The SPL Mercury is a Premium Stereo DAC for Mastering

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For mastering engineers and mixers in search of uncompromising quality on the bridge from their digital sources to their analog gear, NAMM 2020 marks an exciting moment with the release of the SPL Mercury, the first dedicated mastering DAC built on SPL’s 120V Rail Technology. To make your high-fidelity existence even more enjoyable, the Mercury also functions as a top-notch stereo monitor controller. Don’t worry, all the audio goodness of the Mercury fits in a single rack space. It’s also available in red and black color configurations, to match your other SPL gear better.  

For those who aren’t familiar with 120V Rail Technology, it was developed to allow components and circuitry to work on 120 volts. For perspective, that’s double the operating voltage of discrete opamps and quadruple the operating voltage of semiconductor opamps. Impressive, but what does that mean for you? It means more dynamic range and headroom, two things mastering and mixing engineers love.

SPL Mercury Mastering-Grade DA Converter & Monitor Controller (Black and Red)

The Mercury features DLP120 (dual low-pass filters in 120V technology) placed just after its DAC’s analog output, making it optimal for handling PCM and DSD resolutions without issue. AKM’s heralded Velvet-Sound technology is at the heart of the Mercury’s conversion, enabling PCM audio up to 32-bit / 768 kHz and DSD (Direct Stream Digital) up to DSD4 (256 times the sample rate of a standard audio CD).

A row of seven front-panel buttons makes it perfectly simple to select any of the Mercury’s seven digital inputs—two coaxial S/PDIF inputs, two TOSLINK optical ports, single- and dual-wire AES/EBU on XLR jacks, and a USB Type-B connector. This DAC can clock to an incoming digital stream or to a separate word clock feed patched to its BNC input. The face of the Mercury sports a display that shows the current sync source, sample rate, and dB reference level.

All output connections can be found on the Mercury’s rear panel. There are two pairs of stereo analog outputs, all on balanced 3-pin XLR jacks. The pair labeled “Fix Out” has a fixed level that you can calibrate to common dBFS reference levels such as -15, -18, -20, and many more. The pair of connectors labeled “Var Out” provides its own output level adjustable from the large, front-panel Alps RK27 “Big Blue” pot, making those outputs ideal for routing to your monitoring system. Another helpful monitoring feature is the mute button near the center of the Mercury’s face; it lets you quickly cut signal at all analog outputs. Lastly, there’s a ground-lift switch just waiting to be pressed in case ground loops are driving you crazy with hum.

Obviously, the Mercury is a serious piece of equipment for discerning ears that demand satisfaction. If you can’t stop thinking about high-definition D/A conversion, swing by the B&H SuperStore or visit our website to learn more about the SPL Mercury and add one to your studio!

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