Merrill Audio has partnered with Sanders Sound Systems to showcase the flagship 10 Electrostatic Speakers from Sander Sound and the VERITAS Monoblocks driving them. This will be in Room 1003.
The Vivids speakers will be driven by the Mola Mola, Room 1109
The Raidho D-1 speakers will be driven by the VERITAS Monoblocks, Room 1110
Rhapshody Music is hosting room 1109, 1110 and 1111.
Raidho will also be at the Edison room.
A lot of cross play.
HifiAl, if you will attend, please post your differential impressions of the Mola-Mola and Veritas amps. I suspect that it might be a little difficult to factor out the sonic signatures of various ancillary components in the two systems, but even some unscientific hunches would be welcome.
Since he has ties to Merrill, you will not get a unbiased review.
Jtwrace, having followed HifiAl's posts since last fall, I have found no evidence that Al has any affiliation with Merrill. It is on the other hand evident that he is fond of the Veritas amps, and that falls under typical symptoms of Audiophrenia Gravis, just like the rest of us.
Thank you Guido.
Really Jason, what are my so called ties! I have NO FINANCIAL AFFILIATION WITH MERRILL AUDIO OR HYPEX OR BRUNO OR JAN-PETER!
Just because I happen to live in NJ, as does Merrill and I met him through several Audio Clubs we both belong to does not make me unbiased!
I have meet MANY other BIG and SMALL audio manufactures from the Clubs, so am I biased about them too? Or the ones I have met at the various Audio Shows and speak to on the phone from time to time? Give me a break!
I call it as I hear it nothing more, nothing less. I have said it before, I am a fan boy of the Veritas. And I have also stated I am a fan boy of ALL the Hypex Ncore Tech(NC400).
If you bothered to be unbiased yourself you should have noticed I mentioned that the MOLA-MOLA was also going to be at the show. I am just as excited to hear the Mola-Mola with the Vivid Speakers as I am the Veritas with the Raidho Speakers. The three other are brands I have looked foreword to hearing.
I take my reputation and my word very seriously. So put up or shut up. Just remember Jason you live in a glass house before you throw that stone.
So I must unbiased, NOT!!
I will try and do my best but all I really can do is give my opinion how each sound on their own. Three different rooms, speakers(and types), sources etc. I will try and take notes for each room.
Thank you HifiAl... One thing to consider is that the Mola-Mola amps at the NYC show will be engineering prototypes, not finalized products. Production level Mola-Mola devices may be available in a few months.
Do you know if the Ncore NC1200-based ATSAH amp from Acoustic Imagery will also be shown? ATSAH is distributed in the US by Tweak Geek in Denver.
Guido, as far as I know the Atsah are not listed to be at the show.
But perhaps they could be a last minute show.
TweekGeek lists both ATSAH and Mola-Mola amplifiers on their website.
Hi Don, you are correct. Tweak Geek is the direct importer of the Acoustic Imagery ATSAH, and is a dealer for products distributed in the USA by On A Higher Note -- including the upcoming Mola-Mola monoblock amplifier.
This suggests that once Mola-Mola is released, this amp might be available for audition at a number of dealers that carry products distributed by On A Higher Note.
Guido, you are wright about the adudtion of the Mola-Mola. Unless they change what I have been told. There is a dealer in NJ I have spoke to and was told I could addition the Mola-Mola.
Unfortunately I have been dealing with a back problem since last July that got worse to the point of having to have a operation. The last six weeks of recovery is going well and God willing I will be at the NY Show in April. So that is were I will hear them.
As much as I want to hear the Mola-Mola I have also wanted to hear both the Vivid and Raidho. This new Diamond Driver that Raidho is using sounds very interesting.
Its first break up is at 20khz! It seems to me using this driver and their tweeter it would be like one seamless point source! If the bass goes low enough and is tight and "full/deep", WOW. I like the KEF Blade but the bass is just short of what it should be. At these prices a speaker should give it all to you.
Hi HifiAl, I really hope your back lets you attend and enjoy the whole NYC show.... Just do not try to lift one of those Vivid or Raidho speakers whilst bending dangerously!
