"Realism and Dimensionality"
The Meridian Director (also known as the Meridian Direct DAC) is a high-quality DAC designed to deliver superior audio quality from digital sources such as media players and computers. Director is the perfect link to your analog hi-fi system. Built in Britain to the same exacting standards as any Meridian product, Director is particularly appropriate for custom installation.
"Where the Direct really comes into its own is in spatiality," reports Neil Gader in his February 2014 review for The Absolute Sound magazine. "In defining the ambient boundaries around instrumentalists, the Direct captures much of the realism and dimensionality that less expensive players lack."
"Meridian Audio continues to impress with its latest DAC, the Director," reports ComputerAudiophile.com for August 5, 2013. "The sound quality reproduced through the Director is very good and is evidence of Meridian's expertise in Digital Signal Processing. The Apodising and upsampling filters produce classic Meridian sound quality that will surely please not only the Meridian faithful but those seeking to increase their enjoyment of our wonderful hobby."
Three Digital Inputs
Director features three digital inputs. A USB2-B jack allows it to be connected to a computer for playback of computer-based sources, such as network and audio file players. Director can also be used to link the digital output of a classic component such as a CD player or music server with a digital output, to an analog audio system.
A 3.5mm hybrid jack provides input for S/PDIF digital signals, either coax (via a 3.5mm mini jack) or optical (via a Mini-TOSLINK connector). Two adaptors are included: one allows standard coaxial S/PDIF phono cables to be used with Director, while the other allows standard TOSLINK optical cables to be used.
The Ideal Network Add-on
Director is the ideal add-on for network players, video streamers, and music servers. It brings Meridian performance to an entire class of audio products, significantly out-performing the standard DACs found inside computers and most network players.
Resolution Enhancement Technologies
Director supports sample rates up to 24-bit, 192 kHz and incorporates Meridian Resolution Enhancement technologies, including Meridian Upsampling and the Apodising filter, which audibly improve audio quality. The proprietary Apodising filter can actually improve the sound of some digital recordings by fixing recording faults. Standard sample rate signals (16-24 bit, 44.1/48 kHz) are automatically upsampled to 24-bit, 88.2/96 kHz, allowing filtering to be carried out far above the range of human hearing.
Director includes separate precision reference oscillators for sample rates based on 44.1 kHz and on 48 kHz, minimizing jitter. The DAC itself offers extremely low modulation noise and distortion, and incorporates the highest-quality components throughout, including audiophile grade capacitors, resistors and gold-plated phono sockets. Some features of the design are based directly on circuitry and components used in Meridian’s 800 Series.
Plug-and-Play and Asynchronous USB
Director offers plug and play operation with Macintosh computers, while a driver is required for Windows (XP or later): this is the same driver used for the Explorer DAC. In USB mode, Director uses asynchronous transfer for the best sound quality.
Director is powered solely via the USB2-B socket, either when connected to a computer for playback or via the included power supply. The USB port is also used for firmware upgrades.
Low-distortion, Bit-precise Operation
Director is designed for connection to an analog hi-fi or audio system with its own volume control, and is particularly appropriate for installation environments. It is bit-precise and delivers the lowest possible distortion and modulation noise. The 2v RMS fixed-level analog output includes anti- thump circuitry for trouble-free performance at switch-on.
Director Tells You What It's Doing
Director is enclosed in a sturdy, durable anodized aluminum extrusion case with molded endcaps. LEDs on the left of the front cap indicate the selected input in conjunction with a pushbutton that steps through the available sources. When S/PDIF is chosen, the optical or coax input is selected automatically. The most recently selected input is remembered across power cycles.
A further set of LEDs to the right indicates the input sample rate. When the 1x LED is illuminated, Director is receiving a signal at 44.1 or 48kHz sampling: (upsampled to 88.2/96kHz). When the 2x LED is on in addition, the unit is receiving 88.2/96kHz and when the 4x LED is also lit, 176.4/192kHz is being received.
"Though similar to its smaller sibling [the Explorer] in tonality, the Direct offers subtle improvements in the areas of low-level transparency and micro-dynamic resolution."
"Where the Direct really comes into its own is in spatiality – an arena in which, until recently, only premium digital players could compete. In defining the ambient boundaries around instrumentalists, the Direct captures much of the realism and dimensionality that less expensive players lack."
"The Direct is a musically satisfying, cost-effective solution for inoculating a system against digital obsolescence."
- Neil Gader, The Absolute Sound magazine, February 2014
"Meridian Audio continues to impress with its latest DAC, the Director. A more robust offering than the Explorer portable headphone amp/DAC the Director is made for full size systems."
"The sound quality reproduced through the Director is very good and is evidence of Meridian's expertise in Digital Signal Processing. The Apodising and upsampling filters produce classic Meridian sound quality that will surely please not only the Meridian faithful but those seeking to increase their enjoyment of our wonderful hobby."
- ComputerAudiophile.com, August 5, 2013