Sunday, July 14, 2024

Guides, Testimonials, News


"I wanted to write earlier to tell you I won't be returning the e22, but by now you already know.

As soon as I got home after picking up the e22 I connected the digital output from my Meridian 508 CD player to the e22's digital in. I put on a CD by The Bad Plus and flipped back and forth between CD and e22 (after making sure the output levels were the same). I've always been happy with the Meridian 508, but right away I heard some interesting differences. Where the e22 was clean and crisp, the 508 had some "bloom" that I hadn't noticed before - especially in the lower frequencies. I also noticed that the e22 excels at 3D spatial placement, with a lot of front/back information. I thought that 508 was a bit better than the e22 with subtle high frequency detail, like drum brushes, but I wasn't sure if this was due to the 508's "bloom".

I had to leave town for a couple of days, so I loaned the e22 to my brother. I had downloaded the Mac driver for him to make sure he was going to get the most out of the preview. He has a Meridian G02 CD player, which I've heard in an A/B comparison against my 508 years ago. The G02 sounds a lot better than the 508. I wasn't able to listen to the e22 in his system, but his comments are about the same as mine. He thought the G02 had more high end oomph, but he wasn't sure that was a better thing. He found the e22 lovely to listen to.

And that leads in to what I want to say about the e22. I've spent a lot of time ripping my CD collection and listening to music I haven't heard in a while. The hi def ability of the e22 is great, and in fact that's one of the reasons I bought it, but in the end I found myself listening to a lot of music and loving it. Instead of looking for well recorded material that would show off the new component, I was using the new component to enjoy my music collection. I have read reviews that refer to the e22's red-book playback as "polite", and I think I understand what they mean (a little less sizzle than some might expect) but I have to say I'm absolutely loving "polite".

The spatial resolution of the e22 is great for chamber music, but what really struck me was how fantastic big orchestral stuff sounds, whatever the recording format. I am rediscovering my symphonic collection thanks to the e22.

I invited some friends over the other night. They thought I'd have a new library of hi-def music for them to hear. And I have purchased quite a few DSD and 24-bit PCM downloads in the last month, but in the end I just played stuff I liked. Some of it was hi-def, and the jaws of my friends dropped to suitable positions, but for most of the night we listened to tracks ripped from my CD collection. I'm not trying to say the red-book material sounded as good as the hi-def downloads. We could all hear and appreciate the difference. My point is that thanks to the e22 we had a great time listening to music. And shouldn't that be the goal of any "high end" audio component?

Before hitting "send" I reread my message while listening to a BBC recording of "American Landmarks" that I inherited with my father's music collection. It's definitely not an "audiophile" disc, but I'm enjoying it immensely and that's my point. The e22 lets the music shine through.

Mike P.



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