The good news may be that the Mola-Mola amps at a little over 20 Lbs per chassis may be even marginally kinder/gentler/back-friendlier than the Veritas.
I've been reading posts from Hifial and Guidocorona for months. I wouldn't call them totally unbiased since both have their favored brands, But I never doubt their integrity and enjoy reading their posts on class d technology/brands.
I think both are just very knowledgeable and enthusiastic followers of class d happenings. I think any biases they may possess are based honestly through personal experience and listening comparisons. I would absolutely trust either one of their listening impressions to be informative and valid.
On second thought, I would call them discriminating listeners rather than biased ones.
Tim, nice post. I too have found Guido and Al to be helpful, informative, as well as speaking for the new third choice in amplification. Not exactly an easy task with the immediate skepticism that accompanied the advent modern switching amplifiers.
I also believe the Stereophile review and subsequent A rating of the $1500. PS Audio HCA-2 not only informed, it seemed to spark the great class D controversy. They take a lot of crap for that review but I gotta respect them for digging their heels in on that review and its follow up of remeasurements.
I bought the HCA-2 long before the review, taking advantage of the thirty day trial while my Ayre V-1 was away getting an upgrade. Immediately struck by the transparency and fatigue free presentation I never returned the amp and so began my switching amplifier curiosity. Currently I'm using the Hypex $1300. nCore 400 kits.
Thanks, you both brought a tear to my eyes ;)
But seriously it is nice to hear that my posts have helped in anyway and are understood hat I am just a fan.boy, ha.
Tim, no bias, just enthuseium as you state at the end. But I guess enthuseium could be called a form of bias, not.
I have liked many brands over the years, but they were all well known with many followers and did not need me to add to the noise.
I have liked, used or would recommend with enthuseium;
Ayer, Theta, Wedia, Norton, Synergistic Research, B&W, Stillpoints (current version), PSA PW DAC MK II, Pass Labs, and many more...
But it is very rare that a new "tech" or way of doing it comes along and kind of rerights he rules, sort of speaks.
I think the NCore NC1200 is one of those. I also think the Phasure NOS DAC could be another (it just needs a better GUI).
I also think there is another but I can not comment yet. Perhaps in a month.
I will say that the new Stillpoints are unbelievable in what they can do. Even a friend who is a reviewer was amazed at what they did in his system when I brought mine over to try in his system. Mind you he expected not to hear much or anything. It was very easy to hear the improvement.
Well enough of that as one day I will post about the Stillpoints.
I'm really interested in Hifial's listening impressions of the various amps employing the Hypex 1200 modules.
Guidocorona and Hifial,
Just to set the stage, could you guys confirm my understanding of the current state of class d amps going into the N.Y. show? Please let me know if my statements are correct:
1. The Acoustic Imagery Atsah and Merrill Audio Veritas monoblocs are arguably the 2 best current class d amps implementing the Hypex 1200 modules.
2. Bruno Putzeys of Hypex, the man who invented the NC1200 module, is also involved with Mola-Mola and will be debuting his NC1200 based monoblocs (or at least prototypes)at the N.Y. show, driving Vivid spkrs.
3. The A.I. Atsah will probably not be at the show but the Merril Audio Veritas will be there driving Sanders Sound and Raidho spkrs.
It looks like Hifial will have his work cut out, comparing the Merrill with the Mola-Mola amps while driving different spkrs ( the Raidho and Vivid dynamic types and the electrostatic Sanders). Do you guys think it would be more useful comparing the Mola-Mola amps/Vivid spkrs combo to the Merrill Veritas/Raidho combo, and treat the Mola-Mola/Sanders combo as a separate impression, since the Vivid and Raidho are similar spkrs? Or, given both amps use the same modules, would this really just become comparing impressions of the spkrs?
Hi Noble100, here are some ansers...
1. I know of 3 manufacturers this far who have openly revealed to have developed NC1200 amps: Mola-Mola, Acoustic Imagery, and Merrill. While I generally opt for the word "prefer" rather than "best" because different listeners have differing priorities, no one to my knowledge has been able to compare the three amps yet, let alone yours truly, hence my answer as follows: I have no idea who is best!
