Meridian has introduced a new headphone amplifier. For many of you, that’s all I needed to say. The Prime Headphone Amplifier available now at your local authorized Meridian dealer for $2,000. You’re welcome.
For those of you who need a little more information, though, consider this: the company whose name is synonymous with digital audio has developed one of the most deliciously analog headphone amps I’ve seen in ages. Yes, it’s USB-capable and includes a 24-bit/192kHz digital-to-analog converter. You’ll be able to connect it to your computer and get the most performance out of all the high-resolution music you’ve downloaded from HD Tracks. It also incorporates separate low-jitter crystal oscillators for 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz sample rates (and multiples thereof), rather than relying on synthesized clocks. So even if you’re listening to CDs or MP3s, you can rest assured that they’ll sound their best. It also includes an auxiliary input for use with your smartphone or tablet of choice.
But at its heart, the Prime Headphone Amplifier is a lean, mean, analog machine, with pure analog throughout if you opt instead to use its back-panel stereo analog RCA inputs. It also features truly unique Analogue Spatial Processing (ASP), designed to deliver a more natural soundstage – akin to what you would hear when listening to a pair of speakers in the open air – by bringing the sound of your headphones out of your head and into the space around it. ASP also includes an optional bass boost setting if you need a little extra oomph with your music, but it can also be bypassed entirely if you just want to enjoy the direct sound coming from your cans.
All of this is wrapped up in a gorgeous little case that hearkens back to earlier Meridian designs (including the recently announced G65 Surround Controller), with a few notable twists. Its compact enclosure boasts a dual-skin design, which makes the interior circuitry more resistant to interference. The case itself is even held together with a hidden magnet release mechanism keeps the enclosure safe and secure without screws.
And in addition to its stunning design and exceptional performance with headphones, the Prime Headphone Amplifier also includes a pair of analog stereo outputs that can used to drive active loudspeakers or an external amp, making it the perfect audio centerpiece of your computer-based audio system. Connect a pair of powered desktop speakers – like Paradigm’s A2 Powered Bookshelf Speaker – and you have the makings of an amazing, amazingly petite, and fully featured desktop sound system.