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#273704 - 2018-02-24 16:35 Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 *****
Registered: 2016-10-31
Posts: 113
Nstzya Offline
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Nstzya Offline
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Posts: 113
Loc: Indianapolis, USA
In an effort to get some sort of consensus opinion, I’d like to open a discussion about legacy DSP aging issues and preventative/restorative service. There is now (ca. 2018) a lot of legacy equipment pushing 20-25 years - including my (so far) faithful 18 bit 5k’s. I recently pulled them out of retirement (more on that later), and came to this forum to catch up on the past 15 years. My blissful ignorance was quickly blown with talk of burnt power resistors, leaking/drying/aging cap replacement, and ferrofluid related tweeter failures. A list of age related concerns I’ve come across:

1. Resistors: Burnt/aging power resistors on DSP boards which can result in catastrophic failure. How urgent?

2. Electrolytic Capacitors: Aging/leaking/drying/drifting capacitors on DSP boards. This one is gradual and more complex than one would think. At least for those of us who are not electronic geeks. Electrolytic capacitors age/leak/dryout with age - similar in principle I suppose to alkaline batteries. In addition to causing outright failure, more significantly the function drifts and gradually deteriorates with time, such that even if seeming to work just fine, replacement would/could lead to sometimes significant audible improvement. Should all caps be replaced at 20 years as many electronic geek forums suggest?

In addition, caps also have a shelf life - again similar to batteries - if left unpowered (who knew that leaving equipment stored unpowered could be bad?). Depending on the cap, electronic geek forums suggest that shelf life may be as little as 1-2 years. Without going above my pay grade, apparently an aluminum oxide layer within the cap is constantly being eaten by the electrolytic but is replenished by the current resulting from potential across the capacitor - if they’re powered.

Apparently this can result in failure (sometimes dramatically) if brought from zero to full power abruptly. Also one reason why many failures happen as you turn stuff on. “Reforming” the cap - as it is called - is a process whereby the aluminum oxide layer is restored by SLOWLY applying an increasing voltage to bring the caps up to full power (slow as in as much as 24 hours I’ve read). Following my battery analogy, I suppose this would be similar to trickle charging. So, for those more knowledgeable, should we be worried about equipment that has been stored for extended periods? And how long is so long that perhaps we should have a professional with a Variac reform them? Other?

3. Ferrofluid Tweeters : All DSP speakers use ferrofluid in their tweeters. From my reading, ALL ferrofluid degrades/evaporates over time. Most of this is heat/use related, but some of it is just time. Ferrofluid serves two purposes. One, it helps absorb/dissipate heat and thereby increases power handling. Secondly it dampens resonances - particularly with metal domes. So if the fluid thickens it will overdampen. And if it merely escapes or evaporates, it will under-dampen. Both should cause audible changes and in the end, failure.

Although some have elected to replace tweeters (with the most currently available model) over this issue and heard an improvement, others have not. Perhaps a matter of how dysfunctional the ferrofluid was to begin with? And how is one to know what state theirs is in until they simply try?

As an alternative to replacement, some brave souls have dismantled and done auto maintenance style ferrofluid oil changes. And there are cottage industry services on eBay which recognize the issue and will do it for you. My local speaker repair place didn’t bat an eye when I inquired, in fact.

4. Tweeter Models : related to above, tweeter models are customized units manufactured by SEAS and generally the same tweeter is used across the entire DSP lineup. Periodically, these models are retired and a new model is then commissioned to be as similar mechanically and electrically as possible (presumably in an attempt to maintain backward compatibility). The reason being that M has painstakingly DSP equalized a flat response curve for that particular model into the DSP/x-over firmware.

The controversy comes from how closely the new tweeter model matches the equalization of the old boards when replacement becomes necessary/desired. Are boards eq’d for individual tweeters (unlikely) or simply for the typical current model (more likely). And no matter how much they try to make a new model similar - if it’s a new model, it has to differ. So surely one can assume that Meridian tweaks the DSP/EQ on the boards accordingly?

