Meridian Introduces New Products at CES 2005

January 7, in DVD-Audio News

CES 2005: Meridian Audio, have announced a number of new DVD-Audio equipped products at the show, including a new, more affordable G Series processor and a variant of three of its popular award-winning G Series products to include DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) tuners as well as conventional FM reception. The first model available will be the G91DAB DVD-Audio/video player/controller system, followed by the G51DAB receiver and G01DAB controller (Meridian’s term for a preamplifier).

DAB Digital Radio is extremely popular all round the world outside the USA. It is currently available to over 300 million people in almost 40 countries, with over 600 different services, and these numbers are increasing daily. The system, which uses a compressed digital streaming format based on MPEG, is extremely popular in Canada and throughout Western Europe, with Britain and Germany leading the way. In Canada, 35% of the overall population is already covered by DAB rising to 50% around freeway corridors, while British coverage is estimated at 90% and Germany, 80%. Coverage in other countries is also at increasingly high levels, with broadcasters conducting trials and tests in many places prior to the full-scale introduction of DAB programs and services. In most places, DAB carries not only existing stations but also many brand-new broadcasters who are transmitting only on digital radio.

DAB is an extremely robust transmission medium, almost completely eliminating problems with multipath, hiss and fading that can disrupt the enjoyment of analog broadcasts. It also allows broadcasters to transmit more stations in the same bandwidth as one FM station. As well as music and speech, DAB stations can additionally carry data that can be displayed by the receiver while listening to the station.

Listeners like DAB because it is very easy to use: instead of remembering the frequency, the listener can simply turn a knob to scroll through the names of the available stations, and press a button to choose one to listen to. They also like the freedom from background noise and the fact that the display will tell them more about the station, program or music being played.

Users of Meridian’s DAB products enjoy all these benefits while in addition, DAB reception capability is completely and seamlessly integrated into the system to produce the best-sounding DAB equipment available.

The G91DAB will begin shipping during Q1 2005, with the G01DAB and G51DAB available shortly after. Retail prices to be determined.

New G Series processor is designed for simpler installations

Designed for the smaller, simpler installation, the new G68J from leading British home theatre/audio manufacturer Meridian Audio makes Meridian’s powerful digital signal processing and decoding available to a wider audience with a significantly lowered cost.

The G68J simply leaves out facilities that are required only in more sophisticated, multi-room systems, such as the multi-zone capability. In addition, the G68J does not handle video signals, leaving these to other components. In a typical system, coupling Meridian’s popular and award-winning G98 DVD-Audio/Video player to the G68J allows the G98’s extensive video inputs and on-board scaling to multiple outputs – including HDMI – to be used to supply video from all sources via a single cable to the display, other video inputs being scaled to match the display characteristics and switched in the player. The G68J also does not include a tuner.

The G68 Surround Controller is a unique, modular, and multi-award-winning THX Ultra2 digital-and-analogue A/V surround preamp-processor. It provides a variety of multichannel inputs including two 6-channel digital inputs, thus accepting Meridian MHR Smart Link signals from compatible Meridian disc players. By upsampling these signals, the G68 offers a dramatic improvement in sound quality from movie and multichannel music recordings. Numerous stereo digital and analogue inputs are also present for audio and AV sources, and balanced-out analogue options are available.

The G68 goes much further, however. Its proprietary Meridian DSP room-correction system counteracts room resonances for outstanding real-world sound, eliminating “muddiness” and dramatically improving stereo and surround imaging. Meridian’s unmatched DSP expertise is reflected in the G68’s remarkable DSP engine, a 5-processor configuration capable of an astonishing 750 MIPS of calculating power. This is used in the fullest range of stereo and surround processing yet created, including THX, Dolby Digital, and DTS modes, plus Ambisonics, MPEG, and Meridian’s widely acclaimed Trifield family of music-surround environments.

The release of the G68J brings the total number of G68 variants to five. The G68D version also does not include video I/O, but provides 10 configurable digital and two analogue outputs, AM/FM RDS/RDBS tuner and multizone/copy audio capability. The G68ADV version includes the tuner, 10 channels of digital out with MHR along with 8 channels of analogue output, full video switching with two S-Video outs, four S-Video ins, two composite outs and four in, plus component out and three component inputs. The included multizone feature also has composite and S-Video capability. The G68AXV replaces the audio outputs described above with six unbalanced and four balanced analogue outputs, while the G68XXV instead provides eight balanced analogue outputs on XLR connectors. The G68J is essentially a G68ADV, but without the tuner, multi-zone capability and video switching.

The G68J is available now, with a US recommended retail price of $6,500.

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