Meridian - 'A Hard Days Night' In The Workshop

Today we were in the workshop repairing and upgrading customers DSP’s. Coincidently whilst we were upgrading a DSP7200.1HC to a DSP7200.2HC we had a legacy DSP5500HC ( .2 Smiley) on the bench.

We thought it would be interesting to have a look at the two loudspeakers electronics panels side by side, so we took a few shots to show the differences.

Unlike the mechanical speaker layouts the electronics layouts are quite different. The single shot below shows the development of a legacy configuration to the DSP7200 electronics backbone.

Power Supplies

The first thing to notice is that the DSP5500HC’s power supply board is a separate chassis mounted board. (the same board configuration as the DSP8000), whilst the DSP7200.2HC combines the power supply function onto the main amplifier board.

DSP5500HC Chassis (top) and DSP7200.2HC Chassis (bottom)

DSP5500HC Chassis (top) and DSP7200.2HC Chassis (bottom)

The DSP5500HC’s mains transformer is mounted on a separate panel assembly, simply because the DSP5500HC back chassis is sheet and would bend too much with the transformer mounted on a longer chassis.

‘Comms’ Boards

The ‘Comms’ board in both models are enclosed with what essentially is a tin can providing an enclosed earth plane , the DSP7200.2HC shown below has yet to have the enclosure re-attached.

DSP7200.2 ‘Comms’ Board, replaced during the upgrade from .1 to .2 specification

DSP7200.2 ‘Comms’ Board, replaced during the upgrade from .1 to .2 specification

The ‘Comms’ board of the DSP7200.2HC utilises a differential or balanced output. This means there are nine analogue connections (the wiring loom (red/black at the bottom of the photo below) to the main amplifier board. (Tweeter, Mid and Bass) This benefit of this is reducing susceptibility to any external noise caused by electromagnetic interference.

The power for the board is via a ribbon cable (can be seen under the analogue loom shown above). There is additional on board rectification, a separate rectification IC is added to the chassis under the ‘Comms’ board allowing for heat dissipation.

Please note the DSP7200HC (and DSP7200) upgrade to .2 is no longer available from Meridian, we had utilised a kit we had in stock.

The upgrade kit initially offered by Meridian consisted of a new .2 ‘Comms’ board and an upgraded tweeter (SEAS Model 27 TAFCD/GW-ME H1612 – 04 Ohm, Black Dome).

The comms board change was due to the lower sensitivity of the new tweeter. The sound quality upgrade is significant. Now of course the SE upgrade kit is available.

The ‘Comms’ board change involves resoldering the 9 differential outputs onto the new board shown below.

DSP7200.2HC ‘Comms’ board differential outputs

DSP7200.2HC ‘Comms’ board differential outputs

The DSP7200.2HC power supply and main amplifier board is a single board with the power devices running along the side of the board bolted to the cast chassis for heat dissipation.

DSP7200.2H:: Power devices bolted to the chassis at the edge of the board

DSP7200.2H:: Power devices bolted to the chassis at the edge of the board

There are four identical amplifiers, one for each driver. The balanced feed for the bass drivers being linked on the board (separate high impedance link).

The DSP5500HC on the other hand utilises 2 identical amplifier boards each having two channels. The DSP5500 series chassis being a development of the original DSP6000 chassis.

DSP7200.2HC: The Single Combined Power Supply and Main Amplifier Board

DSP7200.2HC: The Single Combined Power Supply and Main Amplifier Board

The alternate configuration of the DSP7200.2HC chassis allows simplification of the loudspeaker driver wiring looms. (DSP5500HC taking separate bass feeds and a combined mid/tweeter).

DSP7200.2HC: Separate signal input board, ribbon cable takes signal to ‘Comms’ board.    Note the earth stud location close to the input board, ensuring a good quality localised ground plane

DSP7200.2HC: Separate signal input board, ribbon cable takes signal to ‘Comms’ board.

