Britain’s Meridian Audio Ltd., creator of uniquely sophisticated, functionally elegant digital audio and video components and systems, has far more in common with Alfred Dunhill Ltd. than quintessential Britishness—though this is not to be discounted. The two firms also share an uncompromising devotion to inherent quality and intelligent simplicity, and both qualities are much in evidence in their new, stunning, collaborative one-piece music system. Engineered exclusively by Meridian Audio for Dunhill, the Alfred Dunhill AD88 Entertainment System exploits Meridian’s peerless expertise in digital audio and loudspeaker design to achieve breathtaking musical depth, power, and detail—from a single, handsome, superbly finished component no bigger than a desktop humidor.
“Partnering with Alfred Dunhill is an unparalleled opportunity for Meridian to reach new customers: consumers who value unquestionable quality and heirloom status in equal measure,” says Bob Stuart, Co-founder, Chairman, and Chief Technology Officer of Meridian Audio Limited. “These are just the sort of individuals who are most likely to become future Meridian devotees. Not just in Britain but around the world, the Dunhill name is synonymous with the very finest in craftsmanship and performance. And because we flatter ourselves that the same is true of the Meridian brand within our own, admittedly smaller community, this joint effort is a perfectly ideal collaboration.”
Alfred Dunhill, the British luxury emporium for men, is world-famous for leather goods, writing tools, and more, and is synonymous with qualities of materials and workmanship that are simply unrivalled. With this standard in mind, the AD88 system’s quiet polished-wood, matte-alloy, and piano lacquer forms are in the very best Dunhill tradition. But these refined lines conceal very substantial and genuinely high-performance audio innovations, and a great deal of sophisticated engineering. The AD88’s state-of-the-art 2-plus-1¬channel digital sound system inherits the DNA of Meridian’s flagship reference systems, to achieve musical performance that will literally stop the first-time hearer in his or her tracks. Despite its compact form, the Dunhill system integrates a highly capable, reference-grade Meridian CD player (Meridian created the world’s very first “audiophile CD player” some 25 years ago); it also includes an FM/AM tuner with an advanced, built-in antenna engineered for the very best possible reception. The supplied iPod docking station and remote control complete the AD88’s capabilities, for effortless, fully high-fidelity reproduction of the owner’s entire personal music collection.
But the Alfred Dunhill AD88 has yet another side that makes it much more than a mere audio system: The AD88 also plays DVDs with superb video quality, giving you complete disc replay from one compact unit, when combined with a television or suitable desktop display.
Meridian’s advanced DSP (Digital Signal Processing), developed expressly for the AD88 design, is one key to its wonderfully detailed, rich sound and impressively wide and lifelike “soundstage.” But while this technology allows the user to fine-tune the AD88, including optimizing its performance depending on its placement in the room, it also ensures that the owner who never touches any control beyond On/Off and Volume will enjoy astonishing sound.
All of this, plus the three powerful amplifiers that effortlessly deliver more than 80 watts to the system’s two front main speakers and rearward “subwoofer,” reside within a solid, beautifully finished base of die-cast metal that also serves as a cooling system—without unsightly fins. The overall enclosure is a dense, acoustically inert, internally braced structure manufactured by Meridian using specialized, nine-layer Finnish birch, and finished to Dunhill’s design in wonderfully polished, high-gloss piano lacquer. A refreshingly simple, ergonomic interface of “smart” buttons and a legible organic-LED display, and intelligent features such as automatic station naming, make the AD88 so simple to use that only those owners who actually enjoy such things are likely to delve deep into its manual. But everyone who sees—and, especially, hears— the Alfred Dunhill AD88 will want one.
Additional information and high-resolution photography available from the Meridian Media Centre: http://media.meridian-audio.com.
About Meridian Audio Limited
Meridian is based in Huntingdon, near Cambridge, UK, and was founded in 1977 by Allen Boothroyd and Bob Stuart. With a 30-year history of innovation and development of the highest quality consumer audio systems, the award-winning company is widely recognized as a world leader in digital and analogue audio reproduction. Meridian developed the world’s first audiophile CD player, the world’s first consumer digital surround controller, developed the MLP lossless packing systems mandated for use in DVD-Audio and Blu-ray Disc, and is the only UK audio hardware manufacturer to be a member of the DVD Forum. The company’s optical disc players, DSP-based loudspeakers and Meridian Digital Theatre systems are unique in the industry, maintaining a super-quality digital audio signal throughout the path from the source to the amplifier, and using digital signal processing to generate advanced crossover characteristics that would be impossible with conventional passive analogue systems.
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