Comparision of Merrill Audio ELEMENT 116 Power Amplifiers to VERITAS Monoblocks based on Hypex NC1200.
This comparison was done by a Merrill Audio dealer in Brooklyn, NY. You can bring your there amps to compare to the ELEMENT 116 at anytime.
Link to Picture of the setup
The ELEMENT 118's driving very low efficiency PipeDreams. This is the original pipe dream speakers, never sold. A new design based on this coming soon.
Click on the link to see all the pictures.
Offering me 2 cents. I have not yet heard the 116 but I am quite familiar with the 118 both sonically and aesthetically. I am also a former Veritas owner. And as I keep it no hidden secret, it took upgrading to a pair of Burmester 911 mk3 monoblocks to make it worth upgrading.
The 118’s are in a different stratosphere then the older Veritas. What they are not, is like any amp you have ever heard. What they are, is astounding. Speed, delicacy, refinement, accuracy and just abjectly silent. The noise floor makes them freaky because with the crazy speed and bottomless noise floor, everything has a sense of harmonic layering and emotional involvement that has made me laugh out loud several times while listening.
Might as well call them the Merrill Audio LOL, cuz that’s what they make you do.
And they are crazy cool looking amps. Fit and finish. Just wow.
Try to hear them. Try to see them. Try to resist them! Lmao. That’s brilliant and cheesy all in one. But they seriously are that good!!!
Rsf507- nope. What I have is amongst the best there is already. For me to go from what I have to the 118 would be like changing from a Ferrari to a Lamborghini when the Ferrari is already paid off.
But if someone took what I had and left the 118 in its place, I’d be happy as a clam and want for nothing.
The big difference is, the 118’s retail
for pretty much half of what my 911mk3 monoblock retail for. Which makes the 118’s extraordinary.
To be honest, I have not directly compared the 118’s to the Burmester 911mk3’s yet. I expect each to be world class but have different strengths. So I can’t say 100% that I’m not replacing my 911’s with 118’s, but with the level of performance I have and the synergy I have with the matching Burmester 077 preamp I don’t see me making a change.
Thank you for looking. The ELEMENT 114 has not been priced yet. It is expected to be between $9k and $12k. We are trying to bring it in as low as possible. The ELEMENT 114 will be a stereo unit which results in a little less stage. The ELEMENT 114 will also have less power. Both of these are difficult to hear unless you have a very resolving system and listen to the ELEMENT 116/ELEMENT 118 side by side. By itself the ELEMENT 114 sounds excellent with all the charateristics fo the ELEMENT 116/ELEMENT 118 - speed,detail, transparency,stage, control, musical and very easy to listen to. The ELEMENT 114 will be released towards the end of the year. All the prototyping has been done. We just have to take it to production and will do so once we clear the backlog of the ELEMENT 118, and the ELEMENT 116 - which has not been announced yet!
Input impedance 100k, output 2mohms. As always, listening is the best gauge of the control and sound.
Full disclosure: I am a dealer for Merrill Audio products. However, I have been a fan and supporter of Merrill’s products from my days as a reviewer, well before I began Distinctive Stereo.
When I first heard the Veritas I was so impressed I put my money where my mouth is, and purchased 2 sets of monoblocks (so I could bi-amp my speakers). The Veritas became my reference amps, and I used them to power every speaker that came through my listening room.
I recently was able to compare, in my own system, the Veritas to the Element 116’s. (I did this was a loaner pair; my own pair of Element 116’s are currently being built, and should arrive within the next few weeks.) I concur with all that Isaac so eloquently expressed. The Element 116’s have all the terrific properties that made the Veritas so special - speed, transparency, bass control, clarity, low noise floor, etc. - but take them to dramatic new levels. A good as the Veritas are, the Element 116’s provide a far greater sense of realism, palpability, and musical flow. While not inexpensive, they will (as do all Merrill Audio products) compete with products costing far more.
The Element 116’s will work well with other high quality components; I use them with the Merrill audio Christine linestage preamp and Jens phonostage, the combination of which is nothing short of extraordinary.
Last, but most assuredly not least, I have also heard the Element 118’s, though not in my own system. As great as the Element 116’s are, the Element 118’s bring things to an entirely new level. (If the 116’s are a Porsche, the 118’s are a Ferrari). It is my belief that the Element 118’s will set a new standard for audio reproduction.