Note the earth stud location close to the input board, ensuring a good quality localised ground plane

DSP7200.2HC: Transformer secondaries connections via three connectors for power amps and ‘comms’ board distribution

DSP7200.2HC: Transformer secondaries connections via three connectors for power amps and ‘comms’ board distribution

DSP5500HC: Separate Power Supply Board

DSP5500HC: Separate Power Supply Board

DSP5500HC: The Two Main Amplifier Boards (left bass)

DSP5500HC: The Two Main Amplifier Boards (left bass)

Interestingly the front eight character dot matrix display boards are the same in each speaker. This design remains unchanged to this day, which did mean we were able to take this rather strange shot.

DSP5500HC (.2 Smiley) Eight Character Dot Matrix Display (Introduced 2001 for the .2 Smiley)

DSP5500HC (.2 Smiley) Eight Character Dot Matrix Display (Introduced 2001 for the .2 Smiley)

There is a generic evolution from the DSP5500HC to the DSP7200HC.2.The loudspeaker internal working volumes are essentially the same and both designs use the classic d'Appolito configuration. This configuration is ideal for horizontal centre speaker applications.

The DSP5500HC tweeter is the SEAS H539 and is mounted as part of the mid range enclosure. This tweeter is used on the 6000, 5500, 5500HC and 7000 legacy products.

The SEAS H539 Tweeter used on 6000, 5500, 5500HC and 7000 legacy products

The SEAS H539 Tweeter used on 6000, 5500, 5500HC and 7000 legacy products

The CA21 Bass Chassis used in 6000, 5500, 5500HC, 7000 and 8000 legacy products

The CA21 Bass Chassis used in 6000, 5500, 5500HC, 7000 and 8000 legacy products

Looking in through the mid range driver mounting hole of the DSP5500HC, note the non parallel enclosure sides. A result of the bass enclosure shape. Low levels of acoustic wadding is used in addition to acoustic pads attached to the panels.

Looking in through the mid range driver mounting hole of the DSP5500HC, note the non parallel enclosure sides. A result of the bass enclosure shape. Low levels of acoustic wadding is used in addition to acoustic pads attached to the panels.

The two SEAS CA 21 chassis bass drivers are individually reflex ported in a nominal 20 litre enclosure each, the DSP5500 floorstanders use both drivers in a single reflex ported enclosure, as reported elsewhere bass is very lively in that design, although tamed a little with the 2011 DSP upgrade software roll out.

Left SEAS T17 8 bolt Chassis Mid Range used in 8K legacy (coax and SL)    Right SEAS P17 8 bolt Chassis Mid Range used in 6000,5500,5500HC,7000 legacy products

Left SEAS T17 8 bolt Chassis Mid Range used in 8K legacy (coax and SL)

Right SEAS P17 8 bolt Chassis Mid Range used in 6000,5500,5500HC,7000 legacy products

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In the DSP5500HC, the SEAS P17 mid range driver sits in a separate sealed box enclosure, nominal 11.5 litres. Above is the P17 chassis and the T17 chassis. The later was only used in the DSP8000 legacy (and SL legacy).

The T17 chassis translucence is the result of Meridian’s usage of TPX™ polypropylene which possesses the lowest density among thermoplastic polymers, thereby providing a lightweight cone material enabling a further performance increase. This cone material is used in the current range of .2 and SE mid range drivers.

The DSP5500HC utilises the same bass specification drivers (Thiele/Small parameters) as the DSP7200HC (there is a chassis difference), however the later uses the mid range from the DSP8000.2 and a the .2 tweeter).

DSP5500HC the star of the legacy range

The DSP5500HC (along with the magnificent DSP6000.2) is the ’star’ of the legacy range and still represents significant value for money.

Apart from EBA capability of the DSP7200.2HC the sound quality of the two loudspeakers is very similar, the DSP5500HC retaining the classic ‘Meridian Legacy polite sound’ whilst the DSP7200.2HC enabling a more detailed view of the soundstage.