2. Yes, to my knowledge, Mola-Mola has been developed by Mr. Putzeys and will be at the show.
3. I conjecture there may be circuit design differences among the three amps. Internal differences may yield correspondingly different sonic characteristics. Furthermore, the Ncore NC1200 module can be factory-tuned by Hypex to the requirements of different OEMs. Hence neither the amp designs, nor the NC1200 modules can be deemed to be true controlled variables in any listening of complete systems. Bottomline, we cannot discount the amps as contributing factors for any sonic differences which may be noticed in various systems powered by NC1200-based amps at the NY Show.
As they say in Jersey, "How yu dooin"
Yes, this will be no easy task.
On #1, I can not agree only because I have not heard the AI Atsah. I can agree that the Veritas is. But even if the AI sounds great I have one issue and that is the way they laid out the back connections. It is way to tight for many types of cabling for my comfort level. Just my impression and concern.
#2 is correct.
#3 is correct. Unless they are added .
Your comment on the differences in speaker types is correct but must be expanded, IMHO.
1)The Vivid is a floor standing speaker with a fuller range.
2)The Raidho is a stand mount and is not a full range.
3)The Sanders is a full range speaker.
Also the Raidho has the new Diamond mid/bass driver that has its first breakup at 20khz, so in some ways it should be able to be compared to the Sanders,IMHO.
Singer is having the floor stand version of the Diamond Raidho at the show and I will check that out. Just wish that the Veritas was driving them.
Guido is correct that there is just the three at this time.
I also agree that "best" is relative. But it is all just individual opinions.
I will say the I have heard the Sanders and the Veritas at a friends who has a dedicated room with treatments.
WOW! Did I say, WOW! I did say WOW?!
I will post more on that in a separate post at a later date.
However I will be going into the show with an open mind as always.
Hifial and Guido,
Thanks for both of your clarifying posts, I now have a better understanding of class d's current status.
You may have a tough task coming up, Hifial, but my suggestion is to just relax and enjoy the show. Even if your listening reports are a complete load of crap, what's the worst that can happen? It's not like you're going to be fired, demoted or forced to take a pay cut. And all of us interested readers will still be getting our money's worth.
In Room 1019, Tube Audio Design demos their amplifiers based on NCore1200.
Another very interesting components in that room are the music servers by Musica Pristina (Virtuoso and A Capella)
Have a fun !
Hi Dob, please post here any tech info or listening impressions of the Tube Audio Design amps... I will add them to my list of extant NC1200 implementations to track.
What is the current home page for Tube Audio Design? The link on Audiogon's industry directory appears to be invalid.
I thought the Mola Mola/Vivid Giya setup was stunningly good. Amazing how it could go from intimate to orchestral and sound equally great.
Comparing all three rooms on Friday was inconclusive. The Merrills and Mola-Molas are obviously serious contenders and clearly surpass expectations for Class D by a country mile. However both Raidho and Vivid set-ups demonstrated uncoordinated and shapeless LF unacceptable to me at these price points. The Raidhos fared better at CES. Sanders stats were nice and clean, but edged out by Martin Logan CLX with Krell amps.
Sorry to take this thread temporarily off-track, but I wanted to make sure my earlier post was not offensive to you.
I certainly don't believe that any of your show reports will be 'a load of crap'. I was just trying to make a point. My intention was to, hopefully, help you relax and enjoy the show. Just wanted to make sure you knew this.
Thanks and enjoy the show,
I thought the Mola Mola's driving Vivid Giya's in Philip O'Hanlon's room had bass that seemed to slightly overpower the room. (One review of Vivid implied they didn't extend very low, which was not the case with this model.) Some room treatments and a smaller Vivid speaker might have worked better in the venue. All that said, I liked the sound quite a bit. The Mola Mola amp and preamp seemed to be very fast and transparent. In comparison, I thought the Merrill Veritas driving the Sanders electrostatics had a prettier sound that was boring, boring, boring. I guess I am not a fan of electrostats, as I didn't like the Martin Logan room either. At the end of the day, I thought the LessLoss room, with a mysterious prototype DAC built by LessLoss and a set of massive Pass monoblocs driving Kaiser Kawero speakers was the best room this year. The soundstage was incredible, with really good imaging behind the speakers, and very natural tone. Of course, these were in a larger room, so room acoustics probably played a big role.
