M/s. Modi Digital, the distributors for Merging Technologies-Switzerland, arranged for a meet and greet with Maurice Engler - Project Manager/Training Expert, Merging Technologies at Lakozy Mumbai, to showcase their network attached digital to analogue converter (NADAC) Model MC-8 and also provide a glimpse of the company background.
The Merging NADAC was hooked up with PSB T3 Speakers & NAD Master Series Power Amplifier, connected with Supra Cabling. The Merging NADAC basically come in Pro Audio & Home Audio Avatar's. Both versions are offered in 2 Channel & 8 Channel Options. Merging Technologies has also worked extensively with Roon Labs, to provide a player that seamlessly integrates with the NADAC. However, Merging Technologies also provide the end user of having the freedom to use their own favored players so basically one can opt for a NADAC version without the roon player built in as well.
A computer with playback software and ASIO driver or DoP, connected by USB cable is very convenient & simple to work with. Hence, most DAC companies stick with USB 2.0, since it is well known and relatively easy to implement. But professional applications (recording studios, concert halls, production facilities, large multi-room installations, mastering sites) require much more complex capabilities. There is a requirement for much longer cable lengths which run into the hundreds of feet where excess noise, signal attenuation and support for time-critical traffic like audio signals is critical. There must also be support for multiple devices that can work together to accomplish audio input/output. This means networking and the best implementation for all of this currently would be gigabit ethernet. To do this, Merging Technologies developed Ravenna, a TCP/IP protocol and application set for audio over Ethernet which is fully supported in the Audio Engineering Society's AES67 standard. This allows Merging Technologies products to use ASIO (PC/Windows) or Core Audio (Mac) drivers to communicate and network with one another reliably, over much longer distances and in more complex arrangements. Since Ravenna is fully compatible with the AES67 standard, all Merging Technologies Ravenna devices will talk with those of other manufacturers using AES67. This is very important for professional settings, since large and complex implementations are not cheap and are not easily replaced or upgraded. Post description of the NADAC and why Merging Technologies were one of the first few in developing a DAC with the Network Protocol, Maurice played various genre's of music to provide us with a brief understanding of what the NADAC is capable of. We were quite impressed with the capabilities of the NADAC and look forward to reviewing one soon.
Technical Specifications of the NADAC MC-8:
BALANCED ANALOG OUTPUT Connector: gold-plated male XLR Impedance: 40 Ohms Max output level: 18 dBu (6.1 Vrms)Dynamic range: 130 dB(A) THD+N @1kHz: -113 dB (0.00022
UNBALANCED ANALOG OUTPUT Connector: gold-plated RCA jacks Impedance: 20 Ohms Max output level: 8.8 dBu (2.1 Vrms) Dynamic range: 120 dB(A) THD+N @1kHz: -113dB(0.00022%)
HEADPHONE Connector: 3.5mm jack + 6mm jack Impedance: 40 Ohms Max output level: 14.4 dBu (4.0 Vrms) Dynamic range: 123dB(A) THD+N @1kHz: -111dB(0.00028%)
AES INPUT Connector: gold-plated female XLR Input impedance: 110 Ohms Sample rate: 44.1 kHz—192 kHz
S/PDIF OPTICAL INPUT Connector: Toslink Sample rate: 44.1 kHz—96 kHz
S/PDIF COAXIAL INPUT Connector: gold-plated RCA jack Input impedance: 75 Ohms Sample rate: 44.1 kHz—96 kHz
NETWORK INPUT Connector: Neutrik EtherCon RJ45 Bitrate: 1 Gb/s (Gigabit Ethernet only) Sample rate: 44.1 kHz—384 kHz, DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256
WORDCLOCK INPUT Connector: BNC Input impedance: 75 Ohms Termination: 75 Ohms, software selectable Sample rate: 44.1 kHz—192 kHz
MISCELLANEOUS Enclosure material: Premium machined and anodized aluminum Dimensions: 435mm (17.125") W x 435mm (17.125") D x 95mm (3.75") H Weight: 11 kg (24.2 lbs.) AC voltage: 100V-240V/47-63Hz (IEC socket) DC voltage: 10V-14V (Hirose HR10A-7R-4S) Power consumption: < 30W Front panel display: OLED, 160x128 pixels, 16-bit colors