Meridian Ferrari Radio Not Worth The Money

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I took a look at the new Meridian Model F80 Ferrari radio the other day during a visit to Len Wallis Audio and I was not impressed. While the sound was brilliant the finish was more cheap bottom-end radio than a $3,600 top end system.

All this is a glorified radio and CD/ DVD player, which for the price is a bit rich. That is, unless you are a Ferrari fan.

The sound when it worked was brilliant, however tuning AM and FM appeared to be a problem. The AM aerial kept falling off because it had been designed to be attached to the back of the unit as opposed to being built in. And while the device has great styling and good sound  for the price it should have had an IP connector or built in wireless that allows users to get access to Internet radio stations.

This is Meridian’s first personal entertainment system which the company’s co-founder, Bob Stuart, said was created to “widen the audience for appreciation of Meridian and all the features of our best technologies.”

The system has a semicircular, heavy, well-damped composite cabinet, with the FM antenna built into the top arc. However the AM aerial has to be attached to the back of the unit and in the unit I played with it looked very out of place with the rest of the unit.

A full DSP 2.1 system it is also an 80-watt system with a built-in Meridian CD/DVD player and a series of inputs on the rear panel. “Lots of time was spent on the user interface for this system,

Our goal was that I could send it to my mother and she could make it work,” added Stuart. “We passed that test.” An outboard iPod adopter will also be made available as a complement to the system.

“In two years’ time,” he said, “if millions more will have heard of Meridian, we will have achieved our goal.” The F80 is available with silver, yellow, red, black and white arc highlighting and limited leather editions will be manufactured as well, he said.

Today despite all the advancements in TV and sound systems for the home, the radio is still one of the most popular devices and in recent months several Hi Fi companies have brought out new models.

Polk’s I-Sonic Entertainment System 2 which was shown at the CEDIA expo in the USA carries improvements over the original I-Sonic system. The new model’s feature set includes patented four-speaker technology and a Polk’s PowerPort bass venting system, and adds HD Radio reception and, in lieu of the first model’s CD player, an iPod dock.

Its LCD display will show HD Radio and iPod data. But the biggest difference between version 1 and 2 of the I-Sonic is the illuminated ‘tag’ button at the bottom center of the unit – a control that lets the listener take advantage of the new Apple iTunes Tagging technology. This feature enables the capture of data for up to 50 song ‘tags’ from HD Radio content into the I-Sonic, which can then be transferred to the iPod. ‘Tagged’ data then appears as such on the iPod’s play list, and when the iPod is tethered to the listener’s computer, the tags will enable the user easily to search, buy and download the tagged songs. The price is $599.00 US and can be purchased online at www.polkaudio.com

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