我的網誌清單

2011年7月26日星期二

初玩DAC-Onix DAC25


好多前輩都話一套系統中前後係最緊要,所謂前係指訊源,即CD PlayerBlu-ray Player,而後則指喇叭,顯示器同幕等硬件。Anthony十分認同呢種說法,因為前面訊源唔好,後面點攪都無用,相反喇叭,顯示器同幕呢類配件相等尾門,反應係最直接,所以變更少少可以差別好大。

而訊源中CD Player可以細分為CD轉盤同解碼部份,大部份CD Player會兩部份放喺同一個箱體內,有啲較高級嘅會將轉盤同解碼分開兩個箱體擺放給予獨立供電以減少互相干擾嘅問題。CD轉盤付責拾訊,而解碼器則付責將CD轉盤傳送過嚟嘅數碼訊號解讀成模擬訊號後再傳送畀前級或合併作放大。

解碼器名為Digital to Analog Converter,一般用叫D A CDAC(dead),價錢均由萬元至十萬元以上都有,價值咁高全因DAC嘅數碼轉模擬嘅功能對一套系統嘅好壞佔好大嘅比重。從前DAC一般係高級音響嘅玩意,但Company As Source (CAS)嘅興起令一般品牌推出入門級嘅DACCAS係指用電腦作儲存媒體,歌曲為電腦檔案。當然CAS並唔係甚麼新玩意,早在90年化初網上流行嘅MP3已可以叫做CAS。但當然MP3呢類高壓檔案對一般HiFi發燒友嚟過可謂不堪入耳,而以當時一般電腦硬碟容量只有4Xgb,以一個以wav無損格式嘅音樂檔案嚟講已經要4XMb,一個硬碟根本放唔到幾多隻CD,所以CAS未能流行起來。

而近年硬碟容量以TB起跳,儲存wav歌曲可達萬隻,加上新技術嘅無損出嚟嘅檔案令儲存數目更多。CAS好處係方便,所有歌曲儲喺電腦硬碟轉碼只要喺電腦按幾個掣就可以,現時甚至可以用iPadiPhone或其他智能電話揀歌,加上唔需要再怕整花心愛嘅CD同損耗CD唱頭,加上亦保存到接近CD嘅質素。而傳統CD因規格所限只可以儲存16bit 44.1khz嘅格式,相反現時某些唱片公司喺網上發售聲稱達母帶級數嘅24bit 192khz嘅歌曲以供發燒友下載。所以吸引唔少年輕HiFi玩家由傳統CD Player跳槽去CAS,情況就似二十多年前由黑膠過檔CD相似。

同時各大傳統音響品牌亦相計推出設有usb輸入嘅DAC,價錢由入門級嘅三數千元至數萬元都有,而內地出產嘅品牌平至數百元一部都有。

Anthony一直以來都以AV為主,所以家中所有器材都係以AV方向,連一部CD Player同兩聲道擴音機都無嘅Anthony一直只以Blu-ray PlayerMedia PlayerRCA接駁AV前後級聽歌,今次試試加一部入門DAC作解碼睇睇會唔會有所改善。

今次加入嘅係來自英國嘅Onix DAC25,用上Burr Brown PMC 1792 DAC晶片,同一般DAC一樣設有opticalcoaxialusb輸入,RCAXLR輸出,支持24bit 192khz (usb除外)輸入同時可以將訊號升頻至96khz192khz輸出。前級一般會話coaxial好聲過opticalAnthony平時以Media Player聽歌為主所以現時以OXL reference 2 Type 4A coaxial接駁Popcorn Hour C200 Media PlayerOppo BDP93 Blu-ray PlayerSupraoptical接駁,而Onix DAC25XLR接到Cary Cinema 11a AV前級。

雖然呢部Onix DAC25係一部十分平價嘅入門DAC,但初步感覺加咗DAC後聲音上會比較滑咗啲同分晰力亦好咗,而有玩開兩聲道嘅網友AVlam兄就覺得無用DAC時會比較乾,而加咗DAC後就會有少少改善,而AVlam覺得同以coaxial 接駁的話Oppo BDP93人聲較焗,而Popcorn Hour C200反而會帶少少甜味,AVlam兄其至話以Popcorn Hour C200聽歌可以收得貨添,所以建議Anthonycoaxial接駁Popcorn Hour C200嚟聽歌,既好聲啲亦方便啲。因為CaryOnixXLR接口都係未用過,相信煲佢一段時間會有更好。

