Immerse Yourself in the Music with a Listening Room
Remember the living room, the dining room, the den, and yes, the home theater? Those rooms all seemed to have a specific purpose. The trend in home design has gotten away from that. No, we're not saying houses don't have those rooms anymore. But the trend toward more casual lifestyles has also led to a tendency to more open concept homes, where kitchens may well be the ultimate multi-purpose room, and other rooms pull double or triple duty as well.
In our media-filled world, another trend is to have audio and video entertainment practically everywhere in the home. Your office computer or laptop handily doubles as an entertainment device. Whole home audio setups can put music in every room, and outdoors too. Flat-panel TVs and wireless connections have made it so that you can have one on a wall anywhere - including the kitchen. So we can have our content anywhere and everywhere, but we may be doing more than listening or watching in all of those places - we may be multitasking; cooking, doing homework, returning email and messages, and connecting to our work remotely.
There was a time when things like watching TV or listening to music, were more focused affairs. And a trend is afoot to return to more concentrated enjoyment of content, especially with music. But our homes with their open design and multipurpose rooms tend to limit that. The answer many are turning to is the listening room.
Just what is a listening room? It can be any room in your home where you can comfortably sit - without distraction - and listen to your favorite music. Scientific studies abound about the benefits of music, but you probably don't need the science to know how good music can make you feel - especially when you are relaxed and focused on listening.
If you think that a listening room sounds like an idea whose time has come in your Eden Prairie home - and you want to know more, just read on. We're going to tell you how to transform your music experience with a listening room and great speakers from Bowers and Wilkins (B&W).
Meridian’s Cinema Design Services Makes It Easy
Recently we wrote on these pages about Meridian Audio and the unique digital processing technology they apply to their electronics and speakers. The company's long history in digital has contributed to standards such as the DVD-Audio disc and Dolby TrueHD, and more recently they were the driving force behind MQA, the emerging standard for distributing lossless, high-resolution audio over the internet.
While their unparalleled digital audio chops are well known in hi-fi audio circles, you might not think of Meridian when it comes to home theater audio. However, they bring their digital audio processing magic to home theaters as well. In an all-Meridian system, the speakers are self-powered and the audio travels to them in digital form, keeping the signal pure until it gets converted to analog sound at the speaker.
In whole home and many home theater installations, clients want in-wall speakers for an integrated look that doesn’t upset the décor. You might be wondering if something like a powered, digital in-wall speaker is possible – it is. Meridian has developed two new in-wall digital speakers, the DSP520 and the DSP640, to make sleek hi-fi and home theater applications a reality with their unique high-resolution audio processing.
As powered in-wall speakers clearly have some differences from conventional powered speakers, Meridian has taken an extra step to ensure that their products deliver the ultimate in audio performance. They have a free design service for custom integrators like Lelch Audio-Video to make it easy to incorporate Meridian technology for home theaters and whole home installations. So if you want the powerful, detailed high-resolution audio quality of Meridian in your Woodbury home, now you can have it in your home cinema and throughout the house.
To learn more about a Meridian system for home theaters and whole home audio, just keep reading.
Hi-Fi and High Design Combine for the Perfect Aural Experience
Bowers and Wilkins (B&W) has been a trusted name in high-fidelity audio speakers for over 50 years. Starting with the first hand-built units in the back of an electrical shop in West Sussex, this English manufacturer has always been known for producing speakers with accurate, natural sound, the kind that audio enthusiasts cherish as it lets them enjoy the music just the way it was recorded, adding or subtracting nothing.
Today the company produces a full line of speakers suitable for any type of music, from the delicate instruments or classical to belting out the low bass of rap tunes, not to mention delivering the explosive dynamics of today’s powerful movie soundtracks.
Once known just for their home audio speakers, B&W has taken their audio engineering excellence to new lines in headphones, wireless speakers, and architectural speakers for custom home theaters and whole-home audio. If you happen to drive specific models of Volvo, BMW, Maserati, or McLaren automobiles, you can enjoy audiophile-level B&W sound quality on the road too.