OK, it might take a few days to put thoughts to paper as I have work commitments but I will do what I can when I can.
Just for full disclosure, Merrill Audio was nice enough to get passes for myself and a few others. However I DO NOT HAVE ANY AFFILIATION WITH MERRILL AUDIO other then knowing Merrill from the clubs we belong to and the fact that I own a pair of Veritas Amps. In the near future you will see posts from me praising two other manufactures, one being Stillpoints Ultra series. Also people who know me always hear me praise the PS Audio PW DAC MK II. I think it competes with DACs costing $15,000 and more.
1)I was there on Fri and Sat. I am not the only one (many from the audio clubs) to notice the sound in most of the rooms changed from day to day. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Some thought it did even on the same day.
) Dgarreston. I kind of agree with you but we part on a few spots.
Yes the Vivid and Raidho rooms on Friday left something to be desired. Both the Merrill and Mola-Mola amps not only "by a country mile" but I think compete head on with the big boys of Class A-A/B.
We part on the Martin Logan/Krell for a few reasons.
A)The ML/K room had two ML subs($12,000), top Nordost Cabing, and a price point with all the equipment from ML/Krell/Nordost of around $130,000-150,000.
The Merrill Audio room,besides the amps and speakers, had inexpensive cables and equipment. Price point $36,000 plus cables and DAC; Well you get the Power cables from Merrill audio as they come with the amps, the speaker cables come with the Sanders, so say $40,000. That is less the 1/3 the price and could be (most likely) 1/4 the price.
B)And this a BIG one. I had a front row center seat, the sweet spot, and as good as it sounded my ears started to hurt. It reminded me of Class D Amps. It became fatiguing.
Dob; Yes, that was a surprise ($9,000). I had a chance to hear them on Sat. You can tell they are part of the family as they have a very nice sound. However, "butt ugly" enclosure and color.
Now to comparing the rooms, OH NO MR BILL!. Yea that is impossible.
What I can do is give some of my impressions.
But that will have to wait. But I will say that You should demo the Merrill Audio and Mola-Mola amps as they are killers for the money.
The Mola Mola room had a clean sound, but the lower frequencies were bloated. The sound was fast, clean, articulate, but the pitch was off mark. The cymbals did not have the sure footed metallic sound. I could not confuse this sound with a life performance. I think probably the Mola Mola amps will fare better matched to a tube preamp. The soundstage was all fuzzy and I could not get a clear picture of the musicians location in space. This was a small room for the Vivid speakers, so my guess is that this system can sound fantastic in a larger room where the speakers can breath better.
The Veritas with the Sanders speakers sounded thick all over, which to me was a huge surprise. I had listened to the Sanders speakers some years back at the NY show and the sound was very fast and articulate. Pitch and definition were top notch. Back them, at least to me, the Sanders speakers were best in show driven by Innersound amps. I even consider buying them back then, but I ended up with Magnepans instead. A big note here: this room was small and narrow.
The Raidho D1 driven by the Veritas mono-blocks sounded better to me. The bass was still bloated and lacked definition, but I think this setup can sound fantastic in a proper environment. The soundstage was not well defined in terms of the performers location in reference to one another. There was better pitch definition and a more airy sound, probably because they were mated with a Kondo tube preamp. I still would not confuse the sound to live music or with the best at this show, but it certainly was promising.
Like others, I was impressed with the sound of the Martin Logans driven by Krell. When I walked into the room, they were playing Rickie Lee Jones' Show Biz Kids, which I have in vinyl. This piece sounded fantastic in this room and setup. The bass as a bit disconnected, but I didn't mind it much considering how good the rest was. I was able to pinpoint the exact location of the vocals and musicians in this room, which tricked my brain into thinking the performance could have been happening there. This was a much larger room than where the Mola Mola and the Merril Audio amps were playing, so this should be factor in when reaching conclusions regarding which amp sounded better.
