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#272066 - 2018-01-20 10:00 Thiel: a warning from today
Registered: 2004-04-15
Posts: 12,325
VirusKiller Offline
Don't Panic
VirusKiller Offline
Don't Panic

Registered: 2004-04-15
Posts: 12,325
Loc: nr. Milton Keynes, UK
Much as some of us might not like Meridian's current direction and/or be frustrated by a lack of communication and upgrades that *we* want as customers in the retail sector, here's a timely reminder of why you simply have to have a brand strategy and rock solid business plan to survive in high-end audio in the digital age.

Demise of Thiel Audio


Roon Developer and ex-moderator of this Forum
I am #25 in the HH1 photo of fame.
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#272068 - 2018-01-20 10:10 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: VirusKiller]
Registered: 2004-12-09
Posts: 6,243
ChrisLayerUK Offline
President of the Imperial Galactic Government
ChrisLayerUK Offline
President of the Imperial Galactic Government

Registered: 2004-12-09
Posts: 6,243
Loc: Colchester, Essex, UK
Something from the article Meridian may like to consider

“When the consumer’s are confused, They don’t buy”.


No 18 in the Hall of fame smile I have simple tastes; I am content to settle for the best: GIK monster bass panels, rear wall.
MC200 500GB, QNAP TVS 471i3. Roon into 2 MS200's. Explorer 2. Bluesound Pulse 2 and Mini. 596 v1.89.2, 518, G61R, M60.2 Rosewood, M33C, M33 Rears, M1500 Sub, Foxsat HD, Sony Blu Ray, Pioneer 5090, 2 Chromecast's for LRB videos.
Edited by ChrisLayerUK; 2018-01-20 10:10.
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#272078 - 2018-01-20 12:38 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: ChrisLayerUK]
Registered: 2003-10-04
Posts: 1,986
spinaltap Offline
Knows where his towel is
spinaltap Offline
Knows where his towel is

Registered: 2003-10-04
Posts: 1,986
Loc: Bournville, UK
‘Stick to the knitting’ was/is a fundamental messsge from the ubiquitous management textbook ‘In Search of Excellence’. That is, stick to what you’re good at rather than spreading yourself too thinly in selling other products.

While Meridian remain focussed on rebranded Panasonic car audio than developing their pedigree in high-end home audio, their future doesn’t look too bright.


My Mac can go all the way to XI - Mac user since 1988.
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#272081 - 2018-01-20 13:00 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: spinaltap]
Registered: 2004-08-07
Posts: 7,454
Ian Online content
President of the Imperial Galactic Government
Ian Online content
President of the Imperial Galactic Government

Registered: 2004-08-07
Posts: 7,454
Loc: Surrey, England, UK
Does that lower the pedigree of the likes of Adobe who don't make the PC's their software runs on?

Meridian are as much about installation, software and IP as they are manufacturing hardware. It’s not just a badge, it’s Meridian’s knowhow and software that's in JLR, just not their hardware.

Meridian, and I am sure as are the other audio branded car audio systems, are constrained by the hardware platform, space and budget that a vehicle manufacturer give them. TBH I would rather the hardware was not done by Meridian as they are hardly experts in building hardware for the harsh environment of a vehicle.


Meridian owner since 1992
DSP5000 96/24, MC200, Prime & PSU, Focal Elear, Explorer 1 & 2, F80, 200/203 and various Sonos.
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#272083 - 2018-01-20 13:06 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: spinaltap]
Registered: 2004-04-15
Posts: 12,325
VirusKiller Offline
Don't Panic
VirusKiller Offline
Don't Panic

Registered: 2004-04-15
Posts: 12,325
Loc: nr. Milton Keynes, UK
Originally Posted By spinaltap
While Meridian remain focussed on rebranded Panasonic car audio than developing their pedigree in high-end home audio, their future doesn’t look too bright.
I'm not sure I agree with that assessment. You need to be a profitable business with healthy cashflow to invest... IMO Meridian has never really been a successful business; it's been more of a technology developer/demonstrator [and the world of audio is all the richer for that]. Leveraging its considerable existing IP in new markets (for presumably relatively low in-house cost) is a sensible way to generate profits and cash and build a solid platform for the business. Until they have that, they can't really invest in new technologies at the high end.

