Theta vs. Meridian - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 233 Old 04-05-2004, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
foofreaknfighter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 89
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I am very new to this forum but have been snooping around trying to learn all I can. Getting sick of competing audio dealers fighting for their product. I sent this same thing to theta...here it is. Thanks for your help in advance, I need it!

I am currently looking to buy a high end stereo/home theater system for a dedicated home theater. After visiting several audio stores, and listening to many products I narrowed my search to 2 different systems. One of them was Theta Digital, the other Meridian. After telling the Meridian dealer how much I enjoyed the Theta Digital components that I had listened to he faxed me a list of reasons why he considered Meridian superior. I am not sure that all his comparisons are completely accurate and wondered if I could ask for your opinion on the matter.

Thank you,
Adam


This was faxed to me ----the system being discussed is the Meridian G Series. Theta components include the Casablanca III, Compli and dreadnaught II.

Notes for Adam
4-02-04
Meridian vs. Theta

1. Meridian processor is card based - very upgradable. Meridian has a track record for upgrade options.

2. Theta has not offered an upgrade to their processor.

3. Meridian has room correction - Theta does not.

4. Meridian has upsampling in their audio section including movies and CD's. They are the only company that offers 96/24 upsampling on all channels.

5. Meridian has a digital link for DVD-Audio - Theta does not.

6. Meridian builds their own DVD player, Theta retools a Pioneer DVD player.

7. Meridian DVD player can scale 1080i out of the player and has HDMI.

8. Meridian amplifiers are dual differential, fully balanced and are mono block amplifiers.

9. Meridian amps have 9 layers of PC boards - one for signal, one for power, one for ground, and rest are for shield and isolated circuits which results in a very quiet amp.

10. Theta has not been a factor in the US for many years. The Meridian rep travels the US and hasn't even seen any Theta on a sales floor for 4 years. (This sounds confusing but I wrote it word for word.)



Thank you again for your time! Very interested in your comments.

Adam
foofreaknfighter is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 03:04 AM
Member
 
SatyamFX's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: India, Mumbai
Posts: 43
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Hi Adam,

I dont own a Theta or a Meridian, but the arguements sent to you by who ever sent you the fax comparing the two is obviously biased towards the Meridian.

1.Meridian is a card based system but so is the Theta, and both of them have offered upgrades, the Theta is slow but surely have a track record of providing upgrades.

2.Theta has Up-graded its Casablanca right from Casablanca I to III, so this is untrue.

3.Yes Meridian does have auto-room correction but the Theta is excellent in Eq section too, has one of the best bass management features around.

4.Meridian and Theta both have up sampling capability while playing audio as well as video, as for up-sampling to 96/24 I think my AVM-20 does it and so does the Theta, the Anthem D1 Statement though is the only Processer that Up-samples to 192/24 :).

5.Meridian has digital link but the reason Theta doesn't have it yet is because the industry hasn't set a standard yet, also Meridian only supports the DVD-A format and not SACD(I don't know how important that is to you)

6.Meridian builds their own DVD Players MAYBE they do but that doesn't say Theta is less better, as the best High-End audio companies in the world use transports and mechanisms from other manufactures(ML, Metronome, AudioMeca.....)

7.I'm not sure about this, maybe some one else will help you with this.

8.Meridian amplifiers are dual differential, fully balanced and are mono block amplifiers, so are the Theta amps the difference is that Theta makes Solid state amps and the Meridian makes digital amps.

9.Again I'm not informed about this, but looks like Marketing BS which you generally see on the Brochures of such products.

10. Theta has not been a factor in the US for many years. The Meridian rep travels the US and hasn't even seen any Theta on a sales floor for 4 years, RUBBISH!!!

Hope this helps,
Satyam.

PS:Someone who owns these processors could chime in and help you better.

