Twenty-five years ago, Meridian introduced the D600, the world’s first digital active loudspeaker, which contained within its cabinet integrated amplification and a line-level crossover network. Of course, Meridian’s speaker designs have evolved quite a bit in the past quarter century, and to pay homage to that evolution the company introduced three new Special Edition Digital Active Loudspeakers at this year’s International CES in Las Vegas.
On the surface, the Special Edition DSP8000, DSP7200, and DSP5200 don’t deviate radically from the company’s existing DSP8000, DSP7200, and DSP5200 Digital Active Loudspeakers (which remain a fundamental bedrock of the Meridian lineup). The SE DSP5200 still boasts a pair of 160mm (6.3-inch) polypropylene bass drivers with a 25mm (1-inch) tweeter and a “2½ -way” acoustic reflex bass port; the SE DSP7200 still features two 200mm (7.9-inch) long-throw bass drivers, a 160mm (6.3-inch) polypropylene mid driver, and a 25mm (1-inch) tweeter “3½-way” acoustic reflex bass port. And at the top of the line the SE DSP8000 still sports two separate enclosures for bass and mid/trebel, with six horizontally opposed 200mm (7.9-inch) long-throw bass drivers in the bottom, and one 160mm polypropylene (TPX) mid driver and a 25mm (1-inch) tweeter up top.
So, what sets the new Special Editions apart? Three things in particular. All three SE models have been graced with new semi-horn-loaded beryllium dome tweeters designed by Meridian to deliver even better transient response, and their bass/mid drivers are clamped with machined rings for better mechanical stability. The Special Edition lineup also benefits from new digital signal processing capabilities, including Meridian’s proprietary Enhanced Bass Alignment technology, which promises to deliver cleaner, more responsive, and more transparent low-frequency performance; as well as new wide-bandwidth analog electronics that have been optimized for today’s higher-resolution audio sources.
No pricing information is available just yet for the new Special Edition DSP8000, DSP7200, and DSP5200, which are scheduled to ship in March of this year. We do know, though, that in addition to Piano Lacquer Black and High Gloss White, the new speakers – like their counterparts – will be available in your choice of over 270 colors as part of the Meridian Select custom finish service.
The SE DSP8000s on display in Meridian’s suite at the Venetian sported an amazingly rich blue finish that unfortunately didn’t photograph very well in the room’s romantic lighting, but trust me – they were gorgeous.
As an added bonus, we also got to take a rare look inside one of Meridian’s regular edition DSP7200 Digital Active Loudspeakers, which had been sawed just about perfectly in half, and although again pictures just don’t do it justice, in person the level of craftsmanship was simply staggering.
It’s understandable, given just how much research and design that Meridian has put into its digital active loudspeakers, that the company strongly advocates maintaining an all-digital signal path from source to speaker, but if you have your own favorite passive loudspeaker, you’ll be happy to hear that the company debuted some new products at CES with you in mind.
The new G55 (five-channel) and G57 (stereo) Power Amplifiers enable the company’s new G65 Surround Controller and HD621 HDMI Processor to be used with speakers that are neither digital nor active. Combine the two and you have the makings of an incredibly rocking, almost-all-digital 7.1-channel home theater system.