Meridian 557 Amplifiers

Meridian 557 Amplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

Power Amplifier - 200w x2 Channels

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 13  
[Apr 11, 2012]
jfds56
AudioPhile

Recently purchased this great power amp (used) to replace Audiolab 8000P and the difference in sound quality is astonishing. It has brought my ATC SCM7's to life and added delicacy to obvious huge power reserves, never sounding forced or stained. Dynamics, treble quality, midrange, bass - all to die for. It is built like a tank and is aesthetically pleasing to look at. The closest l have ever had to this sound quality, surprisingly, was a bridged pair of NAD 2150's. The Meridian, however, gives the impression it is always working well within its capacity. l will be holding on to it for many years to come. One minor irritation is that the toroidal transformer is noisy (varying audible buzz), however, given that at the speakers it is one of the quietest power amps l have heard, l am willing to forgive this irritation.

System:
Audiolab 8000Q
Meridian 557
Arcam CD72T
Thorens TD160S, grace 727, ortofon MC20 supreme
Graham Slee Fanfare 3 MC preamp
ATC SCM 7's
B&W ASW300 subwoofer
QED speaker cables
Van Den Hul interconnects (the First, DH102 III)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 04, 2007]
king of punk
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Clean controlled sound. Good separation. Build quality. Reliable. Nice looks

Weakness:

Might sound a bit empty at first listen but what you are hearing is an absence of harshness that the artist NEVER recorded & your previous amp added its own sonic signature.

I purchased the Meridian 557 in 1998 which replaced an Audiolab 8000 that blew up!

I have never regretted it. This beast can handle ALL TYPES OF MUSIC!! . From Kate Bush Kick Inside to Ace of Spades Motorhead . It can do gentle. It can do nasty. It will not break up when playing the craziest of music & laughs at the 1812 Overture & Who Live at Leeds!!!

Over the years I have assembled an all 500 series Meridian system. Including B&W 703 speakers & chord cable throughout. Its not cheap & I'm not rich but if your a real music fan , not some audiophile fool that has a high end system & 12 records , then go for a 557. It will power any domestic hi-fi speaker easily. It is built like a tank & destroys the competition like one!!!!!!!!!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 06, 2003]
Johnsen
AudioPhile

Strength:

Looks very nice

Weakness:

Can not handle low impedeances

Started hard clipping into my Infinity Kappa 9.2i speakers when I turned up the volume. It must really have trouble delivering high current into a low impedance. My speakers are 4 ohm nominal with dips below 1 ohm, so they can be tough. But I have tried ten other amps and newer experienced this problem. The amp sounded good at lower speaker levels, but this realy scared me and I did not test it for very long after discovering this problem

Similar Products Used:

Parasound HCA 3500, Vincent 991, Carver X-760a, Nakamitchi PA7-mk2,NAD 218 + more tested

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
[Nov 16, 2002]
airdon
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

nature, smooth sound with great power. beautiful design.

Weakness:

Maybe a little light bass in some small system.

Meridian 557 delivers great power and control of my PMC LB-1 speaker. It sounds so right with much details and fast bass. Maybe bass is not very strong and the tone is not very beautiful. As all good solid-state power-amp, it brings everything right. Drive the speaker with uncolored signal. Kick the speaker to work hard. You can hear very clean sound with good CD-player and pre-amp. I know 557 is not designed to be a best quality high-end amp. But it sounds as good as all high-end amp in most cases. Personally, I like it's elegant look very much.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 28, 2002]
Jules99
AudioPhile

Hi, I found a great modifier of this Meridian amp. Steve Huntely from Great Northern Sound is one of the best modifiers out there. Steve Modified by Meridian 557 Amp and after the upgrade this amp is as good as any Amp I'v heard. He used to work for Audio Research, Wadia and CAl. He mods Dacs, CD Players, Transports Amps, Preamps, you name it. http://www.greatnorthernsound.com/home.htm Here's the upgrade he did for my 557 amp. 4 sets of Cardas Copper CCBP Binding posts Rewired supply wiring with Cardas 11.5 gauge high purity copper wire. 4 larger/better Nichicon Great Supply 10,000 uf 80v power supply filter caps for the main high voltage supply. Added appropriate MIT power supply bypass caps across filter caps. Bybee noise reduction on main supply lines. High quality high speed rectification devices. Upgraded the 4 main signal coupling caps to the new Cardas/RTI type coupling caps. Fine tuned sonics with appropriate bypasses. Upgrade costs: $1,200.00.

Similar Products Used:

Parasound 3500, Adcom 5802, Innersound, Conrad Johnson 2300A

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 28, 2001]
Johnny Letroye
Audiophile

Strength:

Verry nice looking , power reserve , sounds great with Martin Logan ReQuest etc etc...

Weakness:

Needs verry good pre amp although thats not really a weakness

I own the 557 for about three years now and have used many other power amps .
When used with the 502 pre amp there was a loss of clarrity in the high frequenties .
So a bit of advice for other 557 owners , dont use a Meridian pre amp because the 557 outclasses them.
The best results i got with the Musical Fidelity Nu Vista Pre.
sound was verry open and soundstages honest and verry real.
Also the 557 has enough power reserve to drive most speakers.
I even used it on th B&W Nautilus 802s whitout any problem.
now i use the power amp on my Martin Logan ReQuests and the sound is verry detaled and open with verry good controle over the lower frequenties.
In my opinnion this is THE BEST power amp at this price and it can match up with others costing 3and 4 times the price of the 557.
So my conlusion is verry simple
EVERYBODY SHOULD HAVE ONE OR TWO 557s

Similar Products Used:

Perreaux P350 , Harman Kardon Signature 1.5 ,Meridian 505.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 17, 2001]
kevin fiske
Audiophile

Strength:

grunt, transparency, remarkable value

Weakness:

Compared to Bryston 4B, stightly less tight bass

Having had a pair of 557s for a year now, teamed with a 502 pre-amp and separate 24 bit dac and tranport, I think the 557 is an absolute high-end bargain.