Evolved Records
SatyamFX is offline  
post #3 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 04:24 AM
Advanced Member
 
DanielSmi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 758
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
A few more notes the G series is not card based unlike the other meridian products so hence most likely isn't hardware upgradable. My 49TXi receiver upsamples to 96/24 on all channels so meridian isn't alone on that either. It seems the dealer is right about HDMI last month they just started an upgrade on the 800 player only, for $1300 they'll add an HDMI card but that isn't for the G series.

Daniel Smith

You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake; you are the same decaying organic matter as everything else ... We are the all singing all dancing crap of the world.

- Tyler Durden
DanielSmi is offline  
post #4 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 04:51 AM
Member
 
SatyamFX's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: India, Mumbai
Posts: 43
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I think you should invite your dealer to this thread, as to he is mis-leading about what he is saying, but at the same time Meridian and Theta are both excellent processors.

The best thing to do is to goto the Dealer who stocks both the processors and audition them in person and buy what you like.

You can't go wrong with either.

Satyam.

Evolved Records
SatyamFX is offline  
post #5 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 04:59 AM
AVS Special Member
 
WonHung's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,007
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Well, I'm a fairly new owner of a Meridian 568.2MM. I fell I only know a few things about the Meridian line. As such. I looked at the G series for my transport. The G98/G91s do have HDMI capability and have a built in scaler that will do 1080i. You can verify these specs on Meridian's website. Personally, I would consider getting the older 5 series stuff if the older stuff fits your needs. It does for me. There are great deals out there if you look around for the 5 series stuff. My 568.2MM was purchased as a dealer demo and only cost me $4k as opposed to $7800 new. It comes with a full warranty too. But I've heard chatter that the 5 series stuff is starting to creep back up in price after the massive dump of 5 series equipment when the G series stuff was announced.

The customer service seems pretty good even above par for a high end company. I frequently post on the Meridian enthusiast's board. I had problems with the new firmware update software. Someone from Meridian saw my issues and contacted me directly. Definitely nice and very welcomed. So it is obvious that Meridian does care and monitor their customer's experience with their products.

As for day to day usage of the Meridian, I'm glad I bought it. I bought primarily for the companies reputation, the great deal I got, and the digital link (Smart Link). The setup of the processor is a bit complicated and you will NEED a laptop. You can do the setup without one but I wouldn't recommend it.
WonHung is offline  
post #6 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 05:22 AM
AVS Special Member
 
John Kotches's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Troy, IL USA (St. Louis Area)
Posts: 7,687
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Ok, I own a Meridian 861v4, but I'm also fairly familiar with the Theta products as well. At the level of product you're talking about, you won't make a bad choice :)

Meridian has provided more timely upgrades, and has added decoding options (DPL-II and DPL-IIx) very early in their public availability.

1) True for both products. I think the Theta CB upgrades might also require new front panels but I am not certain of this.

2) Wrong. Casablanca has been upgraded, although not very quickly. The dealer might be thinking of Casa Nova which hasn't been upgraded as agressively as Casablanca.

3) EQ is a powerful feature, and automating the process makes it easy to get great results.

4) Somewhat true, but it requires an appropriate Meridian DVD player for movies (598, G98, G91 or 800v3).

5) True for the moment, Compli has a digital output, and Theta will have a card for CB III later this year.

6) Correct. The starting unit is a DV-47A or DV-45A.

7) Correct.

8) Dual Differential? That means the equivalent of 4 amp channels for every output and I'd be very surprised by this. The Dreadnaught and Meridian amps are both fully balanced. I'm not convinced that a discrete power supply has much in the way of practical value.

9) True about the 9-layer PCBs, and the capability to make a quieter amplifier. However, the Dreadnaught is an extremely good amplifier.

10) Wrong.

If you really want to have fun, check out the Meridian processor with a Theta amp ;)

Cheers,

Contributing Editor & Surround Music Reviewer Widescreen Review
Opinions are mine, not the publication I write for.
John Kotches is offline  
post #7 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 05:24 AM
AVS Special Member
 
DaveN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: TN
Posts: 1,818
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Theta and Meridian both make nice products. There are pros and cons of each brand. The most important factor after reading your post IMO is that you quickly find another Meridian dealer if you plan to go that route. If you are paying anywhere near list you deserve the excellent dealer support that you should be buying.

