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Meridian Audio: 861v8 Surround Controller

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The Meridian 861 sits at the heart of the ultimate movie system, linking all your audio sources such as Blu-ray disc players, at the highest quality. Truly the brains of your home theatre operation, the 861 represents the most advanced example of our ground-breaking DSP control and processing system for the very highest-quality audio and video performance.

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Meridian Audio 861v8 Surround Controller Front

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Regularly revised since launch, the 861 skilfully combines award-winning performance with the very latest technology. Featuring our patented filter which makes standard resolution sources sound like high-resolution, the 861 also adds extensive connectivity. Its modular approach means that as new technologies develop, the 861 can be easily upgraded, maintaining its world-leading performance levels as well as its value. There is simply no better way to the get the very highest audio quality from high definition sources.


Options for Meridian Audio 861v8 Surround Controller:

Rack-Mount Fascia:                                                               £500

861v8 Cards:

OA08   Analogue Output with 4 x Unbalanced channels       £750

OA18   Analogue Output with 4 x Balanced channels            £750

ID41     For connection to Meridian Digital Media Systems    £1000





Meridian invented the digital surround controller, and Meridian's 861 Reference Surround Controller represents the pinnacle of the company's achievement in the real of surround sound, where it delivers the ultimate realism from multichannel music and movies alike.

861 supports a large number and wide variety of audio sources to ensure that every option is possible. Based around a set of core elements, the 861 can be customised in many ways simply by adding additional cards to build a surround sound controller that provides all the capabilities you need - multiple sources and multiple destinations, driving up to eight loudspeakers.

861 is able to select the right settings for a source automatically, so that you always hear the best. The same player, for example, might deliver stereo sound from a CD or multichannel high-resolution audio from Blu-ray Disc®. 861 selects the correct settings without the need to press a button.

Style, elegance and quality are once again key elements in the 861. The sleek cabinet is attractive enough to be free-standing, but in addition it can be rack-mounted and hidden away.


861 is available in High Gloss Graphite, Silver or Black as standard. Meridian Select, our bespoke colour service, provides a choice of over 270 additional colours and shades to help your Meridian system achieve an ideal match – or striking standout look – within its surroundings.

The heart of the ultimate surround sound system, 861v8 links all your audio sources at the very highest quality, with advanced DSP algorithms and loudspeaker management.

Each 861 is individually built for its owner, with optional cards allowing inclusion of specific features to suit the individual installation.




USB input for computer playback, plus optional ID41 card for ultimate quality integration with Meridian Digital Media Systems.

Improved DSP feeding the analogue outputs provides a sweeter sound.

Redesigned master oscillator and clocking circuitry reducing jitter by 40% compared to previous models, and the unique proprietary ‘apodising’ upsampling filter pioneered in the 808.2 for enhanced performance.

Latest design of linear power supply for enhanced overall performance.

8-channel SpeakerLink outputs maximise performance with Meridian DSP Loudspeakers, make installation quicker and easier, and include enhanced loudspeaker controls including Centre Elevation and Enhanced Bass Alignment with supported loudspeakers.

Meridian Room Correction measures room acoustics and applies filters to smooth out resonances, increasing clarity, definition and imaging for a more natural, convincing listening experience.

The 861v8 core card complement includes: a digital output card; a new card with eight SpeakerLink outputs, for simple, single-wire connection to Meridian DSP Loudspeakers, supporting the latest set of SpeakerLink features including Enhanced Bass Alignment and Centre Elevation with supported loudspeakers; a digital input card with six coaxial digital inputs (configurable as two multichannel SmartLink inputs), plus two Toslink optical inputs, one SpeakerLink input, and one MMHR Meridian Multichannel High Resolution input; an analogue input card with six stereo analogue inputs (phono) with 96/24 ADC, configurable as two multichannel analogue inputs. Also new to 861v8 is a new USB input card for computer playback at maximum quality. The card also includes two SpeakerLink inputs and three optical digital inputs.

