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Q&A: Meridian Audio’s Barry Sheldrick Discusses Immersive Audio, MQA, More

Barry Sheldrick spoke with CE Pro about Meridian’s new 210 Streamer, how the company is helping dealers deliver immersive audio and more.

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Recently, CE Pro sat down with Barry Sheldrick, director of sales at Meridian Audio, to discuss the company’s ongoing support of the MQA format, the value of immersive audio, and more.

At CEDIA Expo 2019, Meridian announced its new 210 Streamer. What makes this product unique?

The device allows the latest music streaming services to connect flawlessly to home audio installations via a range of formats, for a flexible and powerful system. It can be connected over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to any smartphone or tablet, with volume and playback controls synchronized between streaming apps and the Meridian system.

As well as being available via Spotify Connect, the 210 also allows music to be accessed through Bluetooth and DLNA/UPnP and is Roon Ready, ensuring that content from any USB storage can be available to networked media players and renderers. It can also be connected directly to a pair of DSP loudspeakers or to any system via a SpeakerLink input, making it easy to use and set up with existing Meridian audio systems.

With its built-in Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) decoder, the 210 is capable of delivering studio master quality MQA encoded music. Meridian High Resolution (MHR) controls the movement of high-res audio without degradation or loss in quality. The 210 supports wired and Wi-Fi network connections. Digital coax output makes it compatible with existing DACs.


What is Meridian doing to help dealers deliver immersive audio?

There are a fast-growing number of products that can form part of a high-res audio ecosystem, but compatibility is key; high-res audio needs seamless integration. We’ve done everything we can to ensure that our products work well across a range of systems.

High-res audio is in our DNA. We’ve developed three pioneering technologies to enable our products to deliver the most authentic sound possible — MQA, Upsampling and MHR.

We’ve also designed products that allow integrators to deliver the most exceptional and immersive home cinema experience yet, with the highest quality dynamics and clarity, in analog, digital and 3D format applications. A good example is our 271 Digital Theater Controller.


What advantages does your products’ compatibility with MQA — a format developed by Meridian co-founder Bob Stuart — provide integrators?

Naturally, being the first to market with MQA, Meridian was able to allow clients to enjoy a high-resolution experience, not only in a reference listening room, but also widening the experience to the whole household with multiroom audio systems. Our 200-series products with onboard MQA decoding offer affordable solutions that allow easy integration with popular control system platforms.

We can also offer the MQA reference experience with our special edition range of digital active loudspeakers. Alternatively, if you’re looking to integrate MQA in your existing reference analog system, the Meridian Ultra DAC could be an obvious choice as it’s from the creators of the MQA format.


What else does Meridian offer to support dealers?

Meridian’s Design and Specification Service was launched to offer a complete bespoke service, adding value to dealers. This complimentary service integrates Meridian and all of its partners’ technologies to make it quicker and easier for integrators to specify the right products for the installation, freeing up valuable time for them to concentrate on other aspects of a project. It gives integrators more confidence when specifying these systems, created to offer reliable, repeatable, high-performance systems not just in the cinema room but also around the home or yacht.

To experience the complete solutions offered by Meridian and its partners, and to get a better understanding of high-resolution audio, integrators are regularly invited to Meridian’s Cambridgeshire (U.K.) facility to see its demonstration rooms. In June and August 2019, Meridian welcomed a number of U.S. integrators to the HQ.