Dave
DaveN is offline  
post #8 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 07:30 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
Kal Rubinson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: NYC + Connecticut
Posts: 28,494
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
Liked: 142
Quote:
Originally posted by DaveN
Theta and Meridian both make nice products. There are pros and cons of each brand. The most important factor after reading your post IMO is that you quickly find another Meridian dealer if you plan to go that route. If you are paying anywhere near list you deserve the excellent dealer support that you should be buying.
Right. You cannot go far wrong with either and conjuring up specific differences will leave you with a laundry list but will not give you conclusive evidence of either's superiority.

More important than this is to (1) audition both carefully, (2) examine the configuration and user interfaces to see which fits you better, and (3) use a supportive dealer as these are complex devices with upgrade capabilities.

Kal

Kal Rubinson

"Music in the Round"
Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round

Kal Rubinson is offline  
post #9 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
foofreaknfighter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 89
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Hmmm. I would love to be able to listen to the two systems side by side, but there is no dealer in my area that carries both. I am therefore getting a biased opinion on both sides. The 2 things that concern me most our the digital link and the HDMI. I would like to have these features. I read that Theta might be introducing both of those later this year, is that true? Also, how important do you think the 1080i out of the box and the whole upsampling thing are? i guess Theta oversamples?

Thanks!

adam
foofreaknfighter is offline  
post #10 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 12:21 PM
AVS Special Member
 
dsmith901's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 8,970
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked: 20
One of the important differences I have noted in these units is the Meridian comes with a coffee-table sized remote, while the Theta comes with a tiny credit card sized remote that I don't think anyone uses except maybe for volume control. So with the Theta plan on buying a separate programmable remote.

"The truth is out there!"
dsmith901 is offline  
post #11 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 12:27 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Alimental's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Williamsburg, PA
Posts: 1,294
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
If you remove the hyperbole and errors, there is still a pretty good argument to be made for the Meridian. I think he was over doing the case, but dealers tend to do that because they want your money. I think the G68 is going to be Meridian's primary platform for a solid 10 years. They're a pretty sound company too as they're also now receiving licensing money for MLP. If it were a year ago, I might be saying "Theta" in this price range, but the new G-series is pretty spectacular. I wish I had your conundrum though. NAD it is for me.........

Joel Bernstein
____________________________________________________
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - Arthur C Clarke
Alimental is offline  
post #12 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 12:42 PM
Advanced Member
 
DanielSmi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 758
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Why don't you go to both dealers and take both of them home and do an in home comparasion. Your dealer should let you try it at home. That why you can test in your own HT not in a showroom because it will definitely sound different in your HT than in a showroom.

Daniel Smith

You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake; you are the same decaying organic matter as everything else ... We are the all singing all dancing crap of the world.

- Tyler Durden
DanielSmi is offline  
post #13 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
foofreaknfighter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 89
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
If I was planning on a getting a video processor (like the faroudja nrs) would that make all the "1080i out of the box" and "HDMI" stuff no longer relevent?
foofreaknfighter is offline  
post #14 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 06:56 PM
Member
 
Blacthorn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Dubuque, Iowa
Posts: 146
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I personally perfer Meridian, but thats just because of using them for a long time, Theta makes awesome equipment. But I would not go to that dealer again, I have a problem when a dealer is willing to outright lie to me to make a sale.

If you can, get them both home as was said before and play with them yourself in your setting. Thats the only way to really decide, when it comes to it. The only other thing I personally can tell you is that I have had good exerpeice with Meridian and their customner support. They seem to care how they are precieved so they want to give you teh best support they can. I am sure Theta is the same way though.
Blacthorn is offline  
post #15 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
foofreaknfighter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 89
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
After sending the email to Theta only last night, I got a reply from Mary Cardes very promptly. Here is some of what she said.

Adam:

I found your note quite interesting, and enjoyed going through the comparisons._ Please let me know if I can answer any additional questions.

