Peer Review: Meridian Audio 258 power amplifier
Replicating the high performance of Meridian Audio’s loudspeakers, the Meridian 258 rack-mounted 8-channel power amplifier is designed to add power and performance to multi-room audio systems, in almost any application, at a competitive price point.
Designed with the custom installation market in mind, the easy-to-install, the 2016-launched Meridian 258 amplifier can be integrated with any existing passive loudspeaker system. The cold-running Class D amplifier delivers >100W per channel into 4 Ohms and >70W per channel into 8 Ohms. At 1U high and carrying a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty, the 258 is a category changing amplifier and as with all Meridian products is manufactured in the UK.
Reviewed by Jools Browning, director at BrownHen Solutions
Where have you used this product?
The Meridian 258 has been our amplifier of choice for several projects where we have installed multi-room audio; particularly for installations where the customer has a discerning ear within a modest budget. We have also installed it in our demonstration suite where it drives some of our higher performance speakers.
Why did you choose it?
We chose this product primarily as it offers excellent sound quality at an affordable price point. While it does not offer a multitude of fancy features, it instead focuses on the important basics of delivering a great sound with a design well suited to the custom installation engineer.
What do you like about the product?
The key requirement of an amplifier is its sound quality and the Meridian 258 excels at this. There are also other reasons to like the Meridian 258. Chiefly, its simplicity is a key factor as we are not paying for features that we will not use – the focus remains on the sound quality.
It additionally offers cold operation in a 1U rack mount format, and simple, reliable control for the amplifier in the form of a voltage trigger that accepts a wide range of voltages which offers great flexibility.
Would you change or develop anything about it?
The amplifier would offer even greater flexibility if it were able to offer a bridging mode; this would allow us to offer simple upgrade paths for the customer, as well as the ability to match power where audio zones have different needs.
Furthermore, along the same theme, it would be good to extend the range of amplifiers on offer so that an installation can maintain the same look and feel within the equipment rack but with different power, quality and channel options to suit a wider range of requirements.