If you’ve ever picked up an audio mag or perused an Internet forum that discusses electronica, then you’ll know that in nearly every case, music must go through some transformation before it gets from the speakers to those wonderful audio receptors on the sides of your head. That transformation is from digital to analog, and it is a very important, mysterious process, involving wizards with grizzled beards and rainbow-tailed unicorns and is done in a device called a DAC, a digital-to-analog converter.
If you're into high-end audio or like to read about this digital to analog transformation process, then you are likely familiar with Meridian. They are located in the Britain, so you already know they’re total class, and Allen Boothroyd and Bob Stuart have dedicated that past 35 years to the art of perfecting digital audio. In that time, they have produced some truly fantastic systems that squeeze every digital droplet from music. According to Boothroyd, “The driving force behind our pursuit of perfection has always been the desire to lose as little of the original source material as possible – a passion for audio and video reproduction so pure you’ll find yourself at the heart of every performance.”
The problem has been that Meridian has not been for the faint of wallet. Don’t even bother checking the latest pound sterling to dollar conversion; you probably can’t afford them. Even their little baby bookshelf speakers, the mighty sounding DSP3200’s, cost an ouchey 6,000 US dollars. Sure, you could just buy the speaker stands for $700 and say, “Yeah, I own Meridian speaker…” and then drop something and quietly mutter (stands) under your breath. But, seriously, owning Meridian speaker stands can only do so much to improve your audio.
Today, you can get a sweet, earful of Meridian’s digital magic with the new Director, a $699 USB and S/PDIF digital to analog converter that can work with any system to deliver Meridian’s digital awesome. The Director is built in Britain, in the same factory that produces Meridian’s flagship 800 series. It’s also possible that it has ridden around in an Aston Martin or enjoyed a Pimm’s cup or two when the sun crests the yardarm. Who can say for sure.
What I do know for sure is that the Director features technology from the Reference 800 series, “offering up to 24-bit resolution and 192khz sampling and the full range of proprietary Meridian resolution enhancement technologies such as Upsampling and Apodising that has made Meridian the leading name in digital home entertainment.”
I have a full review of this coming in Residential Systems soon, but in the mean time I wanted to share the awesome packaging that the Director comes boxed in. I unbox a lot of gear, and I am not often impressed with the quality of presentation, but the Director arrived and was really something special before even connecting a single cable to it. According to Ken Forsythe, Meridian’s Director of Product Management, “We wanted the packaging to reflect that something precious and jewel-like is inside. The type box you would not want to throw away! We gave the packaging serious thought as for many buyers it would be there first "Meridian Experience" and it had to be something special! Welcome to luxury audio!”
So, enjoy some sweet unboxing action, and head over to Meridian to find out more about the Director – and even place an order!
If you have a Director shipped to you, this is how the box will arrive. Factory sealed in England. Your choice of tea and number of lumps totally optional.
After you crack the white, outer shell open, you'll slide out this black presentation box.
Pop this box open and you unveil the treasure that lies inside...
This polite welcome note is inscribed on the top of the box. Feel free to lie back and think of England and terrific audio while reading...
Remove the instruction booklet and you explore a deeper layer of the packaging...
Finally, the Director is revealed, lying in a form fit bed of luxury packing foam.
The front of the Director:
The Director is not shy, and happily shows you its backside...
I know that you are dying to know what is inside the al-you-men-ium casing. To keep you from going insane—or purchasing a Directory only to totally destroy it by cracking it open with a blade from your Leatherman—here is a detailed internal schematic:
John Sciacca is principal of Custom Theater and Audio in Myrtle Beach, SC.