RMAF 2013: Channel D and Merrill Audio


The Merrill Audio/Channel D system was a grand marriage of digital and analog. The analog source was an AMG Viella V12 with AMG tonearm ($18,000) and Ortofon Cadenza Bronze MC cartridge ($2,199). The phono preamp was Channel D’s Seta Plus Model L preamp ($5,499) with Pure Vinyl software ($279), which supplied real-time RIAA compensation at 192/24 via the Lynx Hilo ADC/DAC ($2,795), transferring LPs into digital files. The power amps were Merrill Audio’s Veritas monoblocks ($12,000), powering TAD E1 speakers ($29,800).

There was a lot of software in play in this room, and I wish I’d spent a little bit more time learning how it all works. Perhaps the most complimentary thing I can say about that is that I had no idea until I started really looking around that the analog was going through so much jiggery-pokery before it hit my ears; all I knew was that Paul Simon’s “Homeless” sounded stunning.

Some new bits included the all-new Thor monoblocks from Merrill Audio ($4,000/pair), a less-cost offering to the flagship Veritas using “trickle-down technology” developed there. Unfortunately, they weren’t in-system.

Also new, a pair of Piccola from Channel D, including a Phono Pre ($1,899) and a Buffer ($1,599). Both offerings are designed to leverage technology developed in their larger brethren — more “trickle down”. Can you feel the rain?






Piccola DAC Buffer


Piccola Phono Preamplifier