A while back we tested the Merason Audio Frérot d/a converter and liked it so much that we have since purchased it as a reference. It sounds excellent, is nicely made, and colors less than the Denafrips Ares II. Meanwhile, there is an optional power supply available that should take the Frérot to an even higher level. At least that is the intention. That linear power supply is called the Merason Audio Pow1 (no… no Prisoner of War, but “Power 1”) and visually it fits perfectly with the Frérot. Whether the Pow1 is also an audible step we tell you in the review below. Enjoy!
Before we talk about the power supply, let’s briefly brush up on the strengths of the ‘standard’ version. The Frérot is a fast, nimble dac that doesn’t intrude. It sounds silky smooth and surprisingly refined. Dynamics are excellent and there is little or no coloration. As far as we are concerned, it is a top player in its price class, next to such giants as the Chord Qutest and the Denafrips Ares II.
Those who want to know if a separate power supply really makes a difference should attach an S-Booster on a Mytek Brooklyn. We’ve done it and the difference is nothing short of shocking. Often a separate power supply does not make such a drastic difference and sometimes, with a bad match, it can even worsen the performance but most of the time the reproduction does improve because, as you know, the power supply is the heart of every piece of hi-fi.
Because Daniel Frauchiger developed the Pow1 specifically for the Frérot it will be a good match but does it sound better? We hope so because 690 euros is quite a hefty investment.
Construction and appearance
The Merason Audio Pow1 power supply is identical to the Frérot in terms of dimensions. The front is completely smooth and at the back there is only a connection for the power cord and the five-pole connection to connect the power supply to the dac.
Furthermore, there is not much to report except that everything is solidly screwed together and that the power supply weighs a lot more than the dac. There is a slight color difference on the dac and the power supply, at least on our test model.
Loosening a few screws and you immediately notice the very neat layout. In addition to a beautiful Finnish Trafox toroidal power supply, we see three Nichicon capacitors that should keep everything running smoothly. Quality materials all around with a completely discreet construction.
Together, these two boxes look very stylish on our ‘hifi furniture’. However, do not stack them on top of each other, as shown in some photos, because the power supply needs some air and space to not get too hot. Also… it can be a bad idea to put a torodial transformer on sensitive equipment; it can influence performance.
Every little bit helps
We do see separate power supplies more often but rarely in this price range. If we have to think of one quickly: the Innuos Zen Mini is one.
If you know that the Frérot now costs 1100 euros and the power supply adds another 690 euros then the question arises whether everything is still in proportion. After all, the power supply costs two thirds of the price of the dac. Is this upgrade justifiable then the differences should be clear. The higher price tag is perhaps easier to understand when you know that the Pow1 is completely handcrafted in homeland Switzerland.
Still, we think it would be a good idea should Merason Audio offer the Frérot and Pow1 as a bundle to make the power supply purchase more attractive.