Residential Systems
Review 857 Reference Two-Channel Power Amplifier


Residential Systems, one of the leading home entertainment publications in the US, has recently reviewed our most powerful reference two channel amplifier – the 857. Technical Writer, Dennis Burger, begins the piece:  “I wish I could personally introduce you to Meridian Audio’s 857 Reference Two Channel Power Amplifier. Not only is it an outright beast of a Class AB machine, with more headroom than I can imagine anyone needing, but it’s also a gentle giant, delivering some of the most detailed and nuanced audio I’ve had the pleasure of hearing in quite some time.”

Perfectly crafted for delivering the best possible Hi-Res audio from any high-quality passive loudspeaker system, the 857 also packs quite a punch, with a design “capable of cranking out an impressive 250 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 500 wpc into 4 ohms with both channels driven, or a staggering 1000 watts into 8 ohms and 1,500 watts into 4 ohms in Bridge Mode.”

Dennis also makes a note of how easy and straightforward the product setup is, praising Meridian’s instruction manual and explaining that if you have any questions “the answers are all there, gorgeously illuminated and thoroughly indexed.”

But what about the sound, does the 857 really live up to its Reference status? Dennis certainly thinks so: “Transparency was unimpeachable. Imaging and soundstage were revelatory. I ran my high-resolution warbles test on the amp and found that with a 96kHz signal, intermodulation distortion was inaudible, making it only the second amp I’ve tested this year suitable for high-resolution audio listening.”

Even when cranking up the volume and driving the speakers as hard as possible, Dennis comments on the fact that the front-panel light never once turned amber (this indicates that it is operating normally but with cooling fans engaged), just another testament  to the robust design of the product.  To complete the review, Dennis sums up:

“Forget about fans, though. Forget about color changing status lights and swanky binding posts and bulletproof build quality (a few little knobs notwithstanding) because when you’re listening to the 857 Reference Two Channel Power Amplifier, none of that matters. What matters is that you’re probably as close to your music as you’re ever going to get, live performance aside. And what matters for you, the integrator, is that this is probably one amp that you can just install and forget. I’m having trouble imagining what it would take to push it to its limits.” 

Read the full review here.

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