BOOTHROYD STUART MERIDIAN: Their ultra-rare 107 power amp and … a powerfully incontinent white dove

Q: Gentlemen, whatever happened to the Boothroyd-Stewart 'Orpheus' pre and power amp? Did they ever make into production? The preamp was a gorgeous looking precursor to the 'rainbow' Lecson pre. Very '70s (should suit André) with a Nextel suede finish. Can't find an image, but it had the sort of design aesthetics that would, I'm sure, have graced the cover of Hi-Fi for Pleasure magazine (no doubt being 'cradled' by a semi-clad female!) Now those were 'mens mags'.

A: Yes, they did. I have the Orpheus preamp and it still works. Among many other facilities it has a very advanced bass equalization module with three parametric sliders centered around the 3 principle bass Eigentone pivot points. More here >

  • The Orpheus power amps you refer to (built by Zircon) were re-badged as the Meridian 107 power amp.
  • Only 9 were produced.
  • All had bronzed semi-translucent glass side panels
  • At the time this was the most engaging high-powered super-amp I had yet heard.

Mr. B wanted them to have clear glass sides. However safety issues (toughened glass was very expensive back then) plus the fact that the wiring could not be made neat enough meant this was abandoned. I had my 101/107 reviewed by Phillip Mount (you know him today as Noel Keywood) in Practical Hi-Fi & Audio. Speakers were Gale 401a. PM was I felt at that time a miserable sod. However he did volunteer that at the time (1978 I think) that this was one of the finest systems he had yet heard.

The Hi-Fi for Pleasure editor, much to his cost decided against big-boobed 'birds' for the front cover. He demanded a different type of bird altogether. A tame white dove in fact. That’s what you’ll see on the HFP front cover.

Unfortunately the bird was during the photo sheet somewhat incontinent.

They had envisaged the major problem was to get both the equipment and fluttering bird in one image. They had not envisaged clearing liquid droppings from the preamp sliders. This is why prominence in the shot is given to the power amp in all its magisterial bronze glass.  Meanwhile NAIM were producing bolt-together casework that made army ammo boxes look elegant. And so it goes.



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