Meridian Announce 'Ultra DAC' - The Worlds Finest Digital To Analogue Convertor

Ultra DAC with "Hierarchical Converter Technology, by MQA”

HUNTINGDON 12.00PM 1st June 2016

A combination of world firsts and innovative technologies positions the new Meridian Ultra DAC in a class of its own. Meridian Audio, the undisputed pioneer of high-resolution audio, unveils the Meridian Ultra Digital to Analogue Converter.

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

  1. 384kHz/24 bit dedicated DAC capable of playing a host of content including DXD, DSD64 and DSD128 (DoP) as well as MQA.
  2. A huge range of connectivity options, including USB 2.0, S/PDIF, TOSLINK, 75 Ohm BNC and AES3 on XLR as well as Meridian’s Speakerlink. One pair of balanced and one pair of unbalanced analogue outputs are also provided.
  3. Compatible with our award-winning Sooloos music management platform for the very best user-friendly experience.
  4. The first product in the world to include MQA’s patent-pending Hierarchichal Converter Technology.

Chief Technical Officer at Meridian, Richard Hollinshead comments: “The Meridian Ultra Digital to Analogue Converter is the culmination of nearly two decades of research and engineering. With considerable connectivity options, user features, and format support, the Meridian Ultra DAC incorporates an extensive list of performance-enhancing technologies, including Dual Mono DAC cards, DSP filter options, upsampling, and apodizing. This dedicated DAC utilises Meridian’s renowned audio expertise to set a new standard in the analogue realm”.

Connectivity options include USB 2.0, S/PDIF, TosLink, 75 ohm BNC, and AES3 on XLR, as well as Meridian’s Speakerlink and the award-winning Sooloos music-management platform, for the very best user-friendly experience. One pair of balanced and one pair of unbalanced analogue outputs are also provided.

The Meridian Ultra is a 384kHz/24-bit dedicated DAC capable of playing virtually any recording format including DXD, DSD64 and DSD128 (DoP), and MQA.
Significant user features are provided, including LipSync, PC setup, and RS232 enabling integration with third-party systems such as Control4 or Crestron. The Ultra DAC is the first Meridian product to give users the option to select one of 3 upsampling filters when reproducing sources with a sample rate of 44kHz or 48kHz, such as CD or DAT. In addition, a dedicated clock card is included for the lowest possible jitter.

The “Hierarchical Converter Technology, by MQA” is a patent-pending DAC technology from the creators behind MQA. It employs multiple converters to increase temporal resolution while also reducing noise and quantization errors. The result is a level of performance that is unachievable with normal DACs.

Another first for a Meridian product is the construction of the Ultra’s Dual Mono DAC card, which incorporates multiple regulated power supplies and eight-layer circuit boards with low-impedance ground-planes, for peerless isolation and the low-noise grounding that is critical to digital-audio accuracy. A fully linear power supply provides isolation from the AC supply, and DC-coupled output prevents degradation from AC coupling capacitors. Even the Ultra DAC’s front panel was designed for quiet operation, with non-ferrous construction, and a static LCD display chosen for its low electrical noise and ease of readability.

Connectivity

Inputs

  1. USB (1)
  2. ID41 card for Sooloos (1)
  3. Coaxial S/PDIF (2)
  4. Optical Toslink (2)
  5. 75 Ohm BNC (2)
  6. AES3 on XLR (2)
  7. Speakerlink (1)

Outputs

  1. Balance analogue (1pr)
  2. Unbalanced analogue (1pr)

Notes:-

  1. Output is fixed or variable
  2. Sooloos provides the best user experience and sound, and plays commonly available formats and MQA
  3. Speakerlink can be used with HD621. BNC with other manufacturers.

Extensive Supported Format Options

USB Input

  • Files and content: Lossless or lossy as source,  DSD64 and DSD128, MQA
  • Transport:  Up to 384kHz/ 24Bit, DXD, DSD64 and DSD128 Dop
  • DAC Output: 36.864 Mb/s multi-bit

Optical Toslink Input

  • Files and content: As Source
  • Transport: Up to 96Khz/24Bit
  • DAC output: 36.864 Mb/s multi-bit

Coaxial/BNC/AES/Speakerlink Input

  • Files and content: As source
  • Transport: Up to 192Khz/24bit, DSD64 Dop
  • DAC Output: 36.864 Mb/s multi-bit

Sooloos (ID41) Input

  • Files and content: Lossless to 192Khz/24Bit, Lossy, MQA
  • Transport: Up to 96Khz/24Bit
  • DAC Output: 36.864 Mb/s multi-bit

Notes

  • Output data rate is 36.864 Mb/s for 48kHz base-frequency and 33.8688 for 44.1kHz base-frequency content. (Same as DSP8000)
  • Output data rate is equivalent to 768kHz or 705.6kHz / 24 bit two-channel.

Enhanced Operation and Control

  1. A dedicated DAC
  2. Direct connection to amplifier (variable output)
  3. Basic controls: source, volume+, volume -, mute
  4. Sound: phase, LipSync, DSP controls + treble, bass, balance (variable only)
  5. Display: brightness and contrast
  6. Sooloos transport: play, stop, pause, next, previous (by MSR+ remote)
  7. Front panel: source, DSP, display, mute, off Behind long door: up, down, left, right, setup, volume +, volume –
  8. PC Setup
  9. RS232 - for integration of 3rd Party control including Control 4, Crestron

Construction and Layout Optimised For Performance

  1. Dual Mono DAC cards – a unique feature of this product’s construction
  2. Multiple regulated power supplies
  3. 8 layer boards – low impedance planes for excellent signal isolation and grounding accuracy
  4. DC coupled output – no degradation from AC coupling capacitors
  5. New linear supply – for isolation from AC supply and reliability
  6. Non-ferrous chassis and panels (aluminium construction) – linear hysteresis free magnetics
  7. Component selection – audio grade capacitors and large-chip resistors for excellent stability, high performance semiconductors
  8. Quiet display – LCD static not scanning for low electrical noise

Performance enhancements

Clocking

  1. A dedicated clock card for lowest jitter
  2. Low phase noise / high current oscillator
  3. Meridian’s FIFO buffering – the ultimate system for elimination of incoming jitter
  4. All jitter folded down below 0.5Hz

Resolution enhancement

  1. Upsampling
  2. Apodizing
  3. Three filter options – a brand new feature enabling user selection of upsampling filters; short, medium and long
  4. Shaped dither
  5. MQA
  6. DSD – propriety impulse response optimized / multibit modulator conversion

The Meridian Ultra DAC is built by hand in the UK and is available in beautiful high gloss black as standard at £15,000. Other colour options are available using Meridian’s Select bespoke colour service (£500).