Chief Technical Officer at Meridian, Richard Hollinshead comments, “The Meridian Ultra Digital to Analogue Converter is the culmination of nearly two decades of research and engineering. With considerable connectivity options, user features, and format support, the Meridian Ultra DAC incorporates an extensive list of performance-enhancing technologies, including Dual Mono DAC cards, DSP filter options, upsampling, and apodizing. This dedicated DAC utilizes Meridian’s renowned audio expertise to set a new standard in the analogue realm.”
Connectivity options include USB 2.0, S/PDIF, TosLink, 75 ohm BNC, and AES3 on XLR, as well as Meridian’s Speakerlink and the award-winning Sooloos music-management platform, for the very best user-friendly experience. One pair of balanced and one pair of unbalanced analogue outputs are also provided.
Significant user features are provided, including LipSync, PC setup, and RS232, enabling integration with third-party systems such as Control4 or Crestron. The Ultra DAC is the first Meridian product to give users the option to select one of three upsampling filters when reproducing sources with a sample rate of 44kHz or 48kHz, such as CD or DAT. In addition, a dedicated clock card is included for the lowest possible jitter.
The Ultra DAC is the first product in the world to include MQA Limited’s Hierarchical Converter Technology, which employs multiple converters to increase temporal resolution while reducing noise and quantization errors.
Another first for a Meridian product is the construction of the Ultra’s Dual Mono DAC card, which incorporates multiple regulated power supplies and eight-layer circuit boards with low-impedance ground-planes, for peerless isolation and the low-noise grounding that is critical to digital-audio accuracy. A fully linear power supply provides isolation from the AC supply, and DC-coupled output prevents degradation from AC coupling capacitors. Even the Ultra DAC’s front panel was designed for quiet operation, with non-ferrous construction, and a static LCD display chosen for its low electrical noise and ease of readability.
The Meridian Ultra DAC is built by hand in the UK and is available in high gloss black as standard and suggested retail price is $23,000. Other color options are available using Meridian’s Select bespoke color service ($1,000). The world’s first public showing of the Meridian Ultra DAC will take place at the 2016 T.H.E. Newport Show, June 3-5, in the Sunny Components Room 1203.