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Inside Meridian’s NYC Showroom, Reference Theater

Meridian encourages dealers to leverage the reference home theater, 10-megapixel projection system in its new New York offices for selling to high-profile clients.


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I’m not sure what impressed me more as I sat for a demo in Meridian’s theater room of its Manhattan offices: the awe-inspiring audio and video performance on display from the Reference Video System or the thought of which power brokers, Hollywood stars or sports idols may have preceded me on the couch and received the same demo.

Last year, the U.K.-based manufacturer strategically shifted its major U.S. operations from Atlanta to the SoHo section of Manhattan in an effort fueled by location. Services such as tech support and accounting remained down South, but New York became the headquarters of its sales, marketing and training. Considering the target audience of a Meridian dealer, the move was a no-brainer.

“We wanted to dramatically raise the bar in everything we do, to recommit to our core values and DNA,” Meridian CEO Peter Wellikoff said. “That meant high-performance and high-quality, including execution in our selling practices. So we moved sales, marketing and training to New York. Why? This is the hub of North America - everything is located in New York, and this is where the movers and shakers are.”

If You Build it …
Wellikoff is right at home in The SoHo Building where Meridian resides. It’s where he previously worked as COO of media server manufacturer Sooloos, which Meridian acquired in December 2008. Sooloos and Meridian joined forces in the building and even had a showroom grand opening last June there, but moved into a larger space that better accommodated a home theater, too, speaking of moving and shaking.

With the introduction of its 10-megapixel 810 Reference Video System a few years back, Meridian had the aspirational video product to match its high-performance audio products. But as a $250K system, few North American dealers could afford the luxury of maintaining an 810-based theater in their own showrooms - the completion of Meridian’s reference theater allowed the company an opportunity to combine its luxury A/V ingredients and create a destination for demonstrating its prowess.

Photos: Inside Meridian’s NYC Showroom, Reference Theater

John Arthur and Brent Lambert of Arthur-Lambert provided consultation and project management on construction of the Meridian digital theater, which includes about $500K worth of products at retail alone, according to product management director Ken Forsythe. Of course, the centerpiece is the 810 Reference Projector and 10-foot Stewart Filmscreen CineCurve screen, but the audio is just as important to completing the experience, and includes: a pair of flagship DSP8000 loudspeakers as main left and rights, DSP7200 loudspeakers as surrounds, a DSP7200 horizontal center speaker and 861 surround processor. If it’s just music to be demoed, the Sooloos Control 15 system comes into play, while a Savant system controls the room.

Before firing up the presentation for me, Forsythe noted the importance of the theater as a showcase for Meridian, as one of only a few showroom theaters in the country featuring the 810 reference system, not to mention the slew of other Meridian gear. “Making this level of investment, especially in a whole room dedicated to one brand, only a handful of dealers could do that,” Forsythe says.




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