No photography

I have a feeling I will not be obeying this sign.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

Factory

Surprisingly quiet, actually.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

Blank board

Here's the base circuit board. Several small ones, actually. Onto this, the P&P machine (next slide) places the components that turn this simple board into something that actually does something.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

P&P

The P&P (pick-and-place) machine. This is also called an "SMT component placement system." The reels in the foreground hold components like capacitors, resistors, IC chips, and so on that get placed onto a base circuit board.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

P&P closeup 1

Multiple little robot arms place the components on the board.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

P&P closeup 2

Here's an even closer closeup of the Pick-and-Place machine.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

P&P in standby

You can't open the protective cover of the P&P without it going into standby (for safety reasons, obviously). With the cover open, and the machine static, it's a lot less creepy. Notice the reels of components on the lower right.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

End result

Here you see a completed board (though to be fair, not the same one we started with).
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

Optical check

This is the first stage of the multistage QC process: an optical check. The big box on the right (with the tray open), is basically just an ordinary optical scanner (or, if you like, a fancy camera). Software checks the image of the board placed in the tray against a stored master image. It compares dozens and dozens of individual points for variation. This could be as simple as a component placed in the right direction, down to actual serial numbers and product names on chips. If it senses a discrepancy, it flags the item for a check by a human.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

Handmade

Even with the complexities of these circuit boards, there are still some parts that are, for various reasons, better for a person to install.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

Continuity

A additional check is for continuity. The board is placed on this device (this one is a demo, the real one is a machine), and it checks to make sure all the electrical connections are working. Check out the next slide for the bottom, it's really cool. Also, check out this video to see the machine in action.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

WIRES!

This is the underside of the continuity checker you saw in the last slide. So many wires.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

Performance testing

The final stage in QC testing is actual performance testing. After running in the board (soaking), for 24 to 72 hours, the performance is checked against a reference.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

USB DAC

The Explorer DAC (digital-to-analog converter), which Steve Guttenberg checked out, is entirely made in this factory.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

Speaker cutaway

Meridian makes speakers, too. Here's a cutaway of one of the towers. In addition to incredibly rigid wood layers, you should be able to make out a thin piece of metal in the middle of the sandwich. Solid.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

Anechoic

Anechoic chambers are as cool as they are creepy.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

Listening

In this beautiful and acoustically excellent listening room, the final testing gets done.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:

Theater

Meridian also sell high-end projectors, including a 4,096x2,400-pixel-resolution, 4,000-lumen monster.
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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET / Caption by:
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