The DSP6000 will be discussed in ‘Meridian Evolution’ coming soon.

The views and facts presented here have been collated by observation of Meridian products and publicly available information. No reverse engineering in any form has been undertaken.

Meridian DSP8000 Legacy For Sale

DSP8000 Legacy, (approx 2003) in Silver, average condition. (Photographs to follow)

Options:-

  • Can be re-lacquered to alternative colour if required, please ask for quotation

  • SE upgrade available. Please note this involves replacement of electronics panel and tweeter. Clamp rings are not upgraded to SE specification

  • New boxes can be purchased if required

  • Delivery options available

    Price:- £6999 (SOLD)

Meridian 861 V4 (LPS) Processor For Sale

Meridian 861 V4 Processor

  • An immaculate condition Meridian 861V4 Processor finished in Black

  • Upgraded with linear power supply (LPS)

  • One of the last 861 V4 to be manufactured

  • Build November 2009 - Meridian serial number verified

  • 5 Year warranty on Linear Power Supply (LPS)

  • 1 Year return to base dealer warranty

  • Fully configured for digital and/or analogue output (balanced XLR)

  • CO00 Card Factory configured for ID40 end point

Full Specification:-

  • New LPS (Linear Power Supply) with 5 year warranty upon registration with Meridian

Cards Fitted:-

  • CO00: Control computer card. Complete with Flash memory, RS232 port for control and status, 3 x configurable trigger outputs and Meridian Comms.

  • 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.

  • IE42: Digital Input/Output with 6 x S/PDIF (IEC1937) coax inputs, 1 Toslink optical digital input, multiple input options. Includes 150 MIPS DSP de-jittering facility and upsampling to 24-bit, 96kHz sampling. 2 x 2-channel S/PDIF outputs.

  • IA00: Analogue Input with 6 pairs of analogue input on RCA phono connectors, including super-quality A/D conversion.

  • SL00: Slave Patch: 4 x DIN 180 for Meridian DSP Speakers only

  • OE12: Digital Output: 4 x coaxial for Meridian DSP Speakers only

  • OA12M+: Analogue Output: 8 (2 Cards) x balanced 96kHz-capable on XLR

Configuration Notes:-

  • OA12M 96Khz capable balanced output cards (two) configured for use in 861 V4 chassis, spare jumpers supplied for alternate configurations

  • CO00 Control Card Factory configured for use with ID40 Sooloos/Roon End Point

Software:-

  • Fully Configured with Latest Software

  • Micro 861 8.1 /4449

  • DSP C00057 / D84056

  • DSP E00013 / F84056

  • Serial Numbers:- 861 401700 (Main Unit), 861PK 100101 (LPS Linear Power Supply)

  • Supplied in Meridian Box with MSR+ (Black finish)

    General:-

  • The front panel and side case work has been re finished by Merdian’s supplier HQ lacquer to as new condition. The processor has been meticulously rebuilt and tested in our workshop

  • Optional customer system configuration upload as appropriate

  • There are a few small delamination marks on the glass top, please see last photograph. the MSR+ has a mark on the front left hand corner

  • Full after sales dealer support

    Price:-  £2499 (SOLD)

Meridian - Design Technology & Barco - A Formidable Combination

At ISE in February Meridian, Design Technology and Barco partnered to provide the best AV experience of the show.

Meridian launched their new DSP640.2 architectural loudspeakers. Barco presented the new ‘Bragi’ LED engine projector and Design Technology provided a Dynamic-2S masking screen with the ATwow surface.

A formidable combination providing an aural and visual treat to those who attended.

The picture below show the screen frame installation and DSP640.2 loudspeakers. The ATwow reference screen material waiting to be added to complete the installation.

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Meridian - ‘Select’ Your Finish

Volcanic Orange - Select Colour

A brand new pair of DSP5200.2 await final inspection and packaging on Meridian’s shop floor. A lucky customer ordered these in Volcanic Orange select colour option. They look magnificent.