 
PS:以上為Anthony非專業的個人感受,如資料上有任何錯漏歡迎指正。

2011年7月23日星期六

Bryston 4B SST C-Series入宮


Bryston呢個品牌已經成立起過三十五年,一直以來以出產專業級產品提供PA巿場而聞名,直到ST系列嘅後級推出巿場後開始得到家用巿場所主意,而最受註目嘅應該係4B ST呢部250W嘅2聲道後級。自ST系列成功打入家用巿場後Bryston有意擺脫PA品牌,由SST開始Bryston喺外觀著手希望更易入屋,而SST到SST C-Series再到SST square C-Series,Bryston後級嘅外觀可謂越嚟越少PA味,越嚟越靚,但相對價錢亦不再親民。

自從Anthony喺上年購入一部二手嘅Bryston 9B ST 5聲道後級開始己經對呢個嚟自加拿大嘅品牌留下十分好嘅印象。緊固嘅外縠,每一個聲道均用上獨立環牛,原廠更提供長達二十年嘅保養期,雖然香港用家唔受惠,但起碼唔需要擔心零件嘅供應先啦。而Bryston嘅後級提供超500 (at 20hz ref. 8 ohms)嘅Dumping factor可謂啱晒Anthony對大食怪Elac FS247。
小O左兩個聲道 (轉會到Bryston)


所以入完部9B ST後就立即喺二手巿場上尋找同品牌嘅2聲道後級4B ST,而幸運地喺上年嘅七月有位一手用家割愛,Anthony可以搬部外觀十分企理嘅4B ST入屋,終於可以集齊7個聲道應付家中7隻喇叭。

Bryston 4BST



呢一年嚟兩部後級都做出Anthony預期外嘅效果,加上中性帶中頻少厚嘅特性都令Anthony十分喜愛呢對後級。不論外界有好多評論話Bryston係over price嘅PA品牌,PA佬唔會用佢Hifi又未入流都好,都無損Anthony對呢個品牌嘅信心。

而Anthony十分喜愛5+2呢個組合,因為聽歌時只需要開著部2聲道後級,可以減少來自其餘聲道嘅干擾,亦因為咁Anthony都聽多咗歌仔。

雖然Anthony對Bryston嘅ST系列嘅外觀設計並無反感,但亦被Bryston新款後級嘅設計深深咁吸引,當然Bryston新機價錢已越來越接近Krell,McIntosh同Lexicon等嘅一線品牌大哥嘅價錢。所以Anthony亦對購買Bryston新機意欲大大減低。

直到近日得到好心人士嘅割愛,Anthony終於可以以較低嘅價錢入到部較新款嘅Bryston 2聲道後級。


舊紙盒一個
MIC

17"無手抽版

手寫個C-Series上去都得,都唔知係唔係堅


Logo用上刻字唔係印上去,應該係SST C-Series嘞


好鍾意以刻字做嘅Logo

成功將機搬出紙箱
背面相片
4B ST同4B SST C-Series兩爺孫交接

雖然重達50磅不過對肥斯大隻嘅Anthony嚟講上架都唔係太難

成功點燈

規格

力水上4B SST C-Series比4B ST喺8 ohms時大50W而4 ohms時大100W,即300W@8ohms 500W@4ohms。同樣用上兩隻獨立環牛推動,看內部圖知悉兩件牛以上下重叠式擺放,有別4B ST時分左右擺放,Anthony就對上下重叠式有所保留,總係覺得放下面嘅牛散熱無咁好用,而最新嘅4B SST2 C-Series好似已變回左右擺放。

Soundmeter量度出4B SST C-Series比4B ST大5.5個dB,需要喺Cary Cinema 11a啲sound level度將前置由+4dB大幅減至-1.5dB。

初步感覺

再一次證明Elac FS247係越畀越有,喺500W嘅推加下力水更好,場面更大,迅變更快,而聲音密度更高,分晰力亦更上一層樓,但暫時聲音少少偏硬,希望遲下可以煲淋啲。

4B ST同4B SST C-Series係同一品牌同一型號,只係唔同年代嘅產物,所以兩者聲底十分相似,都係中性無乜味,總括嚟講Anthony十分滿意呢部4B SST C-Series嘅表現。


謝謝點閱!

