The Explorer by Meridian ($300) earned quite a good chunk of buzz after its release a few months ago. Meridian had the compact unit on active display in their room at AXPONA. This little DAC that has stirred the audio hornets nest does 192 kHz, 24 bit resolutions via USB. The indicator lights on the top of the unit let you know what level of fidelity you are passing through to your stereo. In an interesting twist on compact DAC output, the Explorer contains not only a headphone output, but a separate line out (somewhat rare) and also a optical out from the same jack (even more rare).
Meridian also had their svelt M6 powered loudspeaker ($9k) piping tunes into the corner room at the DoubleTree. The system features an unique design that is narrower at the top, which is inspired by Meridian’s philosophy of developing loudspeakers that have the characteristics of human heads – a cone head perhaps in this case. The bass section features a 150w class D amplifier and the “wide range” section pushes 100w.