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Matte Burgundy - Select Colour

An amazing finish to match a New York customers decor is this custom Matte Burgundy finish for a pair o DSP8000.2

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Barco - 'Bragi' New LED Engine Projector

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At ISE, in partnership with Meridian and Display Technologies (DT) Barco launched a new residential projector named the ‘Bragi’ utilising a new ground up design LED engine.

Bragi Cinemascope is taking its name from an historical ninth-century poet. His poems were so outstandingly artful and moving that subsequent generations imagined that, upon his death, Odin had appointed him the court poet of Valhalla. Bragi is also Balders brother and inherited Balders design language, optical core and lenses. Bragi will have the same PULSE electronic and SW platform powered by a revolutionizing new LED engine.

Light output: up to 2100 lumens,

Dimensions: (d x w x h) 450 x 457 x 244 mm / 17,7 x 18,0 x 9,6 in (excluding lens)

Weight: 21,5 kg / 47,4 lbs

Meridian New AV EMEA partnership February 2019

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Meridian has announced a new partnership with AV EMEA, the leading full-service representation company in the industry, as part of a strategic plan to continue building Meridian’s international sales presence.

“This new strategic approach will extend our sales reach, strengthen the Meridian brand and help us to deliver greater support to our distributors and their customers across the EMEA region,” comments Matt Holland, International Sales Manager at Meridian. “With the help of AV EMEA, we will be able to reach new geographic markets and provide more responsive, local support to our distribution partners, helping them to serve customers better and develop new business opportunities. We’re committed to growing our business in the residential and custom integration channels and look forward to the uplift this new partnership will bring.”

Meridian At ISE Amsterdam Feb 2019

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ISE in Amsterdam is well underway this week, Meridian have taken the opportunity to launch two new in wall DSP loudspeaker systems, the DSP520.2 and the DSP640.2.

Shown below in the ISE snap shots, they both utilise the same driver configuration as the Mk1 DSP520 and DSP640,s but add new amplifier topology, Both of the new speakers have the same form factor as the original DSP520 and DSP640 and therefore can utilise the same installation back boxes.

The new loudspeakers are being demonstrated in the Barco cinema demonstration suite at the show.

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Interesting to see Meridian are recommending stacking DSP520’s as a centre channel. This is a well known way of centre stage reinforcement using an ‘array’ configuration.

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Meridian - Lord Of The 'Clamp' Rings

DSP8000SE with grilles removed

DSP8000SE with grilles removed

Meridian - The Art Of Loudspeaker design

One area of speaker design which is often overlooked is the speaker driver/cabinet interface. Ensuring a uniform clamping force to control resonances and seal the driver against the cabinet is a major part of any loudspeaker design.

The majority of loudspeaker drivers utilise bolts locating through the driver mounting flanges and into threaded inserts or even into the bare wood. This design has a number of weaknesses, firstly the clamping force of the bolt is transferred to a small areas of flange around the hole. This can lead to an over compression of the cabinet mounting wood flange around the bolt hole with eventual relaxation of the wood and a potentially loose driver. Owners are then encourage to tighten their drivers. Over tightening can lead to further problems with the potential for distorting the speaker driver flanges between the mounting holes leading to poor sealing and subsequent air leaks. We have seen this problem on a number of early DSP5000 loudspeakers.

Meridian addressed this design issue with the introduction of clamp rings, initially implemented on the Legacy DSP8000.

 

DSP8000 - Clamp Rings since launch at CES las vegas 2000

DSP8000 Legacy 8 Hole Bass Clamp Rings (Circa 2009)

DSP8000 Legacy 8 Hole Bass Clamp Rings (Circa 2009)

What is not generally appreciated is that all DSP8000’s have clamp rings since their launch in Yr 2000. Technically, the legacy and Speaker Link version clamp rings (8 Holes) are mounted with their bolts through the clamp ring, the driver mounting flange holes and into the cabinet threaded inserts. The clamp ring spreads the external clamping force on the driver mounting flange over the whole of the driver/cabinet interface.