So might one be better off sticking with ferrofluid servicing (rather than replacing) the tweeter model for which that board is EQ’d? It’s much cheaper as well. Or is that “minutia”? What say you? Mountains out of minutia? (possibly, but isn’t that what us audiophiles do? $1000 power cable - while everything all the way back to the power station is commodity grade copper or aluminum?) Or worthy of consideration?

Thanks for reading this far if you’ve gotten here. There is a vast sea of legacy equipment out there in need of support. Would hate for blissful ignorance to cause us to lose some due to restorable or preventable mishaps. But more importantly, I am left wondering if just a little maintenance could restore wonderful performance that had gone unrecognized as missing...

Happy listening
-SB




DSP5000/18, 500.2, Bluesound Node 2 (MQA)
Edited by Nstzya; 2018-02-25 14:50.
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#273750 - 2018-02-25 18:09 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Nstzya]
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JOE-C Offline
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So for extending the life of the capacitors ( and the speaker ) is it best to leave DSP speakers in standby or shut them down via the rear power switch if they are not used every day.
I currently get to use my system 3 consecutive days then shut them off for 4 days at a time. My thinking is that I would not only save electricity but also extend the life of my speakers- maybe this isn’t correct.
I know through the years this topic has come up and as I’ve asked M reps the same question it was suggested to leave them in standby if I used them everyday and shut them down if I don’t. So what I’m currently doing may not be the best ( if I’m understanding your statements).


My M gear: 861v8 with ID41, 800v3, HD621, 8000.1(SEs),7200.1(SE),320s,3200s,5500s ,SW5500s ,MS200 (2nd zone),218.
Other: JVC RS-500 projector, Prismasonic HD-5000 anamorphic lens, Panasonic UB900, Oppo BDP-103D, QNAP TS-251 (M core and store).
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#273752 - 2018-02-25 18:12 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: JOE-C]
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Ratbert Offline
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My understanding of DSP’s in standby was that they used just as much power as being left on, not playing though obviously.


Always learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.
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#273754 - 2018-02-25 19:05 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: JOE-C]
Registered: 2016-10-31
Posts: 113
Nstzya Offline
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Nstzya Offline
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Originally Posted By JOE-C
So for extending the life of the capacitors ( and the speaker ) is it best to leave DSP speakers in standby or shut them down via the rear power switch if they are not used every day.
I currently get to use my system 3 consecutive days then shut them off for 4 days at a time. My thinking is that I would not only save electricity but also extend the life of my speakers- maybe this isn’t correct.
I know through the years this topic has come up and as I’ve asked M reps the same question it was suggested to leave them in standby if I used them everyday and shut them down if I don’t. So what I’m currently doing may not be the best ( if I’m understanding your statements).
Exactly (one of) the points of this thread. Hopefully we get some electronic geeks to chime in with some expert opinions. For now, I know that I ran around and plugged in all the boxes I had unplugged and in storage. I suspect what you are doing is a good middle ground. I doubt there is much deterioration in 4 days between refreshing periods of powered up. That said there is a contingent of electronic guys who say leave everything on continuously, because the other enemy is heat cycling. Cooling/heating/cooling... So if true about Meridian’s being fully powered even in standby, that would fit. The other reason to remain on is to keep things at operating temp. Performance definitely changes as things warm up.


DSP5000/18, 500.2, Bluesound Node 2 (MQA)
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#273804 - 2018-02-26 19:32 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Nstzya]
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Fiddler Offline
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If they are 18bit DSP Speakers the resistors are probably fine. But worth inspecting.

I keep all my DSP Speakers unpowered when not in use.


- Fiddler (IMHO)

If you think listening to music is fun, try learning an instrument.
HT: G61RSL, 4x5K, 5.5KHC, 2xSC6000, Transporter, HD621, Philips BDP7501 4K, Tivo, 65" LG OLED 4K C6
Computer: Foobar2000, 5K, Mojo, HiFiMan HE1000 V2
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#273808 - 2018-02-26 19:38 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Fiddler]
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Carlton9000 Offline
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“My local speaker repair place didn’t bat an eye when I inquired, in fact.”