I was prompted to post having read what others have to say here, and to urge fellow 557 owners to try bi-amping, rather than using the amplifier's bridging switch.

I started off bridging -- just because 'it was there' - and was at first pretty impressed. But over a few weeks I detected a very grainy sound, relative lack of finesse, and a pretty flat soundstage. And so I revised the wiring and bi-amped, just as an experiment. Oh what a difference. A cavernous soundstage, much more tightly focused, and silky smooth sound without the granularity.

I called Meridian to share my experience and ended up in dialogue by proxy with the designer of the 557. He said I'd done what he had always intended onwners of 557s to do -- bi-amp that is -- and that he'd only included the bridging facility for PA applications where horsepower is more important than quality.

So, folks -- if your speakers support bi-amping, do give it a go. I'd also wholly suppoirt what others here have noted -that the balanced inputs are much to be prefered to the single-ended.

Similar Products Used:

See above

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 08, 1998]
b
an Audio Enthusiast

Mention the word "meridian" to any audiophile who is current with gearproduced over the past 15 years, and the image of a company known for
producing fine digital products (cd players especially) comes to mind.
Despite this well known fact, I am hear to notify you that this same
company produces probably one of the finest 200 watt solid state amplifiers
currently made. The Meridian 557 amplifier unleashes 200 8ohm(360+ 4ohm)
watts of as pure amplification. I believe it be one of the best products
available in any price range. I Did a comparison test in my own home, of
the 557 vs an ARC D-400, which happens to be a $6000 solid state receiver
produced by Audio Research Corporation. The only slightly significant
difference I could hear between the two was a slight (and I do mean slight)
low end delivery from the D-400. This minor gain surely did not justify
itself enough to pay an additional $3500 to obtain it. I respect the fact
that there are certain high end manufacturers which produce some real decent
gear in the upper range. I however am on a realistic budget and therefore
do not have the funds or the desire to own these products. Anyone shopping
the used market for a 557 can obtain one probably in the $1300-1500 range.
This amplifier probably has the best design of any amplifier I have seen.
It weighs 67 pounds and is designed around a non traditional sized chassis
which makes it easier to install on your system rack or to mount on its own.
It contains two sets of binding posts for each speaker making bi-wiring a
snap. It also contains balanced an SE inputs. The balanced mode connected
to the Meridian 502 preamp is about as good as it gets for the money. I
have also tryed the 557 with the BAT VK5-i preamp. The VK5-i really revealed
the potential of the amplifier. The two combined produced one of the
greatest soundstages I have ever heard in my home or elsewhere.
I guess the real question is?........Why the heck has no major audio
magazine or website review released any information on this product? A
very puzzling thing to be sure, especially since everyone raves about
Meridians' cd products. No matter. If you have not heard of this amp, you
don't know what you are missing. It is quiet, operates cooler than any
amp that I've known, and produces the best sound anywhere for the money.
If you are looking for a new or used amp my suggestion is, "buy it."
System:
Meridian 557
Meridian 502 preamp
Meridian 506 cd/Sony CDP XA77ES
Martin Logan Sequel II's
JPS Labs Superconductor interconnects
AudioQuest Diamond XLR interconnects
Monster Sigma Reference2 speaker cable

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Apr 17, 1998]
Mark Napora
an Audio Enthusiast

I bought a Meridian 557 power amp (along with Meridian 502 pre-amp) about a year ago and am thoroughly impressed. The power delivery is effortless (>200 watts rms and maintaining the current drive into low loads). The sound is clear and clean and the imaging which my B&W P6 speakers produce are rock-solid and deep. The amp itself is well constructed but has a bridging switch at the back which is next to the power on/off which is a bit of a pain, but if you leave the amp powered up all the time ( as I do), it's not too bad. The amp itself is very heavy - has a huge transformer which accounts for most of its weight. Although quite big, it looks 'nice' with a smoked black glass top to match the finish of other Meridian products. I compared the amp to other products similar in price (eg 2 x Audiolab power amps) and found it had that rhythm and drive of the speaker cones without losing control. The Meridian 502 pre-amp, incidentally, blows the earlier 501 out of the water and is well matched to the 557 via balanced leads. A super product and one which is 'affordable' high-end hi fi.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[May 07, 1999]
Chucky
an Audio Enthusiast

The Meridian 557 is truly a stealth product with exceptional capabilities. I was able to locate a dealer demo model (I understand the 557 with be replaced soon) at an incredible, close-out price. My search for audio equipment that would work well in a theater set-up led me to look at Merdian's line. After purchasing a 508-24 and evaluating Meridian's processor, I decided to give the 557 and the 502 pre-amp a listen. As completely integrated (by brand) systems go, it's hard to believe there is a much better choice for those of us unwilling to spend in the five-figure range.
Using balanced connections throughout revealed an amazing level of sonic clarity and realism. The 557 was more than sufficient to drive my power-hungry stat panels. I was also pleased with this amp's ability to reproduce a very good soundstage. In my opinion, one would be hard-pressed to describe this amp as a "slammer". At least in my system. Yet, its low-end frequency response was very natural. Like others who have provided opinions on this amp, I found it interesting that very few hi-fi magazines ever reviewed the 557. It is cetainly a solid, well-built piece of gear and is quite attractive with its clean, black case. For the money, it's tough to beat!
System:
Meridian 508-24
Meridian 502
Meridian 557
Martin-Logan Monolith III
Audioquest Quartz XLR interconnects
MIT Terminator 2 cables

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 13  

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