03 August, 2008

Review: MERIDIAN F80

The Meridian F80 is a "table top" radio that does a lot more than that. As I think it's eminently suitable for an old couple I know, a friend and I went investigating after Saturday yum cha.

The EXCEL Central showroom was rather dour looking, but the young salesman was polite enough to turn on the thing for us. Placed on a shelf, the sound was surprisingly good, but a little bass heavy initially. We soon found out there is ample DSP sound-contouring provision. Facing the thing directly, one does get some sense of the recording venue, enveloping space and a some imaging.

Moving to the sides dimmed the sound a little, but the salesman then said the "soundstage" can be widened! A minor adjustment and voila! Sound became more laterally dispersed and the feeling of treble roll-off vanished.

The thing can be played reasonably loud. Beethoven's 9th did well without signs of stress from the speakers. The narrow slot at the bottom just swallows your CD and it plays automatically.

The radio fared even better. With just a small antenna reception was more than strong, and the sound from RTHK4 was even better than the CD playback. Mind you, this tuner is DAB ready!

A remote is a convenience, and an optional iPod dock can be purchased. It plays DVDs too, and there is a video out.

Its footprint is smaller than a Linn Classik + speakers combo, and it offers a upscale challenge to Tivoli.

Not a bad toy at all and enough for a lot of people. My friend said, "better violin sound than the setups of many audiophiles. They should listen to this for a reference..."

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