Is this a viable option? Typical cost?


01: Apple TV4>HD621>568.2MM>(5)D5K(24/96)>(2) Rythmik E15HP
02: Auralic Mini>568>D5k(18/48)ROON
03: ATV4>Marantz NR1504>Apogee Columns>P200z
04: MacMini>SonyEP9ES>Carver M-400t>D2500>Visonik David 5001
05: Airport Exp>BehringerSRC2496>Carver PM300>Solus DR-ir6
06:Auralic Aries Femto>861v3.5>DSP6K>ROO
07:Airport Express>568>DSP5.5K(18)
WTB: DSP6K ID30
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#273821 - 2018-02-27 00:08 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Fiddler]
Registered: 2016-10-31
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Nstzya Offline
Hitchhiker
Nstzya Offline
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Originally Posted By Fiddler
I keep all my DSP Speakers unpowered when not in use.
How often and for how long is that, tho? wink


DSP5000/18, 500.2, Bluesound Node 2 (MQA)
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#273822 - 2018-02-27 00:26 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Carlton9000]
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Nstzya Offline
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Nstzya Offline
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Originally Posted By Carlton9000
“My local speaker repair place didn’t bat an eye when I inquired, in fact.”
Is this a viable option? Typical cost?
They quoted me about $30 labor/materials per tweeter. This is a local pro audio repair shop. There is also a guy on eBay (USA) who has set up a cottage industry doing it with the KEF 33 tweeters used in M30’s (and lots of other speakers apparently) but has done plenty of SEAS DSP as well (In fact, was working on a pair when I contacted him). Charges $50/tweeter. He says some don’t come apart well and get ruined - but were ones that were pretty gunked up to begin with.

The only downside I see is the trouble getting these things desoldered and out (and soldered back in). I’m not confident that I will not fry the voicecoil. The eBay guy advocates snipping the leads then splicing and soldering back well removed from voice-coil for this reason.

YMMV


DSP5000/18, 500.2, Bluesound Node 2 (MQA)
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#274297 - 2018-03-17 14:23 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Nstzya]
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Nstzya Offline
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Well, this thread didn’t generate as much input as I’d hoped. I did have a private convo or two that I’ll summarize for anyone who I’ve necessarily - or unnecessarily - alarmed.

1. Resistor CAN be an issue on certain 24/96 boards. 18 bit less so. Smileys less so as well, perhaps (no definitive answer there yet).

2. Caps of Meridian quality do have longer shelf lives, but age/use - particularly heat - will degrade them eventually, so at some point replacement may bring back performance that has imperceptibly gone missing. 20 years typical, but YMMV on that one, depending on use/abuse.

3. Turning off at switch when not going to be used for days/weeks/months at a time is prudent, and certainly helps to prevent any surge related damage (eg lightning).

4. Ferrofluid servicing of tweeters can bring back performance, but generally never going to be quite as good as a full replacement with OEM tweeters (but more $$). YMMV on this one as well. Substituting other non OEM tweeters is possible, but will not match the amps DSP EQ. Various changes in tweeter models (at least 3) over the years have stayed remarkably similar in actual performance, so most often (almost always) will not need any submenu expertise EQ re-tweaking to bring them to original specs. The most current OEM tweeter model is the “DSP Speaker Black Tweeter” (Meridian Part Code PA10537) which is a customized for Meridian SEAS aluminum dome (25 TAFC/GW-BS1 H1054-6ohm.) MSRP $300. These are stocked by Meridian Partner Bruce at CMB Integrations in the US, who offers HHers special pricing.

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#275668 - 2018-05-03 00:53 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Nstzya]
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Gerard Offline
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I think this is a interesting and very much needed subject for discussion, as stated there are many older Meridian speakers out there from both the active as well as the DSP series, and if we want to retain the best possible sound from then, then we should have a clearer idea how this can be achieved by less then subject expert owners.

Is it that difficult to have a reference sheet that describes the main issues that confront individual speaker lines at particular periods of their life cycle, although no ironclad guarantee for the degradation, and then have some framework of how these issues may be resolved.

