Meridian Unveils Reference DAC

DAC Among First to Integrate MQA Limited Hierarchical Converter Technology
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Meridian Audio recently unveiled the Meridian Ultra Digital to Analogue Converter.

CTO at Meridian, Richard Hollinshead commented, “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 utilizes 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 Sooloos music-management platform. 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 three 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 Ultra DAC is among the first products in the world to include MQA Limited’s Hierarchical Converter Technology, which employs multiple converters to increase temporal resolution while reducing noise and quantization errors.

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 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. The front panel was also designed for quiet operation, with non-ferrous construction, and a static LCD display chosen for its low electrical noise and ease of readability.

The world’s first public showing of the Meridian Ultra DAC will take place at the 2016 T.H.E. Newport Show, June 3-5, in the Sunny Components Room 1203.

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