Newport 2016: Sunny’s Audio Video brings Meridian, MQA, Audio Research, Wilson Audio, Audioquest, & HRS



A day prior to the start of THE Show Newport, Meridian announced their new Reference Meridian Ultra DAC that caught my attention. Looking at the spec sheet- a dedicated clock card & dual mono DACs, this was the DAC to hear, if you want to experience MQA. Its global debut was at Sunny’s Audio Video room @ Newport, and I was curious to see what it could deliver.

Sunil Merchant, owner of Sunny’s Audio Video supported 4 rooms at THE Show Newport. Sunny’s main room was a powerhouse of:

Once seated, track after track, it reminded me what this hobby is about… getting engaged with the music. I didn’t want to leave, and returned to this room several times. Something magical about Wilson Audio Speakers + Audio Research electronics.

I don’t think I have ever seen a room with four Audio Research Ref 250 SE amps- talk about a lot of tubes! In place was a dedicated Audioquest Niagara 7000 for power conditioning the 4 amps at the front of the room, as well as a second Niagara 7000 for the sources in the beautiful HRS SXR Rack. The Niagara 7000 first caught my attention at Music Matters 11 and I was happy to see it again. We will have an in-depth review of the Niagara 7000 coming soon.

Back to MQA and Meridian Ultra DAC. Newport was my first opportunity to listen to any MQA files.


I admit that there was a time that I liked Adele, back during the release of her album 19. I can’t listen to her anymore, and the constant barrage of her on the radio causes me to flip channels faster than my 8-year-old. But as Sunny pressed PLAY on the Meridian Sooloos to queue “Hello” from Adele’s 25 album, I was engaged. For the first time, I actually enjoyed hearing that track (yes, I’m embarrassed). What’s interesting is I own that LP, and have played it 3-4 times on my reference analog rig, and it did nothing for me. But in Sunny’s room, it was different. Interesting.

I hunted through his collection to find other MQA tracks that I was familiar with. Norah Jones – Come away with me, is one I am very familiar with as I have played it a few too many times from the Quality Records re-issue. In MQA, that track sounded good — really good. The pace, the details, the warmth, are all things I could listen to all day. Not enough data to reach a conclusion on MQA, but piqued my interest that MQA has potential.

I have no interest in ever getting rid of my analog rig and LPs, but if we can find a digital format that is engaging like my analog rig, that is a good thing.

AXPONA coverage brought to you by Underwood HiFi, Exogal and Emerald Physics


  1. If you don’t want your record collection any longer Mohammed just let me know. I’ll be more than happy to take those space occupying dusty old records from your hands 😉

  2. Theresa and I missed Richard Beers and his flashy smile. He was a great promoter. The new staff pulled it off well.

    Great write up Mohammed. We wanted to BRING IT at the show this year.

    It takes a BIT OF CRAZY to bring 4 tube Amplifiers like the Reference 250SE to a hotel room for 3 days as hotel power is really not audio friendly. I counted on the Niagara to do it’s thing. It was amazing. I have not heard anything quite like the Audioquest designed Niagara.

    We could have brought the Audioquest DS450M Monoblocks but we decided to keep the tonal signature the same. No Compromise.

    This system was Optimized and sounding marvelous. The Meridian DAC box was opened at the show. By Saturday it sounded sublime. Digital presentation sounded warm and inviting. Resolution improved tremendously. The Audioquest Wel Signature cables are truly exceptional.

    Audio shows are great fun when you can play music that inspires you, makes you think , share music with your friends and do some business along the way. My Amazon packets are arriving everyday. I shall have new music for my event on the 24th and 25th of June.

    Look us up for more details at

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