-全文完-

PS: 以上為Anthony非專業的個人感受,如資料上有仕何錯漏歡迎指正。

2011年7月16日星期六

[2011.6.15] 家訪Sunfire兄的太陽火


早前收到Sunfire兄嘅電話表示覺得家中套器統發揮得唔係咁好,特別係一直都校唔好新購入嘅Sunire HRS12 超低音,一係唔得震撼一係就得個嗚字。所以啱啱接觸影音嘅佢希望Anthony可以到訪睇睇。順便學下調校AV AMP。

Sunfire兄嘅家居環璄為橫向長方形,進入飯餐後再到放置影音系統的客廳。Sunfire兄用上5.1聲道系統,Sofa貼後牆,皇帝位離屏幕約6呎,左右前置距離約5呎,中置放置屏幕下,sunfire HRS12 sub-woofer放置右前置旁而後置放sofa兩旁。



Philips TV 

Philips BDP9500 Blu-ray Player


Pioneer VSX1020 AV AMP
Quad 12L Front Speakers


 Sunfire sub-woofer

得知網友好多時都會拎隻Iron Man嚟考下家中系統,所以家訪當晚Sunfire都特別租咗隻Iron Man嚟就下底音。

選上都係由主角在敵人山洞基地中第一次穿上裝甲同第一次正式出動兩段。

聽完一次後覺得音場較窄而低音未夠震撼,先著Sunfire兄將貼喺隻sunfire sub-woofer底部嘅PV膠,試試先直接放置喺黑麻石上。
之後進入AV AMP嘅setting將所有EQ關掉。



再用soundmeter睇睇各聲道嘅音壓,發覺中置音壓比前置高上好多,呢個係令音場收窄嘅主因,最後著sunfire兄用soundmeter將所有聲道校至一致,因前中置音壓相差太大,要將中置先校至-2dB才可將所有聲道校至一致。而途中Sunfire兄一路好留心咁聽每一個程序,同調校方法。

之後再試同一段嘅Iron Man情況已經大大改善,之後再試Inception Blu-ray,sunfire HRS 12 sub-woofer做出唔錯嘅震撼力。



而Anthony亦建議sunfire兄可試試放置一啲重物喺sub-woofer上令佢唔會走動,而喺前中置喇叭底部放置木祺亦有效減震。



最後見重有時間所以亦幫Sunfire兄Philips LCDTV做少少基本嘅調校。

最後要多謝Sunfire兄嘅邀請,希望當晚嘅調校會有正面嘅昇升。







Oppo Latest Official Release Version BDP9x-52-0707


Oppo 於 2011年7月13日推出最新正式版嘅firmware BDP9x-52-0707

Official site
http://www.oppodigital.com/blu-ray-bdp-93/bdp9x-firmware-52-0707.aspx

download here
http://download.oppodigital.com/BDP93/BDP9x-52-0707.zip

OPPO BDP-93/BDP-95 Blu-ray Disc Player Firmware Update
Release Information:

Release date: July 13, 2011
Category: Latest Official Release
Main Version: BDP9x-52-0707
Loader Version: CN0900
Sub Version: MCU93-09-0218 (BDP-93), MCU95-08-0218 (BDP-95)

Release Notes:

