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American ‘boutique audio’ manufacturers Meris are a new company formed by Terry Burton, who has a strong pedigree in the guitar-processing field, having founded well-respected effects manufacturer Strymon. Burton spotted a niche, noting the comparative decline in the popularity of rackmount guitar systems compared with the explosion in the use of stompbox pedals. Rack units typically have numerous output options (jacks and XLRs, -10dBV and +4dBu, balanced and unbalanced, and so on) and interface easily with studio equipment. Pedals, on the other hand, are not nearly as flexible, and attempts to integrate them with anything other than a guitar and an amp often end in a mess of level and impedance mismatches, noise and frustration. Consequently, Burton's 440 mic preamp design features an effects ('FX') loop, which allows signals to reach effects pedals at suitable, distortion-free levels with no need for intermediary products. Meris claim that this arrangement leads to better results with delays and reverbs, while also opening up the possibility of processing vocals and other signals through stompboxes.