Meridian 561 A/V Preamplifier

4.77/5 (13 Reviews) MSRP : $4995.00


Product Description

Home Theater Digital Preamp/Processor DD/DTS/DPL/MLP/MPEG


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Reviews 1 - 5 (13 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mark doyle a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: January 15, 2004

Bottom Line:   
This is one very good sounding 2 channel and 5 channel player! I bought this to see how much I was missing on the music side of it and I was missing everything. I was using a Denon 3803 pre outs to my amps and I figured it sounded good but I thought I was missing something (sound quailty). The 561 is amazing sounding even on a $300 dvd player. It is so easy programming it on the computer and the soundstage just blew me away! I will be a Meridian owner for life!

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   online



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by labi a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: June 30, 2003

Bottom Line:   
UNBELIEVABLE i bpought this product while auditioning a Rotel pro/amp. I still bought the Rotel Amp. The Meridian with the Rotel sounded more musical through M&K than my Arcam/Spendor.

In home theatre it was breathtaking. I found it very life like. Im the meridian surround sound mode it was different. i am a 2 ch enthusiast, and i still enjoyed the music in Trifield mode.

Best of all free upgrades from meridian. The Krell i listened to required you to pay for future upgrades. i listened to many procesors this was better if not equal for movies, for music it blew them out of the water.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $4280.00

Purchased At:   toronto



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Mitch Lasky a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: January 9, 2002

Bottom Line:   
The 561 is a terrific surround controller. It excels at decoding film soundtracks (Dolby Digital & DTS). Its greatest strength is its subtlety and refinement -- rather than providing "gee whiz" sonic splash the 561 gets the balance of music, dialog and effects just right. As a result, it greatly enhances the emotional impact of films without calling undue attention to itself.

The 561 does a fine job with digital music sources, too. However, it lacks a bit of warmth when working as a DAC with my DVD player as the transport. It's certainly no substitute for a high-end audio preamp, but that's not primarily why you are buying it. While a bit gimmicky, some of the multi-channel music modes are cool (particlularly Trifield mode, which uses the center channel to interesting effect).

I found it a better all-around performer than the comparably-priced Lexicon and Proceed units. The Classe sounded a bit better with 2 channel music.

One major gripe -- the unit makes a lot of noise when it syncs to a new signal. This is not much of an issue when you are playing DVD's, but when you are channel surfing through a digital cable or DirecTV, you have to hit the mute button. It certainly sounds bad enough to do damage to speakers, although my dealer assures me otherwise.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $5000.00



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mario a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 3, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I tried all the different units in this price range and simply put this is the most natural real sounding processor of the bunch. I still think that you need a true two channel pre-amp because the unit digitizes all signals, but it still is very good in two channel. Definitly give it a try you will be pleasently suprised.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $4400.00

Purchased At:   Colombia



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Blaine a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: May 24, 2000

Bottom Line:   
After more than a year's use, I must report how pleased I am with this stellar performing analogue preamplifier. Recognizing Meridian's strength in the digital formats, I was unsure whether I would be pleased with this gear's performance beyond my extended testing period of 3 months. Today, I still find this unit very pleasing to the ear and will likely only replace it with Meridian's 561 when my theater is completed.

I am currently running this unit with Merdian's fine 508-24 compact disc player, coupled with a bi-amped set-up of Krell's KSA250 running the mids/highs and a Meridan 557 pushing the lows. I am using balanced interconnects throughout the system.

What I like best about this preamp is it's lack of signature. My two previous preamps/processor (noted above) each applied their own flavor to stereo music. The 502 is smooth without being warm. It is very detailed and natural without a hint of tonal coloration. It is dynamic but doesn't seem to get in the way of the amps' power and drive, particularly on extended high frequencies. Ultimately, it's invisibility allows my untrained but particular ear to find music of various formats enjoyable for extended listening periods.

The 502 seems very well built. The case is pleasantly designed. It is certainly on the smaller end of the "size matters" scale. And the remote is easy to use, despite having to replace batteries all too frequently. (A very minor nit, I know!)

In my view, this unit is definitely worth a listen if you are seeking a reasonably priced analogue preamp.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999




Reviews 1 - 5 (13 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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