Welcome to the support page for
Prime Headphone Amplifier
Here you will find all of the information that you require to get the most out of your Prime Headphone Amplifier.
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Yes. The Prime Headphone Amplifier makes a great pre-amp. It features left and right phono outputs which can be used to feed power amplification or analogue active loudspeakers.
When the unit is in use with loudspeakers (as opposed to headphones), ASP should be switched to bypass (indicated by “O” on the front-panel). ASP is intended to compensate for the “in the head” effect produced when using headphones and is not relevant to the experience of listening to loudspeakers.
There are two reasons for having dual sockets. Firstly, it allows two pairs of headphones to be used simultaneously. Secondly, it caters for headphone models which are built with two headphone plugs – one for each ear-speaker. This design feature is intended to give the left and right channels a very similar audio path to each other and to reduce crosstalk between the two channels. To do this, the cable for the left channel is connected to the tip and sleeve of one plug and the cable for the right ear is connected to the ring and sleeve of the other plug. This arrangement is sometimes referred to as “balanced”, in that the design (and therefore the impedance) of the left and right channels of the headphones can be identical. This term can be misleading as “balanced”, when applied to audio signals, usually implies a connection type using three conductors (hot, cold and ground) such as the XLR connection used on some equipment. The Prime Headphone Amplifier does not feature this form of balanced connections.
This powers down the pre-amp output so sound is produced solely from the headphone outputs.
It is supplied with a mains power adapter. However, performance can be improved by substituting this with the Prime Power Supply.
No. It requires the use of an external power-supply.
No. There is no facility for remote control.
No. There is no facility for RS232 control.
No. There is no support for Meridian “comms”.
The Prime Headphone Amplifier features a decoder and renderer for MQA. This ensures that MQA-encoded lossless audio files and streams sound exactly like the source. This feature was enabled by a firmware upgrade to the Prime Headphone Amplifier which was introduced in early 2016. Devices running older firmware need to be upgraded in order to support MQA.
The firmware running on the Prime Headphone Amplifier must be version 1717 or later. The version currently running on the Prime Headphone Amplifier can be established by running the program “Meridian USB Control Panel” while the device is connected. This program is installed automatically on any computer used with the Prime Headphone Amplifier.
If required, the latest firmware, along with instructions, are available for download in the form of the “USB Installer Driver” on the Prime Headphone Amplifier page in the section "SOFTWARE, DRIVERS AND INSTRUCTIONS".
Most likely, yes. MQA relies on the signal being fed to the Prime Headphone Amplifier via the USB lead to be “bit-perfect”. A number of software audio players used on computers can provide such an output, but they usually require configuration settings to be changed to achieve its. Some players cannot provide a bit-perfect output under any circumstances.
Yes. One such player is “Audirvana”.
Yes. One such player is “Foobar2000”.
This is because your audio player produces “bit-perfect” audio only when its built-in volume control is set to maximum. To overcome this, leave the player’s volume control on maximum and use the volume control on the computer itself. This will adjust volume within the Prime Headphone Amplifier and the MQA LED will stay on.
Yes. When 176kHz or 192kHz is received by the Prime Headphone Amplifier, the appropriate LED illuminates on the device. Full details of the LEDs can be found in the User-Guide.
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