This version is designed for the OPPO BDP-93 and BDP-95 Blu-ray Disc players. This version is the same as the latest public beta release version BDP9x-52-0707B. Comparing to the previous official release version BDP9x-42-0323, the major changes included in this version are:
1.Added VUDU HD Movies streaming. Access VUDU at the Home or Source Menu.
2.The Netflix interface is upgraded to version 2.1. This upgrade allows for Canadian customers to stream Netflix and adds the "Search" function.
3.Added the Zoom and Aspect Ratio (AR) adjustment for BD-Java enabled discs (available on HDMI 1 only). To take advantage of this functionality, set the Primary Output to HDMI 1 (Video Setup), use a resolution other than “Source Direct”, and use the HDMI 1 output on the BDP-93. During the disc playback, press the ZOOM button to change the zoom level and AR on the fly. A momentarily black screen may be observed but this is normal. Please note that 3D BD-Java Blu-rays do not allow for Zoom adjustments.
4.Improved the Speaker Configuration options under Audio Processing. It is now possible to independently set distances for each speaker (previously speaker groups were treated as linked pairs), speaker distances can now be set to the actual spatial distance of the speakers (previously no speaker could be set further from listening position and the Front Left/Right speakers), “Test Tones” can now be used in conjunction with the player’s internal trim controls, speaker distances can now be set in quarter foot increments and speakers no longer require a minimum distance.
5.Added a new option for "Volume Control" under Setup -> Audio Processing. This function allows for enabling or disabling the analog volume controls (also known as Variable Audio). If set to "OFF" then the VOL-/+ keys on the remote will no longer affect the analog audio output.
6.Added "Direct Play" support for DVD-Audio titles. After loading the DVD-Audio title, pressing STOP followed by PLAY on the remote control will directly access the first Group/Title, bypassing any menu.
7.Improved HDMI compatibility with some Audio/Video (AV) receivers. Some customers reported that after updating to the previous Official 42-0323 firmware, HDMI handshake problems (such as momentary black screen, audio and/or video dropout,flashing screen, etc.) were observed, and in most cases, it only happened on HDMI 1 not on HDMI 2.
8.Upgraded the Blu-ray loader driver (CN0900). This upgrade should result in smoother and quieter disc operation.
9.Added OGG and OGM Vorbis media support.
10.Added ID-Tag support for APE and FLAC files. Now these formats will show Title, Artist, Album and Genre on screen when played back at the Home Menu. Embedded Album Art is also supported for FLAC files.
11.Improved access and read speed to external hard drive (HDD) connected with USB or eSATA, especially when two external HDDs are connected in parallel.
12.Improved BD-Live connectivity. For example, "MovieIQ" will now properly connect and download additional media on select Sony Pictures Blu-rays.
13.Improved DLNA performance, which includes faster indexing and more reliable media playback, and added additional DLNA server support.
14.Fixed the incorrect vertical stretch on some 4:3 DVD films, such as "TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH" (FOX 2002). This issue could be observed when TV Aspect Ratio is set to "16:9 Wide/Auto" and no zooming operation is performed.
15.Improved general disc compatibility based on recent and upcoming Blu-ray releases as well as user-submitted disc samples.

All features and improvements of the previous firmware are also included in this version.

2011年7月10日星期日

OPPO BDP-93/BDP-95 Blu-ray Disc Player Firmware Update [BDP9x-52-0707B]

Oppo 93/5 新Beta Firmware BDP9x-52-0707B
from http://oppodigital.com/blu-ray-bdp-93/bdp9x-firmware-52-0707B.aspx

OPPO BDP-93/BDP-95 Blu-ray Disc Player Firmware Update
Release Information:

Release date: July 08, 2011
Category: Public Beta Release
Main Version: BDP9x-52-0707B
Loader Version: CN0900
Sub Version: MCU93-09-0218 (BDP-93), MCU95-08-0218 (BDP-95)
Note: This release is still a beta test version, not an official release. Use it only if you would like to experiment with the new features and improvements. There is a very small chance of the new features and improvements not working properly. If that happens, please report any issue to us.

Release Notes:

This version is designed for the OPPO BDP-93 and BDP-95 Blu-ray Disc players. Comparing to the previous public beta release version BDP9x-50-0608B, this version adds no new features but focuses on solving the known issues :
1.Improved FLAC and APE file support. The previous 50-0608B firmware added ID-Tag support and Embedded Album Art display (FLAC only), however, this feature caused some FLAC and APE files to stop working. This issue has been solved.
2.Improved the audio/video synchronization of the analog outputs. The previous 50-0608B firmware added analog audio delays not present in the current Official firmware. The analog audio and the digital video are now properly in sync with each other.
3.Restored "Season Play" function found on several ABC Studio's Blu-ray releases, such as "LOST".
4.Fixed the incorrect vertical stretch on some 4:3 DVD films, such as "TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH" (FOX 2002). This issue could be observed when TV Aspect Ratio is set to "16:9 Wide/Auto" and no zooming operation is performed.
5.Improved general disc compatibility based on recent and upcoming Blu-ray releases as well as user-submitted disc samples.