Unfortunately for us, it's going to take some time, but I'm encouraged at some of the B2B relationships they've established, most notably the one with LG.


Roon Developer and ex-moderator of this Forum
I am #25 in the HH1 photo of fame.
Edited by VirusKiller; 2018-01-20 13:08.
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#272099 - 2018-01-20 16:58 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: VirusKiller]
Registered: 2003-10-04
Posts: 1,986
spinaltap Offline
Knows where his towel is
spinaltap Offline
Knows where his towel is

Registered: 2003-10-04
Posts: 1,986
Loc: Bournville, UK
In management terms, if you evaluate Meridian via a Boston Matrix..

Cash Cows: Car Audio.

Stars: Custom Install.

Dogs: Hi-end Audio.

Cash cows are low-growth products with a high market share. These are mature, successful products with relatively little need for investment. They need to be managed for continued profit - so that they continue to generate the strong cash flows that the company needs for its Stars.

Stars are high growth products competing in markets where they are strong compared with the competition. Often Stars need heavy investment to sustain growth. Eventually growth will slow and, assuming they keep their market share, Stars will become Cash Cows.

Dogs refers to products that have a low market share in unattractive, low-growth markets. Dogs may generate enough cash to break-even, but they are rarely, if ever, worth investing in. Dogs are usually sold or closed.

The remaining block in the Boston Matrix is...

Question Marks: MQA

Question marks are products with low market share operating in high growth markets. This suggests that they have potential, but may need substantial investment to grow market share at the expense of larger competitors. Management have to think hard about “Question Marks" - which ones should they invest in? Which ones should they allow to fail or shrink?


My Mac can go all the way to XI - Mac user since 1988.
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#272103 - 2018-01-20 19:18 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: spinaltap]
Registered: 2004-01-04
Posts: 1,894
gIzzE Offline
Knows where his towel is
gIzzE Offline
Knows where his towel is

Registered: 2004-01-04
Posts: 1,894
Loc: Norwich, UK
I agree with VK here, the partnerships with the like of Panasonic/JLR and LG are what is needed for them to generate the cash needed to move the 'Hi-Fi' side forward.

A while ago I was saying this is exactly what Meridian should be doing, approaching cash rich manufacturers who already have the facilities in place to manufacture at a decent rate.

My only gripe with Meridian now is their complete disregard for current owners in regard to letting them know the road map ahead. I would argue this usually happens for 4 reasons, either you have a product that is so out there and genius you can't give a glimpse to the competition for fear of being beaten to market with a stolen idea, because you don't know what your next product is, or you are not sure you will be able to fund the product you want to bring to market, or finally because you haven't got a clue what you're actually doing next yourself.

I will be honest, I sold my Meridian system as I genuinely thought they were done with true home audio moving forward, after waiting what seemed years for something new I nearly gave up and then MQA was announced, however, after months and months of waiting to hear how I could get it in my system it seemed after 2 years I was pretty much told "Sorry, you can't."
I was gutted that I needed to spend the best part of £11,000 to get true MQA into some DSPs, but thought I would just keep my 5200s and get another system to experience MQA.
Problem with that is the other system sounded better, hence selling my DSPs and G68.

Maybe Meridian have actually realised that HiFi in the classic sense is dead and rack mount unit hidden away is actually the future, hence the 251 and 271 etc.?
To be fair to them I am now running a Roon endpoint with a power amp all hidden away, it doesn't need to be seen, which is pretty much the way Meridian seem to be heading. But just explain your reasons to your customers Meridian, tell them what your plans are and give them some confidence.


No Darling, I've had it months!
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#274044 - 2018-03-08 02:09 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: gIzzE]
Registered: 2016-10-31
Posts: 113
Nstzya Offline
Hitchhiker
Nstzya Offline
Hitchhiker

Registered: 2016-10-31
Posts: 113
Loc: Indianapolis, USA
Originally Posted By gIzzE
I agree with VK here, the partnerships with the like of Panasonic/JLR and LG are what is needed for them to generate the cash needed to move the 'Hi-Fi' side forward.

