Meridian/Ferrari collaboration yields versatile, all-in-one home entertainment system
By Darren Quick
December 13, 2007
December 14, 2007 Combining the acoustic and electrical engineering smarts of Meridian Audio with the materials and composites technology expertise of Ferrari, the Meridian F80 is an eye-catching, all-in-one portable home entertainment system that delivers high-end sound and exceptional versatility. Its sculptured, high-tech enclosure design with a deep gloss lacquered finish house an FM/AM and DAB radio, CD player, DVD player and 80 watt, 2.1 digital loudspeaker system and yes - it's available in Ferrari's signature red.
The F80 is designed to be a multi-talented performer with enough power to fill a large living room party with quality CD sound or, when connected to a display device, play DVDs. It would also be right at home on a bedside table with its dual function alarm to wake you in the morning with gentle chimes, a preset radio station or a favorite CD, and with its ability to digitally hook up to an Airport Express, or act as a high performance computer speaker, the F80 might also find its way into the study. With all this versatility it’s just as well the F80 was designed to be portable, weighing in at 14.3 pounds while measuring 16-inches wide by 9-inches high by 7.25-inches deep.
The size of the unit required the electronics to be carefully designed and densely packed into the base, and the high-quality loudspeakers needed a similarly hi-tech enclosure design to ensure that audio performance would not be compromised. This is where Ferrari's materials and composites technology expertise came to the fore with the main cabinet of the product made from a unique alloy-injected composite plastic that is very light but also extremely rigid and dense, to minimize vibration.
Inside the cabinet each driver has its own compartment made from Ferrari’s low-resonance, high mass composite materials. The left and right stereo drivers are special full-range designs with powerful neodymium magnets, die cast chassis, high-temperature voice-coils and carefully-designed cones fashioned from magnesium and aluminum alloy. The sub-woofer is a special long-throw design with a unique long voice-coil that is designed to maximize output and linearity.
The crossover - the system that feeds the left, right and bass loudspeakers with the correct sounds - is a special DSP design invented by Meridian which aims to deliver clear and full sounds, at both high and low volume. Sound controls include a 'tilt' function that increases bass while decreasing treble, or vice-versa, so the sound is always correctly balanced. There are also built-in location compensation controls that adjust performance if the F80 has been placed, for example, in a corner or on a shelf, ensuring that the F80 sounds its best in any room position.
A wide range of connections can be found on the rear panel including a standard headphone jack, which can automatically mute the loudspeakers when headphones are plugged in – or not if you prefer. Digital optical input and output are also provided, along with three separate external analogue inputs. One is a mini-DIN connector that allows the connection of a standard iPod dock, while the others are standard 3.5mm stereo jack sockets that can be used to connect a personal stereo, PVR, computer or set-top box.
The Meridian F80 is currently available for USD$2,999 in five official Ferrari colors - the signature red being one of them.