If you account for its small population, Switzerland is one of the richest countries per head in the world, which might explain why most of its hi-fi brands are high-end; names such as AVantGarde, darTZeel Audio, Goldmund and Revox spring to mind. One Swiss audio company you may know, though, is Merason. It’s unusual because it makes more affordable products, such as the Merason frérot that we’re looking at here.
Your £995 buys you a small box design that looks like a large one that’s been shrunk in the wash. It’s based around the Burr-Brown PCM1794A DAC chip, so this is a little different from the norm, inasmuch as it’s not another ESS Sabre-based design. It uses Class A buffering circuitry, specially selected components and offers a choice of unbalanced or balanced operation via RCA or XLR output sockets respectively. There are two optical digital inputs (working up to 24-bit/192kHz), two coaxial digital ins (ditto) and a USB digital input (up to 24/96). There’s one more socket around the back – 9V DC power into which you plug the supplied AC adaptor.
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