ConclusionThe Merason Audio DAC1 doesn't just look different, it sounds different too. And that is a compliment. We immediately recognised the signature of the Frérot but the DAC1 goes further and is even more beautifully made. It really is a device that deserves a special place in the rack and is not inferior to the big boys. The Merason Audio DAC1 is not cheap, but for it you get a Swiss top d/a converter that is built completely discreetly and radiates class. The fact that it also sounds heavenly is a bonus.
Our Sonnet Digital Audio Morpheus is a great NOS dac with custom made chips and an excellent preamp. MQA and I2s are among the possibilities but like the Merason Audio DAC1, DSD is off limits. We think the Morpheus is reference material with sufficient flexibility and a honest reproduction. The differences with the DAC1 are limited. Very limited. But audible. The Morpheus sounds precise and natural just like the DAC1 but with the DAC1 our brain relaxes a bit more. We relax completely while listening and are only concerned with the music. An extraordinary experience.
Why are there more and more separate dacs on the market? Because there is a demand for it. Even for dacs that cost 5000 euros and more. Whether the relative improvements are worth the investment is something everyone must decide for themselves. In any case, with the DAC1 Merason Audio is trying to distinguish itself from the pack by bringing something unique. Something that entices, enchants, intrigues and moves the buyer. Something that, as a buyer, you want to cherish. Its quirky looks, its distinct construction and its irresistible sound make for a total experience.
The Merason Audio DAC1 is a device for the connoisseur who dares to deviate from the beaten path. But it is also simply a rock-solid d/a converter that everyone must have heard once. It is a dac that not only lets you hear everything but also draws you into the music. That can convey the emotion of an artist. With the DAC1 you get a unique d/a converter that you may never part with again. We certainly didn’t like putting it back in the box.
Fortunately, we still have the Frérot which shares much of the DNA of the DAC1. So if the DAC1 is too much of a challenge, there’s always the little brother. How much of that DNA does the Frérot possess we hear you think? At least 80 percent. Diminishing returns is the beautiful name for it in English