We have plenty of experts on this site who may be able to offer a service, like a health check and repair/replace items as needed, failing this there are many systems that are either not preforming to the standard they are capable of and or being replaced because they no longer sound as good, this would be unfortunate and not really in keeping with Meridian sound enthusiasts goals.


DSP3100, 2x M33's centers and 4 DSP33's surrounds.Sw1600 sub. (like to get another one)
Oppo 105D ,203, Anthem AVM60, Pioneer Elite SCLX701
588, 518, and 568, M10, M 20's,
Aria Piccolo music streamer.
Shunyata Hydra 8 and various Shunyata cables.
Monster AVS 2000
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#275689 - 2018-05-03 16:38 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Gerard]
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Jeremy A-H Offline
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I suspect the reason that this topic doesn't get a huge number of responses is in part because the Meridian kit appears to be so damn reliable and part that they are complex enough that it needs more than an average repair man to fix (and who are becoming rarer and rarer).

The other issue I discovered was that, by the time a unit fails, replacement parts may prove difficult to find. I discovered this when the laser assembly on my Meridian CD player failed after ten years as Philips (I think it was) had long since stopped manufacturing them. I would imagine that older EPROM's and D/A converters might be equally difficult to source.


Meridian 818v3, DSP7200SE's (upgraded), Roon
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#275693 - 2018-05-03 17:48 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Jeremy A-H]
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Mtns Offline
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Besides the aforementioned reasons, low used M legacy equipment prices in absolute terms and vs historical prices, amazing quality and reliability,etc., it is worth a little hassle to repair, or,If caught out by a CD tray, etc., sourcing a comp,etc replacement used component saving the first carcass for spare parts.


James
NC1: 861v4+ID40, 218, MS200 (to outdoors), DSP8000SE (upgraded). 5500VC, 5500s, Hsu Research ULS15x2, DirecTV, Oppo BD103, QNAP251, Roon
NC2-see FL 2 with Triad Silver Speakers

FL1: G61R, 218, DSP8000SEs, 5500HC, DSP6000s, MS600, DirecTv, Oppo BD103, QNAP469, Roon
FL2: Marantz 7005, M60s, M60C, M33s, Oppo BDP-93, MS200, Roon
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#275718 - 2018-05-04 07:48 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Gerard]
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Rodney Gold Offline
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The main issue that (oldish) speakers face is tweeter related in my experience, I have replaced many of them on the various DSP/active speakers that I have had. They deteriorate with age. I generally dumped the Meridian unit and used a Seas Excel tweeter (not the millenium) and had marked improvements
(there is a thread here with instructions).

I’ve only had 1 speaker with a blown amp (old DSP5000) and Meridian kindly sent me a PDF of the whole circuit diagram of the speaker and recommended replacement parts. It was a cheap and easy fix...

I also had a blown power supply in a G series processor and the replacement was an off the shelf unit.


Roon/Tidal, SBT, Trinnov ST2 , Twin Devialet D premiers, Vivid Audio Giya G1 Spirits, dedicated and treated room.
Meridian gear: 568.2mm and DSP5000's acting as TV speakers.
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#275722 - 2018-05-04 10:48 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Rodney Gold]
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3dit0r Offline
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In DSP5000s at least, I know the load resistors on some models were prone to fail. Wiki about preventative maintenance here: Load resistor maintenance

I can tell you that when I bought my first pair of DSPs (5K smiley faces) about 5 years ago, they had the load resistor issue and, when I removed the back plates to take a peek, several visibly deteriorated caps (swelled and 'weeping'). Also a tweeter was past its best, audibly.

I was lucky as, at the time, Chris at Meridian Repair Shop was still in the repair business and he renovated the pair for a very reasonable sum including new load resistors and all re-capped, new tweeters, etc.

Regardless of reliability, the difference in sound was *not* subtle. Highly recommended, but you either need the proper information and skills, or to find a suitably skilled technician. One of the reasons I moved away from legacy was when Chris shut up shop...