Sincerely,

Mary Cardas
Theta Digital


1. Meridian processor is card based - very upgradable._ Meridian has a track record for upgrade options.

In the current products, Meridian has done a well with upgrades._ Theta, however, was the first in the market with a true card-based architecture._ This architecture has served our customers well - - starting with DTS (we were the first licensee, and the only processor I am aware of which was a true upgrade - not a tradein), and through the 'II' and 'III' upgrades.


2. Theta has not offered an upgrade to their processor.

Every Casablanca made can be upgraded to the current version (Casablanca III)._ We've done many, many I to II, II to III and I to III upgrades._ The prices for the upgrades have been quite reasonable. The upgrades in each version have been significant - encompassing software flexibility, setup options, bass management, improved D-to-A converters, the number and type of channels available, and current DTS, Dolby Digital and Circle Surround processes._ I'm not sure what they were referring to with this statement.


3. Meridian has room correction - Theta does not.

This is true._ We have been researching various room EQ options for several years._ The new operating system created for the Casablanca III will allow us the processing power we need to bring this feature to reality._ I cannot predict when the feature might be ready, but I can tell you that it is a planned upgrade.



4. Meridian has upsampling in their audio section including movies and CD's._ They are the only company that offers 96/24 upsampling on all channels.

There is an interesting paper on our website about upsampling vs. oversampling._ It's quite technical, but you might find it to be interesting reading._ In the end, while upsampling to 96/24 is useful, we've found that oversampling all digital audio sources to 24/392 is better.



5. Meridian has a digital link for DVD-Audio - Theta does not.

We are working on our digital link now - and it will handle both DVDA and SACD._ The proprietary interlink (between our Compli transport and either the Generation VIII 2-ch DAC or the Casablanca III) will be shipping this summer.



6. Meridian builds their own DVD player, Theta retools a Pioneer DVD player.

We source a transport mechanism from Pioneer, but the balance of circuitry is Theta designed and manufactured._ If you haven't already, I would suggest that you experience both the audio and video from our transports, it is more than competitive with other products.


7. Meridian DVD player can scale 1080i out of the player and has HDMI.

Theta offers a dcdi-based 480p, and have chosen to leave any higher/further processing to companies which do this for a living._ We've found that most owners who want 1080 or greater are generally enamored with an outboard processor._ We also offer a 4:2:2 (digital output) video option to reduce the number of A-D and D-A conversions present in the video chain of most systems.



8. Meridian amplifiers are dual differential, fully balanced and are mono block amplifiers.

As are the Theta products.



9. Meridian amps have 9 layers of PC boards - one for signal, one for power, one for ground, and rest are for shield and isolated circuits which results in a very quiet amp.

I won't go into specifics, but Theta takes similar (and more extensive) measures to ensure the quietest, best sounding amps we can make.


10. Theta has not been a factor in the US for many years._ The Meridian rep travels the US and hasn't even seen any Theta on a sales floor for 4 years._ (This sounds confusing but I wrote it word for word.)

I have no interest in getting into territorial conflict with another manufacturer - life's too short!_ Our two factory reps travel the U.S. quite frequently, and offer I'm told is some of the best customer service in the industry._ Interestingly, I don't encounter much Meridian in my travels either._ There is a trend towards dealers carrying fewer lines - - with systems this complex it's impossible to keep staff trained on every nuance of every product line._ Many stores which carried both Theta and Meridian (and other lines - easy to do back in the 2-channel days!) have chosen one or the other over the past few years.

One other difference between Theta and Meridian is our philosophy of the 'whole system'._ While Meridian prefers that you have Meridian end-to-end, we believe that speakers are a very personal decision, and one that you should be able to change if you wish._ There are so many great speaker designs out there, I would hate to be limited._ Embarrassingly, I do not know how Meridian handles volume control - but I've been told it is done in the digital domain._ Theta (and other high-end companies) always does volume control in the analog domain - an extremely important factor in the quality of a system

Again, please let me know if I can answer any additional questions._ I'm interested to know which way you go with your system!

