Meridian’s traditional focus has been on ultra high-end separate hi-fi systems and components: CD players, DVD players, surround-sound decoders, amplifiers and loudspeakers. The new F80, however, can best be described as a complete home entertainment system – one developed the Meridian way.
Whilst the design and engineering challenges of creating such a unique product were complex and demanding, the outcome is reassuringly familiar. The F80 is innovative, offers astonishing performance, and looks unlike anything else on the market today.
Such an achievement was made a good deal easier thanks to Meridian’s illustrious partner in this project: Ferrari. Both companies share a belief in peerless performance, innovation and bold product design — thus the F80 is very much a Ferrari product as well as a Meridian one.
With hints of Art Deco in its pure elliptical outline, the F80 remains distinctly modern, both in its styling and in its state-of-the-art engineering. It represents a radical redefinition of the whole concept of a compact, transportable audio and DVD system.
The iconic F80 carries the chromosomes of an old-fashioned tabletop radio. Meridian has built the F80 in the tradition of a proper ‘home wireless’: one that would be a focus for ears and eyes and fill a room with glorious sound. But while it shares the simplicity and compact nature of a radio, the F80 offers so much more.
Under the stylish hood, you will find a AM/FM tuner with built-in antenna for local radio reception and dual connections for external antennae to ensure the best reception wherever you are. The F80 is also an incredibly capable CD player, with more than a strong hint of Meridian’s top ‘hi-fi reference’ products inside. And the product also plays DVD-Video discs, providing complete entertainment from one compact unit.
As you would expect with Ferrari on board, there’s a beautiful engine inside – in this case an audio engine comprising three power amps, effortlessly delivering over 80 watts to the two front speakers and integral rear subwoofer. By comparison, the average transistor radio outputs less than five watts. The loudspeakers themselves are special full-range designs — custom-made for this product — with powerful neodymium magnets and hi-tech cones fashioned from magnesium and aluminium alloy.
Advanced Digital Signal Processing (DSP) ensures a wonderfully full, rich sound with an impressively wide stereo stage. This DSP technology also allows the user to fine-tune the output of the F80 depending on where it is positioned in the room.
The densely packed electronics are housed in a solid die-cast metal base and the loudspeakers are mounted within incredibly inert, separate enclosures created from a special alloy-injected composite. It was within this field of materials technology that Ferrari’s close co-operation and specialist expertise proved invaluable.
Completing the design is an exceptionally ergonomic, smart-button interface — with a crystal-clear organic LED display — incorporating automatic station name labelling amongst a range of intelligent programming features.
Hand built in the UK to the very highest standards, in Meridian’s hi-tech manufacturing facility in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, the F80 is available now in five official Ferrari colours, while limited edition luxury finishes will be unveiled later this year.
Suggested retail price: $3,000