MERIDIAN: Their 101, 103 & 103D amplifiers revisited and …. the elusive 102

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Gentlemen - what can you tell me about the Meridian 101/103D amplifiers from the 1970s? They look like a bargain on e-bay.

The 101 series preamps are tremendous value on the used market today fetching ridiculously low prices given the clarity and transparency of the reproduction. They use DIN plugs throughout, other than later versions which had RCA/Phono female connectors on a short trailing lead for LP input.

The brown versions were cosmetically more durable than the black, but the real prize are the 7 black-cased 101s with chrome front plates with deep blue lettering. Utterly beautiful, and probably priceless now.

I own the last one off the production line, finished in Royal Blue.

In pure musical enjoyment terms I personally feel the 103D has NEVER been bettered by Meridian. It stands comparison to any power amp up to £1.5k at today’s prices yet can be picked up on eBay for as little as £200.

The 105 mono units are a bit more 'muscular' in sound  to my ears, slightly less incisive.

The 107 stereo unit is like a pair of 105 units but on steroids. Selling mine was one of my dumber decisions.

The 102 was a stand-alone head amp which, I believe, never went into production.

Putting ultimate power to one side, the 101B/103D combination shows conclusively that solid-state amplification’s musical performance has not evolved very far during the past 41 years. I believe it is impossible, within the context of the release date and the price to over-praise this combination. A work of genius in every respect. And very reliable too.

No software, no RS232 ports, no multi-channel and no gimmicks! Just watertight engineering principles intelligently applied to achieving the goal of musically realistic listening. Those were the days. They truly were.

Howard Popeck

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  • Mark

    I have the three box 101/103 amp. I agree that they were superb. At present I am bi–amping a hi end cyrus set up I would like to compare the two systems but the meridian needs attention as one of the transistors may have blown. How would I go about getting it repaired
    I also had the mcd-pro. The two box meridian CD player. That was a corker. I bought that after graduating in 86.