks up low and high frequency sounds, and an awareness of this provides some insight into why Meridian products are designed the way they are, particularly the unique shapes of Meridian loudspeakers.
Low notes and sounds are not very directional. As a result, loudspeakers speciﬁcally designed to reproduce low notes (known as ‘woofers’) can be placed almost anywhere in the room and still be heard perfectly. They can even be located conveniently out of sight behind furniture, with little or no adverse effect on their performance as part of the overall audio system.
Higher notes are extremely directional. That’s why, for the best quality all-round audio reproduction, loudspeakers which focus on delivering these higher notes (often called ‘tweeters’) should ideally be placed at ear level, and not obstructed. This is also part of the reason why Meridian loudspeakers are “human-sized” The key sounds for listening to speech and the subtleties of music normally fall somewhere in the mid-range. And being mainly directional too, the main loudspeakers of any audio system should also be sited at ear level for the optimum audio experience.
Intelligent technology and design
Digital signal processing (DSP) – which Meridian has pioneered and adapted for the home audio market – allows us to build individually-controlled loudspeakers that deliver as much pure quality sound as a conventional speaker eight times the physical volume.
Meanwhile, unique Meridian Room Correction smoothes out room resonances for clearer sound and better imaging, whatever the room layout or combination of materials used.
Another major issue in audio reproduction is the ‘boundary effect’, which occurs when loudspeakers are placed close to the walls, resulting in the bass notes being over-enhanced at the cost of other, higher-frequency sounds. All Meridian loudspeakers – including our unobtrusive in-wall designs – can be individually fine-tuned to optimise sound quality wherever they are positioned in the room.
Handmade in the UK
The creation of the different elements that make up a Meridian home entertainment system comprises a unique combination of traditional techniques with the latest manufacturing technology.
Alongside the most sophisticated surface-mount insertion machines available, a great many aspects of the building of a Meridian product are carried out by hand, whether it is the making of a loudspeaker cabinet from layers of carefully-chosen materials or the hand-sewing of the leather cover by specialist artisans based just a few miles away from the Meridian headquarters near Cambridge.
But Meridian's hand-made pedigree is not limited solely to cabinetry, however exquisitely crafted. It is simply impossible to insert some electronic components on to a printed circuit board by machine: they may be too bulky or require precision alignment, or need installation with special care. In some cases, components will be inserted on to the board by hand and wave-soldered. On other occasions, the component will be both inserted and soldered by hand.
When the product is complete, there is a whole additional raft of tests and calibration processes to be carried out, often by hand, before the product can be delivered. In the case of the 810 Reference Video System, for example, calibration alone takes four days to complete - a process that is a unique combination of careful manual adjustment and sophisticated proprietary software. Once again, as throughout Meridian, we find a unique combination of skilled artisanry with the very latest in technology.
The Importance of Materials
Like any ﬁnely-tuned instrument, the performance of a Meridian loudspeaker is governed signiﬁcantly by the materials from which it is manufactured. At Meridian, we use plywood made from specially-selected, cold-grown European Birch. This slow-growing wood has very tightly packed rings, and is more dense and inert as a result. Multiple layers of this plywood are pressure-laminated together around a 1mm aluminium core. The rigidity and mass are improved even further by treating the Interior surfaces with an additional layer of aluminium-doped epoxy resin.
The result is a material that is so inert that no measurable vibration can be detected. This is “Meridium” (you can see the aluminium layer in the cutaway image of the head of a DSP8000 right).
Other Meridian products have required even more exotic materials. For Meridian’s first compact sound system, the F80, and its successor the M80, the physical characteristics of the product made it impossible to use his traditional wood/metal laminate approach. As a result he experimented with barium-doped resins, which he had previously worked with for the DSP8000. These use mineral doping to increase the density and rigidity of the material, while making it possible to create complex forms that would be impossible to manufacture with traditional techniques.
When Allen came to design the M6 Digital Active Loudspeaker, he developed the concept further. Acoustically inert, the M6 enclosure provides separate, isolated housings for the two drivers, and supports bracing for even greater stiffness – all of which means that you hear the loudspeaker, and not the cabinet.
The narrow shape with separate
head emulates aspects of the human
form, which psychoacoustics
suggests provide a more realistic
The soft edges avoid generating
unwanted additional high frequency
sounds which can blur the image.
The separate head unit, which
generates all the subtle musical
detail, is decoupled from the bass
cabinet on three pin assemblies to
The bass system has its six
powerful drive units arranged in
opposing pairs to help cancel
The cabinet is hand-fabricated
from a high pressure laminate
of birch plywood and aluminium
damped with mineral-filled epoxy
Each speaker drive unit is
powered by its own amplifier and
each amplifier is individually
controlled by a sophisticated
A conventional passive speaker
cabinet would have to be eight
times the physical volume to provide
the same performance as a Meridian
DSP Active Loudspeaker.
For perfect stability, the loudspeaker
stands on three adjustable foot
assemblies machined from solid
you have already chosen a distinct colour scheme for your interior design project? You might prefer the audio system components to match even more
perfectly with the new scheme, or blend in alongside a signature piece of furniture you’ve chosen to set the look for the whole ﬁnished project.
standard in use today), giving you a choice of around 270 different colours and shades to help your Meridian system achieve an ideal match – or striking
standout look – within its surroundings. Meridian Select is available on all our piano-lacquered loudspeakers and 800 Series components.