A while ago I was saying this is exactly what Meridian should be doing, approaching cash rich manufacturers who already have the facilities in place to manufacture at a decent rate...
After recently hearing what can be accomplished with an all-in-one DAC/DSP active coaxial driver based compact unit in the form of the KEF LS50W’s and the Devialet Phantoms, if they can’t partner with one of those two, maybe getting the excellent Thiel coaxial driver technology might be a prudent move?

Originally Posted By gizzE
...I was gutted that I needed to spend the best part of £11,000 to get true MQA into some DSPs, but thought I would just keep my 5200s and get another system to experience MQA.
Problem with that is the other system sounded better, hence selling my DSPs and G68.
What is your “other system to experience MQA”?

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#274048 - 2018-03-08 08:30 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: Nstzya]
Registered: 2004-01-04
Posts: 1,894
gIzzE Offline
Knows where his towel is
gIzzE Offline
Knows where his towel is

Registered: 2004-01-04
Posts: 1,894
Loc: Norwich, UK
I wasn't going to mention that, as it was also considerably cheaper.

Roon - Meridian Explorer 2 - Quad 405 amp (refurbed) - Quad S2 speakers with a Rel Strata sub.

I then went on an upgrade binge trying speakers from Focal, Harbeth, Scansonic, Logan and Quad 988s, and amps from Croft, Bel Canto, Quad 909 etc. but in the end still preferred the little S2s with the 405 amp.

That whole system cost me around £1000 in total, it is sublime.


No Darling, I've had it months!
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#274055 - 2018-03-08 09:25 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: gIzzE]
Registered: 2007-09-23
Posts: 1,561
Syles Offline
Working on the ultimate question
Syles Offline
Working on the ultimate question

Registered: 2007-09-23
Posts: 1,561
Loc: London, UK
Originally Posted By gIzzE
Quad 988s
What were these like and why didn't they make the cut?

All the best,
Steve


-
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#274057 - 2018-03-08 10:48 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: Syles]
Registered: 2010-07-19
Posts: 79
Dubya Offline
Mostly harmless
Dubya Offline
Mostly harmless

Registered: 2010-07-19
Posts: 79
Loc: Lancashire, UK
Hi, do you actually get the full benefit of MQA though with limited bandwidth speakers? ie. < 20k.

I ask because I have some vintage B&W's that go up to 22K.

Regards
W


808.6, Bryston 4BSST2, B&W 802
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#274059 - 2018-03-08 11:48 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: Dubya]
Registered: 2004-01-04
Posts: 1,894
gIzzE Offline
Knows where his towel is
gIzzE Offline
Knows where his towel is

Registered: 2004-01-04
Posts: 1,894
Loc: Norwich, UK
Steve, Quad 988s were awesome, I had them before I had the rest, they were in the other room.

In all honesty if they didn't look they way they do I would still have them now, but they are ugly beasts and they were never going to be allowed to go into the main room where I actually want to listen to them.

It was owning the Quad S2s, that sound so similar, amazingly so, that allowed me to move on the 988s.





Regarding the band limited, I had already bought the S2s for a second system, I was enjoying so much that I bought a pair of Scansonic MB2.5s to replace the 5200s and a Quad 909 amp and agaibn used the Explorer 2 as an endpoint.

The Scansonics are rated up to 40khz, but in all honesty I prefered the S2s, not bad for a speaker that is 1/5th the price and that MB2.5 is also highly reviewed with many saying it itself beats most speakers at 4x the price.
The little S2s impressed so much that I bought a pair of the larger Z3s to replace the Scansonics, however, in all honesty still preferred the smaller Quad S2, the integration between mid and tweeter is seamless on the S2s in a way very few speakers truly manage and as I was using a Rel sub the smaller speakers and the way they imaged was just better.

When I heard the S2s in Martins HiFi I could tell they were going to be good, even with a Cyrus amp and no sub!! (Sorry Ian, just kidding). But there was something there in the midrange that reminded me of my electrostatics, so I bought a pair for the second room.
I have been seriously impressed.

