Discount - 7%
ABOUT THE $7.5K HIGH END SYSTEM
Another High End system at under $10K... for $7.5K to be exact... really ? Yes..really ! And it is composed of exceptionally musical gear... Single Malt Isle Scotch for the price of a premium Vodka.
So once again with this system we get Great Value. For us, VALUE means a high Musicality-to-Investment Ratio, whether the system costs $1.5K or $75K. Systems that sound like they should have cost much more than what you actually paid for them.
THE $7.5K FULL RANGE SYSTEM
This particular $7.5K system is comprised of four key components. First up is the Thivan Labs' Fullrange 10 MK3 loudspeaker. Power is courtesy of Saša Čokić's "Little-Big Boy"" from Serbia ... the Class A triode-strapped EL34 Trafomatic Aries Integrated. Digital duties are performed by Daniel Frauchiger's Swiss MERASON Frerot DAC, and the digital source is Nuno Vittorino's INNUOS ZEN MK3 Music Server.
The THIVAN LABS Fullrange 10 MK3 is a bass-reflex design with a single 10" full range high sensitivity driver. The speaker is rated at 96 dB sensitivity with a 8 ohm nominal impedance, and Thivan recommends amplifiers rated from 5–80W pc.
Like their custom 2A3 monos and reference white Kaivalya EL84 monos, the TRAFOMATIC ARIES Integrated began life as a custom commission. Unlike the two others, this time the client wasn’t a private music lover but a hifi distributor who wanted an amp he could bundle with a line of single-driver speakers he imported, and whose sensitivity required little power. Their value pricing asked for an equally affordable but quality amplifier. Thus was born the Trafomatic Audio Aries ... later to be followed by the Aries SE ... a derivative born of our own inspiration. The Aries is a class A single-ended triode circuit with, per channel, one EL34 driven by half an ECC81 double triode and delivering 6W Class A ... which is just perfect for the Thivan Labs full range speaker !
Then, we incorporated the INNUOS ZEN MINI MK3, a Music Server from one of the very best Music Server Brands available - INNUOS. INNUOS is gaining a reputation as the GO-TO server in terms of both functionality and superb sound quality ... and these qualities are present across their entire line, starting with the ZEN MINI MK3. All INNUOS servers include, a CD drive for Ripping, their own proprietary motherboards, sophisticated linear power supplies, all manner of gremlin-killing filtration and shielding ... in brief, an all out declaration of war on all the known perturbations plaguing DIGITAL, this in as far as retrieving, ripping, storing, and "serving up" digital media to the next critical digital component in the chain, the DAC.
Amongst many other functionalities, the super-intuitive InnuOS software allows the user to select between UPNP, ROON Core or ROON Server. In 2021, Innuos introduced SENSE, their new Player / OS operating system : ... to RAVE REVIEWS !
The ZEN MINI MK3's character -- YES IT HAS ONE -- is very PRaTy, rhythmic and engaging. Compared to the ZEN MK3, it is more playful and wistfully entertaining in a Mozart-ian sense. The ZEN MK3 has a slightly more laid back Brahms-ian presentation, which is larger and more serene. The ZEN MINI MK3 in this system configuration has 2TB of HDD storage. For about $750 more one can order the MK3 PLUS version which comes bundled with a superior linear PSU housed in a chassis identical to the one used for the Standard unit.
Not only is this ROON / UPNP server incredibly easy to set-up and use, it is blissfully musical, throwing a super-quiet soundstage and all the detail retrieval one can possibly expect.... The INNUOS servers are truly exceptional front ends. We incorporate these into almost all of our systems.
The MERASON Frerot DAC is the last major component of this system. For the Swiss-made Merason Frerot DAC, Daniel Frauchiger adopted a largely similar circuit layout, as well as the fully discrete structure for the input and output stages as those implemented in his flagship Merason DAC-1. The "big brother" uses two Burr Brown PCM 1794A chips in mono configuration. In the Frerot a single 1794A is responsible for both channels, and as with the DAC-1, signal processing is carried out symmetrically.
Even if the DAC-1 logically contains higher-quality components, such as the sinfully expensive Mica filter capacitors and a channel-separated luxuriant power supply with several toroidal transformers, the tonal characteristics of the DAC-1's smaller brother, in this price range, are simply outstanding !!
The front panel comes in brushed aluminum. A high quality 9V DC supply is delivered with the unit and connects to a DC barrel socket on the back panel. An external, and low-noise Linear Power Supply for the "Frérot" is now available as an optional upgrade. This is the $900 Merason POW-1, and this supply connects on the DAC's back panel to a high quality 5-Pin DIN connector.
The Merason Frerot is the most surprisingly awesome digital to analog converter I have ever heard at this price point ... ever. This thing is so astoudingly musical ... from the very first notes ... so very emotionally expressive and engaging ... you know you are in the presence of a Prodigy ... Shocking. This is like hearing Liszt -in person- playing Liszt ... this is not a just another superb "performer" ... it's a Maestro.
Bottom line : The Frerot's price belies its true status in DAC-Land ... it would perform at very high level in many audiophile systems composed of all-star components. The better the cables and other components are in the system , the more the Frerot "ups its game" and is motivated to meet the ever increasing challenge. We have included the Merason Frerot DAC in many of our under-$20K systems.
This system is suitable for rooms up to 16ft x 25 ft.
UPGRADE OPTIONS -- For $750 more, we can integrate the Innuos ZEN Mini LPSU, and for an additional $900 we can include the Merason POW-1 LPSU. If both are ordered we'd "bundle" those for a total of $1,450 or 12% off.
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Additional 2.5% DISCOUNT