Meridian have unveiled details about their G98 DVD-Audio Transport, the latest addition to the company’s G Series range of components. The following is information supplied by Meridian:
Virtually every piece of audio equipment has its own, characteristic sound. But at Meridian, our intention is to represent the original acoustic or studio event as accurately as possible. The characteristic sound of Meridian, therefore, is clear: it’s the real thing. We achieve this sound in many ways, including careful choice of the right components, the right signal processing, multi-layer PC boards, the shortest possible analogue chain, precision digital design and the lowest jitter. Then there are the little things, like using gold-plated connectors throughout.
The G98 DVD-Audio transport plays audio CDs, MP3 CDs, Video CDs, DVD-Video, and DVD-Audio discs. It can decode Dolby Digital, DTS, MPEG, MP3, and MLP data streams to PCM for stereo playback. And it can output Dolby Digital, DTS, and MPEG bitstreams for connection to a surround controller such as the G68, for which the G98 is an ideal companion.
Two versions of the G98 are available, the G98AH with analogue outputs, and the G98DH with digital interfacing, though both have basic digital outputs in addition. The G98AH and G98DH provide fixed-level multi-channel or two-channel audio outputs. They are designed for use with a surround controller with multi-channel analogue (G98AH) or digital (G98DH) inputs. Alternatively, either model can be connected to a pair of DSP loudspeakers to create a complete high-quality two-channel DVD system.
The G98AH and G98DH include a powerful video processor and scaler incorporating both Meridian and Faroudja DCDi® technology, which can simultaneously provide composite and S-video outputs, plus progressive component video and up to 1080i on an HDMI audio/video interface. They provide two composite video, one component video and three S-video inputs, all of which can be routed to any of the video outputs with appropriate scaling. At the heart of the G98 is a high-speed computer-style DVD-ROM drive – the best type of drive to use to ensure accurate data recovery from all types of disc, while providing a stable platform that can be updated in the future, if necessary, to keep pace with new requirements.
In addition to regular CDs (including MP3 CD-ROMS) and DVDs, the player can also play most hybrid varieties. The G98 can handle both DVD-Video and DVD-Audio discs, decoding Dolby Digital, DTS or MLP data streams and extracting or downmixing them to stereo if required.
The drive normally operates at standard speed; however it is capable of recovering data a great deal faster when required, enabling it to make successive attempts to recover accurate data from a problem disc. Because of this, the drive can perfectly recover the data from nearly all discs.
Unlike other players that use a mechanical approach to try to lower jitter by minimising drive vibration, the G98 employs a triple buffering system to minimise jitter, maximizing HF transparency and sound stage imaging precision and stability. The result of this sophisticated effort is that the players deliver ultra-low jitter, with sound and picture quality second only to Meridian’s 800 Reference DVD/CD Player.
The digital electronics as a whole are driven by a new design of high-stability clocking system which further reduces jitter and ensures that the highest level of detail is recovered from a disc. All digital data is accurately re-clocked. Multiple power supplies ensure that digital and analogue circuitry are kept separate.
The G98 DVD player includes a comprehensive front-panel user interface which allows access to all the features of the unit, including configuration. The player can be reset to a standard Type which configures all the required settings as appropriate for a particular application.
In addition, an on-screen display (OSD) allows you to configure specific settings individually.
The player employs Flash ROM memory for the operating system, so software updates can be downloaded from the Internet and installed via a PC connected to the serial port on the back panel. The serial port also allows full remote control and configuration of the unit.
The G98DH provides three principal S/PDIF coax outputs designated L/R, L/R Surround, and C/LFE. These typically connect to Meridian processors, or feed a stereo signal to a pair of DSP loudspeakers. If configured for MHR SmartLink they, or the adjacent combined 15-way D-type connector, carry high-sample rate encrypted data from DVD discs for the highest fidelity of decoding and reproduction. The SmartLink also informs a downstream Meridian processor of the signal source, so that it can switch processing modes automatically.
The G98AH provides six channels of analogue output. These feature true 24-bit DACs that operate at sample rates up to 192kHz for the maximum possible audio quality.
All models provide an additional S/PDIF digital output which delivers a stereo downmix or bitstream signal.
On the video side, advanced video circuit designs, matched phase video filters, and a broadcast-quality video encoder are employed to deliver low-noise images of outstanding colour depth and resolution. Separate ultra-low jitter master video and audio oscillators allow picture and sound to be independently optimized, ensuring that the G98 delivers breathtakingly clear pictures.
The G98’s unique high-resolution video processor/scaler can receive composite, S-video, and interlaced component, and convert between the formats, or to the high-density multimedia interface (HDMI) standard, to provide a single video output for all the video sources in the system. A bypass function allows progressive or high definition component video to be routed directly to the component output only.
The HDMI port supports a wide range of high quality digital video options including 480p, 576p, 720p, and 1080i. A unique feature of HDMI is that it is able to ‘handshake’ between the source and the display to find the highest quality format. Analogue component out is available at 480p and 576p.
The HDMI interface also carries high-resolution digital audio, either two channels of PCM at up to 96kHz or a 5.1 encoded bitstream.
Built-in broadcast-quality circuits deliver the most advanced, high-quality video available today.
The video processor includes picture controls, available via the MSR+ and front-panel display. For the internal DVD and external video inputs you can adjust the horizontal and vertical picture position. In addition, for the video inputs you can adjust the brightness, contrast, colour, and hue (NTSC inputs only).
The HDMI output can be connected to a DVI input if the device supports HDCP copy protection, using a suitable adaptor cable.
The G98DH DVD-Audio Transport will be priced at Ј3,350, while the G98AH DVD-Audio Player will retail for Ј3,625.