Mark Levinson No.526 preamplifier

The Mark Levinson No.526 is the first preamplifier designed by a new 12-person team led by Todd Eichenbaum, director of engineering at the Harman Luxury Audio Group's Engineering Center of Excellence (ECOE), in Shelton, Connecticut. Designed to fit the price niche between the company's least and most expensive preamps—the No.326S ($10,000) and No.52 ($30,000)—the No.526 costs $20,000.
Thu, 04/20/2017

Recording of May 2017: The Gilded Palace of Sin

The Flying Burrito Brothers: The Gilded Palace of Sin
A&M/Intervention SP 4175 (LP). 1969/2017. Larry Marks, prod.; Henry Lewy, prod., eng.; Kevin Gray, remastering. AAA. TT: 35:24
Performance *****
Sonics ****½

The International Submarine Band, the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and finally, just Gram Parsons. He was a Snively on his mother's side, scion of a vast citrus-growing fortune. A trust-fund baby who, unlike most of the struggling musicians he hung out with, could go to a bank and withdraw large amounts of cash. When he was 12, two days before Christmas, his father killed himself. Seven years later, on the day he graduated from high school, his mother finally drank herself to death. He lasted one semester at Harvard before becoming a denizen of Los Angeles, and eventually a powerful force in the Sunset Strip music scene.

Thu, 04/20/2017

Innovative 1 Minute Escape

For this 1 Minute Audiophile Escape, we visited longstanding New York hi-fi shop Innovative Audio. This video features three (out of their many) systems readily available at the time of our visit.

Because this 1 Minute Audiophile Escape features a bit more gear than our other videos, here is a list of gear in order of appearance...

Wed, 04/19/2017

Meridian Audio Ultra DAC D/A processor Measurements

Tue, 04/18/2017

COMMENTS
tonykaz's picture

Geez, I've loved Meridian since the early 1980's. I've Imported Meridian, Retailed Meridian and Owned Meridian. Unfortunately, I had miserable marketplace success with Meridian, phew, why?, I sort-of blamed the "Audiophile-nervosa" syndrome that permeated the USA ( and still does ).

Now, the early part of the 21st Century, Bob Stuart is becoming the very KING of Digital Audio.

I still have my love for Meridian.

Congratulations Mr.Stuart, it was a looooooong time coming but certainly earned.

I wish this lovely device had a price like the Mytek ( which should've been on the Front Cover instead of that ML "to die for" piece )

Tony in Michigan

keithsonic's picture

The review notes an ethernet port for use with Sooloos. It is not clear in the review if this can be used to connect a NAS. Would appreciate if this could be confirmed.

John Atkinson's picture
keithsonic wrote:
The review notes an ethernet port for use with Sooloos. It is not clear in the review if this can be used to connect a NAS. Would appreciate if this could be confirmed.

Although my network recognizes the Meridian - confirmed by using the Fing app on my iPad - the Ultra DAC's Ethernet interface seems to be dedicated to the proprietary Sooloos system. With Twonky Server running on my MacBook Pro and pointing to my NAS, the UPnP apps on the iPad can't find the Meridian to use as the Renderer. They do work with my PS Audio Directream DAC, which is fitted with the network bridge option.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

keithsonic's picture

Thanks John for checking this out. Trust Meridian though to go down a non-standard route. I remember upgrading my Meridian 500 transport to a universal player and asking Meridian if they planned to support SACD. The answer was something like 'over our dead bodies, it is vastly inferior to PCM'. I bought Ayre and looks like I wont be buying Meridian this time either.

gevorg's picture

~19 bits of resolution is a pretty bad start for a $23K DAC.

hb72's picture

T+A dac 8 manages to reach 20bit as does dCS Rossini (though only nearly), while AQ's DF does ca 17bit. Mind this is some kind of a digital interpretation of combined digital and analog resolution, measured at v. low volume signal. Not sure how representative this is at all when compared to dynamic limitations of the ear. Not not to mention masking etc.

Whats important to the percieved sound quality of a 23k USD dac?

Pages

Meridian Audio Ultra DAC D/A processor Associated Equipment

Tue, 04/18/2017

COMMENTS
tonykaz's picture

Geez, I've loved Meridian since the early 1980's. I've Imported Meridian, Retailed Meridian and Owned Meridian. Unfortunately, I had miserable marketplace success with Meridian, phew, why?, I sort-of blamed the "Audiophile-nervosa" syndrome that permeated the USA ( and still does ).

Now, the early part of the 21st Century, Bob Stuart is becoming the very KING of Digital Audio.

I still have my love for Meridian.

Congratulations Mr.Stuart, it was a looooooong time coming but certainly earned.

I wish this lovely device had a price like the Mytek ( which should've been on the Front Cover instead of that ML "to die for" piece )

Tony in Michigan

keithsonic's picture

The review notes an ethernet port for use with Sooloos. It is not clear in the review if this can be used to connect a NAS. Would appreciate if this could be confirmed.

John Atkinson's picture
keithsonic wrote:
The review notes an ethernet port for use with Sooloos. It is not clear in the review if this can be used to connect a NAS. Would appreciate if this could be confirmed.