Another surprise was the Audio Doctor room. They had the Waterfall Glass Speakers driven by the Aragon 8008 amp. This room sounded just fantastic. The sound had lots of composure and control. The bass was reaching out too much at times, but it was dead on on some of the music they were playing. If I had gone to the show to buy a system, this one is probably the one would put my money on. The sound was unbelievable for such a small speaker. The room was a bit larger than the Mola Mola room and the Merril Audio room, but smaller than the ML Krell room. The soundstage was not as well delineated as in the ML room, but it was very good.
My overall opinion is that if I were in the market for an amp now, I would seriously consider auditioning the Aragon 8008. I had listened many years back to the older Aragon amps in a controlled environment and I was not nearly as impressed as I am now with the new 8008.
Noble100, ha, ha, no, no offense. I took it in the spirit it was intended. Ha, who could relax with all that pressure!!!
With everyone waiting to hear my opinion, HA, HA.
Like I have said before, "music and the way we reproduce it is like food..."
I fully respect the fact that different folk hear systems differently, so this comment is offered in that spirit. I listened over two days to multiple systems, including those at stratospheric prices, and I constantly returned to the Sanders Electrostatic/Merrill amplification room to hear music (I currently own neither - I have c-j tube amps and Sonus Faber Guarneri speakers, but I am now considering the Merrills). While the room was small, and you had to sit in one of the three "hot-spot" chairs, when you did so, the result was both detailed, natural, and deeply engaging. The Raido DI's driven by the Merrill's were also impressive. I will have a chance to hear the Merrill's driving my Sonus Faber's shortly.
Hi Steinedm2, were you also able to listen to the system powered by Mola-Mola? How would you characterize its overall sound compared with the two systems powered by Merrill Veritas?
Out of curiosity did anyone like the kondo room???? I thought it was the best in show heads and shoulders above the rest.
Isanchez: I, too, thought the Waterfall speakers/Aragon/ManleyPre was the surprise room with a very linear,open, balanced sound. I assumed glass would ring, but didn't hear it.
As for the Vivids, I fault the room size for the bass bloat some have mentioned. Outside of that, they were extremely transparent without being edgy, IMHO.
Unfortunately I did not hear the Mola-Mola combination.
I will however report on the sound with my Sonus Faber speakers
once I have the chance to do so.
I concur with your comments. I've never heard glass cabinet speakers before and this experience totally changes the misconception that glass is supposed to ring. I'm not a glass expert, but I know that glass as material can have many different levels is rigidity. I'm almost certain that the glass the use in the Waterfall speakers is more inert than the one we are used to see in home windows and table tops. The glass that is used in skyscrapers, for instance, is a totally different type of glass. This glass should be able to handle extreme wind forces and building vibrations without ringing or breaking. Based on the sound in this room, they for sure did their research before releasing their speakers to the market.
As for the Vivid speakers. I totally agree: that room was simply way to small for the potential of these speakers. Furthermore, all those rooms in that area were being swamped by what appeared to be a very loud transformer or an A/C compressor noise coming from outside. You could easily hear the outside rumble noise when music was not playing. This forced them to play louder than what they would normally do so to compensate for the outside noise.
BTW, all the rooms in that area were affected by this phenomenon and therefore did not sound any better either. The only rooms with great sound were the larger ones that were on the opposite side.
Let's keep in mind also, that as far as I know, the Mola Mola amps shown are still prototypes. I was told that the DAC and Phono modules for the preamp are supposed to be released in June. So perhaps then, we'll see the final versions of the Mola Mola system.
Rhapsody Music & Cinema is in NY, so I may listen to the Mola Mola amps in a more controlled environment in the future.
I visited on Sunday. My impression of NCore1200 based amps: Tube Audio Design, Mola-Mola and Merryl Audio - they all sound the same: "warmish" and dull.
I could not A/B any of them with my Spectrons monoblocks but from memory, Spectrons are much, much better.
A friend of mine who also have Spectron monoblocks wanted to have a separate system based on SET amplifier and hi-efficiency speakers. He got SET built by Dennis Had (of famous Cary) and we did a few listening tests.
