Meridian 203 D/A processor Review System
The playback system included Hales System Two Signature loudspeakers driven by VTL 225W monoblocks. All processors under audition were connected to the Electronic Visionary Systems Stepped Attenuator by identical 3" runs of Music Metre interconnect, and Expressive Technologies IC-1 connected the Stepped Attenuator to the VTLs. Level matching was performed by measuring the voltage at the power amplifier when playing the –20dB, 1kHz tone from the Stereophile Test CD and finding the difference in the number of attenuation steps between processors. I was able to get their outputs matched to within 1mV. An Esoteric P-2 CD transport provided the data stream to the respective decoders.
During the auditioning, I experimented with a new digital interconnect from Aural Symphonics and a premium optical cable from Audio-Technica. The 203 was also driven by a 48kHz signal from a JVC DAT machine. The dedicated listening room's dimensions were chosen for best distribution of room modes. Source material included what have now become my standard discs for digital-processorevaluation, as well as original master DAT tapes of my own recordings.—Robert Harley