Meridian CD 207
Have I found the worst CD in the world ?
Not that I was searching for one, but hey, things don't get much worse
than THAT !
I was very excited to work on the legendary Meridian player. I am not
suggesting that it was bad when it came out some time back in 1987 or
close. They took the right parts - TDA1541A S1, the CDM4 mechanism, and
added some of their own proprietary electronics. They did a great job
but this player is unfortunately just screaming GARAGE industry. Maybe
it is not a bad player per se, but for us - Lampizators - it is a true
The worst part is the loading mechanism. All made by hand in a garage -
it is terrible. fixing it is a real nightmare.
The separation between DAC and transport is a strange one. The
transport holds the power supply for the DAC. There is a terrible
umbilical 25 pin cord with both power and digital signal, utilizing the
LPT 25 pin computer connectors. It sucks big time.
The whole player has as many types of screws as it has screws. Every
one is different. Getting to the guts of this player requires a
professional tool shed in the backyard. The PCB has no
silk-screen descriptors, so you are left wondering what is what. The
space is so tight that there is no room for anything, let alone
Lampizator or capacitor upgrade.
After spending 2 weeks trying to fix a mistracking unit - I HATE IT.
The pots adjusting the laser are placed so I can't turn them while it
plays. It takes hours to adjust - opening, closing, assembling,
disassembling again. No. no. no!. Count me out.
This is a player for masochists. It costs so much that we can REALLY
look elsewhere. For that money we can have Sony ESD player OH MY
GOD so much better.
The sound: in stock form is not good either. It is merely okay, but far
far from lampized TDA1541 players for 20 Euro like cheapest Philips
CD160 or something like that.
Even the transistor discrete I/U conversion, massive power regulation
etc - does not help. Also - assuming all is OK with the player -
the ergonomic aspect is terrible. The buttons, the logic, the display,
the remote - all is awful. Again - for masochists.
Bottom line is - STAY AWAY at all cost.
Hands up who understands these buttons? And worse than that - after a
few wines? Even pressing these buttons moves the whole player on the
shelve, it is that hard to press.
These transistors ate I/U section, in place of a simple resistor. This
complexity doesn't help much !
The DAC on the right is covered by an aluminium heat sink.
A massive preamp section with countless opamps and transistors. Not
transparent at all.
The TDA and caps around. It looks like properly implemented, but the
preamp analog stage kills all the goodies. No music from this single
general view on the DAC upper board. Looks neat, but you should
have seen the transport board - not pictured. A real horror.
Bottom side of PCB is all immersed in solder. No copper traces - but
globs of tin. I am not so sure about it. It looks like a Soviet
submarine not high-end.
The dac section bottom part.
The lower PCB of the DAC - all digital circuitry before TDA chip
plus power regulation.
The SAA7220 is also glued to the heat sink. I tried to NOS it but I
abandoned the whole project very fast. It is NOT FOR ME.
I love Meridian company for their efforts to push the digital
technology forward, for their countless great products, but this one -
from the earliest days - was a cul de sac in the process. Thank God
they abandoned this route and did a better job later.