It’s interesting how some iconic goods have vanished into the mists of time, completely forgotten, while others are still talked about decades later. The 104 tuner from Meridian is an example of the former, but it also deserves to be the latter!
It has Allen Boothroyd to credit for its wonderful packaging and ergonomics, and Bob Stuart to thank for its great sound. It was designed as an aesthetic match to the company’s beautiful 100-series, which was first launched in 1978. It’s an FM-only design with six presets that can be adjusted via tiny screw adjusters; once set, the main rotary control allows the user to cycle through the presets or tune manually. A useful illuminated metre aids this, as do toggle controls for turning on or off muting and/or mono mode. A DIN connector on the back provides audio output, while a 75 ohm aerial jack pulls the signal in.
This tuner has a very smooth, even, and open sound, with surprisingly good sensitivity for a tuner of its era – none of which were known for working with low-level signals. With good noise performance and a crisp, sweet treble, it provides a somewhat warm but very smooth and delicate sound. It’s great for adding an FM source or finishing your Meridan 100-series set, and they’re really good value for money at under £100, considering the superb build quality and top-notch engineering. When compared to the outrageous rates being charged for frequently less capable classic Japanese tuners of the same era, it’s a bargain!