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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.

‘Out-of-the-Box Selling’
So dealers can come to Meridian instead, and the company’s showroom and its team members assist with the sales pitch. Integrators from as far away as Florida and Texas have brought their all-star clientele to New York to have a seat in the reference theater. “The dealer can book an appointment with us and accompany the client, but we do the presentation,” says Forsythe.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a Manhattan dealer looking to send a client over to test out a set of DSP8000s, or if it’s an A-lister that’s flown in and given the red carpet treatment. “We have some clients that just come here and play PlayStation 3 for an hour,” Forsythe says.

Wellikoff adds that because of the stature of some potential clients, Meridian takes extra care in making special arrangements - perhaps one of the reasons the company won the platinum honor for customer service in our first-ever readers’ choice Quest for Quality Awards.

“If clients are extra high profile, they can be flown into New Jersey on a private aircraft, with a limo service to take them to New York, in through the back door with security detail, and up the freight elevator to our office,” he explains. Not surprisingly, Wellikoff says Meridian is scouting locations in Beverly Hills for a second showroom.

Meridian will also take measures to go the opposite route if clients don’t want to go to New York. “We’ll go to their homes, which is a solid two or two-and-a-half day commitment, and we bring the 810, the 8000s, even the screen which we don’t even make, and leave it there for 24 hours,” says Wellikoff, who adds that “at the end of the day, we always go through the dealer” on that sort of deal.

It’s part of what Wellikoff calls the company’s “out-of-the-box selling” program that encompasses every aspect of the sales process, something he has helped overhaul during his tenure as CEO. He says that critical decisions included dramatically reducing both distribution and product lines, both by 50 percent, to focus on more of a “systems approach” in a down economy. He says business actually grew 14 percent in 2010; Forsythe adds that from June 2009 to June 2010 Meridian has averaged one 810 reference video projector sale per month (in some cases as part of a full system, in others as a projector upgrade).

To keep pace in the luxury market, Wellikoff adds, the company has hired staff members that bring such cache to their positions. New marketing and communications manager Holly Wesslhoft and sales administrator Jessica Winarski, for example, previously worked for De Beers and Harry Winston, respectively.

Another out-of-the-box pitch includes the Meridian Select 250 custom color choices available for loudspeakers, of which about 10 percent are sold with, says Forsythe. It’s such a wide variety that even Wellikoff jokes, “no matter how good or bad your taste is, we can offer it.”

Spine-Tingling Performance
So how is the Meridian Digital Theater demo? It’s certainly worth the price of admission, and will give your clients an experience that blows away that of a commercial theater. Forsythe enthusiastically walked me through some scenes from two animated films, How to Train Your Dragon and A Christmas Carol.

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Article Topics

News · Slideshow · Video · Home Theater · Meridian · Demo · All topics

About the Author

Arlen Schweiger
Arlen Schweiger is managing editor of CE Pro and Commercial Integrator magazines. Arlen contributes installation features, business profiles, manufacturer news and product reviews.

22 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Charlie  on  04/11  at  03:23 PM

I really like the fact that a manufacturer stepped up to show their product on their own resources and not on the backs of dealers. Well done.

Posted by Enrique  on  04/11  at  03:49 PM

Aside from the re-batched JVC projector which is awsome, the rest of their stuff is over-rated and out-dated. Who in the right mind would spec a $10,000.00+  DVD with Dolby Digital and DTS processing only, for God’s sake they still talking about SACD & DVD-Audio in the spec sheets Hello 1980’s.

Posted by John Nemesh  on  04/11  at  06:33 PM

Enrique, you need to listen to this system before offering judgement.  If DTS Master and Dobly TrueHD are essential, use the analog inputs!  There is only ONE source that uses these formats, Blu-Ray.  And, as if I remember correctly, they HAVE released a component that will break out HDMI lossless audio into multiple digital coax feeds compatible with their system.

I used to sell their products when I worked for Definitive Audio in Seattle, and honestly, I have NEVER heard a system that was even CLOSE to what Meridian can do…both for music and theater applications.

And, yes, their projectors use HEAVILY modified parts from JVC, but it is NOT a simple re-badge.  Do some research before posting…please.  This forum should be a place where dealers go to get good information, instead of the FUD you see on other sites.

