On classical recordings the Audio Core 200 did a commendable job of retaining depth cues and getting most of the dimensionality of the soundstage rendered correctly. Only the back third of the stage was slightly truncated, with the horns too close to the percussion and the back wall a trifle too forward in the soundstage. Lateral focus was very good; on my recent recording of Handel’s Messiah, with its multiple soloists, they were all precisely located across the front center of the soundstage.
Hooked up to a Logitech Duet wireless music server via the SP/DIF connection gave the Audio Core 200 access to a myriad of Internet radio stations. Minnesota public radio (http://minnesota.publicradio.org/radio/services/cms/) has a wonderful classical music stream that sounded especially good through the Audio Core 200. On the better recordings I could swear I was listening to a CD or music file from my own library, not an Internet radio stream.
Consider this system if:
• You have a small or mid-sized listening room.
• You want a system that anyone in your household can use.
• You already use Meridian audio equipment.
Look further if:
• You need to play loudly in a larger room.
• You require more than three digital or two analog inputs.
• You want deep bass without a subwoofer.
Ratings (relative to comparably-priced compact speaker systems)
• Transparency and Focus: 9
• Imaging and Soundstaging: 8
• Tonal Balance: 9
• Dynamics: 8
• Bass Extension: 7
• Bass Pitch Definition: 7
• Bass Dynamics 7
• Value: 8
Hardcore hair-shirt audiophiles may find the idea of an audio component that is ergonomically elegant to the point that anyone can use it easily an anathema, but well-heeled music lovers who require a system for a small to mid-sized room will find the Meridian Audio Core 200 to be an ideal solution. In both looks and performance the Audio Core 200 achieves high points. For full impact you’ll need to add a subwoofer, but once so equipped the Audio Core 200 system can successfully fill any small or mid-sized room with music commanding your full attention.
Meridian DSP3200 Compact Digital Active Loudspeaker
Driver complement: 165mm polypropylene bass driver, 85mm aluminum full-range driver.
Onboard amplifier power: 2 x 75 Wpc, one for each driver.
Inputs/Outputs: Meridian SpeakerLink RJ45 connections (in/out).
Other: Onboard DSP system provides electronic crossover, dynamic bass protection, and loudness compensation functions.
Dimensions (H x W x D): 12.6” x 9.6” x 9.7” at base (units taper to smaller footprint at top).
Weight: 20 lbs./ea.
Meridian Audio Core 200 Stereo Audio Controller
• Meridian SpeakerLink (RJ45).
• 2 x S/PDIF coax (phono).
• 2 x mini-optical (3.5mm jack).
• USB for use as external computer sound card.
• i80 connector (Mini-DIN).
• 2 x Stereo Analog (phono).
• 2 x Stereo Analog (3.5mm jack) (same connectors as optical digital).
• Twin Meridian SpeakerLink (Master & Slave, RJ45) with MHR.
• 3.5mm Stereo Headphone out (optionally mutes speakers).
• Upsampling to 2xfs (88.2/96 kHz). (Output is always high resolution).
• Meridian ‘Apodising’ filter cleans up muddiness in digital recordings.
Finish: High gloss black or white.
Power: 12v DC, <=300mA, provided by external wall-mounted universal supply
Weight: 6 lbs.
Dimensions (H x W x D): 11” x 11” x 3.6”, including feet but not including control knob.
System Price: $9,000
For more information on the Audio Core 200 system in particular, follow this link: