Meridian 596 Pushes CD/DVD Performance Envelope
The tradition continues with the newly-introduced Meridian 596 DVD player. The new player, capable of handling DVD-Video, CD-Audio, Video CD, Super VCD and MP3-encoded CD, is said to be among the best available at any price, although it retails for $4250, far less than many top-rung machines.
The 596 incorporates many of the advances brought to the market by the Meridian 800, a $16,000 reference player. It is clearly intended to provide absolutely top quality from the vast number of 'redbook' (16bit/44KHz) CDs in existence, as well as give users the best video attainable. "Its audio performance clearly demonstrates the importance of CD-Audio as a mature technology and a tremendously rich source of musical enjoyment," says Meridian chairman Bob Stuart. "We went to great lengths to ensure that the 596 fully delivers the unmatched audio reproduction that has established Meridian CD players as the leading references for well over a decade."
Among the Meridian 596's refinements are "an extremely accurate DVD-ROM opto-mechanical system, with bitstream integrity maintained by triple-buffering through memory, by Meridian's unique "FIFO" de-jittering circuitry, and by an output re-clocking stage of equal precision. The DVD player's digital-to-analog section uses 192-kHz/24-bit DACs of unmatched quality, and Meridian's acclaimed analog output stage to ensure unexcelled musical playback," according to an early-December announcement. The player's digital output supports data rates up to 96KHz, and passthrough for Dolby Digital and DTS.
Video signals are treated with equal care by the 596, with mechanical and electronic systems optimized for minimal frame-rate and line jitter. Phase-matched video filters, combined with studio-grade video encoders and MPEG decoders, ensure extended bandwidth and video dynamic range. The result: superb definition, deeply saturated colors, and perfectly accurate images.
Output configuration can be varied according to the user's choice of modular plug-ins, including component video, S-video, SCART and composite-video outputs. Thanks to its modular design, the black glass-finished 596, like other Meridian products, is fully upgradeable in hardware and operating firmware. The 596 is compatible with all Meridian 800- and 500-series components.