Sincerely,

Mary Cardas
Theta Digital

____

I could not have been happier with her reply. She seemed very knowledgeable and cleared quite a few things up for me. Glad to see first hand the kind of customer service people have been talking about.

adam
foofreaknfighter is offline  
post #16 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 07:40 PM
AVS Special Member
 
ultra 150 pilot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Western mass
Posts: 1,107
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Liked: 18
Thetas customer service goes way beyond the call in satisfying their customers! they will always try to make it right no matter what.



Bob
ultra 150 pilot is offline  
post #17 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 07:58 PM
AVS Special Member
 
sfogg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Ma, USA
Posts: 5,614
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Its pretty funny how wrong both responses from each respective company/dealer is. Since the Meridians have been covered....

"we were the first licensee, and the only processor I am aware of which was a true upgrade - not a tradein"

Meridian 565 and Lexicon DC-1 were both upgraded for DTS and in both cases it involved simply adding a card and software to each unit. And they probably had the upgrade out before Theta. The Krell A/V Standard *may* have had a DTS upgrade applied to it as well as perhaps a couple of others. First licensee doesn't mean first to ship.

" while upsampling to 96/24 is useful, we've found that oversampling all digital audio sources to 24/392 is better."

Upsampling IS oversampling. Two different names for the same thing.

" The proprietary interlink (between our Compli transport and either the Generation VIII 2-ch DAC or the Casablanca III) will be shipping this summer."

Take this with a grain of salt. According to Theta the Six shooter was going to be out in something like Feb. of 2002. Still isn't....

Shawn
sfogg is offline  
post #18 of 233 Old 04-06-2004, 09:24 PM
AVS Special Member
 
lwang's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: New York, NY, USA
Posts: 1,336
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 12
Room correction in the Meridian is not just EQ, but tries to keep a consistent RT60 across its range.

Also, one big factor for Meridian is besides all the latest and greatest signal enhancement and recovery features, instead of buying off the shelf surround decoder, they custom write their own. Their music surround mode is totally proprietary also.

Other things Merdian has:

FIFO buffering for jitter reduction.

Dithering the signal when increasing the sample length to 24bits.

Ambisonic, accepting either UHJ or B-format.


From listening tests, Meridian thinks any upsampling beyond roughly 80hz/22bit is inperceptable, so they rounded it up to the next logical point on their processor.
lwang is offline  
post #19 of 233 Old 04-07-2004, 07:44 AM
AVS Special Member
 
John Kotches's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Troy, IL USA (St. Louis Area)
Posts: 7,687
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
foo (et al):


Wow... lots of interest in this thread, and it's nice to see that Mary Cardas answered your mail in a timely fashion.

In a reply, you should point out that it's a dealer that is saying these things about Theta vs. Meridian and not Meridian or their reps.

Having had the pleasure of speaking to Bob Stuart, Marc Koval (and others) from Meridian, as well as with Neal Sinclair, Mary Cardas (and others) I know they hold their competition in the highest regard. Each also thinks their respective products are the best, which is not a bad thing!

lwang,

Most high-end products buffer and reclock, the CB is no exception. Theta calls it "Jitter Jail" in their marketing distributions.

Redithiering is done on any word length expansion, so Theta would have to do this as well.

Let's be honest, we're talking about two of the best processors on the market, and in all honesty it's going to boil down to individual preference at this level.

Cheers,

Contributing Editor & Surround Music Reviewer Widescreen Review
Opinions are mine, not the publication I write for.
John Kotches is offline  
post #20 of 233 Old 04-07-2004, 07:48 AM
AVS Club Gold
 
anthonymoody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: ny, ny usa
Posts: 5,667
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked: 63
Theta's buffer (I think called jitter jail?) is very widely praised.
ACK John you beat me to the punch! :)

TM

Stuck up, half witted, scruffy looking, nerf herder.
Double True!
anthonymoody is offline  
post #21 of 233 Old 04-07-2004, 10:44 AM
AVS Special Member
 
