Headphone Amplifier / D-A Converter with MQA
Designed and built in the UK, the Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier delivers more immersive, authentic sound from your headphones.
Personal listening on headphones is now one of the most common ways in which we experience music. Whether it’s to enjoy music on the move, or to listen without disturbing others, headphones can put you in closer touch with your music – if it’s done properly.Meridian’s Prime Headphone Amplifier is headphone listening done right. It features an extremely high quality analogue signal path, powerful amplifier, multiple inputs and even special Analogue Spatial Processing to help you forget you’re listening on headphones at all.
At Meridian, the look and feel of a product is as important as what’s inside. For the new Prime series, co-founder Allen Boothroyd created a unique new enclosure design, echoing previous designs like the G Series and even Meridian’s original 100 Series.The metal enclosure is a dual-skinned design of interlocking extrusions, keeping the circuitry safe from interference. There are no screws – it’s opened with a hidden magnetic catch. A special flexible coupling links the knob to the shaft of the volume potentiometer towards the rear of the box, minimising mechanically-induced noise.
The Prime Headphone Amplifier front panel includes dual 1/4in headphone sockets that can be used with conventional headphones or separately-wired types, and in addition there’s a 3.5mm socket for personal earpieces. Meridian’s Analogue Spatial Processing (ASP) gives spatiality and a more natural presentation to headphone listening – more like listening on loudspeakers.The USB input upsamples 44.1/48kHz sources to 88.2/96kHz using Meridian’s special Apodising filter that audibly increases the quality of digital signals. It also includes dual high-quality oscillators, based on those found in Meridian’s top-of-the-line Reference Series components, so it can handle any standard sample rate up to 192kHz, delivering improved clarity and stereo imaging.
This product is MQA-ready.* Allowing you to experience the full, intricate detail of a live performance for the first time in the history of recorded music. Find out more
“The Prime is a top-class headphone amplifier and a surprisingly talented stereo preamp. Treat the DAC section as a nice bonus too”. What Hi-Fi? Read full review here.
- Analogue signal path throughout
- MQA Ready - New Firmware Due March 2015
- 6-layer PC board for maximum signal isolation and enhanced performance
- Analogue Spatial Processing offers dual-mode loudspeaker-like listening on headphones – with bypass
- Audio components mounted near rear-panel sockets for ultra-short signal path
- Analogue logic switching
- USB 2.0 asynchronous playback at up to 192kHz/24-bit featuring Meridian resolution-enhancement technology including low-jitter clocking, upsampling and Apodising.
- Externally-powered USB input: disconnecting deactivates all digital electronics
- Dual 1/4in stereo headphone sockets with separate-wire grounding (may be used with separately-wired headphones) plus 3.5mm stereo jackHigh-quality gold-plated sockets
- Headphone-only mode powers down preamp output
- Analogue volume control driven from front panel via flexible coupling to minimise microphony
- Relay muting on power-up and power-down for thump-free operation.
- Hand made in Meridian’s state-of-the-art headquarters near Cambridge, UK.
- New, elegant and durable metal enclosure design by Allen Boothroyd, double-skinned for lower noise
*New firmware version for MQA decoding to be released March 2015
- INPUTS: 1x stereo line input (2x gold-plated RCA phonos), 1x stereo line input (3.5mm jack socket), 1x USB input (mini-B USB connector)
- OUTPUTS: 1x stereo line output (2x gold-plated RCA phonos), 2x 1/4in TRS A-type jack sockets (tip=left), 1x 3.5mm stereo jack socket (tip=left) Relay-controlled power up/down muting on all outputs
- USB INPUT: 192kHz/24-bit sampling Meridian Resolution Enhancement technologies including upsampling and Apodising Interface-powered: disconnecting USB powers-down all digital subsystems
- ANALOGUE SPACIAL PROCESSING: Audio processing circuits provide “outside the head” headphone listening resembling listening on loudspeakers, Two different modes plus bypass, Analogue switching. Short audio path
- CONTROLS: Alps analogue volume potentiometer with flexible shaft coupling from the front panel controls all outputs Input selector button: push to select between line level, 3.5mm jack and USB Analogue Signal Processing selector: i, ii or Bypass
- INDICATORS: 1x, 2x, 4x digital sample rate indicators A/B/Bypass Analogue Signal Processing indicators RCA/mini-jack/USB input selector indicators Power button illuminates blue in standby, white with all outputs active, green when preamp output disabled (hold button down to toggle)
- POWER: Plug-in PSU provided; may also be powered by Prime Power Supply for superior performance
- CONSTRUCTION: Silver metal finish uniform with G Series
- DIMENSIONS: Width: 160mm; Depth: 150mm plus connectors; Height: 50mm
- WEIGHT: 0.9 kg