Welcome to the support page for
271 Digital Theatre Controller

Here you will find all of the information that you require to get the most out of your 271 Digital Theatre Controller.

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271 Product Overview

The 271 allows Meridian DSP loudspeakers to be used with non-Meridian audio-video receivers.

The 271 does not carry out surround processing itself. Instead, it allows products which do support immersive formats to be combined with Meridian DSP loudspeakers.

Yes, with one exception – the original D6000 is not compatible. Other models can be used but additional hardware may be required and, in some cases, settings on the 271 will need to be changed. Furthermore, most earlier models of Meridian speakers do not support EBA. This needs to be taken into consideration if the system includes any Meridian speakers which are EBA-capable – see question 14 below.

All Meridian speakers equipped with a SpeakerLink input connection are capable of handling the signals sent out from the 271 so they can be connected directly to it.

Meridian DSP loudspeakers which do not feature SpeakerLink connections cannot be connected directly to the 271, but Meridian AC12 Comms Interface adapters can be used to provide the necessary connectivity.

The digital inputs on the original versions of DSP5000, DSP5000C, DSP5500 and DSP6000 did not support MHR and were limited to a maximum sampling rate of 48 kHz. This applies to speakers built before the introduction of the “96/24” versions of these models in March 1999. If one of these non-96 speakers is to be used, it is necessary to configure digital outputs of the 271 so that MHR is disabled and the output rate is limited to “1X”. These settings are found on the advanced page of the settings. To access this, enter the IP address of the 271 followed by “/advanced” into your browser - for example, Once the options have been selected, click on “Store Settings” to store the changes to the unit.


The 271 supports up to 20 audio outputs in any combination of analogue and digital form. If a greater number of output channels are required, two or more 271s can be combined to provide them.

No, the 271 features analogue output connections so combinations of Meridian and non-Meridian speakers can be supported.

The following are supported: 

  • Sixteen unbalanced analogue inputs on RCA (phono) connectors
  • Sixteen balanced analogue inputs on two DB25 multiway connectors (eight inputs per connector)
  • Sixteen digital inputs on two RJ45 sockets (eight channels per socket)
  • Sixteen digital inputs on one DB25 multiway connector
  • One two-channel Meridian SpeakerLink digital input.

The 271 is simple to configure via its inbuilt webpage. Simply enter the IP address of the 271 into a web-browser running on a device connected to the same network and the page should open.

The 271 can be controlled in the following ways: 

  • IP control via its network socket.
  • Meridian comms from another Meridian product.
  • Infra-red via an infra-red receiving eye plugged into its IR input socket.
  • Trigger input allowing it to be remotely powered up and down.

This can be configured to go high whenever the 271 is powered up or it can be configured source by source to be high or low.

No. The 271 is built to operate from a specific mains voltage range. This means that, for example, a unit built for use in Europe cannot be used in the USA without internal modification.

The colour of the LED behind the on/off button varies to indicate the following…

  • Blue: Standby
  • White: On
  • Red (when using an analogue input): This shows the input is being overdriven and the internal ADC is clipping. This can cause audio distortion so the level of the signal being fed to the 271 should be reduced.
  • Red (when using a digital input): This shows the 271 is receiving a Dolby Digital signal. The 271 cannot decode Dolby Digital, so the source product concerned should be reconfigured to output PCM.

This socket is intended to allow the connection of an infra-red receiving “eye” device, such as the Meridian G12 Remote Sensor. It can also be fed from the “IR output” from a third-party control system.

Yes. Many third-party control systems feature outputs suitable for feeding IR emitter devices (also referred to as IR “blasters”). The signals from these outputs differ from the signals derived from infra–red receivers in that they are modulated with a carrier frequency. However, the 271 is designed to receive both types of signal without any issues.

If all of the speakers in the system are Meridian models which are EBA-capable, then EBA can be used with no issues. However, the use of EBA has the effect of introducing a delay of 26 milliseconds to the sound passing through the speaker. So, if some speakers in a system use EBA and others do not, sounds from the EBA speakers will arrive at the listening position 26 milliseconds later than sound from the other speakers. Naturally, this will be detrimental to audio performance and should be avoided. However, rather than just disabling EBA on the speakers which support it, it is usually possible to add an appropriate delay to the non-EBA speakers to keep them aligned in time with the EBA-capable speakers. This is done within the set-up of the AV receiver. A delay of 26 milliseconds equates to a change in distance from the listening position of approximately 26 feet (about 7.9 metres). The distances of the non-EBA speakers should be adjusted by this amount relative to the non-EBA speakers. This additional distance should be combined with the measured distances. To add delay to a given speaker output, the distance associated with that speaker needs to be reduced. This may seem counter-intuitive as there is a tendency to connect extra delay with extra distance. It can help to consider that sound from a speaker close to the listener needs to be delayed so it matches the sound from the more-distant speakers. Hence, moving the speaker nearer actually adds delay.