DSP5200SE 6 Hole Bass Clamp Ring (Cira 2018)

DSP5200SE 6 Hole Bass Clamp Ring (Cira 2018)

DSP8000 40th Anniversary Ruby with the Enhanced Clamp Rings

DSP8000 40th Anniversary Ruby with the Enhanced Clamp Rings

The 'Ruby' and SE Clamp Rings

The first use of the ‘enhanced clamp ring’ was first introduced on the 40th Anniversary ‘Ruby’ Limited Edition Loudspeaker in the Autumn of 2011.

This also coincided with the change of driver chassis from the previous CA21 (8 hole) chassis to the CA22 (6 hole) chassis for the bass drivers, the mid range had a similar change. Specification and performance wise they are the same, the only difference being a larger diameter driver mounting flange on the replacements.

 

 

 

 

DSP8000SE (Upgraded) Head unit showing mid range clamp rings (8 bolt)

DSP8000SE (Upgraded) Head unit showing mid range clamp rings (8 bolt)

Coil Wires

For aesthetic balance, Meridian does not orientate driver to cabinet along vertical bolt lines.  This has an effect on the Legacy and SL DSP8000. The original DSP8000 mid range driver uses a T17 Chassis (8 bolt). This driver orientates the driver connecting coil wires to a bolt position. This can be clearly seen through the mid range poly driver. This means the coil wires can be seen offset by a bolt pitch (nominally to the left in the examples we have seen).

 

With the larger chassis T18 mid range driver (6 bolt) used in the Ruby/SE models the wires are orientated between bolts pitches, allowing the wires to be orientated vertically.

DSP7200SE, CA22, T18, 6 Bolt driver chassis with clamp rings, vertical coil wire orientation

DSP7200SE, CA22, T18, 6 Bolt driver chassis with clamp rings, vertical coil wire orientation

Technically the alternate driver chassis sizes T18 and CA22 were first introduced with the launch of  the DSP7200 pre dating the DSP8000 Ruby introduction, With the SE range these new driver chassis sizes were consolidated across the bothe DSP8000SE (and DSP8000.2) , DSP7200SE and SE Centre variants.

DSP8000 40th Anniversary Ruby Head Unit

DSP8000 40th Anniversary Ruby Head Unit

Jewel in The Crown

The 'Ruby' DSP8000 is therefore quite literally a jewel in Meridian's crown giving us the design elements that shaped the both the SE and .2 product ranges. A true celebration of achievement.

An SE upgraded Ruby would be the finest speaker Meridian ever produced.

 

 

 

 

clamp rings - Evolutionary Design enhancements

Meridian’s engineers realised that they could enhance the clamping aspect of the original DSP8000 clamp rings further

In place of the cabinet threaded inserts, internally mounted extended curved and pressed steel pieces are placed around the internal circumference held in place with ‘through’ screws from the cabinet mounting flange. These individual steel peices are used as a complete ring would not fit through the finished speaker driver hole.

The clamp rings then clamp through using bolts into threaded portions of the pressed steel. This design enables an increased clamping force to be achieved across the driver/cabinet interface from both sides.

Another enhancement included a thin gasket added to the internal surface of the SE clamp ring avoiding any metal to metal interference with the drive unit.

This resulted in a superb design which is why the clamping ring configuration across the entire SE range adds significantly to the magnificeant sound quality of the SE range.

 

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The DSP8000SE X-Ray

If you look at some of Meridian’s recent promotional 'x ray skeletal ’ material of the DSP8000SE you can clearly see the clamp ring arrangement.These images were created by eminent x-ray artist, Nick Veasey,

 

Black painted clamp rings on a pair of 'stealth black' finished DSP SE

Black painted clamp rings on a pair of 'stealth black' finished DSP SE

Modification

We have in the recent past modified a legacy DSP8000 with the SE design elements using complete internal threaded pressed steel rings. However we would not recommend this undertaking as it requires precise cabinet modification and design considerations.

