Non-Oversampling DAC. Made in Switzerland
"The designers said their goal was to create a very analog-sounding DAC at a very reasonable price. With the Frérot, they have succeeded at this goal." - The Audio Beatnik
"The small toy DAC conjures up a wonderfully elegant, harmonious sound experience. That is almost intoxicatingly good." - LowBeats (Germany)
"Without overtaking its big brother DAC-1, the D / A converter Frérot has all the good genes of the family: musicality as well as a feeling for emotion and space. With a healthy shot of warmth, the little brother confidently pushes plenty of sound to the amplifier. This works with all genres from classical to electro. With the Frérot, the music lover can buy a great ticket to the world of all audiophiles for a slim 1,000 euros." - HiFi IFAs (Germany)
About The Frerot
The Frerot DAC from Merason is the little brother of the $5000 DAC-1, with the same design philosophy and house sound. Like it's sibling, the Frerot is a non-oversampling, discreet circuitry DAC. It differs from the DAC-1 in that incorporates a single Texas Instruments (formerly Burr Brown) 1794A DAC chip, and an external wall wart style switching power supply.
Simple Design. Attention to Detail. High Quality Parts
Like the DAC-1 the Frerot adheres to the philosophy of simple circuit architecture, clean visual design, and high quality parts.
Peering inside the Frerot, it becomes obvious that Merason takes great care in handling of the digital signal. The electrically incoming digital signals are all initially galvanically isolated. With the coaxial input isolation via transformer, and with the USB input capacitive isolation. The signals are then converted into the I²S format using an AK4118 chip and fed to the 1794A DAC. The post DAC conversion of current to voltage is handled with discreet components and a Class A buffer. Voltage regulation is handled via a proprietary circuit.
But enough about the technical jargon, this DAC sounds unbelievably good. It sonically dominates the latest round of Sub $3000 Chinese made DACs in our opinion, especially when you add a higher quality linear power supply. Merason is offering an optiional LPS for around $850. This will take advantage of the built-in 5 pin DIN plug on the Frerot, supplying power to the independent rails inside. One can spend less on a third party 9 volt power supply, but will have to use the standard 2.5mm DC plug to power the Frerot. The advantage of using the Frerot's DIN plug power is that you get to directly power the separate voltage rails (digital and analog rails) inside rather than splitting up the power from a single rail on the DC plug side.
In our long term listening evaluation, what really stood out to us were the clarity and smoothness of the midrange and highs, and the 3D presentation offered up by the Frerot. Compared to similarly prices sigma delta style DACs it was no contest, the Frerot was more 3D and sweeter sounding from the midrange on up. Lower frequencies were spot on and plentiful.
Tonally we thoroughly enjoyed the presentation as natural in tone and flow, and smooth. Transparency was exceptional, revealing subtle shadings of tone and detail that gave the music a very engaging sense of space and 3D-ness.
No compression of dynamics were heard in our test tracks, and there is just a sense of organic ease to the music that is very enjoyable.
"The Frérot DAC has an incredibly smooth and silky sound, which I find surprising from PCM files. It is also, as you would expect from the Swiss, a very precise and detailed sound. This is a great combination with the smooth and silky sound." - The Audio Beatnik
- Output: max. 4 V RMS (symmetrical), max. 2 V RMS (asymmetrical).
- Frequency: 20 Hz to 20 kHz +/- 0.1 dB.
- THD + N: <0.006%. SNR:> 120 dB.
- DAC: BurrBrown 1794A, discrete I / V stage.
- Output: discrete structure.
- Power supply:
- 9V DC, 12 W via the included external power supply 100V to 240V AC / 50 to 60 Hz, 40 W.
- Audio formats
- 44.1 kHz @ 16 bit, 44.1 kHz @ 24 bit.
- 48 kHz @ 16 bit, 48 kHz @ 24 bit.
- 88.2 kHz @ 24 bit.
- 96 kHz @ 24 bit.
- 176.4 kHz @ 24 bit.
- 192 kHz @ 24 bit.
- 22.5 cm x 5 cm x 18 cm (width x height x depth)
- Weight: 980 g (DAC), 200 g (power supply)