818v3, DSP7200.2, Oppo BDP-95, Sony VPL-HW55ES projector, Kimber Mains Cables, Russ Andrews Torlyte Equipment Rack and Mains Filtration, GIK Acoustics Room Treatments
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#275761 - 2018-05-05 15:07 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: 3dit0r]
Registered: 2016-10-31
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Nstzya Offline
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Nstzya Offline
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Interesting. I guess that shows definitively that the Smileys are not immune from the resistor issue. Also some valuable added experience on the cap issue. Tarik is your resource in UK on that issue, BTW. See his cap kit in the Restaurant repairs forum.


DSP5000/18, 500.2, Bluesound Node 2 (MQA)
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#275762 - 2018-05-05 15:11 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Rodney Gold]
Registered: 2016-10-31
Posts: 113
Nstzya Offline
Hitchhiker
Nstzya Offline
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Loc: Indianapolis, USA
Originally Posted By Rodney Gold
The main issue that (oldish) speakers face is tweeter related in my experience, I have replaced many of them on the various DSP/active speakers that I have had. They deteriorate with age. I generally dumped the Meridian unit and used a Seas Excel tweeter (not the millenium) and had marked improvements
(there is a thread here with instructions).
Only difficult part for most is the milled down flange. Do you do that work yourself? And/or have someone who could do so for those interested? (BTW, I don’t think your link is working)


DSP5000/18, 500.2, Bluesound Node 2 (MQA)
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#275771 - 2018-05-05 20:52 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Nstzya]
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3dit0r Offline
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As I understand it, Meridian design the amp specifically for the driver and also compensate various aspects of the driver in DSP. If you use a different tweeter than the unit originally specified, you’ll be outside those design parameters. Safest approach if you wish to hear the full benefit of what the designer originally implemented would be to replace with a new unit of the original specification.


818v3, DSP7200.2, Oppo BDP-95, Sony VPL-HW55ES projector, Kimber Mains Cables, Russ Andrews Torlyte Equipment Rack and Mains Filtration, GIK Acoustics Room Treatments
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#275773 - 2018-05-05 21:43 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: 3dit0r]
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Nstzya Offline
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True, as discussed in a number of other places, including the excellent Tweeter thread.

To summarize those, we are on the third version of SEAS made DSP line tweeters, all essentially the same electromechanically. What is currently available is the so called “Black Tweeter” SEAS H1054. Simply a black colored rather than native silver colored aluminum dome. Backwards compatible to all DSP legacy and SL models. (SE models of course have the special Berylium tweeter)

Hitchhiker Partner Bruce with CMB Integrations offers special pricing to HHers on new old stock Black Tweeters in the US.


DSP5000/18, 500.2, Bluesound Node 2 (MQA)
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#275774 - 2018-05-06 00:36 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Nstzya]
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Jdb-si Online content
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It is possible to surface mount the Excel Millennium Tweeter as is, but it will no longer be flush with cabinet.


Theater: G68, G98DH, DSP6k, DSP55kC, SW1600x2, DSP55k, Plasma, (Zone 2)
Living room: DSP5k, DSP52kC, SW1600, G68, Sooloos MC600 (Zone 1)
Bedroom: M80
office: SACD, 861v4, DSP6k (Zone 3)
Storage: P350Ws, G55s, M33s, DSP33s, DSP5k, 501, 518, 561
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#275839 - 2018-05-08 09:26 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Jdb-si]
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DigitalDunce Offline
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Thank you to Tarik and other posters on this thread:

I recently lost the sound on one of my 24/96 DSP5000’s that I bought new circa 2001 and that have previously given me no problems. After finding that Chris Coaster is no longer repairing (he did a great job on my G68) the usual fruitless enquiries with Meridian agents and other audio repairers, I was faced with replacing them.

With advanced years, hearing loss and tinnitus I had no ambition to spend a lot of money doing this, so without any hope of a result went in to a local firm of engineers. Although they knew nothing about Meridian, they said they would take a look and let me know. They replaced resistors and caps for an exceptionally reasonable cost and all was operational again. I ended up taking them the other main and the centre and they carried out the same work. Great guys, really helpful, so if you are within reach:

Intek Electronics, Poole, Dorset.

