The G06 may be Meridian's entry-level CD player, but it doesn't look like a concession to budget values. Indeed, in many ways, it's the most impressive-looking machine at this price point.

Apart from anything else, the reprogrammable 'soft keys' are great - assign whatever function you like to each front-panel button and the appropriate legend appears above them on the display. The coffee-table remote is fabulous, too. And the case is as well designed and finished as any we've seen.

Yes, the CD-ROM transport doesn't have the deluxe feel of the best metal-tray audio types, but it's a lot better than most of its breed and makes very little mechanical noise when working.

It loads discs slowly but makes up for it with very swift response thereafter. It also claims uncommonly good error-correction. Circuits whose keynote is efficiency follow it: no wasted square inches of board, no unnecessary bits of circuit.

The DAC chip and output op-amps are familiar types, neatly laid out on a mostly surface-mount board with just a few through-hole components including the precision capacitors in the analogue filter.

Meridian has opted for a switch-mode power supply, which may not have any obvious performance or size advantage over a conventional supply, but does make the unit auto-adjusting for any mains supply. In terms of connections, one gets the usual unbalanced audio and electrical/optical digital, plus a Meridian communications port, RS232 for maintenance and an infra-red receiver socket.

Given the excellent results we've had from a few Meridian components of late, we were disappointed to find that some of the comments on this player were a little disparaging. It seemed that two of our panel found it short on life and energy - one described it as "plodding".

Once again, though, we feel it's a case of 'horses for courses'. In fact, although the G06 didn't find universal favour, it did attract consistent listening notes from all involved. It's just a question of what you're looking for in a CD player.

High on its list of achievements is detail. It is not only possible to hear everything that's going on, but it's also easy to pick up on, and follow, any particular line within the music. The smallest amount of veiling can quickly make that difficult, but here it involves no effort at all by the listener.

Tonally there is a small degree of coloration. We had some comments about a recessed midband, though it's certainly subtle. Another minus point mentioned was dynamics, but we suspect that, as with the Lyngdorf, this is more a lack of exaggeration than an actual flaw.

One of the signs of really refined audio kit is that it can manage dynamics so effortlessly you hardly notice until, for instance, you try to speak over the music and realise you can't actually hear yourself. Real live music does that too, and that's impressive.

And finally, imaging: precise but not quite as wide as some, it seems to follow the generally undemonstrative theme of this player, a theme we suspect you'll love or hate - lukewarm reactions are unlikely!