Meridian 551 Integrated Amplifiers

Meridian 551 Integrated Amplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

Stereo Power Amplifier

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-7 of 7  
[Apr 23, 2008]
JimmyBlues
AudioPhile

Strength:

Good sound, well built, nice asthetics

Weakness:

lacks some warmth in the midrange

I purchased this amplifier in the mid '90's and used it for a short time. It was a well built, nice sounding, and was very pleasing aesthetically. I was driving a pair of
vintage LS3/5A's at the time and found the unit to be a good match with them.

The sound was articulate, with a good sense of (Naim audio's criteria for their own amplifiers) -- pace, rythym and timing.

I also owned a Meridian 504 tuner, however not at the same time as the 551. In those days I had friend who was a hi-fi dealer, and between him and a subscription to the AudioMart used audio magazine, I had a different audio system virtually every month.

For those who are looking for a nice used system in the present day, The Meridian 551/504/506 is a nice combo that can be had for well under $2000.

Similar Products Used:

Naim NAIT2, NAIT3-Hicap

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Dec 22, 2003]
silverpep
AudioPhile

Strength:

Very detailed and smooth. Plenty of power and tight, strong bass.

Weakness:

None

Great little integrated. The 551 has the signature Meridian sound. Very clear and detailed but smooth and organic at the same time. The 551 presents a very transparent window and soundstage.

Similar Products Used:

Krell intergrated, Conrad Johnson Integrated

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 23, 2003]
daglesj
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Looks, facilities, dynamics and detail.

Weakness:

Upgrade the standard powercord.

I was using a Meridian 506CD and Pioneer A400GTE amp combo for several years. But in the end I got fed up with the mix and match approach to my gear (it was now in my living room rather than bedroom) and decided to add the 551 to the 506. The sound is very very good. The silences are just as dramatic as the noises. The detail and dynamics are superb and it works with all types of music. Just recently upgraded the 506 with a new 507 (24bit) and it works even better. Looks very discreet in the livingroom too! Detail, detail and more detail.

Similar Products Used:

Monitor Audio 9 Speakers, Russ Andrews Powercords, Trichord Research Argentum Interconnect, Furukawa FS-2T14 speaker cable

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jun 28, 2001]
Nik
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

I have owned an Audiolab 8000C (pre-amp) and 8000P (power amp)for around the last five years, it has been the cornerstone to my HiFi. I've changed most of the other components at least twice and the Audiolab has never really disapointed me.
Currently I have a Meridian 506 CD player and Dynaudio Audience 70 Loudspeakers and while wondering past my local HiFi shop I saw a second hand Meridian 551 Integrated amplifier. Until then I hadn't really thought about changing my Amp but I wondered what the 551 would be like because it would be nice to match it with the CD player and to be able to change the volume from my armchair. (not true audiophile style I know but I fancied a change anyway). My big worry was 'would it be powerful enough after the Audiolab ?', only one way to find out...... I'm a regular customer so I was lent it to try out at home.
The 551 is only a small box and I was very surprised when I first used it, it has a fantastic ability to pick out the finest details in the music, I could genuinely here new information in my CD collection. It has plenty of power for an integrated amplifier (not quite as much as the Audiolab but I expected that). It made my Audiolab amp seem slightly coloured and harsh when I tested them back to back. The sound seemed much more open and dynamic, almost easier to listen to. I listen to many different styles of music from Heavy Metal to Classical and the amp coped well with them all. It was especially good within the midrange (yes some of us still like to hear this as well) vocals, violins, guitars etc.... all sounded very 'realistic'. The top end is smooth and clear and the bass was handled well enough for all but the most 'over equalized' CD's (e.g. Massive Attack's Mezzanine) it reproduces the deep sound of this CD but lost control a bit at higher volumes, but then most rooms aren't big enough for Mezzanine to sound right anyway.
The build quality and finish is EXCELLENT as is my Meridian CD player.
I think many people would regard my decision to buy it and replace the Audiolab as a 'backward step' but that's precisely what I did and have never regreted it.
There are also some really nice touches like programming the gain and name of each input so that you can equalize the volume when changing sources and display the name e.g. TV/DVD, it makes the amp much more fexible than it's black 'monolithic' appearance would suggest.
It is mono-block construction internally and has a dedicated headphone amplifier that gives superior reproduction through headphones compared to many amps I've tried.

