Meridian 556 Amplifiers

556

Power Amplifier - 100x2 Channels

User Reviews (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9  
Boje   AudioPhile [Oct 26, 2014]

My sound comments matches ArthurGatos'es but I will stress that the amplifier is critical around cables ... this also means you can adapt it to many combinations.

I use it in company with an Audiolab 8000c and Linn Silver interconnects in between. The speaker cables are from Kimber and my speakers are modified Jamo Concert 8.

It sounds amazing to me

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
BKaz   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 25, 2012]

Don't use this amp with the Meridian 501, please don't. The 501 is not very good, so go for the 556 or 557 with the 502 balanced amp instead (the 502 is a great pre.amp). That is still a great combo, while the 501 just blur the picture.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Audiophilus   AudioPhile [Aug 20, 2011]

Any review is no substitute for your own ears but it's always nice to hear a user's opinion on any audio product. On to the 556: Build quality: excellent. Nothing to add. Sonics: being more a purist's amplifier than the result of marketing hype the 556 is not astonishing in any way; instead it is simply a very good link in the sound chain that does it's job of making "what comes into it" louder without adding any of it's own sonic character and for me this is why the 556 has a place in my home. Together with a stock Meridian 207 CD Pro transport (yes the old 207 A+B boxed bricks) and a PS DAC III into a variety of speakers (some presenting a difficult load) it has always and continues to provide a fatigue-free and very satisfying musical experience on the wide range of music I enjoy which goes from 'classic' rock to opera ... and just about everything in-between ... well except for RAP that is. Clean, fast, good pace and rhythm, there is nothing to not like about the Meridian 556. If you can get to audition one (with the right associated components - but that's true of all audio gear) do so, you're unlikely to be disappointed if you are looking for a power amplifier in this price range - a fair price when new and (IMHO) an absolute bargain at current used prices.

I have and use the Mark Levinson 27 (not the 27.5), a well-modified Adcom 5200 and others.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ArthurGatos   AudioPhile [Jan 26, 2006]
Strength:

Poweful, stable with difficult loads, extremely clean/ clear sounding, no colouration in its sound, great build quality. Capable of deep, powerful well controlled bass and smooth treble.

Weakness:

Sonically absolutely none. I cannot fault it.

A great sounding amp. the 556 is low in distortion, very neutral in its presentation of Music and extremely capable in driving difficult speaker loads. I also have a Densen DM10 integrated amp. ( an extreely musical amplifier, but not the most neutral one on the planet). The sound of the Meridian is clean, accourate non coloured with an amazing ability to extract the finest detail of the recording, without becoming 'harsh' or 'offensive' to the ear, there's a silky smoothnes in its sound that leaves you in no doubt that you are listening to a very refined product. Where my Densen makes listening to Music real fun, the Meridian presents a 'matter of fact' picture with a no nonsense approach that demands your attention to the full. This of course, demands good recordings and a good CD player if the potential of the 556 is to be realised to the full. Overall, a great amplifier mostly suited to Classical / Acoustic Music but capable of great performance with other types of material. The build quality is superb, in the usual Meridian fashion, and its rather narrow width will make it popular with the 'other half' for aesthetic reasons. I use mine with a Creek OBH 12 passive preamplifier and a pair of KEF Reference Three / 2 speakers. CD player is courtesy of Naim Audio and vinyl comes from a Linn Sondek LP12. This is one very happy owner of a Meridian 556.

Similar Products Used: Audiolab 8000P, Threshold S200, Proceed, Quad 405 and others.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Dizzydis   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 23, 2005]
Strength:

Stereo separation, power, clear sound and the build quality.

Weakness:

It is not as small as other Meridian equipment....

Great amplifier. I have a Meridian CD player and pre-amplifier. Good combination. I use to have an Linn amplifier (intek) but this Meridian sounds a lot clearer. There is no sound colour and the power is enough to feed my Dynaudio's (Contour 1.1). Very stable sound and a good stereo separation.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
brandonhu   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 17, 2004]
Strength:

warmth, smooth, find soundstage

Weakness:

none

Upgrading my 555 to 556 takes a whole year process. When I'm totally familiar with the sound of Meridian 555 (50w), I decided to give 556 a try (100w). The result came out fine and satisfying with my Dynaudio 1.1 speakers. The strength of Meridian is smooth and fine to the ears. The power of 556 is quite enough to drive my Dy 1.1 into tears easily. The importancd of the CD player makes 556 a dancing girl or a charming lady. I really like the style of combo, 501 + 506. and though they're quite old now, but they still look quite NEW.