But this blog is about Bowers and Wilkins speakers for your Minneapolis home audio system. Although once you experience these, you may just need to have the B&W sound in your next car or boat too! Ready to learn more? Keep reading for an overview of B&W speaker lines for your home.
Enjoy Supreme Convenience and the Highest Audio Quality
Meridian is a name that is well-known in high-end audio. They’re also known for marching to the beat of their own drum. Founded in 1977 – before the dawn of the CD and the digital music era – they are an early pioneer in digital audio. While powered speaker designs are quite popular today, especially in whole home audio wireless installations, Meridian introduced active (powered) high-end speakers way back in the 1980s.
The company is also a pioneer in high-resolution music formats. While high resolution (let's call it hi-res) music is a popular current term, hi-res came to music and movies quite a few years ago. Some of you audio enthusiasts that are fans of SACD and DVD-Audio, two hi-res formats that never attained mainstream status, already know that. For movie soundtracks, today’s hi-res formats like Dolby TrueHD serve up lossless audio quality and are now mainstream. Meridian had a hand in that, too, as the digital encoding called Meridian Lossless Packing is part of the standard for DVD-Audio and Dolby TrueHD.
More recently, Meridian, along with the rest of the audio industry, has embarked on a quest to take hi-res music mainstream. In today’s streaming dominated music environment, lossy formats like MP3 and AAC are used for streaming for bandwidth efficiency. Meridian has developed MQA (Master Quality Authentication) as an efficient packaging mechanism to stream both lossless CD quality and hi-res music and audio on the internet. MQA is making its way into a wide range of high-end audio gear and is used by the Tidal music service for high-quality streaming. MQA has been spun out from Meridian to facilitate the technology’s adoption in the industry.
Clearly Meridian knows as much about digital audio as just about any firm in the business. Their whole product line is built around digital technology. In this blog, we will cover Meridian Audio’s unique approach to components that deliver unsurpassed quality in digital music for your Eden Prairie listening system.
Defy Convention with Meridian’s State of the Art Digital Speakers
High fidelity audio (let’s call it HiFi) has always been an area where technology has moved rather slowly. Part of that has to do with tradition at the higher ends of the product spectrum, and part of that has to do with the fact that analog hi-fi componentry – like the design of amplifiers and speakers – has not changed drastically in the past 40 years. You could say that analog Hi-Fi is like the internal combustion engine, which is likely at the peak of its development – but electric power is where technology is moving ahead at a faster pace.
We are not proclaiming, by any means, the end of classic amplifiers and speakers. But if you look at where the market has evolved, digital music sources like streaming and downloads have heavily influenced music consumption. With that has come tremendous innovation in powered and wireless speakers. Digital Signal Processing (DSP) is the digital manipulation of music signals that has allowed audio designers to break free from traditional design constraints. For example, we love Sonos systems for their ease of use and excellent sound for their size. They are an excellent example of using clever DSP algorithms and built-in amplifiers to generate great sound from relatively small speakers. Sonos is an excellent product, but it is not generally considered Hi-Fi by audiophiles. And that brings us to Meridian Audio.
Meridian Audio is a British company founded in 1977 and is one of the earliest pioneers in digital audio. They produced the first audiophile CD player in 1985 at the dawn of the CD era, and they also introduced active (self-powered) loudspeakers in the 1980s where traditional, highly regarded British brands like Bowers and Wilkins and KEF were only producing standard passive speaker designs. The company developed Meridian Lossless Packing, a digital codec (encoding technology) that is part of the standard for both DVD-Audio and Dolby TrueHD lossless audio on Blu-ray discs. The company also developed MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), an emerging standard for packaging high-resolution music for downloads and streaming. All this is to say that Meridian is one of the world’s most expert companies at DSP and digital audio technology.
Lelch Audio Video is proud to be a Meridian Audio dealer in the Minnetonka area, offering speakers and audio products that look and sound like no other. Let’s explore why Meridian is different and how you can go fully digital for your next hi-fi system.