President, Distinctive Stereo LLC
River Vale, NJ
The ELEMENT 118 against the VERITAS Monoblocks and another set of Pipedream speakers. This time the Christine Reference Preamp and Jens Reference Phono stage was in place.
Here is a link to the picture.
An afterthought, per the other posts on VERITAS versus the new Merrill Audio proprietary designed ELEMENT 118 Power amplifiers, the new ELEMENT 118 is, IMHO, about an order of improvement over the VERITAS Monoblocks. The ELEMENT 118 has the delicacy and fineness that simply engages.
Hopefully you can get listen to a location close to you and do the comparisons for yourself.
The ELEMENT 116 power amplifier show here driving horn speakers with a built in passive woofer. There are the Sunny Speakers, very nice sounding. http://www.lauferteknik.com/ was testing out the ELEMENT 116 with very positive results.
To see the Horn speakers, click on the link below.
These speakers weigh 600 pounds each!
Turns out I have not been entering these links correctly.
So here is the consolidation of links to pictures of the ELEMENT 118 with various speakers and systems.
600 pound Horn speakers from Lauferteknik
Pipedreams speakers that are line array speakers with separate subs.
The original bare pipedreams. One of the early prototypes.
More to come. We have another set of horns from a customer in France, system in Netherlands and Electrostatic speakers from Sanders sound.
Also look out for a review from the Kansas Orchestra percussionist. Coming in October.
Enjoy the pictures.
Here are the ELEMENT 118 power amplifiers with the Sanders Sound Electrostatic speakers.
The Sanders Electrostats are one of the best electrostats that can take any power, and has a lifetime warranty. The combination is spectacular.
Click on this URL to see the system with the Omega E Mat also.
Audio show in the Netherlands, call XFI has the ELEMENT 118 Power Amplifiers on show, by the distributor. Here are some pictures and the link for the show.
French Horns cozy up to the ELEMENT 116 Power Amplifier Monoblocks. Daniel the new owner heard the ELEMENT 118 at Munich and decided to be the very first customer in Europe with the ELEMENT 116 which have not been announced yet.
Daniel claims that his system has never sounded so good.
Here is a review of the ELEMENT 1116 versus the VERITAS Monoblocks as posted on Audiogon.
This was done by Dr. Michael Bump, Percussionist at Kansas Symphony and Profession of Percussion at the Truman State University. A very good write up and enjoyable read.
Merrill Audio Introduces Lower Priced Gallium Nitride Monoblock Power Amplifiers, The ELEMENT 116.
For Immediate Release:
9th November 2018
Merrill Audio Advanced Technology Labs, LLC
Bernardsville, New Jersey, USA.
Following the enormous success of the ELEMENT 118, Merrill Audio is introducing the ELEMENT 116 Monoblocks, with the same Galliium Nitiride Transistos, ZXOL design which has zero feedback and zero dead time. This innovation gives a music reproduction that is full of air, emotion and detail, simply superbly presented with a wider, deeper stage at a lower price point. Using Merrill Audio’s proprietary ZXOL design, the new ELEMENT series of Power Amplifiers are an order of Magnitude better in every sonic characteristic than their previous amplifier range.
A great many new technologies are used in the new ELEMENT series, code name Project Oganesson. This is named after the Oganesson element – the latest Atomic element added to the periodic table, OG with atomic number 118. The ELEMENT series of Amplifiers start with the ELEMENT 118, as with Og 118, and continue with ELEMENT 116, ELEMENT 114 which will inherits this technology and advances in audio reproduction.
Using a zero feedback, open loop proprietary design which Merrill Audio has code named ZXOL, the ELEMENT 116 Monoblock Power amplifiers give you amazing detail like never before and yet with an immediacy found only in live music. The open loop, zero feedback design takes every advantage of the very latest, fastest transistor material technology using Gallium Nitride. A highly advanced, custom PCB removes almost all of the parasitic inductance and capacitance enabling a superbly fast response with a smooth, controlled sound that capilizes on the full capabilities of the Gallium nitride transistors. Using expertise developed over a decade, the extra special Circuit boards were designed with unique pure copper onboard heatsink for ultra fast thermal transfer and stability, giving large power handling with very low parasitic impedances. 16 pounds of pure copper are used for heatsinks. Only the finest 0.1% tolerance components were used. All wire is silverplated OFC copper, with PTFE sleeving for the best signal transfer and lowest dielectric.
