When I arrived on the second floor the first day of AXPONA, the large open landing that had served as a reception area for exhibitors the night before had been transformed into a mellow entryway to sonic heaven. Paving the way on the keys was John Yurick, who was playing John Lennon's "Imagine" as I snapped his picture. Facing him were May Audio's CD display on the left, and Transcendental Meditation on the right. Note that the TM folks do not simply chant themselves to bliss in mantra land, they are also very connected on a cellular level.
Heads up! Not long after the sellout of both Decca Classics' First Collector's Edition box set of 50 Mercury Living Presence CD reissues, and their box set of six 180gm LP reissues, both drawn from the famed Mercury Living Presence catalog, Collector's Edition 2 arrives on May 14. The CD box's 55 titles include two first-CD issue rarities: Antal Dorati's 1953 Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra mono recording of Stravinsky's groundbreaking ballet, The Rite of Spring, and one of the final Mercury Living Presence recordings, John Corigliano's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. The Corigliano recording premiere, performed by pianist Hilde Somer and the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Victor Alessandro, is paired with a close to 17-minute interview with Corigliano, conducted by Paul Hume one year after the concerto's 1968 premiere, and the Paregon to Richard Strauss' Sinfonia Domestica, Op.73.
In his second, equally well-appointed room at the CA Audio Show, Elite Audio's Michael Woods was telling a visitor "People think that Meridian equipment is only for showing movies. But it's excellent for audio as well."
Meridian Audio's hotly anticipated firmware update for its MQA-ready electronics has arrived. Starting February 4, owners of Meridian's Explorer2 DAC (above), Prime headphone amplifier, 808v6 Reference CD player, 818v3 Reference Audio Core, Special Edition loudspeakers and 40th Anniversary systems will be able to upgrade their products and hear the full benefits that MQA-encoded files can deliver.
After three years off the market, Meridian has re-introduced its G57 two-channel amplifier ($6000), pictured on the left in the photo. Originally introduced seven years ago, then withdrawn, it was re-introduced due to dealer demand. The G57 outputs 200Wpc, and converts all signals to balanced. The amp boasts dual-mono construction, and, when bridged to mono, outputs 600Wpc into 8 ohms.
Meridian Audio's co-founder Bob Stuart (above) journeyed to Audio High in Mountain View, CA on April 8 for the US unveiling of Meridian's new Special Edition DSP Digital Active Loudspeaker. The tantalizing time I spent listening to the top-of-the-line DSP8000SE ($80,000/pair) convinced me that Meridian's slogan, "Redefine the Possible," is anything but hype.
Aren't they just beautiful? What's more, they sounded just as good as they look. Absolutely gorgeous tonality on Jonathan Horwich's International Phonograph recording of Jeremy Kahn's "The Shadow of Your Smile" distinguished this pairing of Merrill Audio's made-in-New-Jersey Veritas class-D monoblock amplifiers ($12,000/pair) and made-in-Mexico Sadurni horn loudspeakers, which are sold with their hard-to-see companion subwoofers ($40,000/pair for all three).
Here's an up-close look at the Merrill-Williams Audio table featured in the Quad room. The base is made of Rubber Elastomer Acoustic Laminate (aka R.E.A.L.got it?), and the platter of Bakelite resin composite. tHE outboard power transformer, clamping ring, etc. are not pictured. Despite its English-sounding name, the company is based in Memphis.
Having read and heard copious praise of the two-chassis Metronome T2i-Signature CD player ($20,600), at times accompanied by claims that it can make CDs sound as good as SACDs reproduced in two-channel mode, I was eager to hear the new one-piece Metronome CD5-Signature player, distributed in the US by Jim Ricketts of tmh audio (above). The CD5-Signature, whose somewhat plain Jane appearance conceals both a tube output stage and variable volume control that can obviate the need for a preamp, retails for a "mere" $18,000. Introduced at the RMAF, it was powered by borrowed-at-the-last-minute Boulder monoblocks feeding Zerobox 109 loudspeakers (40Hz–35kHz response for $7500/pair) via Xindak cabling.
"Jake Shimabukuro uses my cabling, and hangs out in our booth at NAMM," said Mark Markel of Analysis Plus. Having just whistled two pieces with Jake, and had the opportunity to marvel at his musicianship and openness to collaboration, I consider that quite an endorsement.