To my suprise, the "sweet seductive etc" midrange of SET amp was not better then midrange of Spectron transistor switching amplifier (with old fashion transformer base power supply which I suspect is the key to Spectorn sound).
Overall, Spectron sound was much better then that of SET. Regardless of midrange - you need weight, body, slam, soundstage etc.
I did not wanted to post that Spectron midrange is nearly identical to that of SET as not many people will believe it. However, I remember I am not a single one. There is review in Audioreview.com of Spectorn owner who also did the same comparison. I did not believe him at that time.
I wish the best to all owners of "new and imporved" NCore1200 but I am extraordinary happy with my Spectron with old fashion power supplies (with all upgardes possible!). I will add only that in my V-Cap Upgarde I have CuTF caps instead of regular TTFT caps and this make a big difference, IMO
Also, another point. New-er technology may be important but its implementation is much more important then anything else. As far as I can understand "Athmosphere" who produces one of the best tube products in the world and "Spectron" express identical philosophy in approach of building pre- and power amplifier and may be this is the key why Spectron midrange in A/B test show the same sweetness as SET amp
It's too bad that Merrill Audio didn't have the Sanders Magtech amp(s) on hand for comparison on the 10Cs.
IMO, Anyone who pays $12K for the Merrill Audio amps or $15K for the Mola-Molas without listening to Sanders $5.5K Magtech is making a big mistake.
I have been very busy this past week and still am but had to respond to the two above posts.
Dob: "warmish and dull" Really?! It is your opinion but what show were you at. Not the same as I.
I heard loads of people from the show say many things about the Sanders/Merrill Audio, Mola-Mola/Vivid, Merrill Audio/Raidho and Tube Audio Labs rooms, but while some liked what they heard and others not so much I never heard anyone describe the sound in the rooms as "warmish and dull". Several people thought the Mola-Mola/Vivid room sounded "bright and harsh" at times. I was at the show Fri and Sat. On Fri I thought the room sounded very good but on Sat a little bright. However I would not point the a finger at any one piece of equipment, amp, speaker, CD player, DAC, preamp etc. It very well could have been the music track as some are poorly recorded.
Keep in mind that show conditions are NOT the best place to get a true feel of what equipment will sound like. Some get lucky in their set up and others do not.
I have heard the Spectron amps and do like them very much.
But I also know many Spectron owners who after demoing NC1200 mono blocks have sold the Spectron and bought the NC1200 based amps.
Kana813: First that was a shared room with both Sanders Sound and Merrill Audio.
Well lets compare an apple to an apple. You are comparing a stereo amp to a mono block. Well Sanders makes a Mono Block version of his amps. And the price is much more as a mono block-$11,000. So lets lets discuss the sound.
The Magtech is a fine sounding amp. But as I have stated in another post; I have a friend who owns the Sanders speakers and amps, upon hearing the Merrill Audio Veritas vs the Sanders amps he replaced them with the Veritas. This person is VERY critical of the sound of his system and has spent a lot of money on his overall system. It was not an easy decision financially as the cost is not small. He is not independently wealthy.
We all have different tastes in what we like in the reproduction in sound. But you should do a direct demo in your system (with a reasonable amount of time) before you dish a product. Even if you think it is "all the same" as for the tech.
Also as I have stated in another post. Is this the best. No, nothing is. But for the price it ranks with the best. Now you have to decide what is your taste, Tubes/Chinese, Class A/Italian, NC1200/Dessert. They are all great just choose the one that meets your taste.
I most make a correction in my above post. The Magtech price is for a pair. But I stand by the rest of the post.
Even more so, as my friend had to spend a hell of a lot more to replace the Magtech amps with the Veritas amps. Way more then I thought he had.
Boy was I tired last night. There was no need for the correction after all. It was still more just not a hell of a lot more.
One of the friends of mine who actually presented at the show also told me that NCore1200 sounded "bright and harsh"
I heard what I heard but it could be choice of demo music: at any rate I did not found them very musically involving. May be if I would audition them in my own system I would change my mind.