You can definitely hear a difference between the MQA and non MQA tracks on them still, but, and I am probably going to regret saying this on here, I am not a fan of MQA.
The odd album I have heard has sounded nicer, but in general I just don't like it as much as a well recorded lossless version. There is generally more space, more detail, more of a forward sound, but to me I just don't like it as much. The best way I can describe it is when you jump from 18bit 5000s to 24bit 5000s, the 5000s sound smoother, more laid back, more grown up, where as the 18bit 5Ks have more bite, more PRAT as Naim would say, but that is not a sound for me.
The other thing is I sound the soundstage a bit......I don't know? Just not as accurate with MQA, a bit too left and right.

I loved the idea of MQA, I even sold my system to get MQA, but now, after living with it and trying it on loads of different amps and speakers I have come to the conclusion that I'm not bothered about it.
Now, if I went back to a Meridian MQA system, which would being Meridian, super smooth anyway, I might find that extra bite truly wonderful, but I can now see why so many listeners out there really don't like it and are worried that if everything gets MQA'd it could be for the worse.


No Darling, I've had it months!
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#274068 - 2018-03-08 15:40 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: gIzzE]
Registered: 2007-09-23
Posts: 1,561
Syles Offline
Working on the ultimate question
Syles Offline
Working on the ultimate question

Registered: 2007-09-23
Posts: 1,561
Loc: London, UK
Thanks gIzzE.

Those ribbon tweeters look rather nice, I'm shocked they don't go above 22Khz, most do (not that there's anything up there to hear).

All the best,

Steve.


-
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#274113 - 2018-03-11 12:37 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: gIzzE]
Registered: 2016-10-31
Posts: 113
Nstzya Offline
Hitchhiker
Nstzya Offline
Hitchhiker

Registered: 2016-10-31
Posts: 113
Loc: Indianapolis, USA
Originally Posted By gIzzE
I wasn't going to mention that, as it was also considerably cheaper.

Roon - Meridian Explorer 2 - Quad 405 amp (refurbed) - Quad S2 speakers with a Rel Strata sub.

I then went on an upgrade binge trying speakers from Focal, Harbeth, Scansonic, Logan and Quad 988s, and amps from Croft, Bel Canto, Quad 909 etc. but in the end still preferred the little S2s with the 405 amp.

That whole system cost me around £1000 in total, it is sublime.
That is so interesting. Our US equivalent of QUAD is Martin-Logan (M-L). They are the legendary makers of ES speakers here. I have a pair of their LX-16 bookshelves that I bought very cheaply on close out when they replaced it with the cosmetic change only Motion15. It was, like yours, also a purchase intended for the bedroom. These, like the S2, are M-L’s attempt to recreate the electrostatic sound in a compact WAF friendly form. They use a marvelous AMT tweeter rather than a ribbon. Paired with a Bluesound Powernode 2 with full MQA and a lightly used Velodyne Optimum 8 sub, I pretty much have a North American equivalent of your British system for about the equivalent £1000 (Actually still wondering how you managed that, given that the price on the S2’s is £1000 alone?)

They sit on top of my 5000’s, are finished beautifully, but at their price point the cabinets are poorly braced, and there is a distinct cabinet resonance (which I keep intending to mod). But I can’t help but still love them, dammit!

I don’t have the same experience with MQA as you, but admittedly I do not listen as critically as most but move all about - in fact, I hesitate to admit, a majority of time I listen with the speakers behind me!

Anyway, I thought it remarkable how the quest for MQA brought us both from Meridian to such similarly inexpensive but satisfying endpoints.

Not having become as familiar with Roon (as yet!), does Roon do your volume control? And what do you use for your Roon core?


DSP5000/18, 500.2, Bluesound Node 2 (MQA)
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#274114 - 2018-03-11 12:56 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: Nstzya]
Registered: 2004-01-04
Posts: 1,894
gIzzE Offline
Knows where his towel is
gIzzE Offline
Knows where his towel is

Registered: 2004-01-04
Posts: 1,894
Loc: Norwich, UK
The S2s are £599-699 depending on finish, I think a few on eBay are £1000 but that is generally based on Italian sellers who tend to have higher margins.

