The boom box went out of fashion years ago, but the idea of having a tidy, self-contained entertainment system to your media hasn’t gone away. Finished in a variety of British hand-stitched leathers, Meridian’s new M80 Compact System probably isn’t something you want to be putting on the kitchen counter (or near the ink-blotter), but it’s an elegant little entertainment solution for the living room or bedroom. The tabletop sound system features stereo speakers and a built-in sub to accentuate the on-board audio processing, which works to simulate a much bigger sound system. The deck features AM and FM (and even digital) radio tuners, along with a CD/DVD drive and an included Meridian i80 iPod dock, taking care of pretty much all of your casual listening needs. The system will also automatically detect the environment around it and change its processing to sound best in that environment. If that’s not enough, it’s also an alarm clock.
The M80 is a premium item, designed to complement a classy setting, and if reviews of Meridian’s previous Compact Systems are any indication, it should sound fantastic. Given the clientele they’re going after, though, I’m really disappointed not to see some DVD-Audio or SACD support. The deck also only includes S-Video and composite video outputs, which makes its DVD playback capabilities seem a little less sexy. Had they thrown in an HDMI port, this could have been the perfect bedroom system—good 2.1-channel sound and the ability to use it as an upscaler for the bedroom TV to boot.
Still, it’s hard to deny how sexy it is.