It is a gorgeous design of black aluminum with a glass front and top (a micro fiber cleaning cloth is supplied so you can keep it looking spotless). The front face sports a touch sensitive logo that powers the unit on. A green light means it is running, blue is stand-by, amber lets you know the internal fans are cooling the insides, while red lets you know there is a fault condition. More likely than not, you’ll opt to use the 12v trigger from your preamp to power the Meridian 857 up before a serious music session.
Low-feedback construction means there’s almost no distortion, ensuring a high degree of clarity and transparency throughout the audible range. Both balanced and unbalanced inputs are provided, with unbalanced inputs converted to balanced before they enter the amplifier using Meridian’s proprietary ‘Superbal’ technology. Thanks to six variable-speed fans, the 857 can operate in warm rack environments and can have mounting ears added if you so choose. Even when in standby mode, a standing voltage is maintained, so you can enjoy optimal performance almost immediately after switching the Meridian 857 on.
I’m in the process of breaking-in the Meridian 857, and so far, my impressions are very favorable. Look for my full review here soon. The Meridian 857 is not inexpensive, but it may be the only stereo amplifier you will ever need… or desire!