Merrill Audio Thor Monoblocks

Discussion in 'Home Theater and Stereo' started by Barry_NJ, Oct 3, 2019.

  1. Barry_NJ

    Barry_NJ Well-Known Member

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    Well, I got a pair of Merrill Audio Thor Monoblocks to try in my system, and I'm very impressed. Darker background than my Audio Alchemy amps, lots of detail, but very smooth and not fatiguing, great expansive sound stage. So far I've listened to Radiohead: Kid A, Fiona Apple: When the Pawn... , Peter Gabriel: Up, and Johnny Cash: American IV

    Me like!
     
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Well-Known Member Top Poster

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    The newer Merrill Audio (Element) monoblocks are really nice (but not cheap). Heard them at the Florida Audio Expo earlier this year (pic of the room below). If you want a great amp for the money, this one really is wonderful (yes I bought it - mine was the first one out of the box - I've had amps that listed for 4x the price that weren't as good) - EVS 1200 amplifier

    My (main system) are speakers (Thiel 3.7s) are not an easy load (Thiel CS3.7 loudspeaker Measurements). I've had powerful Class A/AB amps and they would get so hot to the touch. The EVS amp never gets warm. The EVS is a dual mono design. I have another Class D with the same Ice Edge module (but a stock stereo one), which initially replaced those expensive amplifiers, and the EVS is much better.

    Merrill at the Florida Audio Expo:
    Merrill1.JPG
     
  3. Phil A

    Phil A Well-Known Member Top Poster

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    This is my current system pic (the EVS is in the middle bottom section on the right)
    MainSys0919reduced.jpg
     
  4. Barry_NJ

    Barry_NJ Well-Known Member

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    I've heard the Element Amps at Larry's and also at VPI House, they are quite special, but price is way, way, out of my league.
     
  5. Barry_NJ

    Barry_NJ Well-Known Member

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    About how much do the EVS amps cost?
    There is no pricing information on their web site(?)
     
  6. Phil A

    Phil A Well-Known Member Top Poster

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    Yes - the Elements are out of my price range as well. There is info on the website but it is not organized (not Ric's strength IMO) and he has some old info on there as well (if one clicks on the amp comparisons it says $2k which is not correct). About halfway down the page (in red) of the link I posted it says "These amps are produced one at a time by me. I am able to hand make 2 amps per week. There are two different balanced input only models. The dual mono stereo amp has two mono modules in it and costs $2200 (plus shipping). The second amp are mono blocks and cost $2900 for the pair (plus shipping). There is no real advantage to the mono blocks unless you need them (already set up and have short speaker wires). "

    He also offers (down the page some more) "The amps are sold with a 30 day (in house) money back guarantee.....in fact, if you do send them back I will also pay for your original shipping to you....so you only lose the shipping back....I lose way over $100 in fees and shipping if you send it back. I only want happy customers. The amps will come with a pair of 8 ohm power resistors so you can burn in the amps all day and night so after a couple of weeks you will have over 300 hours on it. I want to make sure you hear the amps burned in. The amps have a 3 year transferable warrantee."

    I think he is crazy to offer that deal (that's how good they are). I had a friend bug me about Class D in the summer of 2017. I told him I was going to RMAF in October 2017 and would start to look into them more as I could always use one in a secondary system. I last listened to Class D seriously at the 2015 Capital Audiofest. I heard the Merrill Veritas there. I thought they were nice (Merrill actually bought my used Emotiva DAC from the basement system in my old VA house) but in the room they were in (which was a large space), they just didn't have the balls they needed (from memory they shut down being driven hard). Reminded me of the old Pioneer 1120 receiver I had bought for the basement system of the old VA house. I had a Marantz SR7300 OSE (original special edition) and after a week I moved the 1120 to the office system. It sounded really nice driving a pair of Mobile Fidelity OML-1s (Mobile Fidelity OML-1 Loudspeaker Review By Brian Bloom) I had at the time.

    I had a Modwright KWA150SE in the main system, which replaced a Bryston 14BSST. I originally bought the Mivera Audio (stereo ICE Edge) amp (I moved it to a secondary system and sold an Emotiva amp). I broke it in using a secondary system and right out of the box it made a Bryston 3BST sound mid-fi. I was shocked when it bettered the Modwright and didn't even break a sweat or get more than a hair above room temperature playing music loudly. I ordered the Mivera single ended (the module sounds better balanced and that is whay the EVS has - used RCA to balanced adapters breaking the EVS in using a secondary system) as I was using the HT Bypass in the Modwright LS 36.5DM (dual mono) preamp. I decided to just have a pair of cables with RCA to balanced adapters coming from the receiver sitting behind the amp to swap out. There are other companies who make amps using the (Ice Edge) AS1200 module. They include Nord Acoustics and Apollon Audio. None have real mods to it. The EVS is quite an achievement at its price point.
     
  7. pillatier

    pillatier Well-Known Member

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    Try the Telarcs - Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture Opus 49 if you have it.
     
  8. Carl V

    Carl V Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    I’ll have to Look into an evs amp.
    I wasn’t aware you could use the ice edge 1200 as a mono amp.
     
  9. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    These are not current production are they? Did you pick up used?

    Larry LOVES Merrill amps. He started using them when he was running some less efficient speakers and wanted lots of power but he was stunned when he realized they were also the best of everything he tried when he switched to the 108dB sensitive Sadurnis. He might have been the only person running 400wpc into 108dB speakers??? Any way, I believe he was using the Thors. Then when he got rid of the Sadurnis and moved to German Physiks he has the new Merrills.
     
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  10. Phil A

    Phil A Well-Known Member Top Poster

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    Yes - just the monoblocks alone, without any mods I'm sure would be an improvement. With the mods EVS has done, it's quite a different performance level. The EVS is just a plain black box and has toggle switches on the back to that disconnect the module from the power supply. No switch in the path.

    The new Merrills are spectacular. I've heard the older Veritas ones. They were nice but nothing nearly as nice as the newer Merrills. Of course, they are not cheap but they look and sound great. I don't think the older Class Ds (more than 4 years old - heard some, including the Merrills at the 2015 Capital Audiofest) are nearly as good for what is out now and what is coming out.

    There's also a bunch of GaN Class Ds coming out in various price ranges. These, I've heard are $4,999/pair -
     
  11. Barry_NJ

    Barry_NJ Well-Known Member

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    Yes, out of production, these are used. And I don't think Larry ever ran the Thor amps, he had the Veritas. The Thor was introduced later as an entry-level/introduction to Merrill Audio products. I don't recall who met Merrill first, Larry or me, but I think I was the catalyst there :smile:
     
  12. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    You are correct, he did have the Veritas.
     
  13. Barry_NJ

    Barry_NJ Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I've listened at Larry's many times, through many iterations.
    We're only 15 minutes from each other.
     
  14. DYohn

    DYohn Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    Larry used Class D? tsk tsk what is the world coming to? His hat must be too tight or something. :smilingimp:
     
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  15. Barry_NJ

    Barry_NJ Well-Known Member

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    Correction, uses :wink:

    The Element really are an incredible series of amplifiers.
     
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  16. DYohn

    DYohn Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    That's cool and I'm sure they are really good. But since when have I missed an opportunity to poke the Hatted One even when he's not here. :tonguewink:
     
  17. Barry_NJ

    Barry_NJ Well-Known Member

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    LOL :smile: I thought I was giving you a second chance :wink:
     
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