I bought mine from Ian at Martins and he did me a bit of a deal as well.
The Rel sub was used and £150, the Quad amp was obviously used, 30 years old or more, and was £300 refurbed and recapped with a dual mono PSU, Explorer 2 was £89 and the the Pi was £80 including iFi PSU.

So roughly a grand anyway. wink

Yeah Roon controls the output on the Explorer 2 through my phone/lapto[/tablet etc., so I go direct into the power amp, I tried a few pre amps first but preferred it direct, which is great as saved a few quid.


No Darling, I've had it months!
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#274115 - 2018-03-11 13:04 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: gIzzE]
Registered: 2016-10-31
Posts: 113
Nstzya Offline
Hitchhiker
Nstzya Offline
Hitchhiker

Registered: 2016-10-31
Posts: 113
Loc: Indianapolis, USA
Originally Posted By gIzzE
...You can definitely hear a difference between the MQA and non MQA tracks on them still, but, and I am probably going to regret saying this on here, I am not a fan of MQA.

The odd album I have heard has sounded nicer, but in general I just don't like it as much as a well recorded lossless version. There is generally more space, more detail, more of a forward sound, but to me I just don't like it as much. The best way I can describe it is when you jump from 18bit 5000s to 24bit 5000s, the 5000s sound smoother, more laid back, more grown up, where as the 18bit 5Ks have more bite, more PRAT as Naim would say, but that is not a sound for me....
NOW, you’re worrying me! I just spent more than my 5000/18bit’s are worth on some upgraded and modded 96/24 boards to - after 15 years of ownership - finally have 96/24. And you’re telling me it’s going to make them more laid back? Of course, I also invested in new OEM replacement tweeters as these are the original 25 year old ones and the replacements were intended to remedy my complaint of being too laid back compared to current fresh technology (see prior Martin Logan discussion above). So... I guess we’ll see. Perhaps I’ll replace the tweeters first. Then the boards....

Anyway, wanted to ask. What are you referring to when you say “...in general I just don't like it as much as a well recorded lossless version.” Are you talking 16/44 FLAC or something higher resolution?


DSP5000/18, 500.2, Bluesound Node 2 (MQA)
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#274116 - 2018-03-11 13:07 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: gIzzE]
Registered: 2016-10-31
Posts: 113
Nstzya Offline
Hitchhiker
Nstzya Offline
Hitchhiker

Registered: 2016-10-31
Posts: 113
Loc: Indianapolis, USA
What do you use for Roon Core? And what do you stream? (My Bluesounds are Roon endpoints.)

(Boy we have really strayed off topic!)


DSP5000/18, 500.2, Bluesound Node 2 (MQA)
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#274135 - 2018-03-12 13:41 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: Nstzya]
Registered: 2004-01-04
Posts: 1,894
gIzzE Offline
Knows where his towel is
gIzzE Offline
Knows where his towel is

Registered: 2004-01-04
Posts: 1,894
Loc: Norwich, UK
I much prefer the 24 bit 5000s, still one of my favourites. Don't worry about that, they are more refined, but more detail if anything.



I use a 2012 Mac Mini as my Roon Core, works really well. Just my office computer, stuck it on there to test Roon and can't see why I would want any more than that.

Stream to Sonos Play 5 and then Raspberry Pi's with Meridian Explorer 2 on the end and also with a Digi+ card that goes straight into DSPs. But the DSPs have now gone so using that one in the TV room into an Arcam Movie Solo.


No Darling, I've had it months!
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#274160 - 2018-03-12 13:44 Re: Thiel: a warning from today [Re: Nstzya]
Registered: 2004-01-04
Posts: 1,894
gIzzE Offline
Knows where his towel is
gIzzE Offline
Knows where his towel is

Registered: 2004-01-04
Posts: 1,894
Loc: Norwich, UK
Originally Posted By Nstzya
Anyway, wanted to ask. What are you referring to when you say “... in general I just don't like it as much as a well recorded lossless version.” Are you talking 16/44 FLAC or something higher resolution?
Both, I am often finding the regular 16/44 file on Tidal sounds nicer than the MQA version.

Just personal preference though, and if I still had DSPs I am sure that extra bite I would find a benefit.


No Darling, I've had it months!
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