The ELEMENT 116 Power Amplifier Monoblocks are package in beautifully engineered chassis that is accented with Rose Gold Acoustical Dampers and faceplate, making it a work as an art piece as well, befitting enjoyment for your ears and your eyes.
The ELEMENT 116 Power Amplifier Monoblocks have a huge reserve of power for extended transients, and the power expands linearly with the load - 300 watts into 8 ohms, 600 watts into 4 ohms and 1,200 watts into 2 ohms, for powerful, uncompressed music. Dual, top of the line WBT speaker binding posts provide easy bi-wiring. A 20A IEC AC inlet is used for a tight, excellent connection with heavy power cords. The ELEMENT 116 Monoblock Power Amplifiers includes GAIA III footers from Isoacoustics. All details have been provided for excellent music reproduction.
Hear them at the World premiere introduction at the New York Audio Show, room 117 presented by Distinctive Stereo. The ELEMENT 116 Monoblocks are priced at $22,000 a pair.
About Merrill Audio Advanced Technology Labs, LLC
Merrill Audio Advanced Technology Labs, LLC designs ultra-high end equipment that has been the forefront of technology since its inception in 2011. Merrill Audio based in New Jersey, USA, is known for their excellence in Audio reproduction, using advanced techniques and technologies.
To Learn more please contact: Merrill Wettasinghe T.415.562.4434. [email protected] www.MerrillAudio.net
Award from Positive Feedback Editor David Robinson.
David was so impressed he gave us the award before the review. Read on, and look for the review in 2019.
Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy new year everyone.
Very impressive, to good to be true?? Even "close to it" is impressive.
Hi, just to clear thing up, this is almost "perpetual motion stuff", as there are always losses.
Unless the 300w 8ohm figure is "under quoted", to make the 4ohm look to be doubling, and also again the same for 2ohms wattage figure???
In other words are all three "8, 4, 2ohm" at the same distortion % for these 300w 600w 1200w figures?
Perpetual motion would be creation of energy. This is simple ohms law principals. Voltage = Current x Resistance. If the power supply can deliver, then the voltage and current will act in proportion, hence power in proportion. Power = Vsquared/R or I squared x R. Distortion quoted at full power. Note there is no feedback loop. So distortion in this design is not dependent on feedback or power. The Transistors are capable of over 4,000 watts however it will shutdown based on current, which generates heat and the heat cannot be dissapated as fast for 4,000 watts. Hence the limitations. The power supply is quite capable of 2,000 watts and adjusts to load unlike others that drop voltage with a higher current, for example a transformer based linear supply.
Merrill thanks for the reply, but the perpetual motion comparison is an example of the unreachable, as everything has loses.
That’s why I ask once again, does this amp REALLY double it’s wattage for each halving of impedance from 8 to 4 to 2ohms, (with 300w 600w 1200w) just before clipping, with the same % of distortion at each of the 3 x impedances? (just a yes or no answer will suffice)
I just had someone message me through my Audiogon thread asking me to comment on the difference between a Rowland 625 S2 and the Merrill 116. Here is my response:
Wow. Totally different beasts. Opposite ends of the solid state world.
Roland is known for warm, rich, soulful sound. I think, and many agree, that the 625 S2 is one of Jeff’s greatest design. And they look gorgeous. But they lack in many areas compared to more expensive options. Speed, transparency, dynamic impact, low end extension and noice floor. Rowland is solid state that sounds like tubes. It’s great, and musical and engaging.
116’s are, in many ways opposite and in some ways half way to opposite. The 116 are neutral, in all capital letters. There is no voicing, tonal coloration, saturation, or emphasis on anything but purity and an absolute transparent window to the preamp and source. The amps are utterly clean; like looking through a window and your brain keeps saying that it knows there is a window there, but your eyes just can’t perceive any window because the glass is just so damn transparent. There is no warm and no rich. Just music. Accurate, clean, engaging music.
It also has fathomless low extension with a sense of slam and impact that makes you scratch your head. It’s not exaggerated. But that concept of clean keeps coming back. There is an impact and sense of pace and rhythm conveyed that resembles sitting close to the performers and having that visceral, palpable experience of being near the instruments. This conveys a sense of realism that needs to be experienced to appreciate. I believe all of this is subconsciously reinforced by the fact that the amps have the lowest perceived noise floor I have ever experienced. Again, it results in that word clean that I keep bringing up.
