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Meridian 201 upgraded with Charcroft Z-foil resistors and Audio Note Kaisei caps.

Meridian 201 upgraded with Charcroft Z-foil resistors and Audio Note Kaisei caps.

Recently replaced components in the output stage of a modified Meridian 201 preamplifier have been given time to “bed in”, although from the onset it was clear that there was a noticeable improvement in sound quality. The resistors replaced Vishay bulk foils and the capacitors replaced Rubycons.

Examples of tracks which were used at random for listening tests, as I know them all well;

Jungle/ELO (Out of the Blue) Increased separation between percussion with a wooden block stage right taking on a more forward presentation in the mix. Bass guitar notes cleaner. Soundstage increased in depth. Individual voices are more discernible in choral section.
Close To Me/Paul Carrack (Beautiful World) On the intro at @24 seconds, there are tubular bells down in the mix which I’ve never heard before. To be honest, there are little musical breaks going on throughout that are suddenly vying for attention behind the bass and drum parts that underpin this track. It’s a revelation. The bass is extended to lower frequencies yet remains clean and tight with real impact.
Orinoco Flow/Enya (Watermark) Another track where the bass notes have more impact and speed. There’s certainly less smearing. It’s as if a curtain has been raised, let alone a veil. Keyboard parts come across with improved speed and decay.
The Boys of Summer/Don Henley (Building The Perfect Beast) Accepting that like the other tracks listened to, there is an overall improvement in the bass/lf spectrum, the guitar in particular on this song has a warmer tone and is crisper with notes more distinct, especially in the solo and bridge sections.
Auberge/Chris Rea (Auberge) At 1 minute in, amongst the birdsong and crows there are three dog barks which have more clarity. The track itself has a tighter kick drum and bass line, with Chris’ guitar really standing out with improved presence. Backing vocals once again have more separation making it easier to define individuals.
The Dream/David Sanborn (A Change Of Heart) What impressed me with this track is not how it affected David’s saxophone, but how the “high hat” on the left appears to be outside the soundstage presented by the loudspeakers, the whole ensemble is so wide. I’ve noticed it previously but it has never been as distinct as it is now.
The album Duke by Genesis has always disappointed me because of its overall mix. It’s one of those albums that could offer so much and yet doesn’t. However, the bass guitar parts do seem to have more prominence and Phil Collins’ voice does stand out a little more, especially on Alone Tonight.

Overall impressions are of increased width of the soundstage, greater depth, improved resolution, with a cleaner presentation of each instrument(s).
Resistors: Crisper hf, less smearing, increased resolution of detail
Capacitors: Bass has more slam, reduced muddiness, lowest registers have more power.

For more information on the Audio Note Kaisei range, please click HERE

For more information on Charcroft's Z-Foil Resistors please click HERE

Review sent in by Ian, a UK customer.

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