Weakness:

Meridian's product style is everyone's choice and the
MM /MC input is not switchable, you need to buy the correct input module.
Meridian System Remote (MSR) is expensive (although very comprehensive)

The 551 is the only integrated amp that Meridian sell and it's great value for money when compared to buying their pre-amp (501) and 5xx series power amplifiers. I was definitely surprised at how good it was for an integrated amplifier. I never thought I would change my old Audiolab Amp but the 551 made this an easy decision. Check out http://www.meridian-audio.com/p_551.htm - the handbook is on the website as well if you need more info.

Similar Products Used:

Audiolab 8000C / 8000P

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jan 15, 2002]
Rick
Audiophile

Strength:

superb transparency, balance, crystal treble and more than adequate bass - best integrated amp I've heard hence I bought it

Weakness:

none so far
the MS remote failed after 3months but was immediately replaced with anew unit on the spot

This is a superbly engineered, physicaly very solid and aesthetically pleasing amp from a company renowned for digital products.

The combination of this and the 509CD or the newer DVD surpasses most systems I've heard. I've used this with 3cd players meridian, marantz, sony with stunning results. Speakers have included BW Nautilus series and old Mordaunt Short which despite being some 15 years old have been given a new lease of life filling the room with energy be it classical, piano, jazz or rock.

Similar Products Used:

Cyrus7 pre/power, muscical fidelity nuvista, primare 300, quad 99, aragon 24K+multivalve power

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 09, 2001]
Jeff
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

build quality, very flexible, lots of inputs, midrange clarity

Weakness:

Can sound a little too bright in some system

I was trying to find a system for my home office. I planned to integrate the system with my computer as well. I had Cary 300B SEI in my office for a while. Cary is undeniably magical, but it produces lots of heat, and not flexible enough, but i am very happy with its sound. Then i came across Meridian 551. It offers so much features such as lots of inputs and adjustable gain for each input in a small package. Beside it does not radiate heat. So i gave it a try. I did not expect the magic or liquidity in the midrange associated with Cary. However, the sound is clear with lots of details. It can sounds a little bright with some cable, but my home office is not very acoustically lively and the cable i use does not sound very bright, so it works fine. It has that British sound, clear, a little bright, a little lean. When listening to Al DiMeola plays live, I can tell it is Ovation guitar he is using, because i have one too. Despite how great it is, it still lacks the warmth of tube gears. I really missed the tube sounds. Cary and Meridian have completely different sound, but since i spend more time in office, i chose to place Meridian in my computer integrated system. I still keep my Cary, but for different occation.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Oct 10, 1998]
Veda
an Audio Enthusiast

This unit is the only integrated amp from Meridian. For this review, I'll be comparing it against the Krell KAV-300i simply because it is the only integrated amp I have available at the time. Yes it's rather unfair, but it may be a good thing since many people are familiar with the Krell model.
Power ratings: Meridian 50W @ 8 ohm, Krell 150W @ 8 ohm

Build quality and look: The casing of the 551 actually seems more durable than the KAV-300i's but the buttons on the faceplate seem flimsy. The KAV-300i is also full metal on the outside, giving it the "bloodied sword" look as opposed to the high tech impression of the 551. As for the remote, the 551 comes with Meridian's 500 series remote which is beautiful to look at. The KAV-300i remote looks like a simple professional remote used in industrial equipments.

Input/Output: The 551 has 6 standard input jacks while KAV-300i has 3 standards and 1 balanced. Both has preamp outs and tape loop. The Krell does not have headphone output.

Sound quality: The Meridian excels in transparency and highs but it lacks bass and power for large rooms. The Krell sounds full bodied and smooth but lacks the crisp highs that the Meridian has. In my opinion, with my current setup the 551 is better at reproducing acoustic guitars. The Transparent The Link interconnect used in this comparison is noted for its ability to roll off highs. If I were to replace it with a more neutral cable, I'm sure the Krell would perform just as well as the Meridian.

Conclusion: These are different beasts. I like the 551 because of the convenience of a headphone and the sound it provides for my bedroom. In a serious music system however, the KAV-300i is the almost absolute winner. Personally I'm keeping both:)

Associated Components:
Parasound C/DC1500 changer
Audio Alchemy DTIPro 32
Camelot Arthur 3.0 DAC
Totem 1 speakers
Transparent The Wave speaker cables
Transparent The Link interconnects
LAT Int. DI-20 digital coax
Audio Power Power Pack II
Tara Labs + MAS power cords
Lovan Affinity 2 stands

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-7 of 7  

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.

audioreview.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

Other Web Sites in the ConsumerReview Network:

mtbr.com | roadbikereview.com | carreview.com | photographyreview.com | audioreview.com