November 21, 2013 by Robert Archer
While some segments of the consumer audio market continue to struggle as the economy slowly climbs out of global recession, categories such as soundbars and headphones thrive. A recent study released by Futuresource Consulting states the headphone market expects to ship 284 million products in 2013, which represents 9 percent growth over 2012. The consulting company adds the headphone market is expected to growth by 5 percent through 2017 before the category flattens thanks to the continued popularity of tablets and smart phones.
Helping consumers to get the most from their headphone purchases is the high-performance A/V manufacturer Meridian Audio. The British company well known for its innovations in the digital audio category has throughout 2013 aggressively developed and introduced a growing number of personal audio solutions that now includes the company’s latest product: The Prime Headphone Amplifier.
Meridian explains the Prime Headphone Amplifier was developed to serve music fans as a reference-grade analog headphone amplifier for just about any type of headphone product, and it can be configured in a variety of ways to serve users with headphones, as well as traditional audio systems. Aesthetically the headphone amplifier features Meridian co-founder Allen Boothroyd’s latest industrial design concepts, including a dual-skin, all-metal case; a screwless assembly and accents that recall the company’s legacy products.
Meeting the needs of general music fans and audiophiles, Meridian says the headphone amplifier can be powered by its supplied wall-mounted power supply or enthusiasts can opt for the optional external Prime Power Supply that is said to provide better isolation from AC power noise. Internally the Prime Headphone Amplifier also utilizes Meridian’s Analogue Spatial Processing (ASP) technology that is said to deliver a more immersive and accurate listening experience.
Other features built into the Prime Headphone Amplifier Include:
- 24-bit/192kHz high-resolution audio file native conversion compatibility
- Separate low-jitter crystal oscillators for 44.1k and 48k sample rates
- Asynchronous data transfer
- Six-layer PC board
- Direct-coupled outputs
- Analog signal path for analog sources
- A preamplifier output for connections to external audio systems or analog active loudspeakers
- Analog signal processing options with listening modes for no processing, out-of-head and out-of-head with bass boost
- Headphone output of 2.8vrms
- MSRP: $2,000
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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.
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