Meridian Director with Raspberry Pi and Ropieee

In our media room, our Roon core with Tidal resides on a Lenovo Tiny i7, 16GB, 1TB-SSD. A Mytek Brooklyn DAC is connected to the Lenovo via USB and outputs via XLR to a Classé SSP 800 pre-pro. We have numerous iPhones, iPads, and PC’s acting as remotes. Works great, love it!

In the living room I have an Ethernet linked Raspberry Pi with HiFiBerry Dac+Pro outputting analog via RCA’s to a fine old Marantz SR9600 receiver. This system works great too and of course can be controlled with the numerous devices mentioned.
The Brooklyn referenced above replaced a Meridian Director DAC. So, I have an unused Meridian DAC collecting dust.
My Question: Can I remove the HiFiBerry HAT DAC from the Pi, connect the Pi via USB to the Meridian Director DAC, make the appropriate changes on the Ropieee web page (No HAT, check USB box) and output analog from the Director to the same RCA input on the old Marantz?

Are there any changes or drivers required for the Raspberry Pi to communicate with the Meridian Director? I ask this because I had to install Meridian USB audio drivers on my Windows PC in order for the Meridian to work.
Considering the HiFiBerry already sounds excellent is it worth putting the Meridian Director in the chain? Logically one would think the Meridian would be a better DAC than the HiFiBerry. Then again perhaps technology has moved on since the Director was produced.

Thanks for any help.

Hi @John_Eaton,

Yeah it works like you said. There’s also no need to remove the hifiberry HAT, you can use them in parallel. Gives you the possibility to do some A/B testing :wink:

Considering drivers: no, I expect the Meridian to work out of the box.

Wrt quality… that’s difficult to answer. The Hifiberry Dac+ Pro is a fantastic piece of hardware considering the price, but the Meridian is capable of doing high res, giving you also the possibility to play around with Roon’s upsampling.

My suggestion? plug it in and test. :wink:

Hey thanks for the prompt reply Harry!
Great news that I don’t have to remove the HAT.

That means I just need to swap out the RCA’s and if memory serves, the Director is powered by the USB connection.

I assume the Raspberry Pi will power the Meridian. If not I think the Director came with a wall wart power supply.

Cool, I’m excited to give it a try! Now, where did I put that old Meridian Director???

I’ll report back.

Thanks a bunch!


OK so, no problem with the Raspberry Pi USB powering the Meridian DAC. Good thing too because the included power supply has to plug into the one and only USB port on the Director.
After unplugging and re-plugging the Pi, Meridian Director USB DAC showed up on the Roon networked device list. As you said, the HiFiBerry dacplus was still there too.

The immensely cool thing is when the Meridian Director zone is selected in Roon, Roon shows an outline image of the Director DAC itself. The Mytek and Raspberry Pi just show the image of a generic speaker.

As long as the volume control is fixed the Director will play 44.1, 96, and 192 files in their native format. With DSP volume control enabled the Meridian will play only 44.1 files, hi-rez files simply don’t play.
Not having Roon volume control is not an issue as my Harmony Hub remote controls system volume from the same iPhone, iPad, or Harmony remote.

I haven’t tried any MQA files yet.

Once again, big thanks Harry!

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Update #2

The Meridian Director is sounding great, then again, the HiFiBerry sounded pretty great too. I have about a hundred HDTracks downloaded albums, so I thought the Meridian would of course be the better device to use.

However, according to the specs on the HiFiBerry website, their DAC + Pro has a Burr Brown chip capable of all sampling frequencies up to 192 KHz. So, from a pure capability standpoint it’s a wash. Both the HiFiBerry and the Director needed to have Headroom Management enabled within Roon’s DSP Engine to avoid invoking the “Peak” overload indicator on the old Marantz SR9200. So, similar output levels seemingly. Of course, neither DAC is MQA capable. Through the Raspberry Pi, the Meridian shows 44.1 KHz rather than up-sampled to 96KHz as I recall seeing when I played Tidal Masters/ MQA files using the Meridian directly from the Tidal app. (before I purchased Roon and the Mytek Brooklyn)

The two big differences are:

  1. The Meridian Director has indicators for 44.1/48, 88.2/96, and 176.4/192, whereas the HiFiBerry has none.
  2. I paid $699.00 for the Meridian and about $40.00 for the DAC + Pro.
    My Takeaway, it’s close, the Meridian Director is probably the winner by a nose, but the HiFiBerry DAC + Pro is an incredible/ amazing /ridiculously good value.

I’ll leave the Meridian in the chain for now but living with the HiFiBerry certainly was no hardship.

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Update #3

Meridian Director continues to sound great when it plays. However, when attempting to shuffle a 380 song play list, the Meridian has trouble loading and playing the next song. The Meridian lights flash as if confused then play stops until the play button is hit again. Sometimes a couple of play presses are required to resume audio. To test I switched back to the HiFiBerry HAT, adjusted the Ropieee web page accordingly and shuffle play worked fine. Changing back to the Meridian resulted in the shuffle problem returning.

Don’t know if maybe the problem is due to accommodating changes from 44.1 to 96 or 192 or some other factor.