All features and improvements of the previous firmware are also included in this version.

2011年7月6日星期三

Meridian 新旗艦 AV Preamp 861V6

Meridian_861v6_AV_preamp_review.gif


Meridian推出新旗艦 AV Preamp 861V6,呢部二十萬圓級嘅AV Preamp有幾把閉,睇下Home Theater Review 嘅報道啦



轉自: http://hometheaterreview.com/meridian-861v6-av-preamp-reviewed/



In the world of cutting edge digital, one name is known by all - Meridian. Meridian has been making some of the finest sounding digital playback systems for over 30 years and has just recently released their new flagship AV preamp, the 861V6 ($26,000) along with its accompanying HDMI switcher/audio processor the HD621 ($3,000). The HD621 is a separate video switcher and audio processor that allows owners of older Meridian AV preamps to take advantage of the new codecs offered by Blu-ray. These two units are designed to be at the center of the most elite home theaters on earth.

Additional Resources
• Read more AV preamplifier reviews by Home Theater Review's staff.
• Look for a plasma HDTV or LED HDTV to pair with the Meridian 861V6.
• Explore Blu-ray player options.



Meridian has been one of the only companies on the planet to truly allow their owners a never-ending upgrade path to newer models, and owners of the 861V4 can upgrade to the newest version for a fee. This is a huge plus as many high-end companies have tried to do this, while only two actually have succeeded, Meridian being one of them. This allows owners to offset the cost of the unit over time while the rest of us poor saps are selling off our now outdated AV preamps, often at huge losses. The cost associated with upgrading may seem high at first but actually makes for a large savings over the long haul.

The 861V6 handles all the audio switching and processing while the separate HD621 switcher separates the audio and video signal, allowing the 861V6 to handle only audio feeds, thus maximizing performance, albeit at the complication of another box. The HD621 will pass through the new codecs found on today's Blu-ray discs but you'll need to ensure that your Blu-ray player can output LPCM directly, for the 861V6 cannot decode the lossless audio signals on its own. The two pieces are connected via Meridian's proprietary Comm's cable or BNC terminated interconnect that allows one to control the other.

Aesthetically, the new 861V6 looks almost exactly the same as the older models with the central badge on the faceplate appearing slightly different, though it could just be my memory. A basic panel of buttons run across the bottom right of the face plate, with a large LED display across the middle, and between the two is a flip down panel that houses more advanced setup buttons. The sides of the 861V6 slope nicely back and my review unit was finished in black, though Meridian offers the 861V6 in graphite and silver as well. Custom colors are available for an extra fee. The basic unit can be tailored to suit any system needs, allowing direct digital outputs for Meridian speakers, or single ended or balanced (mine came with balanced outputs) for conventional speaker users. The analog input board allows for up to six pairs of analog inputs or two 5.1 channel inputs or one 5.1 and three stereo analog inputs. Balanced analog inputs have been removed as an option from the 861V6. A host of digital inputs including six coaxial and two optical inputs as well as an RJ45 input for Meridian's 7.1 MHR from the HD621 switcher round out the standard inputs. Three of the coaxial inputs can also be assigned for use as another 5.1 MHR link. Of course a host of control options are here too, including RS-232 as well as Meridian Comms cables and 12 Volt triggers, all of which can be customized to your needs.

The Hookup
The two pieces come packed individually and came to me double boxed. The 861V6's box is entirely black with the Meridian name proudly displayed across the front and a large Meridian sticker holding it sealed along the four bottom edges. Freeing up the sticker and sliding off the top of the box reveals the unit, which comes wrapped in a cloth cover, and the manual, an actual hard bound book, as well as the large table top remote with batteries and a comms cable. All these were secured for shipping with solid Styrofoam, also black. The HD621 was packed similarly in white Styrofoam encased in a more common looking box.

