The introduction of MERGING+NADAC and then MERGING+PLAYER shook the high end audio world by introducing an Ethernet audio protocol in place of the conventional USB connection. RAVENNA offers numerous practical, performance and reliability advantages over USB and the results have been recorded in a series of rave reviews for these products.
Merging’s innovation did not stop there. Both products are offered in stereo or multichannel variants to cater for the former SACD enthusiasts, who can finally listen to the multichannel files as they should be heard. The partnership with Roon with the MERGING+PLAYER goes far beyond some of the simple “Roon Ready” implementations already released. The Roon UI was well accepted but was not capable of DSD multichannel playback. Since version 1.3, that has been implemented with many other new enhancements. This was a major result of the Merging/Roon partnership which is ongoing to introduce other new features.
The advantages of using Ethernet were plainly obvious to other DAC manufacturers and there has been much interest in how this could be be incorporated into other products. The RAVENNA Corner of the Merging stand J06 in Hall 3 will amply demonstrate where this is going. A Melco N1 Hi-Res Digital Music Source will be on display as will the Aurender X100 Digital Music Player. Both these popular products take advantage of Merging’s LINUX Virtual Audio Device which could be adopted by other devices using the same operating system. Merging has also developed drivers for OSX and Windows to ensure that RAVENNA can be used with any computer platform. Of great interest will be the ROCK (Roon Optimized Core Kit) which will be running on a standard Intel NUC. ROCK is the software that Roon will make available to end users who want to build a DIY Roon device using an Intel NUC. This software is based on Roon OS, which is the current software Roon provides to partners (like Merging) who manufacture embedded Roon-based products. These products will be displayed directly connected to MERGING+NADAC via RAVENNA and all will commence shipping in the coming months.
Besides the manufactured products, Merging will introduce ZMan, a new compact and powerful RAVENNA circuit board which will be offered to OEM partners, bringing the advantages of a networked solution to audio components as diverse as loudspeakers, DACs and server/streamers. In addition to RAVENNA, this board will allow for a whole range of other capabilities like Roon Ready support, streaming services and DSP processing for advanced formats decoding or room correction for example. This OEM solution as well as associated development tools will be on display in the RAVENNA Corner and engineers will be available for answering technical questions.
Merging is also delighted to announce the impending introduction of MERGING+POWER as an addition to its audiophile product range. Critical acclaim suggests that MERGING+PLAYER and MERGING+NADAC sound amazing, so that would indicate that the designers did a fine job with the power supply. There is a body of opinion that maintains that removing all AC components from the chassis should improve the performance even more. MERGING+POWER is the answer. The unique hybrid design mixes switch mode and analog toroidal transformer technology to separate the different requirements of the key internal components. All key parts of the power plant meet aerospace or military specifications and have been selected to offer the ultimate in sonic integrity. MERGING+POWER is a product designed to add magic to excellence for the most discerning users.