Room Correction from Meridian

Meridian Audio Limited has long distinguished itself by making its products future-forward, or adaptable to new technologies.

The British manufacturer's model 861 digital processor is no exception. In May, Meridian announced an upgrade to give the processor the capability of correcting anomalies in room acoustics, potentially elevating the playback performance of any system in which it is installed.

Unlike typical room correction techniques, which rely on mid-to-high frequency equalization, Meridian Room Correction controls room modes at low frequencies, where problems are most noticeable. The technique is said to be extremely effective for obtaining good results for a broad range of listening positions, without the undesirable effects that often accompany other techniques - such as listener position dependence, ringing, pre-echo and loss of headroom.

A new sound processor card, the EF20 DSP, and Version 4 software are needed to install Meridian Room Correction in the 861. Meridian has largely automated its room correction system, requiring only an external sound-pressure meter or calibration microphone and a few simple steps on the part of the user. The room correction DSP measures room responses and reverberations and establishes filters that can then interact with the 861's audio signal for cleaner sound from the listening area. Among the claimed benefits are "calmed resonances and smoother overall acoustic behavior."

Multiple sets of filters can be defined to be associated with different presets for different types of listening. Filter information can be displayed, edited and even created numerically or graphically by an installer or advanced user. The "Smart Source" enhancement automatically detects a wide range of digital signals and applies the correct decoding, including Meridian and THX post-processing, to all inputs, including input sampling rates up to 96 kHz. A new bass protection system has been added.

Existing Version 3 861s can be upgraded by an authorized Meridian dealer, including the addition of an EF20 card and Version 4 software. Earlier units may require a factory upgrade, according to Meridian. The model 861 version 4.0 sells for $14,740 in a standard chassis. Rack mount chassis and travel case are available as options. For more information, contact Marc Koval at Meridian America.