Merason’s Frerot DAC and its External Power Supply Pow1

Remember this name well! It deserves to be known.

It is certainly no coincidence that I have evaluated several components from Switzerland in the last few months. I wrote a product review of the Nagra Tube DAC a few months ago and was able to hear products from Wattson and Merging Technologies. Here I am now in front of two products from Merason, which form a set, namely, the frerot digital-to-analog converter(DAC) and its optional power supply pow1 (LPSU). Is the frerot a duller reduction of its big brother, the DAC1 ? Let’s find out together how the frerot behaves in the world of the grown-ups.

he founder of Merason (more precisely, the Niedal Audio Lab AG company), Daniel Frauchiger completed his mechanical studies in 1986, while his interest in audio dates back to his childhood. He was fascinated by sound reproduction and built a pair of loudspeakers in his spare time. It wasn’t until the age of 45 that Daniel Frauchiger became more interested in sound engineering, trying to understand why digital couldn’t compete with analog. His quest was for musicality and emotion. He partnered with someone who developed a digital-to-analog converter circuit. The development continued until Daniel could be as satisfied with the sound as he was with analog equipment. The DAC1 was born and could continue its development.

Later, the frerot and its pow1 power supply appeared on the market to offer a more affordable product. The frerot and pow1 set is currently selling for less than half the price of the DAC1. Merason ‘s products are created with the goal of reproducing the purest music possible. Its motto is Less is more. No complex menus, no technical jargon, just pure music.

Technical description
‘s frerot is a 2.2 lb neutral gray digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with less than 23 cm of front panel. It has one USB, two S / PDIF(RCA) and two Toslink inputs. It offers balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs. The front panel is very simple, with a button to select the input, a light to indicate that the unit is powered and a light to indicate that the source is active. Very elegant, very compact and well built, we recognize here the Swiss workmanship.
Merason’s frerot supports PCM digital formats only in 24-bit resolutions of multiples of 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz up to 192 kHz. Its core is a single BurrBrown 1794A digital processor, discrete I/V-stage for both left and right channels.

Unpacking and installation
The Merason frerot DAC offers several input choices, and I chose the USB input connected with a high-quality Audioquest Diamond cable plugged directly into a Mac mini M1 and configured as a Roon server. The frerot was connected to the pow1 power supply with the cable provided by Merason. When it was delivered to my studio, the unit had already been used, so I was able to make the connections easily and immediately settle into my chair to enjoy the music. I did not evaluate Merason’ s brother and pow1 separately. The whole test bench was done with the two devices connected together.

Listening impressions
The Voces8 is one of the most renowned a cappella groups in the world, mainly due to the quality of its interpretations. As its name indicates, it is composed of eight voices, three women and five men. They mainly perform classical music, but occasionally perform popular music repertoire.

The Lux album features works that are in high demand for this type of repertoire. The first piece, Ubi Caritas by composer Ola Giello, sets the table with a well-nuanced entry by the sopranos . No confusion in the women’s voices. The acoustics are airy, and you can hear the reverberation of the room very well. The echo does not undermine the music nor the pronunciation of the singers. The frerot delivers the goods, from the start, in terms of musicality and emotions. The 8-voice piece Lux Aeterna by composer Edward Elgar is one of my favorites. You can hear it on YouTube if you want to discover this ensemble. The voices are clearly positioned in the stereo image. The frerot has a natural balance of the voices. The timbres are very well rendered, the sopranos never irritating. The finale is quite magical with a soft piano-pianissimo landing. In Allegri’s Miserere Mei Deus, it is clear that the two choirs are far apart. The famous soprano counter-ut delivered by Merason’s frerot provides only emotion. Less musical DACs have difficulty in this part of the score.

Bill Larswell’s Sacred System album is already a few years old, but it’s always a pleasure to listen to this first album again, which allowed me to discover this artist not only in concert, but also through the various albums that followed. My first impression of the frerot and its pow1 power supply from Merason, concludes to an impressive bass reproduction. I even had to readjust the volume of my subwoofer to find the right balance in my listening room.

The other thing to note is that the volume is higher than other DACs. I didn’t have to turn up the volume as high as with my usual DAC to get the desired level. So, very generous in bass and volume, but also in terms of stereo image.

And what better way to demonstrate this than by listening to Bill Laswell. In the introductory piece, Babylon Ghost, the special effects, the noise of glasses, the percussions are faithfully reproduced without any confusion. The interesting thing about drum and bass music is that the music is very rhythmic. The bass sets the pace with the drums and percussion. Bill Laswell and his musicians add electronic effects to complete the structure of the pieces presented. Again, electronic music presents significant challenges to most DACs, and the frerot holds up well and offers everything with full musicality.

The piece Dread Iternal starts with the bass very present. The frerot is able to reproduce the low frequencies very precisely and generously without creating confusion about the frequency balance. The last piece of the album Sub Terrain is the one with the widest spectrum of dynamics. The mix of bass and treble is never muddled with the frizz. Even the distortions remain musical. The frerot and pow1 reproduce every detail with disconcerting ease and balance.

The 3rd Symphony by Camille Saint-Saëns is a well-known score for pipe organ lovers. It can also be heard quite often in movies, especially the 4th movement Maestoso - Allegro. I had the opportunity to hear this piece in the concert hall of the Maison Symphonique in Montreal. What a pleasure! The Reference Recording album begins with the piece Capriccioso for violin and orchestra. This piece presents the solo violin in the center, just in front of the orchestra, whose image goes far beyond the loudspeakers.

In the next piece, La muse et le poète, the composer adds a cello to the violin and orchestra ensemble. The sound of the cello is natural, just like with the voices on the Voces8 album. The tones are great. There is a sound balance between the instruments. All you have to do is close your eyes and listen to the music which is restored by the Frerot and its Pow1 power supply of Merason. The orchestra invites itself into your listening room.

The 3rd Symphony in C minor Organ opens with its familiar first movement that sets the table for our musical listening pleasure. The organ makes its appearance more marked in the 2nd movement and one is transported by the music and the emotion. The finale with the brass, the bass drum and the organ accompanying the orchestra is very successful. Merason’s frerot and pow1 juggle all these instruments with a joyfulness that makes us appreciate the quality of this composition and of the sound recording by Reference Recording.

On Merason’s company website, you can see only three products at the moment. The DAC1 digital-to-analog converter, the company’s flagship product, the DAC frerot and the pow1 power supply (LPSU). These two are featured in this test bench. Merason prefers to offer quality products rather than present a list of products whose musicality is not always up to the expectations of its founder and ours. Is the frerot a by-product of the famous DAC1 ? I haven’t heard the DAC1, but I can say that the frerot and its pow1 power supply are products that can be compared to products with a higher selling price and already established reputation. The little frerot is a digital-to-analog converter that offers very musical performance, and the pow1 power supply allows it to enhance the music presented to it. The set offers you full of emotion. If you’re in the market for a DAC right now, you definitely need to hear what Merason has to offer. I can’t wait to find out what this company is up to with their next product collection.

Price: $2,900
Warranty: 3 years, parts and labor
Distributor: Tri-Cell Enterprises, T.: 905.265.7870,

Lux, Voces8, Universal, B00QHPSRSO, AIFF 24-96
Sacred System, Chapter One: Book of Entrance, Bill Laswell, ROIR, RUSCD 8225, AIFF 16-48
Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 - Organ; Introduction and Rondo capriccioso; The Muse and the Poet, Stern-Kansas City Symphony, Reference Recording, RR 136, AIFF 24 / 176