Element 118 Power Amplifier Monoblocks
DETAILED, MUSICAL, POWERFUL.
The Element 118 Power amplifier Monoblocks were conceptualize for a truly life like performance, with exceptional amounts of details, a true EMOTIONAL connection to the music without consideration for cost. Starting at this point, the constraints were then put on practical power, size and weight considerations. The most advanced technologies and expertise was used with years of research culminating in the crown jewel of Merrill Audio.
The first consideration for life like music is speed. Developing speed requires accurate reproduction and stable circuits at times of extreme speed. Overshot and ring are the largest problems of speed. Rather then slow the speed down, the Element 118 Power Amplifier Monoblocks keep this highest speed and was engineered to remove the element that cause the overshoot and ring. Although expensive, difficult and very time consuming to do, Merrill Audio Element 118 Power Amplifier Monoblocks have achived this result. Using the most advanced and newest transistors, Gallium Nitride, the element 118 Power Amplifier Monoblocks transistors are able to deliver speeds into the Gigahertz range. Using special techniques, the PCB parasitic inductance and capacitance has been reduced to near zero. Having this advanced Transistors and PCB caused Merrill Audio to spend a lot of time to resolve the fabrication and manufacturing difficulties which come with such specialized techniques. These have been resolved and the new units are now part of the Merrill Audio Expertise.
The Result is that the Element 118 Power Amplifier Monoblock are very fast, clean and musical.
Another big requirement was the ability to provide all the details of the music. This is a unique characteristic of the Christine Reference Preamplifier and the Jens Reference Phono Stage that is yet to be matched in the industry. To do this a special circuit techniques were used. One of which is Merrill Audio’s ZXOL design which has an open loop design. That is no feedback. Without feedback, 2 advantages are found. The speed increases without the feedback and the amount of information is also increased. Since there is no loop back all the feedback loop distortion is gone. The time delays with feedback loops are also gone.
The results is that The Element 118 Power Amplifier Monoblcoks are the audiable cleanest sounding amplifiers you will hear. The spaciacous, airy sound with rich detail. Deep tight bass is achieved with this ZXOL design.
Final results is the undisputed most musical, life like, powerful Element 118 Power Amplifier Monoblocks that will take you away to the 5th Row.
The Element 118 Power Amplifier Mononblocks had to be engineering with 360 degree integeration in mind. This included every feature that was necessary to keep and enhance the sound without adding unnecessary cost.
Only the best components were used.
Starting with the chassis.
Solid Stainless Steel Outriggers were used to provide stable weight distribution and vibration control. GAIA II Isoacoustics Footers were used to provide isolation and absorption from the be ground.
Along with the platform isolation, the chassis is design to minimize external sound vibrations with mid point diffusers and stablizers. The Chassis is plated rather than anodized for a softer more absorbent material. The material is done is a very tasteful nickel and Rose Gold.
The Element 118 Power amplifier Monoblocks uses the top of the line Speaker binding posts from WBT with direct copper posts that offer the convenience of spades, bananas and bare wire. These are the latest from WBT and in itself has been engineered for the best sound.
Power connections do make a difference. The tightest standard connections is the 20 AMP IEC connector. This will hold a heavy cord, make a tight connection and is available as a standard. Furutech Rhodium Plated 20A IEC AC inlets are used on the Element 118 Power Amplifier Monoblocks.
Internally the Element 118 Power Amplifier Monoblock PCB boards are manufactured to the highest standard and then engineered for the most stable temperature distribution. Using 8 pounds of pure copper per monoblock, the heat distribution system keeps a steady temperature on the boards for linear operation.
The element 118 Power Amplifier Monoblocks only use wire that is OFC, stranded, silver plated and sleeved in Teflon for the low parasitics impedance with a low dielectric. High Gauge wire is used throughout and all Audio paths are hand soldered for the best connections.
