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Review Merason Audio DAC1 – Swiss Craftsmanship

Pros

  • Display
  • Beautifully made
  • Completely discreet

Cons

  • No MQA
  • No DSD
  • No Preamp
  • No Display
  • No Remote Control
  • Price: € 4500

    Build quality
    Usability
    Sound
    Price

    Sound

    So how does the three times more expensive DAC1 sound compared to its little brother? Well the signature is of course similar. Clear, pure but with an organic quality that we rarely encounter. We think it is a unique combination.

    The DAC1 obviously takes it a lot further than the Frérot. In a direct A/B comparison we immediately notice an even higher intelligibility and even at low volume every word comes through more clearly. A second improvement is the slightly wider and deeper soundstage compared to its little brother. Other elements we do not notice immediately in a direct comparison but rather after prolonged listening. The DAC1 is more insightful than the modest Frérot and also the bass has more impact and overall quality.

    Listen

    Lady Blackbird has released one of the albums of 2021 with “Black Acid Soul”. With the song “Five Feet Tall” we are in a smoky jazz club where on the left the double bass player is doing his thing, in the back the percussionist is casually supporting the song and a little more to the right the piano carrying the song. Singer Marley Munroe, in turn, is right in the middle as she should be. The beginning of the arrangement clearly refers to the song ‘He needs me’ by Nina Simone, who is not only an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Lady Blackbird

    The new Kacey Musgraves “Star Crossed” gets a lot of playing time, because her latest album is again excellently recorded and is full of good songs. What do we hear? An impeccable reproduction. No edge, no lack of detail and never the feeling that a part is turned on. The song “Hookup Scene” comes through crystal clear. Truly an experience. Perfectly balanced too but there are more dacs like that.

    What makes the DAC1 so special is therefore difficult to describe in words. In any case, the DAC1 makes digital music less digital. A personal favorite is “Folklore” by Taylor Swift. We know this album through and through but the DAC1 still lets us, cliché alarm, hear new things. Or rather experience new things. The songs come in like a sledgehammer blow and stick to the ribs even more. It’s little nuances like this, details, experiences that make all the difference at this level. To test the bass region, we often use the latest Vince Staples lately, an album full of deep bass lines. The extra impact and control that the DAC1 gives to the Revels is extraordinary.

    The greater intelligibility, which we mentioned earlier, we hear immediately on ‘Sal Type’ by Bombataz. The percussion on Spellling’s ‘Magic Act’ comes through more clearly and so does the track ‘Send Me’ by Tirzah. Bins of insight and detail on ‘It fascinates me’ by Casper Cox or on ‘Digital Tears’ by Rimon And so there were numerous examples that made us rise from the sofa throughout the test period. Despite its organic quality, we don’t miss a single detail through the DAC1. Quite the contrary.

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