I used the 861V4 as my reference AV preamp for many years so I'm more than familiar with its setup procedures. I quickly tore into the boxes and replaced my current AV preamp; Classe's SSP-800, with the two Meridian pieces and added in my Meridian G98DH for CD and DVD-Audio playback duties. I ran the 861V6 in my reference room, which includes a Sony PS3 and BDP-S350 Blu-ray player, Oppo BD-83SE and BDP-95, EMM Labs TSD1/DAC2 CA/SACD player, Scientific Atlanta 8300HD DVR, and a Nintendo Wii. I connected the Meridian 861V6 to my Krell Evolution 403 and Proceed amplifiers via Transparent Reference balanced interconnects. I used several speaker systems for this review, starting with the Wharfedale Opus 2-3s, then a Canton Vento system and finally with my reference Escalante Fremont's - all wired using Transparent Reference speaker cables.

The connections are only part of the process of setting up a Meridian system. There are no real setup menus; instead you must use Meridian's own PC based software, downloadable from Meridian's website. I have had plenty of experience with this software over the years and while there is an initial learning curve, it's pretty straightforward and intuitive once you've learned the program. The software also allows you incredible flexibility in surround fields for each type of signal input from each source, so when your cable box sends in stereo, you could run Dolby Pro Logic II, Trifield, THX etc, and when it outputs 5.1 digital you can run discrete, Cinema etc. All of the DSP's can be changed during use from the remote and the defaults can be changed from the 861V6's panel should your tastes or preferences change.

My several year hiatus showed as my initial programming was off, but a quick call to Meridian had me up and running in no time. Once I had everything programmed correctly I went through and set up my speaker sizes, something Meridian does better than any AV preamp on the planet. Instead of setting size as large or small, Meridian gives you a continuum from 1 to 22 for main speakers and 1 to 30 for subwoofers. Just like setting levels on any AV preamp, a tone comes from each speaker and you adjust its level up or down. It's also an excellent tool to find resonant problems in your room and I usually treat them at the same time when doing this step. This is an extra step beyond setting distances (which can also be done in the set up software) and levels, but I find that the processor knowing exactly what is the maximum your speakers can output and not going beyond that does two great things. First it protects your speakers and second it makes sure you get every drop of performance out of them. I love this set up system so much I wish everyone would use it. If any of what I've just said sounds at all intimidating or confusing, know that your local Meridian dealer will more than likely setup your 861V6 for you.

Performance
I let the system burn in for a week or so before sitting down for any critical listening. I started off by cueing up the action spy movie "Salt" (Sony) on Blu-ray. From the first sounds of the film I was hooked. The movie starts out with Angelina Jolie as a prisoner being beaten in her cell and the echoes came in so perfectly you felt as if you were in the cell with her. Eventually she is let out of her cell and the world opens up, as does the 861V6's soundstage, giving me a huge sound field that was open and airy yet had power and depth to everything from voices to gunshots.







I went with something a bit more whimsical next, Tim Burton's remake of "Alice In Wonderland" (Walt Disney Home Entertainment). The film has tons of great demo material from the subtlest ticks of small pins and swords to the thud of the bloodhound's feet. Every aspect of the soundtrack was clearly and distinctly portrayed with an openness rarely heard in my home theater. The stretching sound of Alice growing in the initial antechamber after the fall was awesome and the sound of her coming through the rabbit hole was incredible. The strings of the score were open and spacious while voices were crystal clear and well placed. Even the subtle sound of the smoking caterpillar seemed real, almost as if he was smoking in front of me.

Television viewing was equally enjoyable with the Meridian 861V6 in my system. The preprogrammed surround fields enabled me to get the best surround sound from every feed from my cable box. It was easy to swap the surround processing from the remote if I wanted to try something different. I did notice that sometimes when the 861V6 switched processing or type of digital feed when switching from a commercial back to the regular program a short pop occurred. The processor quickly locked onto signals however, so nothing was ever missed.

I cued up the Grateful Dead Working Man's Blues (Rhino) on DVD-Audio via my Meridian G98DH transport. "Uncle John's Band" was amazing in the detail and space I was treated to. The guitar notes were plucky and the bass lines stayed tight while voices were clean and accurate. I skipped to "New Speedway Boogie" and was placed dead center in the band as if I was in the studio with them.

I moved onto an old classic DVD-Audio in Emerson Lake & Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery (Rhino) and from the opening track of "Jerusalem" and onto "Toccata" got all the space and openness one could ever want with tight bass lines and a huge soundstage. The clarity and separation from the Meridian were exceptional, and should be, as in this setup the G98DH is merely a multi-channel transport and the entire decoding comes from the 861V6. I found the DAC's to be exceptional and this setup gave me one of the best surround demo's I've ever done in my home. The balance was perfect and the air and space made my room seem larger while the bass management system Meridian employs allows the AV preamp to maximize each speaker's bass output and truly adds to the depth and fullness of the sound.

