Meridian Announces Flagship DSP8000 XE Digital Active Loudspeaker
Meridian has a rich heritage in audio and has been at the forefront of innovative audio technology since 1997. That's why, when it announces a new flagship loudspeaker, it's considered a pretty big deal.
Meridian says its newly announced DSP8000 XE is the first loudspeaker to emerge from its Extreme Engineering Programme, which commenced more than six years ago. The company says, “Informed by psychoacoustics and engineered by experts, the Extreme Engineering Programme was created to re-imagine every element of Meridian's product platforms, including both software and hardware.”
StereoNET was fortunate to spend extended time with Meridian's previous flagship, the DSP8000 SE, in our facilities some years back. To this day, it remains one of the most engaging, coherent, and balanced loudspeakers we've heard.
The new XE version benefits from a new design concept known as ''Precision Sonic Transport'' (PST). PST adopts innovative techniques and new processes “to ensure that every aspect of the audio signal journey through the loudspeaker maintains maximum sonic fidelity.” The company continues, “every detail and emotion is rendered to the listener exactly as captured in the recording.”
John Buchanan, Meridian’s CEO, told StereoNET:
We are thrilled to reveal the first new Meridian loudspeaker to be developed from our Extreme Engineering Programme. The DSP8000 XE delivers the full force of Meridian’s experience, expertise, and continuous investment in research and audio technology development.
The DSP8000 XE is built on a brand-new audio architecture, using higher specification, more powerful components and leveraging Meridian's expertise in psychoacoustics “to achieve exceptional sound quality”.
The upgrades start with the Atlas Software Core, an all-new, future-facing audio processing and control platform. Host to Meridian’s most powerful DSP engine to date, Atlas Software Core enables the implementation of new enhancement technologies and features. It also allows even more performance to be extracted and delivered from Meridian’s existing proprietary audio technologies.
The improvements continue with the new R1 Electronics Platform. This implementation has allowed for all-new, highly specified digital and analogue circuitry and sophisticated, signal enhancing developments, including the Command Board and DSP Processing Engine.
The DSP8000 XE also features all-new DACs and Amplifiers. Meridian has implemented separate dedicated higher performance DAC boards and more powerful, application-specific amplifier boards that are hard-wired via extremely short balanced audio connections to minimise signal interference.
The drive units have not been overlooked either, with new next-generation drivers pushing performance levels to new heights. The driver complement includes six 200mm long-throw (24mm excursion) bass drivers in a ‘force balanced’ configuration to give maximum bass extension with total clarity and control. A 160mm long-throw mid-range driver featuring a newly developed non-conductive voice coil former and large motor system delivers detail and clarity combined with power and dynamics. Finally, there's a 25mm beryllium dome ultrasonic tweeter with silver voice-coil featuring a new custom steel waveguide that enables pinpoint imaging and wide dispersion for total spatial immersion.
The cabinet has been re-engineered to accommodate mechanical performance enhancements with an updated driver clamp-ring system, flush-fitting acoustically transparent metal grilles and mass-loading aluminium base plate.
There's no shortage of connectivity and control options, including easy setup and control via the new Meridian B-Link Bluetooth device, IR, USB, RS232, or with a Meridian Controller product. Each loudspeaker also includes the optional IA21 analogue input module, which enables users to connect and control the DSP8000 XE via their preferred third-party analogue pre-amplifier or processor if they wish.
DSP8000 XE embodies all of Meridian’s core values and breaks new ground in Meridian loudspeaker performance with the first implementation of our Precision Sonic Transport design concept. The all-new hardware and software platforms combine to unleash a new level of accuracy, power and emotional connection, and the result is a holographic sound experience so immersive that it’s as if the loudspeakers are not in the room.
Frequency response of the new release is stated as 18Hz – 40kHz (In-room within 3dB), SPL: 120dB@1m, while the amplifier lineup is as follows - Tweeter and Mid-range - each >150W into 4Ω, Class AB, Bass – six bridged pairs, each pair >240W into 4Ω, Class D.
If Meridian has indeed improved on what was already near perfection, in our humble opinion, then the DSP8000 XE will undoubtedly be very special. You'll need to wait until March 2022 before they start production, but we've got both hands up already for a review sample! Pricing starts at US$125,000 RRP pair, with an optional DSP8000EVC and matching centre channel also available in a piano black finish. Additional colour and finish options are available.
StereoNET’s Founder and Publisher, born in UK and raised on British Hi-Fi before moving to Australia where he worked as an Engineer in both the audio and mechanical fields.
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