Designed for mastering engineers, the Mercury from SPL is a D-A converter with monitor control and a vast array of choices for digital input sources as well as convenient synchronization and calibration options. The unit sports AKM's renowned Velvet-Sound converter technology, allowing you to achieve sample rates and resolutions of up to 768 kHz / 32-Bit for PCM digital signals and DSD4 or DSD256 for direct-stream digital signals.
This converter was built on SPL's signature 120V rail technology, giving the unit a boost in headroom and dynamic range over many other hardware pieces. The internal DLP120 low-pass filters used throughout the conversion stage for PCM and DSD playback have been optimized to take advantage of these 120V rails, and aid in crystal-clear playback of digital material in the analog domain.
The front panel houses seven digital input switches, as well as an Alps Big Blue potentiometer to control the output level to your monitors. You'll also note a Sync switch with multiple functions. First, it allows you to sync most of the incoming digital sources to any other digital input, as well as to external wordclocks. Press it down for two seconds, and the switch accesses your analog calibration options. You can calibrate 0 dBFS to equal -18 dBu, -10 dBu, or other values. In addition to this multifunction control, you'll note the Mute switch, which does what it says on the label, muting both analog outputs.
On the rear of the unit, you'll find all your connection points, including two fixed XLR outputs, two variable XLR outputs (these are controlled by the front-panel pot), as well as digital connections, such as AES (single-wire and dual-wire), coaxial SPDIF, optical SPDIF, and USB. A BNC wordclock input is also on hand.
Though packing a plethora of features, the Mercury only occupies 1 RU of rackspace. With all of these features, the unit is eminently suitable for mastering and high-end mixing applications.
Key Features at a Glance
- 7 selectable digital inputs for monitoring
- Synchronization settings accessible through Sync switch
- Recalls previous settings upon start up
- Single-wire and dual-wire AES inputs
- Fixed and variable stereo outputs
- Alps RK27 Big Blue pot on variable stereo output
- All except for USB can be synchronized with other sources
- External wordclock over BNC jacks
- 44.1 to 768 kHz PCM sample rates
- DSD up to DSD4 or DSD256
- Hold Sync button to access reference-level settings
- Multiple analog calibration options for 0 dBFS