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Merrill Audio THOR Mono Block Amplifiers Review Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 April 2014
Article Index
Merrill Audio THOR Mono Block Amplifiers Review
Set Up and Listening
Bonus Interview

Set Up

The THORs are equipped with balanced inputs only, so Merrill Audio sent over a 2 meter pair of their ANAP XLR interconnects, which sell for $1150-a-pair. They are beautifully made, and rugged. Since the THORs' binding posts accept only spades, and my reference speaker cables are terminated with bananas, they also sent their ANAP speaker spade-terminated cable. Also well made and sturdy, they too sell for $1150-a-pair.

The THORs have standby switches on the bottom of each chassis, and I left the amps on 24/7 for best performance. I used a Symposium Svelte Shelf Plus under both amps, and the supplied, custom made Triode Wire Labs power cords. I drove the THORs directly with the Simaudio NEO 380D DAC & Streamer, with its built in volume control, via the XLR outputs. Speakers were my reference Thiel CS2.4 floorstanders, rated at 4 Ohms, and 87 Db efficiency.

Merrill Audio THOR mono block

After the THORs had sufficiently settled in, I heard much of the same midrange bloom, authoritative bass, and smooth high end I remember the Veritas bringing to the table. I was immediately struck by the clean, open soundstage, and the near perfect tonal balance. I found myself playing reference recordings for hours on end without wishing or hoping for any particular shift in presentation. The THORs just seemed to be operating in a sweet spot of accuracy and musicality.

Joan Baez’s classic 1970 album, One Day at a Time, was immensely enjoyable via the THORs. Baez’s vocals were utterly pure and clarion like, and the sympathetic arrangements made songs like “Joe Hill” and “No Expectations” goose bump inducing. The THORs were getting out of the way -- allowing the sources and the speakers perform at their very best without leaving its own sonic artifacts.

Another Joan was in heavy rotation (Brooklyn native Joan Osborne). Her Little Wild One album is an excellent mix of ballads, rockers, and mid-tempo, folk soul classics. Osborne’s vocals are a thing of wonder, and her songwriting is unique. The THORs made the best cuts -- “Some Were Sweeter” and “Rodeo” and the title track -- sound textured, with tons of emotional impact.


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