Along with that, the amps are lightning fast. This is a hard one to describe until you hear them. But the leading and trailing edges are perfectly defined both spatially and temporally. The pluck of an instrument string or snap of a snare has a sense of correct speed that only the most expensive gear seam to get right.
All of this is done without sounding overly accurate, sterile or lifeless. Your toes will tap, your fingers will snap, and you will sing out loud. They really need to be experienced. Of course, the Rowland does that as well. Forgive the anology, but having sex with a condom feels really great, but without one is SO much better! 😜
@mattnshilp "...is essentially immune to power cords..."
I have to respectfully disagree. I've owned and loved the Veritas and THOR amps and they very much respond to after market AC cords for the better and not by a small margin.
Now I've had here the Element 116's but since they use a 20amp IEC I can't confirm or deny that an after market AC cord will be better.
Sksos- I also owned the Veritas and they definitely were power cord sensitive.
My comment is based on Merrill’s statement that the power supply in the 116 and 118 is immune to power cords. I have personally not tested that statement. I’m a big fan of high end PC’s and believe they can make a HUGE difference. Just passing on what Merrill said.
mattnshilp--thanks for your informative comparisons between Rowland and Merrill. As long as there are no hifi-ish frequency aberrations in the Merrill Elements, they should make obsolete electronics that sound like tubes, whether tubes or SS, if one wants truth, clarity AND a natural likeness to the real thing. Any clue when the 114 stereo will be available?
mattnshilp--if you experience live sounds of nature like rustling of leaves, natural percussion like hammers and buzzsaws, birds and the bees, as well as live music in open air free of hall wall and carpet colorations, you realize that the euphonic sounds of tubes or comparable solid state are not the true sounds of nature. Neither are raucous solid stage electronics with their own distortions. Based on your descriptions of the 116, Merrill may have created the most perfect likeness to the real thing. Compared to that, or live sounds of nature, I am completely bored with euphonic subtraction of vital information. I haven't spent so much money and time in my long audio experience to tolerate any component that subtracts information. Believe me, if you look at the score (printed music) of most classical pieces, there is so much more information that must be revealed and heard that even the best system is still veiled. It is like speaking the English language correctly--one should always try to be understood as clearly as possible, to the best of one's ability.
The Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 Stereo Power Amplifiers are out.
ELEMENT 118 Monoblocks are in Canada now - Toronoto and Vancover, both coasts.
ELEMENT 116 is in New York, New Jersey, California, France and Netherlands.
Here is the full text of the press release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 3rd May 2019
Worlds ultra-fast power transistor Gallium Nitride (GaN) used again on 3rd Power Amplifier from Merrill Audio Advanced Technology Labs, LLC
BERNARDSVILLE, New Jersey, USA - Zero Feedback, Zero Dead time and bottomless noise floor using Gallium Nitride (GaN) transistors on the ELEMENT 114 Stereo Power Amplifiers from Merrill Audio make it simply one of the best amplifiers available. Merrill Audio is very excited to release this new advanced technology at a lower price point. Utilizing trickle down technology from the award winning ELEMENT 118 and ELEMENT 116 Monoblock Power Amplifiers released last year. The Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 ZXOL proprietary design technology leaps ahead of all other Class D implementations and provides more detail and immediacy almost than almost any amplifier in any amplifier class. The Musical detail, experience and immediacy along with the immediately noticeable ultra-low noise floor takes music reproduction to a whole new experience. It only takes an instant to realize your listening to something quite special.
Using advanced Gallium Nitride (GaN) transistors and advanced PCB design techniques, the dead time is reduced to zero, which removes any distortion. Dead time is the time the MOSFET transistor takes to discharge or charge when changing states. Since there is no dead time distortion, the ZXOL proprietary design also has Zero feedback. With Zero feedback there is much more detail, more information and much greater immediacy all with a sense of ease and openness. The combination is what we refer to as the Merrill Audio proprietary ZXOL, which stands for zero crossing, open loop design. With zero dead time, there is little heat loss and lower temperatures which allows for more precise operation of the amplifier and longer lasting, more stable components.
The Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 Stereo Amplifier, just like the ELEMENT 116 and ELEMENT 118 utilizes a custom LLC resonant power supply with a custom transformer as an inductor. This ultra-low noise power supply gives the ELEMENT 114 amplifiers its seemingly limitless supply of power and ultra-low noise floor while in operation at full power.
The Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 Stereo Amplifier, like its higher end amplifiers are load invariant, with the Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 delivering power across all complex loads that doubles 200 watts into 8 ohms, 400 watts into 4 ohms and 800 watts into 2 ohms. Full protection circuity is built in, with no clipping using a fast signal reduction design to avoid clipping on the outputs.
The Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 Stereo Amplifier comes in a gorgeous Stereo package, with Polished Black Nickel and Rose Gold Face plate and accents. A 20Amp AC inlet is use for tighter connection. The XLR input has a full Teflon body with rhodium plated silver pins. The speaker binding posts are Pure copper speaker. Gain is 26 dB, 400 watts into 4 ohms at 0.08% distortion. Early listeners were startled with the most realistic reproduction of music they have heard from any amplifier. The Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 Stereo Amplifier is priced at USD$15,000. This carries forward the award winning ELEMENT series of Amplifiers from Merrill Audio and is the latest of all the award winning audio components.
"Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 delivering power across all complex loads that doubles 200 watts into 8 ohms, 400 watts into 4 ohms and 800 watts into 2 ohms."
Hi Merrill, congratulations this really is akin to "perpetual motion" stuff. Being a stickler for "trusting" bench measurements presented.
So for the third maybe lucky time I’ve asked the same questions, on these "doubling" figures presented.
Using the same frequency, are they all taken just before clipping, all at the same distortion level, single or both channels driven?
Or are the 8ohm and or 4ohm figure understated?
And while I have your attention, are you using the higher switching frequency 1.5mHz available with the GaN technology? If not what frequency?
Thanks, Merrill. Can any of the Element amps be used with any preamp of your own choosing? I don't like the wideband design of Spectral which requires using a Spectral preamp.
Does the 114 double again to 1600 watts into 1 ohm? Put another way, what is the maximum continuous current, maximum peak current? Live classical music from the front row has levels from 20 to 90 dB for most music with rare peaks of 100 dB. Delicate nuances heard at 50 dB or less and even average levels of 70-80 dB require less than 1 watt in most systems. I believe that lower powered amps have more accuracy given less chance of matching errors in multiple transistors and shorter signal paths, so how is the accuracy of the 114 compared to 116 at low power levels? Of course, the 116 has the advantage at very large power levels, although the 114 is still a high powered amp.
I thought the following new review of the Merrill Audio Element 118 mono amps from Hi-Fi Plus would be of interest on this thread.
Typical no information review. No direct comparisons to other amps in its price range. Just a vague mention of Dartzeel.......and which Dart is he talking about? This is what is wrong with high end audio....It is all a big infomercial. When is a magazine going to review all the "touted best' amps in a price catagory? Imagine getting in 10 different amps.....burning them all in for a month and then A/Bing on several systems......Now, we would have some information. Of course, that magazine would go out of business doing that.....as all the losers would stop advertising....not to mention the crying of those who own products that just got put at the bottom of the list.
I am sure the Merrill is a great amp......but how good we will not know until many, many people have A/Bed versus the natural competition.....and by the time they do that there will be more products out to A/B with. Never ending story of spending big money and then having to sell it when the next thing comes out. It is good to be wealthy and unattached to your money.....he he. What if a company comes out with an Class D amp for $5K that is as good (which will probably happen within a couple of years).......are you going to cry? There is no reason why a great amp should cost more than a few thousand dollars. Class D is not expensive. GaNs are only slightly more expensive than Mosfets.....you could raise the product $100 to compensate.
There are reviews posted by those that owned the Merrill Veritas and compared with the new Merrills. They think the new (twice as expensive) amps are better. However, there is a review of the $5K Van Alstine mono balanced amps that were also A/Bed with the Veritas.......He said they were way better....in fact, his words seem more bold than the other reviews. So, is a stock $5K Van Alstine amp in the same league with the new Merrills? For certain, the Van Alstine amps are not classy looking at all......but you could have someone make you sexy faceplates for very little if you have to have it classy.
For sure, we are in a very exciting time. Audio has never been so good.....but how much do we need to spend? When new technology is first put out you pay through the nose. Remember the first basic calculator?...at $500 or whatever.....now they cost a $1. Remember the first 1 gig memory cards for your camera? $800!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We don't know how many days we have left in this body.....so spend your money any way you like and enjoy the ride. This very moment is magical....that is for sure. "He who dies with the most toys wins".......does not bring happiness. Happiness is embracing this very moment. I was in ecstasy as a teenager listening to my AM radio in my 51 Chevy.