John Kotches's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Troy, IL USA (St. Louis Area)
Posts: 7,687
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
TM,

No worries. I forgot to mention that an audio buffering system has to be a FIFO, if you want to maintain consistency of presentation :D

Cheers,

Contributing Editor & Surround Music Reviewer Widescreen Review
Opinions are mine, not the publication I write for.
John Kotches is offline  
post #22 of 233 Old 04-07-2004, 11:51 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Alimental's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Williamsburg, PA
Posts: 1,294
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally posted by foofreaknfighter
One other difference between Theta and Meridian is our philosophy of the 'whole system'._ While Meridian prefers that you have Meridian end-to-end, we believe that speakers are a very personal decision, and one that you should be able to change if you wish._ There are so many great speaker designs out there, I would hate to be limited._ Embarrassingly, I do not know how Meridian handles volume control - but I've been told it is done in the digital domain._ Theta (and other high-end companies) always does volume control in the analog domain - an extremely important factor in the quality of a system

Mary Cardas
Theta Digital

I have one big quibble with this. Meridan "prefers" that you have Meridian end to end, but there's absolutely NOTHING that prevents you from using anybody else's amplifiers, speakers or anything else for that matter. What Meridian gives you is an EXTRA option to keep things in the digital domain right up to the speaker itself. And that's not a bad option. If Meridian was so one-sided about the need to use their DSP speakers, why on earth would they build regular old amps for regular old speakers?

Meridian volume control IS in the digital domain. I'm not sure why that would be considered to be a flaw. There are [very subtle] advantages and disadvantages to either, so I'm not so sure Theta can claim the high ground on this.

Strangely, I think Mary's point by point was ALSO a good case for Meridian :)

Joel Bernstein
____________________________________________________
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - Arthur C Clarke
Alimental is offline  
post #23 of 233 Old 04-07-2004, 11:53 AM
AVS Special Member
 
AndreYew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,670
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Hmm ... Meridian is certainly one of the two best processors available, but I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on the Theta.

Room correction is done by EQ in the Meridian as well, but the RT60 comment brings up an important point often overlooked --- the measurement and determination of what kind of EQ to use is just as important if not more so than the actual EQ itself, and I believe that any room correction system worth its salt will have fairly sophisticated measurement systems and algorithms, which also take into account psychoacoustic factors along with physical measurements, to determine what is the best correction, and a fine-grain enough EQ to implement it. Meridian certainly has this, unlike other products that just throw you an EQ, that may also be inadequate to carry out room EQ tasks (eg. Krell).

As for FIFO buffering, I can only think of three or four companies that do this: Mark Levinson (who were the first, I believe), Meridian, Theta, and Chord. While it's a valid way to reduce jitter, it certainly isn't the only effective way to do it, as Benchmark, for example, has shown. Also to avoid becoming like so many other things in audio-dom that's been reduced to absurdity by prizing one feature or measurement above all others, there are many other things that have to be done right to get low jitter besides a memory buffer. All CD and DVD players have memory buffers in their transports, and that certainly hasn't kept wildly measurable jitter from their analog outputs.

--Andre
AndreYew is offline  
post #24 of 233 Old 04-07-2004, 11:59 AM
AVS Special Member
 
dsmith901's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 8,970
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked: 20
Andre said: "All CD and DVD players have memory buffers in their transports, and that certainly hasn't kept wildly measurable jitter from their analog outputs."

I was under the impression that jitter (timing errors) was unique to digital transmissions and not applicable to analog signals. I was also under the impression that stand-alone CD players that use a single clock for the drive and DAC are essentially immune from jitter. Please explain your statement to us non-experts.

"The truth is out there!"
dsmith901 is offline  
post #25 of 233 Old 04-07-2004, 12:00 PM
AVS Special Member
 
sfogg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Ma, USA
Posts: 5,614
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Andre,

" besides a memory buffer. All CD and DVD players have memory buffers in their transports, and that certainly hasn't kept wildly measurable jitter from their analog outputs."

Don't most/all DSP engines have a memory buffer on them as well since they work in some many word groups at a time?