No. Although Bass and Treble controls appear on the 271, the unit itself does not carry out any changes to the sound when the controls are used. Instead, the settings are sent to the Meridian DSP loudspeakers and the speakers adjust the sound accordingly. As a result, the Bass and Treble controls have no effect on the analogue outputs.

The SpeakerLink input of the 271 provides a direct pass-through to the main left and right SpeakerLink outputs of the unit. If a Meridian MQA decoder product is connected to the SpeakerLink input, MQA material can be sent directly to the main left and right speakers to provide the full benefit of MQA playback. The Meridian decoder products suitable for this arrangement are the 218, 818V3 and 808V6.

The 271 can be used with a multitude of AV receivers and these feature many differing combinations for their output channels. The 271 is almost completely “channel-agnostic”. It is designed so that its inputs can be mapped through to its outputs regardless of the origin of the signals being fed through each path. This flexibility makes it advisable to keep a record of the mapping used in a system. This is particularly important in systems with a large number of channels. Keeping a note of the channel assignments reduces the risk of having to unpick a complex set-up should there be a need to disconnect any of the components making up the system.

This can be done as long as the speaker used to receive the infra-red commands is set as the “Master” speaker in the system. It must be connected to one of the lower row of SpeakerLink sockets on the 271 – these sockets are designated by a green surround on the back-panel.

The input allows the 271 to be switched on remotely by a suitably-equipped AV receiver. The output allows the 271 to provide a signal to switch on other products remotely. This can be done for all input sources as relevant for a power amplifier, or for only specific sources as may be desired for controlling motorised blinds or shades. In combination, the input and output can be configured to act on the trigger feed from the AV receiver while, in effect, passing that trigger signal onto another product connected “downstream” of the 271. 

One method is to use a mobile phone with a mini-jack to phono lead as a source of audio. Plug the phone into the analogue input sockets one by one and check which speaker plays sound. By this point, it’s likely to be apparent that it’s a good idea to make a note of the channel assignment!

On power-up, Meridian “display-less” speakers sense how they are connected in the system and set themselves as either “Master” or “Slave” accordingly. So, when display-less speakers are switched on before they are connected to the 271, they can set themselves incorrectly for their use in the system. The problem can be avoided by ensuring all the speakers are power-cycled after the SpeakerLink connections have be made to the 271 and the 271 itself is powered up.  

Yes. Audio is delayed by a small but appreciable amount when it passes through a Meridian DSP loudspeaker. This delay is known as “latency” and it does not exist on analogue amps and speakers. By default, all Meridian DSP speakers in the current range have a latency of 24 milliseconds. This delay must be taken into consideration when entering the relative distances of the various speakers during the set-up process for the AVR. The latency of 24 milliseconds equates to a distance of 24 feet (approximately 7.3 metres). Therefore the distances used for the DSP loudspeakers need to be adjusted by 24 feet relative to the analogue speakers in the system. This can be done by adding 24 feet (7.3m) to the measured distances of the DSP loudspeakers. It should be noted that, because the set-up of the AVR relies on relative distances rather than absolute measurements, the same effect can be achieved by subtracting 24 feet (7.3m) from the measured distances of the analogue speakers or by adding and subtracting to provide a combination which equates to a differential of 24 feet (7.3m). If the differential of 24ms exceeds the range of adjustability available on the AVR, then one work-around is to disable “EBA” on the Meridian DSP loudspeakers. With EBA switched off, the latency of the Meridian speakers is reduced to 8 milliseconds. This equates to 8 feet (2.4 metres) so this should be used as the offset between the measured distances and the values entered on the AVR.


You can use two DB25-to-RJ45 cables which conform to the AES pin-out standard.

The clip LED will begin to show red when any of the unbalanced inputs receive a signal above 2V RMS or when any of the balanced inputs exceeds 4V RMS.

Driver modules exist that enable the product to be used with various control systems.

Modules for the following systems have been created by a third-party developer/partner. To make a request for these modules, click on the relevant link:

Meridian 271 IP Driver for Control 4

Meridian 271 IP Driver for ELAN G!

Meridian 271 IP Driver for Crestron


Modules for the following control systems are available directly from the suppliers below:



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The 271 Digital Theatre Controller provides effortless integration to access authentic, natural Hi-Res Audio.

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