I listened to the £1900 Meridian Ellipse wireless speaker – and you should too

Meridian Ellipse speaker
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

I'll be honest with you, I went into the Meridian demo room at High End Munich expecting to kick back and enjoy the DSP9. Yes, they launched at the show last year, but there's never a bad time to sit down and hear a pair of trademark Meridian speakers. But instead, I was greeted by something that's not just much smaller, but also much shinier: the brand-new Meridian Ellipse wireless speaker.

This is the company's first wireless speaker system and promises to utilise the company's Digital Signal Processing technology to deliver a satisfyingly hi-fi sound – befitting of a high-end audio show – from a relatively tiny package. And it's fair to say, based on the demonstration I enjoyed, it delivers. 

Meridian Ellipse speaker

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Meridian Ellipse top of speaker

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

When you're at a trade show full of speakers and systems worth 100s of thousands of pounds, it's almost unnerving to be sat back ready to listen to a wireless speaker. This is the sort of product that, regardless of the brand name, plenty of people wandering around this show wouldn't dream of bringing into their homes. Proper hi-fi? No chance. But for the rest of us, enlightened by what's now possible, why not see what an esteemed audio company, known for delivering class-leading audio processing, can deliver from a diminutive cabinet? 

Inside it's a simple, front-facing 2.1-driver design, each with amplification, with the clever stuff taken care of by Meridian's DSP and the work done by the company's 'Extreme Engineering Programme', which also covers the big-boy speakers. 

Designed and built in the UK, it's the first Meridian speaker to feature the latest R2 electronics platform, which is a compact version of the R1 electronics platform, and it includes the same signal-enhancing developments found in the DSP8000XE and DSP9 floorstanding speakers.

Meridian Ellipse back

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

You also get Meridian’s brand-new and updateable high-end streaming platform, which gives you access to AirPlay, Bluetooth and Chromecast via the Meridian control app, as well as Tidal Connect and Spotify Connect. Round the back you will find a USB-C for wired playback of 192 kHz/24-bit audio, plus a 3.5mm analogue connection, digital optical for connecting to a TV, and an Ethernet port. 

Once I got past the resemblance to a B&W Zeppelin, it was easy to be impressed by the scale of the sound on offer. Trade show stands are no place to pass judgement with any certainty, but a few familiar test tracks sounded far more authoritative and detailed than a speaker this size might be expected to deliver, with songs successfully freeing themselves from the constraints of the meagre dimensions. Was that bass coming from the Ellipse? Or was that the expensive system in the room next door? It can often be hard to tell. Either way, I was enjoying myself. 

But all this clever Meridian trickery comes at a price. The Ellipse is set to cost around £1900 (€2500, US$3000). Now that's a small number for High End Munich but it's a big number for a compact wireless speaker. Will that performance ultimately justify the price? Well, until we get our hands on one for a full review, that's why you really do need to try and hear one for yourself. It's a lot of money, but you may be surprised...


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Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is the Content Director for What Hi-Fi? and Future’s Product Testing, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for almost 20 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).