Posted by Enrique.  on  04/11  at  07:13 PM


The reason I know is because I’ve installed them before and again i think they are very over-rated, I’ve definately have heard much better. How can you buy a very expensive Surround processor without a calibration microphone and their Reps calibrated the system w/ a Radio Shack Meter.
All this esoteric companies cannot keep up with the constant change of technology. Back in the 80’s & 90’s this companies will introduce new technologies to the market, now days the new technologies are introduced in entry level products.

And correction the unit is JVC, they just hand pick them, change the Light bulb and have a person calibrate the projector, that is not worth 25K.

Posted by John Nemesh  on  04/12  at  10:21 AM

I think you have been looking at older models.  In any case, you have your opinion.  I strongly disagree with your opinion, especially on the projector, but we will leave it at that.

Posted by mr. stanley  on  04/12  at  01:55 PM

Hi John. Where are you nowadays???

Posted by John Nemesh  on  04/12  at  01:57 PM

I am working for AVAD nowadays.  Ironically, right next door to Definitive’s corporate offices smile

Posted by Lol.  on  04/14  at  12:16 AM

Meridian is a joke of a company, their processor lacks decent video processing, the room correction systems are outdated and their DAC’s are very old 96Khz. Lets not forget that their projectors are also rebadged JVC’s.

Posted by Julio  on  04/14  at  06:42 AM

Hi to all,
The products are over rated and out dated, no doubt, just get into the scpecs and you will see.
Regaring perfomance, there not one, but many, who sound better, much better, Meridian is ok at below the actual price point, but above of them there are many products who can compete and beat them, easy. For example: GENELEC.
BTW, I have them on display, so I now what I am talking about, and I mean Meridian, Genelec, and many more. It is not talking based on web / magazine lectures.
Regarding the projector, do you really thing that an audio engineer can do it any better than a video engineer working at a manufacturer ? I don´t believe it.
Just compare a Christie Digital to any of the OEM sourced projectors we have in the HT market, they cost 2 ir 3 times more, and that´s it, nothing is really changed inside.

Posted by cb  on  04/15  at  12:09 PM

It’s nice to see that companies still make really expensive stuff, but the diminishing return has to kick in at some point - FAR below $250k.
“...detail like the facial wrinkles, wood grain and iron gates made the image seem incredibly lifelike.” - Umm, that is the best you can say about a system of this cost? I have installed countless JVC’s for $10K that do the same.. really, really well. What exactly do I get for the additional $140k? good black levels? It better spit out gold coins at the end of the show.

Posted by Arlen Schweiger  on  04/15  at  12:25 PM

Umm, jeez I thought “will give your clients an experience that blows away that of a commercial theater” was a relatively strong endorsement. This wasn’t a product review, but I figured that statement was pretty all-encompassing.

I’ve seen tons of home theater demos, and I wouldn’t say that about more than just a few. Although one would be JVC’s 4K projector demo at CEDIA a few years back. But that projector was only $150K (I don’t know how much the processor was) ... so not sure where that extra $100K goes. Then again, if JVC can also do that for $10K, I guess it begs the question of why bother making a product that costs 15x as much??

Posted by cb  on  04/15  at  02:12 PM

you are giving most commercial theaters more credit than they deserve. opinions are subjective and I would surmise that the clients that are forking over the money for such a system is more impressed by how much they can tell their friends that it cost vs. did they get the best bank for the buck.. Why does a Ferrari cost 2-3x more than a corvette ZR1? When I check the specs - I have to wonder as well. The Corvette does not get near the attention at the polo club…

Posted by John Nemesh  on  04/15  at  02:14 PM

Maybe some of the people here should VISIT this Meridian showroom.  Then at least, they could give an INFORMED opinion!

Posted by Lol.  on  04/15  at  05:42 PM

John Nemesh, meridian uses a rebadged JVC projector, enough said, this company has not advanced in the last 15 years lol.

Posted by John Nemesh  on  04/15  at  05:45 PM

LOL, get a clue.  Do some RESEARCH and find out EXACTLY what Meridian does.  LOOK at the projectors and THEN tell me it is a rebadge.  It is most definitely NOT.  Quit being ignorant.

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