Headphone Amplifiers

Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier / Prime Power Supply Review

ARTICLE INDEX

Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier / Prime Power Supply Review Highlights

An incredibly compact and beautifully designed USB DAC and headphone amplifier from Meridian. Costing more than double the recently reviewed Sony UDA-1, the Meridian Prime offers similar functionality, sans the built in speaker amp, but with much higher performance. It may be small, but this little guy manages to power Audeze planar magnetic headphones with a clean and neutral sound.

Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier / Prime Power Supply Review

Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier / Prime Power Supply Highlight Summary

  • • Able to drive even the toughest high impedance headphones
  • • Provides a neutral, yet musical sound
  • • Very compact, small footprint
  • • Terrific build quality and beautiful modern design
  • • DAC handles PCM up to 24bit/192kHz
  • • Excellent analog preamp

Introduction to the Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier / Prime Power Supply Review

With 25 years of experience in DSP Loudspeakers, products such as the first “audiophile” CD player, and Meridian Lossless Packing, Meridian has been on the forefront of digital sound engineering. So when Meridian announced a new high-resolution USB DAC / headphone amp, you better believe I raised my hand, with a grin full of excitement, to ask for a review unit.

MERIDIAN PRIME HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER / PRIME POWER SUPPLY REVIEW SPECIFICATIONS

Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier

  • Inputs: 1x stereo line input (2x gold-plated RCA phonos) / 1x stereo line input (3.5mm jack socket) / 1x USB input (mini-B USB connector) Outputs: 1x stereo line output (2x gold-plated RCA phonos) / 2x 1/4in TRS A-type jack sockets (tip=left) / 1x 3.5mm stereo jack socket (tip=left) Relay-controlled power up/down muting on all outputs
  • USB DAC Input: 24 bit/192 kHz sampling Meridian Resolution Enhancement technologies including upsampling and Apodising (the DAC does not decode DSD files)
  • Interface-powered: Disconnecting USB powers-down all digital subsystems
  • Analogue Spacial Processing: Audio processing circuits provide “outside the head” headphone listening resembling listening to speakers / Two different modes plus bypass / Analogue switching / Short audio path
  • Controls: Alps analogue volume potentiometer with flexible shaft coupling from the front panel controls all outputs / Input selector button: push to select between line level, 3.5mm jack and USB / Analogue Signal Processing selector: i, ii or Bypass
  • Indicators: 1x, 2x, 4x digital sample rate indicators / A/B/Bypass Analogue Signal Processing / RCA/mini-jack/USB input selector / Power button illuminates blue in standby, white with all outputs active, green when preamp output disabled (hold button down to toggle)
  • Power: Plug-in PSU provided; may also be powered by Prime Power Supply for superior performance
  • Construction: Silver metal finish uniform with G Series
  • MSRP: $2,000 USD

Meridian Prime Power Supply

  • Inputs: 1x IEC C3 3-pole connector / 1x USB input for audio pass-through
  • Outputs: 5x latching 3-pin mini-DIN connectors providing 12V dc at up to 500mA 1x USB output for powering external devices, delivering 5V dc at up to 1A. Passes USB data supplied via the pass-through input Outputs include two stages of regulation
  • Controls: Front panel power button
  • Indicators: Illuminated power button shows blue in standby, white when active.
  • Power: Available models include 110–120V ac and 230V ac Consumption 60W max
  • Construction: Silver metal finish uniform with G Series
  • Dimensions: 2" H x 6.3" W x 5.9" D
  • Weight: 3.5 Pounds
  • MSRP: $1,250 USD
  • Meridian
  • SECRETS Tags: Meridian, Meridian Prime, Power Supplies, Headphone Amplifiers, DACs

Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier / Prime Power Supply Review

With the Explorer, Direct DAC, and now the Prime, Meridian is targeting the headphone crowd head-on with its digital expertise. I am not one to complain either, as I am a big fan of their little portable Explorer USB DAC. The Prime is a considerable step up from the portable Explorer as it can drive anything from in-ear monitors to the most taxing planar magnetics. At $2000, Meridian is asking a lot for this compact headphone amp, and that doesn’t even include the optional Power Supply Unit for $1250 that stacks below the Prime. While it won’t win a budget conscious value award, there is no denying the Meridian Prime produces a lovely neutral, yet musical sound.

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