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meridian 561 WAY better than outlaw 950!! (1 Viewer)

SC Trojan

Agent
Joined
Sep 13, 2001
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Real Name
Gary
i know i may be putting myself up to flames, but IMHO and in MY system, the meridian 561 is definately more flexible and more musical. I guess HTM got it right when they put the 561 on their list of recommended components!

I have listened for 6 hours, mainly music, but a little HT. My system consists of Bohlender graebner (2)520s, (1)220, (4) 420dx for speakers. I got 2 talon audio ROCs, which i am only using 1. For amplification, I am using an Aragon X5 and Aragon 8008.

In terms of flexibility, the meridian lets you change the delay of EACH speaker (left & right independantly) as well as the back AND rear sourrounds. Also, you can adjust the gains for EACH input. The crossover is not fixed either.

In terms of musciality, the meridian brings out a tighter bass and more warmth. There is a harshness in the 950 that I do not hear with the Meridian.

Anyways, I will listen to the two processors all week and provide a more indepth review.
 

Bill Lucas

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 20, 1999
Messages
530
Not really news. They're too radically different pieces at radically different price points. One offers solid performance and entry level separates for the masses and the other is the entry level piece of a company that may make the finest surround processors in the world.
 

Tim_S

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Oct 2, 2000
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80
While I understand and agree with the points about the price differential, I think perhaps the original posters point is not all that ridiculous considering the very bold claims people keep making about the 950. If one wants to claim (as has been done many times) that the 950 is better than significantly more expensive gear (and may be, I certainly wouldn't know) it is perhaps useful to know how much more expensive you have to go before the greater expense translates into better performance.

Tim
 
J

John Morris

In terms of musciality, the meridian brings out a tighter bass and more warmth. There is a harshness in the 950 that I do not hear with the Meridian.
Gary: What are you testing on these units? Are you saying that the Meridian adds some color to the sound of the source unit, much like tubed gear can do? Are you testing these units using the 2 channel analog bypass modes, or are you so far just commenting on the processing of these units? With your help we can better understand exactly where the Meridian excels versus the 950. Thanks.
 

Mike_T_

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Joined
Oct 30, 2001
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198
That's a good point, I would like to see the 950 compared to much more expensive pieces to see where it stands. We all know it's an incredible value, and so far it has gotten rave reviews. I think the danger here is in how you compare it.

Gary, when your post says it's WAY better then the 950...well for $4100 more, I'd sure hope so. One new "trend" i'm starting to notice around here is a move towards less expensive gear that gives you great value while keeping all of the sought after features. What we're all striving to find is what's "good enough" for our systems and budgets.
 

Samuel Des

Supporting Actor
Joined
Feb 7, 2001
Messages
796
They do make that claim about comparing to more expensive gear, but one should be reasonable. It's a $4100 difference. You could put a down payment on a car with that kind of money.
 

Steve Zimmerman

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 6, 2001
Messages
347
You could put a down payment on a car with that kind of money
Good grief, man! My wife and I bought our first entire car with that kind of money and we've only been married 10 years.

I still stay that in a sound-level-matched blind A/B comparison the original poster wouldn't be able to tell the two apart in analog bypass mode.

--Steve
 

Larry B

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Nov 8, 2001
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1,067
Steve:

I still stay that in a sound-level-matched blind A/B comparison the original poster wouldn't be able to tell the two apart in analog bypass mode.
In other words, you think their preamp sections are indistinguishable. Out of curiosity, why do you think this?

Larry
 
J

John Morris

In other words, you think their preamp sections are indistinguishable. Out of curiosity, why do you think this?
Larry B: I am not Steve, but I'd guess he said that because ideally, analog bypass is just a straight wire with only a volume pot between the source and your amps. Therefore, if equivalent quality volume pots are used, there should be no difference. Right?
 

Tim_S

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Oct 2, 2000
Messages
80
I still stay that in a sound-level-matched blind A/B comparison the original poster wouldn't be able to tell the two apart in analog bypass mode.
What about using the DACs on the two units? As Merc points out, assuming neither really hurts the analog signal that seems possible. I am less convinced it would be true using the DACs on the two units since as I understand digital processing is where the Meridian is supposed to shine. I have heard neither and have no actual idea how they compare and have no intention to suggest otherwise. I only say this to point out that I think this is the more important issue unless of course someone intends to use a separate DAC.

Tim
 

John Tompkins

Supporting Actor
Joined
Aug 30, 2000
Messages
660
I'll put my 149.00 bottlehead foreplay tube pre up against the outlaw 950 for musicality anyday of the week.
 
J

John Morris

Then what accounts for all the sonic differences between stereo preamps?
Larry B: Well, assuming an equivalent degree of care and materials in selecting and building the analog bypass circuit and vol pot, then: the "Audiophile" would say that it is due to the little things like power supply and op-amps, chassis section isolation and shielding, power cable, connector quality, etc.... AND, the "Cynic" would say that it is due to the name on the front panel and the cost of the units.

As for me, I am a cynic wanting to be an audiophile, so I frequently find myself somewhere in the middle of these two interpretations, looking for the components that almost give me the sonics of the best while paying as little as possible.
 
J

John Morris

John T: What tubes are you using in your bottlehead? Did you get any of the upgrades? Did you build it yourself or buy it built?

I have never heard the bottlehead. Does it nicely bump the upper mids while preserving the treble and low bass freqs?I've always wondered what three bottleheads would sound like for playback of MC SACD music?
 

John Tompkins

Supporting Actor
Joined
Aug 30, 2000
Messages
660
John Morris,

I bought it off a audioasylum member and it has most all the upgrades, sweet whispers, anticipation, auricaps, rca cleartop tubes, magnet wire, panasonic power supply caps. I paid 275.00 shipped.

It does bump the mids, doesnt roll off anything and has natural sounding bass. John, I'm telling ya, its just sooo darned musical. I bought the sony ta-p9000es to hook to my lex. The ta-p9000es is CRYSTAL clear for two channel but its got no juice, I cant listen for too long and also cant crank it without some fatique. I put the foreplay in between my cambrdige 500se and the taps bypass and it was pure magic. I can crank it up, listen all day and it makes all my badly recorded rock cds sound brillant. Dont mean to overstate but I have made about a billion changes in my system and was a non believer in tubes,,,well I was wrong this is the biggest upgrade I have had in two channel. Oh yea my buddy has a foreplay and is thinking of making 2 more for sacd..That combo would rock
 

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