World's Ultra-Fast Power Transistor Gallium Nitride (GaN) Used Again on 3rd Power Amplifier from Merrill Audio Advanced Technology Labs, LLC

#1
Press Release: https://www.pr.com/press-release/784207

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 3rd May 2019

Worlds ultra-fast power transistor Gallium Nitride (GaN) used again on 3rd Power Amplifier from Merrill Audio Advanced Technology Labs, LLC

BERNARDSVILLE, New Jersey, USA - Zero Feedback, Zero Dead time and bottomless noise floor using Gallium Nitride (GaN) transistors on the ELEMENT 114 Stereo Power Amplifiers from Merrill Audio make it simply one of the best amplifiers available. Merrill Audio is very excited to release this new advanced technology at a lower price point. Utilizing trickle down technology from the award winning ELEMENT 118 and ELEMENT 116 Monoblock Power Amplifiers released last year. The Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 ZXOL proprietary design technology leaps ahead of all other Class D implementations and provides more detail and immediacy almost than almost any amplifier in any amplifier class. The Musical detail, experience and immediacy along with the immediately noticeable ultra-low noise floor takes music reproduction to a whole new experience. It only takes an instant to realize your listening to something quite special.

Using advanced Gallium Nitride (GaN) transistors and advanced PCB design techniques, the dead time is reduced to zero, which removes any distortion. Dead time is the time the MOSFET transistor takes to discharge or charge when changing states. Since there is no dead time distortion, the ZXOL proprietary design also has Zero feedback. With Zero feedback there is much more detail, more information and much greater immediacy all with a sense of ease and openness. The combination is what we refer to as the Merrill Audio proprietary ZXOL, which stands for zero crossing, open loop design. With zero dead time, there is little heat loss and lower temperatures which allows for more precise operation of the amplifier and longer lasting, more stable components.

The Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 Stereo Amplifier, just like the ELEMENT 116 and ELEMENT 118 utilizes a custom LLC resonant power supply with a custom transformer as an inductor. This ultra-low noise power supply gives the ELEMENT 114 amplifiers its seemingly limitless supply of power and ultra-low noise floor while in operation at full power.

The Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 Stereo Amplifier, like its higher end amplifiers are load invariant, with the Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 delivering power across all complex loads that doubles 200 watts into 8 ohms, 400 watts into 4 ohms and 800 watts into 2 ohms. Full protection circuity is built in, with no clipping using a fast signal reduction design to avoid clipping on the outputs.

The Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 Stereo Amplifier comes in a gorgeous Stereo package, with Polished Black Nickel and Rose Gold Face plate and accents. A 20Amp AC inlet is use for tighter connection. The XLR input has a full Teflon body with rhodium plated silver pins. The speaker binding posts are Pure copper speaker. Gain is 26 dB, 400 watts into 4 ohms at 0.08% distortion. Early listeners were startled with the most realistic reproduction of music they have heard from any amplifier. The Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 Stereo Amplifier is priced at USD$15,000. This carries forward the award winning ELEMENT series of Amplifiers from Merrill Audio and is the latest of all the award winning audio components.

For more information
Merrill Audio Advanced Technology Labs, LLC
ELEMENT-114@MerrillAudio.net
www.MerrillAudio.net



Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 White Background250x250.jpg Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 Back Black Background 250x250.jpg Merrill Audio ELEMENT 114 Lifestyle250x250.jpg
 

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Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,148
568
113
UK
#2
Interesting - I was waiting for the first one of this new breed of transistor amps to come on the scene.

In simple scientific terms, what is the advantages of this approach?

“Using advanced Gallium Nitride (GaN) transistors and advanced PCB design techniques, the dead time is reduced to zero, which removes any distortion.”

But the distortion @400w into 4 ohms of 0.08% is very unremarkable and miles away from being near state of the art in the solid state arena. Certainly miles off a cheap class D module from Hypex.

Any info is welcome.

Best.
 