Two-channel material through the 861V6, in direct two-channel mode or in Tri-Field, gives the music a huge and deep soundstage, deeper than the direct mode. Whether I was listening to Jimi Hendrix's Blues Album and the acoustic 12 string version of "Hear My Train a Comin'" to his Live at the Filmore East and the song "Machine Gun," the guitars stayed hard and powerful as you'd expect. Engaging the 861V6's Tri-Field DSP made it so the sonic image totally enveloped me. The details and ease of music from the 861V6 was so inviting it made even older recordings musical and spacious, providing for a whole new level of enjoyment.

Competition and Comparisons
At the $26,000 price point the Meridian 861V6 doesn't have a whole lot of competition because few manufacturers offer $26,000 AV preamps. One such company that does offer a comparable AV preamp, at least in terms of price, is Krell and their 707 AV preamplifier. At $30,000 the 707 is more than the 861V6; however it can decode all the latest surround sound formats via HDMI as well as handle 3D - something the 861V6 cannot.

Looking past the 861V6's price tag, another AV preamp to consider is Classe's SSP-800, which like the Krell can decode all the latest lossless audio codecs but unlike the 707 cannot handle 3D. so it's in the same boat as the 861V6, however at $8,000 retail the SSP-800's lack of features is an easier pill to swallow - though I firmly believe the Meridian 861V6 sounds better when it comes to both music and movies.

Other AV preamps worth mentioning include Lexicon's MC-12 HD AV preamp, McIntosh's MX-120 AV preamp and the Anthem Statement D2V.

For more information on AV preamps including the latest news and product reviews please check out Home Theater Review's AV Preamplifier and Surround Sound Processor Reviews page.







The Downside
The Meridian 861 is a highly flexible device and as such can be complicated to set up, so unless you are a die-hard do-it-yourselfer, have your dealer install this piece and save yourself the headache.

I understand the idea of having the video separate from the audio, and it does make for the best sound, but the two-box system adds another level of complexity. This also precludes the 861V6 from having any onscreen information. On the flip side, thanks to the MHR output of the HD621 switcher, anyone who ever bought a Meridian AV preamp, even the now vintage '5' series can experience the benefits of the uncompressed codecs offered by Blu-ray as long as their player decodes to LPCM.

I actually really like the tabletop remote Meridian offers: it is well backlit and the keys are laid out logically. You can even customize the labels to suit your system, but I would have really preferred it to use RF over IR. I don't really see this as a major downside as most anyone spending this kind of money on an AV preamp is likely using another remote control from the likes of Crestron, AMX or Control4.

The only real pitfall of the new 861V6 and HD621 HDMI switcher/Audio processor are a total lack of support for legacy video formats. I was able to use my Wii via component through the component input on my G98DH DVD player, but for those who do not plan to buy a Meridian DVD player, you can only use HDMI for video sources. Secondly, the switcher will pass the uncompressed codecs of Blu-ray but the 861V6 can't decode them so in order to use them you need to add a Blu-ray player that can convert the output to LPCM. Thirdly, the switcher is not HDMI 1.4 compliant and as such will not pass 3D video. Since the video is completely separate, no onscreen information is displayed, not even volume.

Conclusion
Meridian has been at the top of the world of digital audio for a long time and for good reason. Their gear offers an open and spacious sound that is unmatched, and their support of their customers with continued upgrades to current models is also something literally unheard of even at these price points. Consumers can know that Meridian has your back when it comes to making a significant investment in an AV preamp, where other companies will let you down.

While the 861V6 is a complex piece, one that really needs an experienced person to install and setup, once you get it up and running it will reward you with sound that is simply marvelous. While $26,000 retail is anything but cheap, after spending some time with Meridian's new 861V6, I know why I relied on a Meridian AV preamp as my reference all those years, for they've always made and still make one of the finest AV preamps in the world. If you wanted to make the argument that the Meridian 861V6 was the best sounding AV preamp money can buy - I wouldn't argue with you. It's just that good.

熱門文章