Meridian Audio is extending its 200 Series with another high-resolution audio product for the custom installation market. The new 251 is a compact Powered Zone Controller that offers two cool-running channels of onboard amplification at a low MSRP (for a Meridian product) of $1,500.
The 251 can be used with a range of analog speakers and act as an integrated amplifier, delivering 2 x 100W for two passive loudspeakers or a soundbar for media room projects. It's enabled for hi-res audio including Master Quality Authenticated (MQA).
The Powered Zone Controller can be deployed to run a 2.1 system with a separate subwoofer, using the unit’s pair of analog outputs, or be used as the hub for distributed audio applications from single zone to whole-house distribution using the 251’s digital and analog inputs.
It can also be the endpoint for Meridian’s Sooloos music management platform, and it supports Roon.
Other Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technologies within the unit include upsampling and apodizing filters, jitter reduction and lip synching to enhance the audio experience and eliminate signal timing and alignment issues.
Meridian says the product is quick and easy to install, with a web-based setup page. As a 1U, half rack width unit, it can be installed behind a TV or within an AV rack. Meridian also offers an optional rack mount kit or VESA mounting bracket.
For integration with bigger home automation systems, the 251 offers IP and IR control, an iPad network control app and Meridian Sooloos control.
The unit could be a good option for integrators looking for a smaller, more compact controller at a cheaper price.
The 251 offers five-year warranty. It starts shipping in September 2017 and is available for preorders now. See it at CEDIA 2017 in booth #4329.
[See the photos for possible setups: passive speaker 2.0 system, passive soundbar 2.1 system and multi-room passive system.]