I have a friend who owns the Sanders speakers and amps, upon hearing the Merrill Audio Veritas vs the Sanders amps he replaced them with the Veritas.
Drubin's First Law of Audiophilia: ANY new product will find a few customers who will buy it to replace a highly-regarded and often more expensive product. Don't mean a thing.
I agree in small part of your FLoA. However this friend is not of those stripes at all. He also waited several months before going foreword so it was no impulse buy. He just is not the impulse buying type. He thought long and hard before he went with the Veritas. As I said the Magtech is a really good sounding amp so he had no reason to spend more money to get a tiny improvement in sound. He is just not that way or that free with his money. AND NEITHER AM I.
But unless you have actually heard those "ANY new product" in your system with the time needed to do a proper evaluation you might be the one who "Don't mean a thing"
Also the Veritas actual cost more then the Magtech so that part falls short.
I haven't hear the Merrill Audio Veritas monos. I have had a Magtech in my system.
I have a friend who compared a stereo Magtech to Merrill Audio Veritas monos and preferred the Magtech.
Good luck with your business.
Lets get something straight.
My posts on equipment consist on three types. And post what type it is.
1) I heard it in MY system and to me this is the most important one. I have what I would describe as a very good system that is transparent and resolving (among other things). If a change is subtle I will hear it. I DO NOT LOOK FOR SUBTLE CHANGES in my system. I do not have the money or the time for subtle. It must be an across the board improvement in sound and NOT SUBTLE and not at the expense of other areas of the sound.
2) I heard it in a friends or Club Members system that has a very good system. Hearing equipment here could and has peaked my interest to investigate further.
3) I heard it at a dealer who I am familiar with their set up. This is a "do not drive under the influence" and "precede with caution".
I do not care if the equipment is of the same "Tech/Class/Design/Engineering etc" because unless you have heard THAT product in Your system you really do not have an opinion on that equipment. You are just making an assumption.
Here is a short list of equipment that I have had in my system that I can highly recommend to demo.
I am not saying these are the best just the best I have heard so far and are worth spending your time on.
1) Synergistic Research Galileo Speaker and Interconnect Cells. Just with the entry level cables they come with they beat out some HIGHLY regarded brands that cost far more. I should have kept these.
2) And their Power Cell 10 SE MK II. Again beat out several highly regarded Brands in my system.
Both of the above was by no small margin.
3) PS AUDIO PW DAC MK II with Bridge. For the money hard to beat and it is upgradeable. Set up the right way it rivals DAC's at two to three times the price.
4) The new Stillpoints Ultra SS. All I can say is WOW. Just make sure not to just try them only in one area under your equipment as you my need to find the sweet spot. The Ultra Mini are also worth checking out.
5) I am in the process of demoing something that so far has impressed me but I need to give it the break-in time it needs before I can do any critical listening and comments.
Enough for now.
I have no business. If you checked my other posts I have stated so many times it is getting nauseating.
I HAVE NO FINANCIAL OR OTHERWISE INTEREST IN MERRILL AUDIO OR HYPEX!!! I am just a fan and owner of the Veritas amps. Do you own the companies that you are a fan of (MAGTECH).
That is great for your friend and I respect his choice because he ACTUAL made a comparison in his system.
That does not mean you would agree as you should hear it in your system for yourself.
The two rooms with the Merrill Audio Veritas and the one room with the Mola-Mola sounded different from each other. But they all had something troublesome in the sound: there was a noise embedded with the sound that made the sound very artificial. The noise was similar to pink noise with the difference that it was present with the sound and no with the silences.
When there is noise present in a piece of equipment, it can be heard constantly when there is sound and when there is silence in the song. In all three rooms, the sound (not the silences) was accompanied by this noise. This made the sound come out as if it was being processed in software, and not by a piece of hardware.
I have a little recording studio that includes the Millennia STT-1 Recording System and the Neumann TLM 49 mic. For what I need it, this is overkill as this setup is used by well stablished recording studios, not so much by individuals. Prior to having the Millennia STT-1, I tried feeding the signal from the TLM 49 directly to Apple's Logic Pro. The software translated everything into sounding like a high frequency mechanical apparatus as making the sound, not like a human voice was making the sound. Adding the Millennia STT-1 and skipping Logic Pro allowed for the human voice to be recorded and played back like a human voice, nothing more, nothing less.