Chris

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#275840 - 2018-05-08 09:36 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: DigitalDunce]
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3dit0r Offline
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Good to know, thanks!

I also noticed, given that I popped on Chris' current site that he now recommends JSAudio for repairs - Meridian Legacy repairs


818v3, DSP7200.2, Oppo BDP-95, Sony VPL-HW55ES projector, Kimber Mains Cables, Russ Andrews Torlyte Equipment Rack and Mains Filtration, GIK Acoustics Room Treatments
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#275842 - 2018-05-08 11:33 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: 3dit0r]
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Mr Meridian Offline
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Isn't that the firm that Carl later posted an update about? ie they declined to take any Meridian work?

Cheers (minimal cheer on this one)

George

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#275843 - 2018-05-08 11:33 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: 3dit0r]
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Carl Offline
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JSAudio ... Unfortunately that's not the case anymore frown see ...

Repair, service and upgrade of Meridian legacy products

Regards,
Carl


861v6+ID40, HD621, 8000.2, 7200HC, 7200, SKYQ Silver, PS3, PDP-LX6090, QNAP TS870-Pro (8*6TB), Roon, iPadAir2.
[In Reserve] C15, MD600 (2*3TB), TwinStore RM (2*2TB)
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#275865 - 2018-05-08 19:44 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: Carl]
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3dit0r Offline
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Thanks Carl, George, good to know.

Oh dear. That’s quite depressing really, as I really love some of the legacy gear, but it’s now getting to the age where even 500 series will need at least a good recap.

I suppose any high end repair service could take it on, but this makes Chris shutting up shop even more of a loss (although perfectly understandable for him on a personal career level).

Would love to hear of any suitably reputable, qualified engineers taking on this work.


818v3, DSP7200.2, Oppo BDP-95, Sony VPL-HW55ES projector, Kimber Mains Cables, Russ Andrews Torlyte Equipment Rack and Mains Filtration, GIK Acoustics Room Treatments
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#276082 - 2018-05-16 15:13 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: 3dit0r]
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3dit0r Offline
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3dit0r Offline
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Loc: South UK
Oddly, came across some pics I took of the state of the caps, etc, when I purchased 5Ks back in 2012. Just out of interest -





818v3, DSP7200.2, Oppo BDP-95, Sony VPL-HW55ES projector, Kimber Mains Cables, Russ Andrews Torlyte Equipment Rack and Mains Filtration, GIK Acoustics Room Treatments
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#276085 - 2018-05-16 16:05 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: 3dit0r]
Registered: 2009-11-10
Posts: 1,309
CMB Integrations - Bruce Online content
Meridian Partner Working on the ultimate question
CMB Integrations - Bruce Online content
Meridian Partner
Working on the ultimate question

Registered: 2009-11-10
Posts: 1,309
Loc: Lexington, South Carolina, USA
So crispy


www.cmbintegrations.com

Personal System #1 Theta Digital Cassablanca 4, 218, DSP8000.2SE, DSP7200SEHC, Revel F228be, Revel B112, Monitor Audio Silver 10, ATI 200WX5 Amp, JVC RS15, Shunyata Denali 600S, Black Diamond Zero Edge screen. QNAP TS-251 3TB
Mark Levinson No515 Turntable

Crestron control and multi room audio via Meridian 258 amplifiers.
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#276102 - 2018-05-16 23:30 Re: Legacy DSP Aging Issues ca. 2018 [Re: CMB Integrations - Bruce]
Registered: 2012-04-17
Posts: 1,750
3dit0r Offline
Knows where his towel is
3dit0r Offline
Knows where his towel is

Registered: 2012-04-17
Posts: 1,750
Loc: South UK
Lol, yes but the sound was soggy!


818v3, DSP7200.2, Oppo BDP-95, Sony VPL-HW55ES projector, Kimber Mains Cables, Russ Andrews Torlyte Equipment Rack and Mains Filtration, GIK Acoustics Room Treatments
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