 

 

DSP8000 Clamp Ring (8 bolt) suitable for CA21 Chassis SEAS Bass Drivers

DSP8000 Clamp Ring (8 bolt) suitable for CA21 Chassis SEAS Bass Drivers

Changing The Colour

If you require an SE silver clamp ring appearance, you can always polish or paint your DSP8000 clamp rings but be careful with polishing as you can potentially loose edge detail. Changing the clamp ring colour by re anodising involving stripping off the original anodising and re-applying, this can result in variable colour finish,  loss of detail and dimension.

DSP5500 CA21 Base Drive Unit

DSP5500 CA21 Base Drive Unit

 

Legacy Products

We have been asked if you can add clamp rings to other Legacy products, well not easily and not economically. Here we have an example of a  DSP5500 showing a CA21 chassis driver (same driver used in original DSP8000,  DSP6000 and DSP7000) bolted directly to the loudspeaker cabinet.

There is not enough inner circumference on the cabinet to accommodate a clamp ring. A major cabinet modification would be required for an unquantifiable gain in performance.

Please note that the driver mounting flange is also sometimes and rather confusingly referred to as a clamp ring, i,e the ring of the driver which clamps to the cabinet.

 

This actual image perfectly demonstrates how and why Meridian developed clamp rings for this driver with the original DSP8000. The drive mounting flange is narrow and not unduly thick making it difficult to clamp uniformly around its circumference without mechanical distortion. Clamp rings solved this design consideration.

In Summary

  • ALL DSP8000 variants have clamp rings.

  • The Ruby and SE variants added additional internal clamping elements. Note the DSP8000.2 can be upgraded to the full SE specification as it already has the 6 bolt SE clamp ring ring arrangement.

  • SE clamp rings are not interchangeable with legacy or SL models (bolt hole configuration with change of chassis) which is why Meridian are unable to offer them as part of the SE upgrade.

  • The longevity of the DSP8000 and it's ongoing worldwide enduring appeal is supported by an amazing design, through to the finest detail. Whatever flavour of clamp rings you have, you own one of the finest sounding loudspeakers in the world, enjoy the music!

DSP8000 Yr 2000 Promotional launch photograph with clamp ring fitted to the mid range driver

DSP8000 Yr 2000 Promotional launch photograph with clamp ring fitted to the mid range driver

The views and facts presented here have been collated by observation of Meridian products and publicly available information. No reverse engineering in any form has been undertaken. This blog is an extract from 'Meridian Evolution' a blog to be presented soon..

Meridian Evolution - Coming Soon

Meridian Evolution - Coming Soon

Meridian Retail Prices - Rises Effective 1st July 2018

As previously reported, Meridian have been forced to raise retail prices due to increasing manufacturing costs. Effective from 1st July the following products have retail pricing increases:-

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DSP3200 Loudspeakers (Pair) from £2,500 to £3,000

DSP3300 Loudspeaker (Single) from £1,500 to £1.800
M6 Loudspeakers (Pair) from £3,200 to £3,600 a pair
M6 Loudspeakers (Single) from £1,650 to £1,800

DSP320 In Wall Loudspeaker (Single) from £1,000 to £1,250
(Backbox stays at £100)

DSP520 In Wall Loudspeaker (Single) from £1,600 to £1,750
(Backbox stays at £150)

DSP640 In Wall Loudspeaker (SIngle) from £2,500 to £2,750
(Backbox stays at £250)

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G55 Power Amplifier (5 Channel) from £3,000 to £3,250
G57 Power Amplifier (2 Channel) from £3,000 to £3,250

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218 MQA End Point from £750 to £800

AC200 Audio Controller from £900 to £1,000