I felt like all three rooms sounded as if the sound as being overly processed by a piece of software, as if the signal was amplifying some noise along the way. This is a phenomenon that I heard before while listening to the first generation Bel Canto class-D monoblocks. Apparently, other first generation ICE powered class-D amps also exhibited this noise, which was particularly noticeable in the higher frequencies.
Since all three rooms had this noise embedded in the sound, it makes me wonder if the nc1200 module is really ready for prime time or this is simply an out-of-spec batch of modules that slipped through quality control.
Very interesting. Lets assume it was not a bad batch of modules.
Then if the "noise" was not present during the silence parts then it can not be the equipment. If the noise was inherent in the equipment you would hear it all of the time, even during the moments of silence.
The one aspect that the NCore tech that is in the NC1200 OEM and the NC400 DIY modules that everyone who has had a chance to hear one or the other in their own systems is the total lack of noise or Class D sound.
I have to say it had to be the software or perhaps the venue as over the weekend I heard most of the rooms go from bad to good, good to bad sometimes in the same day.
A Club member who is very critical and has the knowledge told me that many of the room were being greatly affected by the AC and the electric in the rooms.
I can tell you I am very sensitive to that type of noise and could never live with it in my system.
Then if the "noise" was not present during the silence parts then it can not be the equipment. If the noise was inherent in the equipment you would hear it all of the time, even during the moments of silence.
That's not necessarily the case in all designs. Let us assume for a moment that the signal has to pass through some filter before leaving the amp. This filter will only work on the signal, therefore it will do nothing when there is no signal passing through the amp. Therefore, this is a scenario where the noise will be added only to the music (signal), not the silences.
Many OEM class D designs have had noise issues in the past and the latest generation seems to have corrected that. The NC1200 is in in first iteration, so I'm confident that this is an issue that will be dealt with in future generations.
This is a quote from Positive Feedback reporting on the NYAS 2013:
Sanders Sound & Merrill Audio
Right across the hallway was another electrostatic speaker, the Sanders Model 10c, and another variation in sound quality. Power was provided by the Merrill VERITAS Mono Blocks, which use the latest Hypex Ncore NC1200.
Radically different than the Martin Logans, the expected transparency usually associated with 'stats wasn't in evidence. The midrange on down was heavy and the top lacked a bit of sparkle.
As you see, I'm not the only one to have perceived this odd behavior in the context of the Merrill Audio Veritas amps.
I quote you below.
"Many OEM class D designs have had noise issues in the past and the latest generation seems to have corrected that. The NC1200 is in in first iteration, so I'm confident that this is an issue that will be dealt with in future generations."
Well the NC1200 is the LATEST "ITERATION" so...
And his take on the sound is no were near what you describe, just the opposite. Though still not good. But was it the room, the source or something else.
You mention the one quote from PF but what about this one from the same poster.
"Merrill Audio, Raidho Acoustics
The Raidho D-1 Monitors were stunning on their custom stands. (The integrated speaker package has an MSRP of $28,000.) It was quite surprising how they are able to fill the room. For a smallish profile, they were amazingly full range and dynamic. This was another room with Merrill Audio amplification."
It would seem they were fine sounding in this room with the Raidho Speakers.
Also this is just a report of the show not a full fledged review.
Look, you heard what you heard. I am not saying otherwise. Just that it was not an ideal way to judge ANY equipment that was at the show.
What I am saying is I know the NC1200 (and the NC400) very well and in many different systems with many types of speakers and it is in another league when it comes to Class D. It is equal to other types of amp Classes.
If you keep an open mind and you have a chance to hear the Veritas or the Mola-Mola or the DIY NC400 assembled properly (I can not vouch for ones I have not heard) in your system properly set up you will be surprised at how well it sounds. That does not mean it is for you. Your taste might be tubes or whatever. If we all liked the exact same sound it would be a very boring world for Audiophiles and the companies that build the equipment would be few.