#3
Hi Audiophile Bill,

LOL. The distortion is very low, especially when compared to any tube amp. It is not weighted and provided at 400watts, not 1 watt or 1/2 power. Although I don't have a better way of doing these measurements, the actual distortion should be measured with a complex full signal rather then a single sine wave. This is where the listening takes over measurements.

"In simple scientific terms, what is the advantages of this approach? " This question has many questions and many answers.
a. GaN transistors have very little parasitic capacitance and inductance. They also packaged very differently from MOSFETS to keep this parasitics low on the PCB. However this makes it a headache for simple PCB manufacturing and design for regular Audio boards. The PCB impedance has to be constant and within a tight tolerance. The components around the GaN transistors have to be specifically chosen for close to zero parasitics. Xrays have to be used to check that the GaN is mounted correctly or risk a small explosion when the power supply is attached.
These are but some of the challenges.

The benefits of almost zero parasitics are
a) no need for feedback to remote the distortion from the parasitics
b) There is no Dead time, like in MOSFETS. Other Class D MOSFET designs have dead time which is distortion, then use feedback to kill the distortion and in turn reduce the details, contrasts and perceived noise floor. The parasitics in MOSFETS also lead to extended signal when discharging or slow rise times with charging.
GaN' offer very high speed - in the gigahertz. Of course it is not used at that speed here however it is very much of value to remove the ring and overshoot common with MOSFETS.

Hope that helps answer some of the questions you have.
 
Last edited:

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,148
568
113
UK
#4
Hi Audiophile Bill,

LOL. The distortion is very low, especially when compared to any tube amp. It is not weighted and provided at 400watts, not 1 watt or 1/2 power. Although I don't have a better way of doing these measurements, the actual distortion should be measured with a complex full signal rather then a single sine wave. This is where the listening takes over measurements.

"In simple scientific terms, what is the advantages of this approach? " This question has many questions and many answers.
a. GaN transistors have very little parasitic capacitance and inductance. They also packaged very differently from MOSFETS to keep this parasitics low on the PCB. However this makes it a headache for simple PCB manufacturing and design for regular Audio boards. The PCB impedance has to be constant and within a tight tolerance. The components around the GaN transistors have to be specifically chosen for close to zero parasitics. Xrays have to be used to check that the GaN is mounted correctly or risk a small expolsion when the voltage is applied.
These are but some of the challenges.
I disagree - the distortion spec here is *very* average for solid state (which is why I said solid state above) amps including very cheap ones hence why I asked. I was expecting the measured data to advance the state of play in measured performance for distortion - alas it does not. A quick look at Hypex 1200 is maximum of 0.004% from 20hz-20khz.

The response to in “simple terms” doesn’t explain at all what is the advantage for amplifier performance.

Anyway - would like to hear one in case this tech can sound good.
 
#5
Certainly.
We just had the Merrill Audio ELEMENT 118 up at Hifi Plus, with Alan Sircom for many months. It would have been good to have known before it was shipped out.
His review is out in the April issue in the UK and released in May in the US. Do take a read on that.

Also Dr. David Robinson has been writing about it prior to the review.
https://positive-feedback.com/audio...e-feedback-brutus-awards-2018-part-the-first/
https://positive-feedback.com/audio...-element-118-pneupods-focal-sphear-earphones/

Both Alan Sircom and David Robinson independently and in different continents compared the Merrill Audio ELEMENT 118 to the DarTZeel.

The ELEMENT 114 is cut from the same cloth with less power, and in a stereo box. Please send me a pm with your email and address.
 
#6
This is an interesting transistor. MOSFETS have the disadvantage of having high input capacitance, so it is difficult to drive them and make the slew-rate fast. JFETs are interesting because they behave better than MOSFETS in most cases, but I don't believe they can do high voltages or high power like MOSFETs. Not many available either. They suffer from the similar drawbacks as bipolars: you have to use almost all of the voltage range in analog circuits.

If this device solves these problems, it is ideal for switching amp applications.

Steve N.
 

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