Although my network recognizes the Meridian - confirmed by using the Fing app on my iPad - the Ultra DAC's Ethernet interface seems to be dedicated to the proprietary Sooloos system. With Twonky Server running on my MacBook Pro and pointing to my NAS, the UPnP apps on the iPad can't find the Meridian to use as the Renderer. They do work with my PS Audio Directream DAC, which is fitted with the network bridge option.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

keithsonic's picture

Thanks John for checking this out. Trust Meridian though to go down a non-standard route. I remember upgrading my Meridian 500 transport to a universal player and asking Meridian if they planned to support SACD. The answer was something like 'over our dead bodies, it is vastly inferior to PCM'. I bought Ayre and looks like I wont be buying Meridian this time either.

gevorg's picture

~19 bits of resolution is a pretty bad start for a $23K DAC.

hb72's picture

T+A dac 8 manages to reach 20bit as does dCS Rossini (though only nearly), while AQ's DF does ca 17bit. Mind this is some kind of a digital interpretation of combined digital and analog resolution, measured at v. low volume signal. Not sure how representative this is at all when compared to dynamic limitations of the ear. Not not to mention masking etc.

Whats important to the percieved sound quality of a 23k USD dac?

Pages

Meridian Audio Ultra DAC D/A processor Specifications

Tue, 04/18/2017

COMMENTS
tonykaz's picture

Geez, I've loved Meridian since the early 1980's. I've Imported Meridian, Retailed Meridian and Owned Meridian. Unfortunately, I had miserable marketplace success with Meridian, phew, why?, I sort-of blamed the "Audiophile-nervosa" syndrome that permeated the USA ( and still does ).

Now, the early part of the 21st Century, Bob Stuart is becoming the very KING of Digital Audio.

I still have my love for Meridian.

Congratulations Mr.Stuart, it was a looooooong time coming but certainly earned.

I wish this lovely device had a price like the Mytek ( which should've been on the Front Cover instead of that ML "to die for" piece )

Tony in Michigan

keithsonic's picture

The review notes an ethernet port for use with Sooloos. It is not clear in the review if this can be used to connect a NAS. Would appreciate if this could be confirmed.

John Atkinson's picture
keithsonic wrote:
The review notes an ethernet port for use with Sooloos. It is not clear in the review if this can be used to connect a NAS. Would appreciate if this could be confirmed.

Although my network recognizes the Meridian - confirmed by using the Fing app on my iPad - the Ultra DAC's Ethernet interface seems to be dedicated to the proprietary Sooloos system. With Twonky Server running on my MacBook Pro and pointing to my NAS, the UPnP apps on the iPad can't find the Meridian to use as the Renderer. They do work with my PS Audio Directream DAC, which is fitted with the network bridge option.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

keithsonic's picture

Thanks John for checking this out. Trust Meridian though to go down a non-standard route. I remember upgrading my Meridian 500 transport to a universal player and asking Meridian if they planned to support SACD. The answer was something like 'over our dead bodies, it is vastly inferior to PCM'. I bought Ayre and looks like I wont be buying Meridian this time either.

gevorg's picture

~19 bits of resolution is a pretty bad start for a $23K DAC.

hb72's picture

T+A dac 8 manages to reach 20bit as does dCS Rossini (though only nearly), while AQ's DF does ca 17bit. Mind this is some kind of a digital interpretation of combined digital and analog resolution, measured at v. low volume signal. Not sure how representative this is at all when compared to dynamic limitations of the ear. Not not to mention masking etc.

Whats important to the percieved sound quality of a 23k USD dac?

Pages

Meridian Audio Ultra DAC D/A processor

As I mentioned in my review eight years ago of Meridian Audio's 808.2 Signature Reference CD player, I have long been impressed by the British company's components—in fact, ever since the early 1980s, when I purchased a Meridian 101 preamplifier, followed by my very positive experiences with Meridian's MCD Pro and 208 CD players, 518 digital audio processor, D600 and DSP8000 digital active loudspeakers, and, most recently, the Prime and Explorer D/A headphone amplifiers.
Tue, 04/18/2017

R.I.P., Audiophilia. It Was Nice Knowing You.

Audiophilia is dead.

Actually, it retired to an exclusive country club in the sky—but as far as the enduring, salt-of-the-earth audio hobbyist is concerned, it may as well be dead. The reason is simple: The old audiophile paradigm used to be mostly about when we were going to get that top-shelf component we had our eye on; it was rarely an if proposition. That's because, if you were an average, determined audiophile, it wasn't prohibitively expensive to buy top-shelf equipment. That's what made our hobby so exciting back then: the idea that you could actually own the best sound around. Damn!

Tue, 04/18/2017

Bigger and Bolder, AXPONA Opens Friday in Chicago

The biggest audio show in the United States, AXPONA (Audio Expo North America), takes place April 21–23 at the Westin O'Hare in Rosemont, close to Chicago O'Hare International airport. Since planting its roots in America's heartland just a few years back, the show has grown to offer, in 2017, at least 142 active exhibit rooms, 453 unique brands and exhibitors, an Ear Gear Expo so large that it has spilled over into surrounding hallways, and a full schedule of seminars and entertainment.
Tue, 04/18/2017

John Lewis, The Wonderful World of Jazz

The pianist John Lewis, who died in 2001 at the age of 79, is best known as the leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet, but throughout that group's long life (1952–1992), he also composed, conducted, and played music for many other ensembles, large and small, tinged with influences from swing and the blues to Baroque, Renaissance, and Third Stream avant-garde. The Wonderful World of Jazz, recorded in 1960 on the Atlantic label, is one of his more obscure albums, but it's also one of his freshest.

I'd never heard it, until I received this new 180gm stereo LP, reissued by Pure Pleasure Recordings...

Mon, 04/17/2017

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