Card options for the 861v8 include an unbalanced analogue output card with four phono inputs and 192/24 DAC and a balanced analogue output card with four XLR-3M outputs driven by 192/24 DACs. Improved DSP feeding the analogue outputs delivers a sweeter sound than ever before.

There is also a digital input card with four Toslink optical inputs and four SpeakerLink inputs; and the ID41 Digital Media System Card, an endpoint card with Ethernet port.

Meridian Room Correction (MRC)

Room shape, size, furnishing and loudspeaker positions all influence the sound of any system. The result is often uneven sound - low frequencies are too loud in some places and too quiet in others. Meridian's Room Correction system uses powerful DSP to smooth out uneven room resonances for clearer sound and better imaging.


Traditional audio systems often require large, expensive cables to maintain their performance. Meridian's SpeakerLink uses an “Ethernet style” cable that delivers pristine digital sound and control down a single cable between Meridian components. The result is simple, unobtrusive, and cost-effective cables that are easy to install.

Triple FIFO Buffering

Each sample of a digital recording must remain evenly spaced in time. Unfortunately, timing can vary, especially when reading discs. This is “jitter”, degrading music's sense of space and diminishing realism. Meridian's multiple “First In, First Out” buffering system minimises jitter, ensuring perfect timing and improved clarity. You enjoy a clearer feeling of the instruments and their interrelationship.

Meridian High Resolution (MHR)

MHR was the first approved encryption method for transferring high definition digital audio between components. Previously, it had to be in the analogue domain, reducing quality. MHR allows secure movement of high resolution digital audio within a Meridian system, without compromise, improving quality by reducing cyclic repetition.

Smart Source

Music, movies and other sources each need their own settings to play correctly. Usually you have to select the right settings yourself. A Meridian system, however, analyses the incoming content and automatically selects the correct group of settings – we call them presets – for the source. You just sit back and enjoy the experience.

Meridian Apodising Filter

Filters are critical in digital audio. Commonly they introduce distortion and harshness because of "pre-ringing". Early digital recordings suffer from harshness too, due to primitive filters. After painstaking research, Meridian developed a special filter that avoids pre-ringing, so it can be steeper, cleaning up the effects of early filters. The result: a better, cleaner sound from recordings old and new.



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Exact specifications dependent on card complement. Available card specifications are given below.
Core and optional cards

Core Cards
The following cards are fitted as standard inside a Meridian 861 Version 8:
IE44    6x Digital Audio Inputs, Phono, D1 to D6 can be configured as 2x six-channel digital inputs with Meridian SmartLink performance. 2x Optical Audio Inputs, Toslink. SpeakerLink Input, RJ45. Meridian Multi-channel High Resolution (MMHR) Input, RJ45.
IA04    6x Analogue Stereo Inputs, Phono. Can be configured as 2x six-channel analogue inputs.
ID29    Digital Input card with 1x USB input, 3x Optical Audio Inputs, Toslink, 2x SpeakerLink inputs, RJ45.
OE34    8x Digital Output, SpeakerLink. L, R, C, SUB, Side L, Side R, Rear L, Rear R.
CD20 & EF20: Internal (no rear panel) 48-bit DSP cards each containing two Motorola 56367 chips running in dual precision mode, each card offering 300 MIPS (million instructions per second) capability.
CO00    Control computer card. Complete with Flash memory, RS232 port for control and status, 3x configurable trigger outputs and 2x Meridian Comms.

Optional Cards
OA18    Analogue Output card 4x Analogue Outputs, XLR, configurable, with 24-bit, 192kHz DAC.
OA08    Analogue Output card, with 4x Analogue Outputs, Phono, configurable, with 24-bit, 192kHz DAC.
ID41    Digital Media System Card. Audio endpoint card with 1x Ethernet network, RJ45.

480mm (18.9in) x 175mm (6.9in) x 411mm (16.2in) (WHD)