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mschwilson 2nd January 2012 07:41 PM

Meridian MCA-1 amplifier
My amp blows the mains fuse, the one at the extreme back left.
Has anyone any ideas as to where I should start looking.
I've done the usual searches and found nothing except that it has a switch mode power supply, which are not really my thing.
Any help would be much appreciated.

jez 2nd January 2012 09:27 PM

Sorry to say but if I was you I would just bin it....
It's one of the very few amps which I refuse to work on!

Ian Finch 3rd January 2012 01:05 AM

Off-topic already but Meridian is, I guess, a respected brand with enormous price tags and, AFAIK, a well heeled and significant customer base, yet seldom posted here.

Is there something particular about the design, construction or secrets of Meridian's amplifiers or audio products in general that makes them rare or difficult to discuss here? I'm sure other outsiders would like to understand what's really going on in there for so many Quid, even if they have no intention of owning one, touching anything or cloning any of it. Comments? :dunno:

mschwilson 3rd January 2012 10:06 AM


It's one of the very few amps which I refuse to work on!
Hi Jez.
I can see what you mean, I don't really fancy working on it myself, but only for the reason that all the elements are seperate, and it looks a bit complicated compared to the run of the mill stuff, which I don't do anyway.

Hi Ian.
From what I've read, though in the realm of cd players, they are very complicated/unusual to work on, and I think that people have had more issues when repairing them, than the actual fault, that they would tend to shy away the next time.
Maybe that's why there is so little on them in general, because people just don't want to give them the time of day due to the hassle they've had in the past.
Anyway, a note on their price. My opinion on this is that although they were more expensive than a lot of other manufacturers, they did, at least use good quality components, and make their own circuit designs.
What a lot of manufacturers do is buy off the shelf parts and stick them in their own box, then sell them for twice the price (figure of speech, it could be more).
Another ploy is to simply stick cheap parts in a good looking box, of which, here is a classic example. I owned a pair of 401's (speakers).
One day while taking them down from the attic, I dropped one.
It split open and that was that.
I decided to take the internals out, after all, we all like to keep stuff for our "man-drawer".
Anyway, there was no crossover, just a small glass tube (?).
The units were paper, but only small magnets and obviously cheap imports.
The worst things are to come.
Chipboard, maybe 12mm cabinet with no bracing and a vinyl wrap. No soldering to any of the speaker connections, and here's the biggy.....a brick.............. yes a BRICK (house type) stuck in the bottom :warped:.
These are/were almost 400.00 when new, and this was in the eighties (I had the in the 2000's).
I must admit that they sounded excellent on acoustic music (upside down on sand filled spiked stands, run off an Onyx amp), but talk about not getting what you pay for :mad:.

Look who's off topic now.... sorry.:(

Anyway, I digress, I'm still after info on my amp, so if you can help....

P.s. How are you Jez my old buddy.
Simon (Dave's shop).
Message me.

jez 3rd January 2012 12:58 PM

The earlier products from Meridian are all a bit "Heath Robinson" and kind of "home made" once you get beneath the stylish exteriors.... PCB's look home made for a start and have no silk screening to ID components. They were also fond of things like bits of plastic glued on etc to prevent one bit shorting to another. They did sound pretty good for the time though.
The MCA however is the worst of the lot! Switch mode PSU of their own design (which is the most troublesome part), very compact modular construction which is a nightmare to work on combined with all the above stuff.
They are helpful though if you need schematics etc and even give repair advice.

Hi Simon, hadn't realised you were the OP! Will get in touch mate!

mschwilson 3rd January 2012 01:14 PM


Switch mode PSU of their own design (which is the most troublesome part), very compact modular construction
Hi Jez.
That's what I'm bothered about too.

Thanks for the info on the "help" they give, I think I'll give them a go.

I did not try this sooner cos the last time I tried it with certain hi-fi company (let's just say I was on a mission... to get a cd player repaired), I spoke to a nice repair person, but the next day got a phone call from a nasty woman :mad: saying "we do not give information to the public".
Guess I just rang at the wrong time of the month, or maybe it was on a Monday? :confused:

Anyway, I'll update this post when I have some news.

(Jez. I'll await your email) :)

P.s. What's with all these faces???

Ian Finch 4th January 2012 12:45 AM

Thanks for your illuminating comments gentlemen. Jez, that is what I thought of the innards back in the '80s too. Even the brochures were not exactly flattering to the tiny lego-system Meridians then. Times change though.

That is an awful irony, mschwilson. The rubbish I have seen here is of the honest variety. Such a box would cost about 70 of your quid even now. It would look. perform and fall apart similarly but no one would buy them without a snobbish brand label and nice, weighty few bricks (they are getting lighter these days).

Glass tube? Well, a tiny bipolar electro. usually serves for a crossover in this league. Might there have been one lurking in the tube with some silicone glue to hide it or prevent fires in the likely case of failure?

Prices of European electronics are traditionally and disgracefully doubled when they arrive in this country. It has little to do with costs when the same markups are applied to a Brand's Chinese manufactures supplied direct. Oddly. they can retail in the US for no such markup. However, it does ensure exclusivity by pruning the market here to just the rich and the unwise IMO.

In a nutshell, we don't see the product unless it arrives as personal effects or otherwise bypasses agencies.

mschwilson 9th January 2012 07:33 PM

Hi Ian.

Thanks for the info on the glass tube, I've wondered about it for years.

As far as the build quality of equipment is concerned, my opinion is pretty much based on what I wrote earlier, in that I can stand a bit of spit and glue build quality, and I can get over the extra cost, as long as the company who made it has not tried to con me by sticking in stuff that has no right to be there.

Anyway, back to the MCA-1 for a min.

I've decided not to do anything with it, simply for the fact that I havn't a clue about how it works.

The power supply design (switched mode), is not something I'm comfortable with, and in the interest of safety, and the possibility of ruining it altogether, I think it's best left to the knowledgeable.

Spot it on Ebay soon.

Thanks for all you help anyway.

Best regards,

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