British audio manufacturer Meridian has established itself as a leader in the digital audio field and the company has affirmed this reputation though benchmark products like its 800 series of components and, on a more affordable level, its critically acclaimed Explorer DAC (digital-to-analog converter).
Adding to its family of digital audio solutions the company has just announced its new Director DAC, whose $699 price tag remains attractive and delivers a few more features than the Explorer offers at $299. The Director builds upon the functionality of the Explorer product through more setup options, as well as the use of proprietary technologies, and audiophile-grade internal components.
The made-in-England DAC can be used with computers and a variety of traditional audio products that range from Apple TVs and Sonos products, to legacy products like CD and DVD players. Meridian says the Director incorporates its proprietary 24-bit/192kHz sampling technologies from its flagship 800 series of products, as well as its upsampling and apodizing technologies that are engineered to enhance the quality of audio data.
Externally the Director features a sturdy, anodized metal enclosure and a choice of an optical (mini Toslink)/SPDIF or USB input and RCA outputs. The USB port can be used as an input for computer-based files while at the same time powering the product, or used to connect an included power supply if you’re using the Director’s mini Toslink/SPDIF port while pairing the DAC with a CD or DVD player, for example.
On the opposite side from the connections, the Director features LED status indicators to represent the sample rate of the music being played, by 1x, 2x or 4x (corresponding to 44.1/48kHz, 88.2/96 and 176.4/192) the standard. A push button lets you select the input.
Internally the DAC utilizes a four-layer PC board that is said to minimize noise and improve performance (the Explorer employs a six-layer board), and other components such as audiophile-grade power supply capacitors and a direct-coupled, fixed output for connections to an audio system.
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Bob is a dedicated audiophile who has been writing about A/V for Electronic House sister publication CE Pro since 2000.