Shawn
sfogg is offline  
post #26 of 233 Old 04-07-2004, 12:03 PM
AVS Special Member
 
sfogg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Ma, USA
Posts: 5,614
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
"I was under the impression that jitter (timing errors) was unique to digital transmissions and not applicable to analog signals."

The measurement of jitter is usually done by analyzing the analog output of the system and looking for specific products of noise in them. That way the entire chain is being looked at.

Internally in a CD player there are typically four different signals that feed your DACs. The PCM data, a Left right bit clock, the data bit clock and a master clock. If the timing between these signals is corrupted that is basically jitter.

Shawn
sfogg is offline  
post #27 of 233 Old 04-07-2004, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
foofreaknfighter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 89
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I do want to reiterate that it was a Meridian "dealer" who sent me this stuff. He is obviously biased because he wants to make a sale. Perhaps the dealer stretched the truth in order to do this, or maybe he just doesn't know his competition as well as he thinks he does. Either way, it bothers me. Regardless of this overzealous salesman, the Meridian stuff sounds great. It is going to be a VERY hard choice. I guess I will just have to go back to both shops and listen some more. Ideally I would take both systems home, but I don't think both dealers would loan me a whole system, especially since both the Meridian and the Theta need to be custom ordered.
foofreaknfighter is offline  
post #28 of 233 Old 04-07-2004, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
foofreaknfighter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 89
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally posted by Alimental
I have one big quibble with this. Meridan "prefers" that you have Meridian end to end, but there's absolutely NOTHING that prevents you from using anybody else's amplifiers, speakers or anything else for that matter. What Meridian gives you is an EXTRA option to keep things in the digital domain right up to the speaker itself. And that's not a bad option. If Meridian was so one-sided about the need to use their DSP speakers, why on earth would they build regular old amps for regular old speakers?

Meridian volume control IS in the digital domain. I'm not sure why that would be considered to be a flaw. There are [very subtle] advantages and disadvantages to either, so I'm not so sure Theta can claim the high ground on this.

Strangely, I think Mary's point by point was ALSO a good case for Meridian :)

After reading some Meridian material, I think it is safe to say the Meridian BELIEVES that an all digital system is the way to go. I think that represents a fundamental difference between Theta (and many other companies) and Meridian. As to which one is better, who is to say, but it is a different philosophy. I think that is all Mary was trying to say.
foofreaknfighter is offline  
post #29 of 233 Old 04-07-2004, 12:56 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Alimental's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Williamsburg, PA
Posts: 1,294
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I guess my point is that there was, to me, an obvious implication that Theta's philosophy is different than Meridian's and that therefore, Meridian is not as applicable to multi-brand systems. IOW, the implication that Theta plays well with others and Meridian does not. Meridian's philosophy is simply bigger and more diverse. Just because Porsche *also* makes an SUV doesn't mean their sports car philosophy is compromised somehow or that you shouldn't consider them. The G68 has several analog card options to cater to anybody's analog system. I think Meridian's "keep it all digital" preference is sensible. I think if Theta made digital speakers, they'd enlarge (embiggen?) their philosophy to mirror what they sold.

Joel Bernstein
____________________________________________________
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - Arthur C Clarke
Alimental is offline  
post #30 of 233 Old 04-07-2004, 01:31 PM
AVS Special Member
 
AndreYew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,670
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally posted by sfogg
Don't most/all DSP engines have a memory buffer on them as well since they work in some many word groups at a time?
Shawn,

Very true. Any time you have latency through the DSP section, there's some kind of storage going on. FIR filters, like those used for oversampling brickwall filters used in basically almost every CD and DVD player, also have storage since they're acausal. Kind of shows how absurd a measure of jitter reduction memory buffers are.

I also forgot about the Genesis Digital Lens, which was a jitter-reducing box that used 1 MB or so of RAM. It had a really dumb (ie. broken) dithering scheme however.

--Andre
AndreYew is offline  
Closed Thread Receivers, Amps, and Processors

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off