Similar Products Used: meridian 555, pse 100ii
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Vincent   AudioPhile [Apr 20, 2004]
Strength:

Build quality. Power and control. Homogenous sounding.

Weakness:

Much too expensive for the musicality delivered. Cold sounding, lack of air, austerous. Where is the pation gone?

I tried a 501-561 combo to replace my small Kor Explorer 90 SI integrated ($650) into a rather ambitious system featuring Meridian 507 CD player and Apertura Tanagra Signature speakers (highly musical but very revealing and demanding in others components musicality). The problem is that the Meridian combo turned out to be quite less musical than the ridiculously cheap but highly musical Kora Explorer (hybrid tube transistor design)! There is nothing much you can criticise about the Meridian; everything is rather fine, clean, but it seems such a boring performer. Yes, the soundstage is wider and more muscular than with the Kora (more power from solide state), but the sense of air, the colors and the enthusiasm of the Kora is just gone. The Meridian just does not transmit the pation of music; it is sad because I am trully very impressed by Meridian's CD players that are not only homegenous (like this Meridian amp is) but also full of colors and very musicaly involving.

Similar Products Used: Naim, Audiomat, Kora (explorer 150 is dull, but the 90 is just incredible musicaly! it beated everything more expensive I tried), Cayin.
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
javier2002   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 18, 2002]
Strength:

neutrality,soundstage, music communication

Weakness:

I don´t find any yet.

This is a very well constructed amp., nice to see and nice to hear. I’m using it with a Carver C-19 vacuum reference preamplifier tweaked with Jensen paper oil caps in sensible places driving a pair of ProAc 1SC. It is not a simple task to find a good audio gear at reasonable price in our country then, we not able to try with different brands and models easily. Before the Meridian, I had an Arcam delta 290. It is a VG amp with most speakers but not with the ProAc. The couple have harsh high mids- low treble with all the CD Players, speaker cables and interconnects we have tried. Really they don’t work fine together. I’ve buy a Musical Fidelity XD10 in order to reduce these problem but, the low input impedance of the Arcam (believe or not, 4.7K) made this approach unsuccessful. Well, what I have found in the 556? A peace, in terms of sound quality, soundstage, focus, dynamics macro and specially a fine and incredible low level detail with a more relaxed long time listening sessions. Really you can hear inside the studio or the scenario with such focus that you can “see” the players or technicians! moving around you (not only in front of you). This could not be a virtue if you want music instead off noise or simply –sound- but, this kind of detail levels gives us a vivid panorama if it is joined with a good bass, articulate mids and real-life highs. Meridian is in that way. Perhaps the most amazing fact is its neutrality. It is very difficult to explain its ability to provide power without adds. You feel that the final result depends on the quality of the associated equipments and the accessories in the chain. A simple cable, in any place, made significant results. I’ve never experiment changes of this magnitude in any equipment. If you don’t believe in cables try with this Meridian (and ProAcs…). It is obvious what happen when change CD players. Bad records are more noticeably bad than never before, but good ones are delightfully good. Uninteresting records stacked in your cd-rack come to life. Ancient instruments like the violin family, sound substantially different than modern ones, guitars (from acoustic to electric) sound powerful, rich and with drama. You, not only in this case but specially in this case, should never use a single or a couple records to setup a system based on a 556 + a revealing speaker. Be patient to get a good balance or accept

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
sophiahapgood   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 14, 2002]
Strength:

Loads of power and finesse. Fabulous build quality.

Weakness:

Don't buy new as to be honest i don't think the 501 preamp when new was woth 1200 GB Pounds (I paid 300 GB Pounds for a mint 4 year old model), also 556 power amp, 1000 GB Pounds new (I paid 450 for a two year old unit), can't think of any real weakness given what i paid..!?!?

Decided to upgrade my aging musical fidelity E100 amp to something that would match my Meridian 506 20 Bit CD Player, plumped for a second hand Meridian 501 Pre and 556 Power amp from e-bay. Wow what a change bags of drive and musicallity and matched with the right cables (Audioquest opal). I found myself just listening and being bowled along the sheer scale of the music and the bass lines, so much firmer and crisper than the musical fidelity. I found I could drive my B&W CDM2's much harder without fatigue or any gremlins, vocals took on a new found openness and instruments soundstage is realy fine. firm recomendations for anyone looking for budget pre/power with style.

Similar Products Used: Meridian 506 20 Bit CD Player
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-9 of 9  

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