Merason DAC 1 MK 2
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Merason DAC 1 MK 2
"while I sense that the Merason DAC1 Mk II is retrieving more musical information than I've heard from any DAC I've reviewed so far, there was never a moment where I thought that the sound was “digital." - Marc Phillips, Part Time Audiophile
After the success of the DAC 1 from Merason, the designers have revisited and re-designed this already amazing non oversampling DAC, and have taken the performance to the next level.
The structure and routing layout of the PCB was entirely re-designed resulting in a significantly reduced impedance and loss-free power supply delivery to each individual component (12 internal power supplies in all, 6 for the left channel, 6 for the right). In addition, the shielding against external interference was also greatly improved, further lowering the noise floor for even higher resolution.
The Merason DAC1 Mk II employs two Burr Brown 1794A converter modules. Each channel has its own device, giving performance a 5dB boost in dynamic range. The analog current signal is converted into a voltage signal using discrete components, that are buffered in Class A technology. The DAC1 Mk II is fully balanced, i.e. a total of four independent channels are implemented from the two converter modules to the output.
High precision surface mount components are now predominantly used throughout the design due to their superior performance characteristics. Unlike the "through hole" parts previously used, the surface mount components offer a far shorter component to conductor path resulting in much lower losses. The capacitors in both low-pass filters now have a dielectric made of polystyrene, a material well proven for high performance audio applications. A shorter, lower resistance and more uniform circuit path and design means higher performance and lower noise.
Thermal Concept Dramatically Reduces Distortion
New in the DAC1 Mk II is a fascinating, spring loading of the heat sinks for the power transistors using custom designed disc springs. This allows for a precisely defined contact pressure, achieving optimal temperature equalization of the paired transistors. This application has dramatically reduces harmonic distortion in the signal path. The lower distortion increases detail, transparency and enjoyment factor. It's amazing how small things like this can amount to big differences sonically.
The DAC-1 MK2 has an even wider and deeper soundstage than it's predecessor. The dynamics are clearly greater, with the transient speed and attack reminiscent of live music. Although the measured output level has remained identical, one has the impression that the Mk II plays louder with a much quieter background. Micro/Macro details are resolved more distinctly, with new details emerging from familiar recordings that were not previously recognizable. The sound image has become even airier and lighter, with bass now much more weighted and defined. All in all, a converter that plays in a higher league.