|Power rating:||400watts into 8ohms|
|800 watts into 4 ohms|
|1600 watts into 2 ohms|
|Speaker Terminals:||Dual pairs of posts for bi-wiring|
|Dual pairs of posts for bi-wiring|
|WBT – 0702.12 Pure|
|copper Platinum Plated|
|Accepts Bananas, spades or wire.|
|Input:||XLR Balanced input, Cardas XLR|
|Power AC:||20A AC inlet, Furutech Rodhium Plated inlet|
|Remote:||12V trigger, 3.5m, 20mA|
|Footers:||Stainless Steel Outrigger|
|GAiA III from Isoacoustics|
|Size:||350mm (13.7”) W x 220mm (8.7”) H x 495 (20.4”) D without outriggers|
|460mm (18.1”) W x 275mm (10.8”) H x 495mm (20.4”) D with outriggers|
|Shipping size:||610mm (24”) W x 355mm (14”) H x 610mm (24”) D|
I spent two days at the Capital Audio Show. This gave me time to actually listen to lots of exhibits. The Merrill Audio room, with the Veritas amps and German Physiks Borderland speakers, was clearly among the best sounding rooms at the show. But even better, I was lucky enough to be included in a small group, just before the show opening on Sunday, to audition a new Merrill prototype amp, aimed at even higher performance. And the new amp delivered. It was almost immediately obvious that the new design was superior to the reference
Veritas amps that performed so well during the show. It was more open, more dynamic and smoother, etc. Was it a big difference? Yes, in the sense that the improvements were the kind that every real audiophile would kick himself if he couldn’t afford a product after comparing it to an excellent reference. I look forward to experiencing the production product.
Allen E., veteran reviewer.
“I was looking forward to my first visit to the Capitol Audio Fest in Maryland. With many potential good sounding rooms there, I decided that it would take 2 days to hear all the rooms and spend additional time in those rooms that sounded good to me. I brought a few reference LPs with me that I am familiar with that would provide a good test for each system that had a turntable and my companions had some good sounding digital recordings. Hearing the same recordings in each room really allowed me to evaluate each system in a more controlled way.
One of the best sounding rooms at the show was the room with Merrill Audio components, a VPI Turntable and German Physics speakers. Merrill asked us to come by early Sunday morning to audition the prototypes for his new Amplifier and Phono Stage. We listened to the same recordings on both the old and new components to do our comparisons.
Both new components did not disappoint. The differences were not subtle. What stood out most was the level of detail heard, greatly improved sonics and much better imaging. While these comments may sound like a checklist of audio clichés, my ears hear what they hear. I can confidently say that the new line of Merrill Audio components are an order of magnitude better than what was already great sounding equipment, easily bettering systems in other rooms at much higher price points.”
“I have had the privilege to know Merrill Wettasinghe of Merrill Audio for several years and have come to know that when he offers me an opportunity to hear something he has been working on I can count on something special.
So when Merrill asked me if I could listen to a prototype of an amplifier of his own design I wasn’t going to say I was too busy. I just asked when and where. Sunday morning before Capital Audio Fest opened I first listened to the outstanding Veritas Amps that are the current top of the line. No fault could be found. The few of us that had been invited were all in agreement.
And then Merrill put in his new design. I expected that there might be a slight improvement here and there in the audio band. But no, there was not a slight improvement at all. Oh my gosh, I have to start saving my money because I want, no, I need this new Merrill Audio Amp. Mind you I am very happy with my Veritas Amps and have had no intention of changing, till now.
What did I hear? More dynamics, speed, weight. They are also quieter, except how do you make something that already produces virtually no noise make even less noise? ! The noise of the Veritas is well beyond human hearing but yet you can easily hear the improvement in noise, or lack there of, that the new design provides.
I heard gravitas, presence and a more natural tonal quality to the instruments. Mind you it is not like the Veritas
was lacking before this.
But the instruments sounded more like they would if you were listening to them live. Not only in tonal quality but also in the weight that instruments can produce live.
So here are a few words that describe the new design.
Lifelike. Natural. Speed. Dynamic. Weight. Quiet. In a word, they ROCK. ”
As many of you know, I have developed a wonderful friendship with Merrill of Merrill Audio. He has started utilizing my room, system and ears as one of many opinions during his design process when he needs opinions on new designs.
He has developed his own Class-D amplifier module that Is quite special. Today, he brought over the semi final prototype of his new monoblocks for the two of us to compare to my reference Burmester 911mk3 amplifiers. To say I was impressed with his new mono block design and performance is an understatement! They will be a level above the Merrill Veritas monoblocks I previously owned.
On initial listen they are stunningly fast, have a bottomless noise floor, complete lack of distortion, crazy tight and well controlled bass, are super clean and accurate and yet maintain musicality, pace and rhythm with complex textures and harmonics. I could happily live with them instead of my Burmesters; initial impression. With time I will likely find some flaws and more definable character traits. But wow!!! The Burmester amps retail for over twice what these will be; so their price to performance value is exploding off the charts! And I must admit that the 3-D renderings of the final appearance is strikingly attractic.
It it was quite a sneak peak. And I look forward to hearing the final production version, or any version in between!